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Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Mushima – A Daffodil Island with Many Friendly Cats

Among the many islands floating on the Seto Inland Sea, Mu Island, or ‘Mushima’ (六島) in Japanese, is probably the most gorgeous. Okayama Prefecture‘s southmost island is known for the picturesque view of daffodil flowers and a white lighthouse with the azure blue ocean as the backdrop. On top of that, not only will you be welcomed by a series of cat-shaped directory signs upon arrival, you might get a real feline guiding you to the part of the island with the best scenery!

After World War Two, there used to be around 1,000 residents on Mushima. But, the number has sharply decreased to around 60 in the late 2010s. Fortunately, thanks to the local community (六島まちづくり協議会) and local university students, various projects were completed to renovate the island into a tourist attraction.

In 2016, Mushima’s old church was renovated into a guesthouse (Shimakoya, 島小屋), so Mu Island can be a good candidate if you want a quiet and relaxing night.

Mu Island has two ports. The Tatae Port (湛江港) is close to the guesthouse in the north. The Maeura Port (前浦港) is at the east of Mushima, where many facilities are located.

But don’t worry if you get off at the wrong port. It is only a 10-minute walk to travel between them.

How to Get to Mu Island

The ferries departing for Mu Island depart from Kasaoka Port (笠岡港), which is less than a 5-minute walk from JR Kasaoka Station (笠岡駅). From Kasaoka to Mushima, it will take around 60 minutes.

Please note there are only four services per day for each direction. You can refer to the timetable HERE on the official website (second route).

Tips:
☛ Avoid hot summer months to increase your chances of meeting more cats.
☛ Before you wander off from Maeura Port, stop by Myoon-in Temple (妙音院) for its toilet facility.

The Cost of the Ferry

  • 1,280 yen for junior high school students and above
  • 640 yen for toddlers from the age of one to elementary school students

There is a ticket vending machine on the ferry to purchase your return ticket.

The Cat Directory Signs on Mu Island

At Mushima’s ferry port, a warm welcome home message (Okaeri, おかえり) is delivered by this cat, made of a buoy.

On Mushima, many directory signs have such cute cats attached. If you follow the one that says “灯台へ”, you will eventually reach Mu Island’s symbol, the white Mushima Lighthouse (六島灯台).

On the way, you might encounter this orange cat, who is Mushima’s most committed cat guide. He has repeatedly led tourists from the village center to the lighthouse at the island’s south without training!

Mushima Lighthouse (六島灯台)

The promenade leading to Mushima Lighthouse is called Daffodil Path (水仙の小道). Along the road, 100,000 daffodils will be blooming from mid-January and February. If you get tired of climbing up the hill, there are benches for you to rest on.

When the Daffodil flowers bloom, the swing hung on one of the trees is a great spot for some fantastic photos!

©岡山県観光連盟

The lighthouse that was completed in 1922 is Okayama Prefecture‘s first lighthouse.

Don’t just look up at the lighthouse; look down as well! The daffodil field spread down the hill to the fishing port is another iconic view of Mu Island.

©岡山県観光連盟

A bench is placed on another side of the lighthouse, where the scenery is the most spectacular. A cat might climb onto your lap and enjoy the quiet moment with you when you adore the view in front of you.

At the back of the lighthouse, there is a mountain trail to the highest peak of Mushima, Mt. Ōishi (大石山). Compared to the promenade to the lighthouse, it is harder to hike due to the earthen road and steeper slope. With that being said, the 20-minute hike isn’t all that hard. Plus, you will get a view of the magnificent ocean decorated with gorgeous white daffodils!

Mushimahama Brewery (六島浜醸造所)

Mushima Brewery’s history is relatively short. Only opened in 2019, the owner Iseki Ryōhei (井関 竜平), used to be a salaryman in Osaka. Missing the humaneness of Mu Island, he relocated to his grandparents’ hometown in 2016.

Learning that the island used to have a large field of wheat, soybeans, and potatoes from the locals, he decided to revive the wheat field for the amazing view of a landscape of golden wheat swaying with the blue Seto Inland Sea as the backdrop.

But what to do with the wheat? As a big beer lover, Ryōhei became an apprentice in one of the breweries in Okayama. With the assistance of his boss, he successfully opened Mushima Brewery, which became the go-to place for tourists and residents.

The brewery has a small bar attached. But please email [email protected] before your arrival to avoid disappointment because the owner may be out for business.

When the bar is open, the business hours are 10 am to 2 pm and 3 pm to 5 pm. If you stay on Mu Island, they can extend the hours to 10 pm.

Natural Hijiki Shop Hifumi-chan (ひふみちゃん天然ひじき)

A fishing village doesn’t have to be all about catching fish. One of the best specialties on Mu Island is Hijiki, a brown sea vegetable growing out of rocky coastlines.

Like wakame seaweed, you can get sun-dried Hijiki from the Hijiki Shop Hifumi-chan. When you get home, just soak it in water for five minutes and add Ponzu sauce (or vinegar), and it is ready to be consumed!

Hikiji has a crunchy texture. The scent and the taste of vegetables will bring you straight back to Mu Island’s rocky shore!

Things You Might Want to Bring for Your Trip to Ogijima

  • Enough water/fluid
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Disinfecting wipes to clean your hands before eating and after playing with cats
  • Cats’ toys, if desired
  • Lunch
  • Picnic sheet
  • Umbrella (for some shade and in case it rains)

Discover Other Cat Islands in Japan

Ferry-to-Yu-Island-Kamiamakusa-Kumamoto-Japan
Click the photo to find out more about cat islands in Japan!

Mu Island isn’t the only two islands in Japan known as cat islands. Such kind of islands is actually scattered across the country.

To find out about other cat islands in Japan, refer to our article on the Top 10 Cat Islands in Japan!

The Rabbit Island in Japan

In addition to all the cat islands, Japan also has a rabbit island!

If you are interested, find out more information about this island with our article on Ōkunoshima, filled with a massive rabbit population!

Cherry-Blossoms-on-Okunoshima-Takehara-Hiroshima-Japan
Click the photo to find out more about the rabbit island in Japan!

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