A Travellerspoint blog

May 2013

Touring the Inland Sea: Part 3 - Inujima

Last day of our tour of the inland sea, and today we're checking out the Inujima art project.

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Inujima is by far the smallest island of the tour, with only 54 residents actually living there, but in many ways it's the one I've been looking forward to seeing the most because of the industrial heritage of the island.

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All those chimneys once belonged to a copper refinery that was in operation here (for a mere 10 years) between 1909 and 1919. After it closed down the site was left mostly untouched for the the best part of the next century. In 2008 the site was finally reclaimed as the site for the art project in 2008.

The art housed in the main facility has a kind of deconstructed (or exploded) architectural vibe to it taking common elements of houses and suspending them in place without any actual house to hold them together. It does create an interesting effect that is somehow both familiar and unsettling at the same time. Another interesting structural piece is the long underground walkway you can see in the picture below - again not all is what is seems here. The apparently straight tunnel is actually made up of a series of 90 degree turns with 45 degree mirrors at each corner that just give the illusion of a single continuous passage.

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Back on the surface though, all renovations aside, a large part of the attraction was the chance to simply poke around the ruins. This is effectively a tourism approved entry level haikyo spot. Even Haru was comfortable exploring here, so it was nice to be able to share my hobby of Urban Exploration with her in some small way.

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After we'd finished exploring the Art project we still had some time, before our last ferry, to explore the rest of the island. As I said before the actual live in community is very small, only 54 people, but the there are a fair amount of people who come to the island for work (at the art project or fishing etc). Most of the building are very old style wooden structures, including this rather charming old firestation (below, top right; check out the fire bell hanging off the ladder on the left and side).

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Another highlight for me was the thriving community of fiddler crabs on one of the beaches, look below - see that muddy patch behind the row boat, well all the crabs in the other pictures were hanging out in that little area. A veritable crab-tropalis.

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Having circumnavigated the whole island our trio was finally drawing to a close, a last stroll along the coast to the back to the ferry station where we had just enough time for a cool drink and short rest before our final ferry back to the main land.

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One thing really worth noting about this trip is how surprisingly 'off road' it is, back at work none of my colleagues had ever been to these islands or really knew much about them. Likewise until I suggested it Haru had never considered going there, it's not exactly a hidden or secret spot but it certainly isn't well known either. So if you are in Japan, have a bit of extra time and want to do something that other visitors might not do - a tour of the inland sea is well worth considering.

Posted by DKJM74 17:35 Comments (0)

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