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Wakayama: Engetsu Island

Located several meters from the coast of the resort town of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture, Engetsu Island or Engetsu-to is a small yet popular must-see island of the town. 

The name engetsu means "the island of the full moon". However, a lot of people are unaware that its official name is actually Takashima. The island measures approximately 115 feet from east-to-west, 430 feet north-to-south and 82 feet high at the tallest elevation.
Engetsu Island
Surprisingly the water near it is very clean and is teeming with fish

Despite being an island, Engetsu-to is also viewed as a scenic rock formation jotting our of Rinkai Bay. It is famous for its natural sandstone arch which has a perfectly circular hole in the middle. This hole was formed through the natural effects of the waves and the wind which eroded the "weaker" part of the rock formation. Speaking of it being formed largely from sandstone and the erosion due to winds and waves, the island's famous arch is currently in danger of collapsing. That's why the local government of Shirahama prohibited anyone from approaching the island without special authorization. 
The island also serves as a perfect backdrop for couples.

Regardless, the island can still be viewed from different points from the shore. However, for those who want to get an up-close view of the island, one can avail of the glass bottom boat tour. This tour brings you around the island where you can admire not only its arch but also the clear waters around it that is teeming with life. These boats depart from Rinkai and are available from 9AM to 4PM. The 25-minute tour costs around 1500 yen for adults and 750 yen for children. 
The island as seen from the side of the road.

My family and I got to see Engetsu Island on our final stopover before heading home during our Shirahama road trip. Sadly, we were not able to avail of the glass bottom boat tour as we have arrived too late for its last boarding time. On the other hand, we had a chance to watch a stunning sunset. Speaking of sunsets, Engetsu Island is actually included in the list of "One of the 100 best places in Japan to watch the sunset" and "One of the best places for sunrise and sunset in Wakayama Prefecture". Aside from that, it's also in the "Scenic Landscapes of Japan" list. 
Yomogi enjoying the view.

Overall, it's safe to say that if you have only a day in Shirahama, you should never miss out viewing the sunset and Engetsu Island. 

Getting there:
From Osaka, ride the Ocean Arrow train of the JR West Line and board down at JR Shirahama Station.  From the station, take a loop bus. You will see it when you get off at Rinkai bus stop. Car: the closest interchange is Nankitanabe IC on Hanwa expressway. A parking lot is available, 300 yen.

Rating:

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Comments

  1. My husband and I are planning a trip to Japan but haven't made an itinerary yet. We will make sure to put this on the list of possibilities. Thanks for adding the "getting there" portion - that's very helpful!

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog Jessica. I do hope you include Engetsu Island in your itinerary. Believe me it's a road less traveled. =)

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  2. What a delightful little scenic spot to tack on to a road trip. It's too bad you missed out on the glass bottom boat tour: I bet you would have had even more beautiful pictures from the stop.

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    1. For sure Anna. If we managed to hop in on one for sure this article would be twice as long. =)

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  3. Oh wow! Such beautiful photographs. This looks an amazing place to visit. Another for my ‘one day’ list.

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    1. I do hope you get to visit Engetsu Island someday Tom.

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  4. I am always a fan of Japan. Hope I will visit your place someday. Your pics and map is really nice and helpful. I got an overall idea about the islands. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome Nutmegger. Please do visit Engetsu Island when you are in Japan.

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  5. I bet the photos couples take here at sunset are absolutely spectacular!

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  6. That’s awesome. The guide has many things which are really awesome for many peoples. Many things are mentioned which are useful. Your pics are always awesome.

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  7. I have never heard of this island. I’m planning on visiting Japan and this is going on my list. I bet the glass bottom boat is amazing.

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    1. I would love to try the glass bottom boat someday too.

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  8. What a cool place! I really like the first picture with the sunset.

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  9. I hope the local government is exerting all efforts to help preserve the arch. It is indeed a dramatic view.

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    1. I hope so too Ivan. However, knowing Japan, I bet they are doing everything to preserve it.

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  10. Japan is such a heavenly country. I should plan a visit to this place!

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  11. How stunning! As I'm wrapped up tight in winter gear it makes me want to travel!

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  12. Such a quaint little island, too bad about the glass bottom boat, but hey, that just means that you could go back one day for that boat ride ;) so it's a win win situation, i enjoy finding out about these, not so well known places, because they usually aren't crowded, and you can enjoy the whole beauty of the location.

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    1. I definitely agree Matija. I would surely love to try out the glass bottom boat. Someday I'd explore the surrounding waters of Engetsu Island on a glass bottom boat.

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  13. Oh such a lovely place.. seems so calm!

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  14. How cool is this. Love the photos, there's so many incredible places in the world people just don't about such as this. Thanks for introducing me!

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    1. You're welcome. Please do visit Engetsu Island. =)

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  15. This is so pretty and small for an island, isn't it?. Oh, the wonders of nature!

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  16. This place looks amazing. I was fascinated to hear that it is calm and teeming with fish...

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    1. You should visit Engetsu Island to see those for yourself. I'm sure you'd love it.

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