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Angel Road on Shodoshima


On Shodoshima, more precisely on the south coast of the town of Tonosho, there is a natural phenomenon that may not blow you away, but that is worth a visit nonetheless. It is one of Shodoshima’s main tourist attractions, and its name is Angel Road.


What is Angel Road?

Well, right south of Tonosho can be found three islets. Two of them really only are big rocks, the third one – called Yoshima – is a little large enough to house a summer camp.

Nothing very noteworthy at first sight, except that at low tide something pretty interesting happens. As the water level recedes, the three islets end up being connected to each other and to Tonosho by a sandbank, which allows people to walk to the islets. And that makes the already beautiful place even more wonderful.

On top of that, and I have no idea why and how, some sort of “romantic tourism” developed there, as many couples take the opportunity to go attach heart shaped ema on the first islet’s trees. Ema on which they wrote various love wishes and other similar promises. Why ema? I’m not even sure, I’m not completely positive that there is a shrine there, except for a tiny tiny one just before the sandbank.

Odd “tradition” if you ask me, but why not? Personally, I never thought it was very romantic to do exactly the same thing as many other people did just because “it’s the thing to do.” But to each their own; if you find copycatting and simulacra romantic, who am I to judge?

In any case, the spot is very beautiful, although I’d love to visit it with less people around… That means going there at dawn or on a cold winter day though.

I don’t have much to add about Angel Road really, so I’ll just let you enjoy the pictures:


Angel Road - 01

Oh and by the way, if you ever spend the night on Shodoshima, there are lots of hotels right there for some reason, with views like this from your hotel room window. 🙂


Angel Road - 02


Yoshima and Angel Road


Angel Road - 04


With Takamatsu and Yashima in the background.
With Takamatsu and Yashima in the background.


Angel Road - 06


Ema are everywhere on the first islet.
Ema are everywhere on the first islet.


Angel Road - 08


Angel Road - 09


Angel Road - 10

Towards the other islets (actually, we didn’t go, you may have noticed some umbrellas on the previous pictures, rain had been threatening the whole time and we were not equipped against).


Angel Road - 11

The choices some Japanese women make as far as clothing is concerned when they go “in the wild” (or at least away from the city) never cease to amaze me. OK, maybe she hadn’t planned to go to Angel Road, maybe her boyfriend surprised her with it…
Mmmm… No, I don’t believe it one second.


Angel Road - 12


OK, time to return to Tonosho before the high tide! (I'm joking, we had a few hours before it happened, again, we were more concerned with the clouds)
OK, time to return to Tonosho before the high tide! (I’m joking, we had a few hours before it happened, again, we were more concerned with the clouds)


Angel Road - 14


Angel Road - 15


Angel Road - 16
Wow, to prove his love to his girlfriend, some would have climbed that pinetree to attach this ema high above the other ones! That, or he would have thrown it from the rock where I stood taking the picture and it would have gotten stuck in the tree. You decide.


Angel Road seen from the top of the previously mentioned rock.
Angel Road seen from the top of the previously mentioned rock.


When night came, as we were staying walking distance from Angel Road, I decided to go see what it looked like at night:


Angel Road - 18


Angel Road - 19


As you can see the first islet is lit at night. Also, I wasn’t completely alone, there was a young couple too (out of the frame) and this heron that was fishing on the sandbank that was now covered with water (but still walkable if you don’t mind getting wet)


Angel Road - 20


Angel Road - 21

The long exposure makes the heron look quite ghostly here.


Angel Road - 22


The morning after, from my hotel room.


Angel Road - 23


Angel Road - 24


Angel Road - 25


You’ll most likely see Angel Road on this blog again. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this overview of one of the many wonderful spots that the Seto Inland Sea has to offer.



4 thoughts on “Angel Road on Shodoshima”

  1. While not the same, Angel Road reminds me a little of Amanohashidate. Much, MUCH, smaller but similar in tone.

    One thing I find okay about hanging ema on the trees, it is better than the padlocks couples put on some areas. I think the idea and symbolism of padlocks is interesting but I like the naturalness and the ability to biodegradable quantities of wood. 🙂

    1. I see what you mean about Amanohashidate. Actually, the first time I have heard about them (Angel Road and Amanohashidate) I confused them a little (that was before my very first trip to Japan).

      And yeah, while I don’t find the whole thing romantic, I don’t dislike the ema either, and I’m completely with you on the padlocks that I hate hate hate with a passion.
      In Paris, they have turned my formerly favorite bridge into a ruin:

  2. Your post and your pictures are very interesting. The fact that there are Ema in the trees is really funny and the choices of Japanese women about clothing too.

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