We all know the beauty of the Aegean Sea is breathtaking. The part of the Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海) in the Ushimado area is said to be Japan’s Aegean Sea. And if you are wondering where you can get the best view of the Seto Inland Sea from the Ushimado area, we recommend the Ushimado Olive Garden (牛窓オリーブ園)!
The garden was opened in 1942 with the goal of sourcing foods with great nutrition that can be used as medication and fuel for lighting. The garden has since grown to 10 hectares with around 2,000 olive trees growing olives for us to enjoy!
The Park at the Top of the Hill (山頂広場)
Hiking up from the car park to the park at the top of the hill is a must when visiting the olive garden. While the hike might be tiring, the panorama view you will get from here is just specular!
Pulling your attention back to where you are standing, you will notice the small well-maintained floral garden here and there. The German gardener has been working here since he married his Japanese wife in 2014. If you visit the garden on a weekday, you might see him taking care of the flowers around the garden.
Don’t be shy and go strike up a conversation with him. He speaks English and should be able to give you some interesting facts about the garden and even share a bit of his experience in Japan as a foreigner with you (^_-)-☆.
Ushimado Olive Shop
On one side of the park, there is a white building. The garden will gladly welcome you to visit this building. On the ground floor, there is a souvenir shop. And if you are after a relaxing coffee break, head to the roastery on the 2nd floor for a cup of coffee or some dessert. Walking up the stairs, the third and the fifth floor are designed as lookouts. On the fifth floor, you can get a 360-degree view of the olive garden and the Seto Inland Sea!
The Bell of Happiness (幸福の鐘)
As you stroll around the garden, you might notice there are a lot of couples.
Ushimado is somehow recognized as a Couple’s Sanctuary, and one of the symbols of this sanctuary is the Bell of Happiness, located in the olive garden!
Apparently, if you ring this bell three times, you will get happy with the person that you ring it with (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
The Best Time to Visit Ushimado Olive Garden
While you can enjoy the olive trees and the flowers in the garden throughout the year, if you are curious about what the olive flowers look like, come between late May to early June (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
If you want to see some fresh olives ready to be harvested, you will want to revisit the garden in autumn between late September and late October! There might be olive picking, olive oil extracting experiences, and other activities during this time of the year (^_-)-☆.
If you are eyeing the various harvesting activities, the Ushimado Olive Harvest Festival (牛窓オリーブ収穫祭) is usually held on the last Saturday of October. Future festivals should be published on their website HERE. You can translate it by Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.
Ushimado Gelato Studio Copio (牛窓ジェラート工房 コピオ)
300 meters away from the olive garden’s gate, there is a gelato shop. Here, you will get to taste the gelato made with milk milked from the 12 cows on the farm, 12 km away from the studio.
The gelato here is so delicious that long queues are expected on weekends and public holidays!
Ushimado Olive Garden’s Opening Hours and Access Information
- The garden opens from 9 am to 5 pm daily.
- You can catch bus services operated by Ryobi Bus (両備バス) from either JR Saidaiji Station (西大寺駅) bus stop no. 5 and get off at Olive-En Iriguchi (オリーブ園入口). From there, it will be a 30-minute hike uphill. This may tire you if you have not been exercising regularly.
- Refer to the end of THIS WEBPAGE for the service’s timetable. Please click on “南まわり牛窓線” “時刻表” icon.
- The table at the right is for bus services departing for Olive Garden, and the table at the left is for bus services departing for JR Saidaiji Station.
- The table at the top is for weekdays, and the table at the bottom is for weekends and public holidays.
- As Orību-En Iriguchi is a small stop, please use the arrival time at Ushimado (牛窓) bus stop as an estimate.
- The cost from JR Saidaiji Station is 650 yen one-way, and from JR Oku Station, it is 460 yen.
- You can also take Setouchi City Bus (瀬戸内市営バス) Ushimado Chūō Line (牛窓中央線) from JR Oku Station (邑久駅).
- HERE is the timetable for the bus services. Please click on the PDF and refer to page 19 for weekday timetable and page 20 for weekend timetable.
Find Out Other Close-by Attractions in Setouchi City
If you enjoy strolling along the beach as the sun slowly disappears from the horizon, be sure to stop by Setouchi City (瀬戸内市) in Okayama Prefecture. The sunset you will be seeing was chosen to be one of the top 100 sunsets in Japan!
For those who find the samurais and the swords they use fascinating, you will also have a great reason to visit Setouchi City. If you plan your visit in advance, you will be able to see the swordsmiths making a real sword in front of you!
For more information, please refer to our Setouchi City article!