Ibukijima (ɐ) is a small island off the coast of Shikoku and the westernmost inhabited island of Kagawa Prefecture. Although only about one square kilometer in size, the tiny island is Japan's largest producer of sardines and anchovies, which are caught in the surrounding Seto Inland Sea and processed at plants that line Ibukijima's western coast. The peak of the fishing season around the island takes place from June to August.

Easily explored on foot, the center of Ibukijima is covered by a small, weathered fishing village with a disorienting web of narrow lanes. The village is also home to temples and shrines, including the Ibuki Hachimangu Shrine at the island's center, a handful of shops and restaurants, and several viewpoints. Despite its fishing industry, Ibukijima is suffering from population decline, and some of the effects can be seen in a closed down school and numerous abandoned homes found around the island.

As a means to combat this, Ibukijima has joined several other islands in the Seto Inland Sea to promote itself as a destination to see contemporary art and to host the Setouchi Triennale art festival. A couple of permanent art works from previous festivals remain on the island and can also be viewed outside of the festival's periods.

Getting there and around

Kanonji Station, the nearest train station to Ibukijima, can be reached by JR trains from Marugame (20-45 minutes, 560-1850 yen by local or limited express train), Takamatsu (50-75 minutes, 1110-2840 yen by local or limited express train) or Okayama (60-110 minutes, 1560-3290 yen by local or limited express train).

From Kanonji Station, there are buses to Kanonji Port (10 minutes, 100 yen one way, departures every 2 hours) from where there is a ferries depart every 2-4 hours to Ibukijima (25 minutes, 600 yen one way). Some of the buses are timed with ferry departures and arrivals. Alternatively, it is a 20 minute walk or 800 yen taxi ride between the station and the port.

How to get to and around Marugame