Compared to its slightly smaller neighbor Himakajima, Shinojima appears to have seen better days.
Listen to the sound of a lay Buddhist chant on Shinojima
A number of the island's ryokan (guesthouses) are closed and slowly crumbling. The island's high school has shut and older children now have to make the ferry journey to the mainland for their education.
Slightly smaller with around 2,000 inhabitants, in comparison with the 2,300 people living on Himakajima, Shinojima seems to have a higher proportion of the elderly, sitting out in the autumn sun in a scene reminiscent of a Greek island.
Still Shinojima is not without its charms, the small town on the hill behind the port faces a splendid 800m-long sandy beach (Naiba), which is ideal for swimming in summer. The small town has a number of small, evocative temples and the more rugged, wooded interior makes for excellent hiking and bird-watching.
Walking through the twisting, narrow lanes of the island's town again evokes something of the Greek islands. Many of the houses are brightly painted weatherboard constructions and there are terrific views out to sea and the Chita Peninsula.
Shinojima's main industry is fishing, mainly octopus and fugu (blowfish) as with its neigbor Himakajima to the north.
Bicycle hire for the day is available at the grand tourist information office, which was surely built for a time when more people arrived, situated to your left as you disembark from the ferry.
There are Meitetsu ferry connections to Shinojima from Kowa (30 mins), Irago, Himakajima and Morozaki (20 mins). The car ferry sails from Morozaki.
From Nagoya Station or Kanayama Station take a Meitetsu train to Kowa (47 mins), then it is a 5 minute walk left out of the station to Kowa Port or jump on the free shuttle bus. From Toyohashi take a Meitetsu bus to Irago (90 mins) then a ferry to the island (30 mins).
Return fares on the ferry to Himakajima & Shinojima are presently 2,270 yen.
Tel: 0569 67 3700
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007