Naoshima lies some 13 kilometers north of Takamatsu, Kagawa and 2 kilometers south of Tamano, Okayama. Under the administration of Kagawa Prefecture, this island and many small, surrounding islands are known collectively as Naoshima. A hilly island covered in granite and weathered soil, Naoshima has few level areas, but the winding coastline reveals the natural beauty that islands of the Inland Sea are known for, with stretches of white, sandy beach accented by green pine trees.
The name Naoshima originates from a compliment paid by a visiting emperor who was impressed by the unaffected, down-to-earth nature of the residents. Three villages are located here: Miyanoura, with the ferry landing area; Honmura, a seaside castle-town founded 500 years ago; and Tsumuura, a long-time fishing port. To the north, copper has been refined at the Mitsubishi Materials Naoshima Smelter & Refinery since 1917, and with related operations nearby, this area as a whole forms a large-scale industrial zone. The middle of the island is a center of learning, where schools up through middle school are located. The island's southern side is part of Setonaikai National Park, and much natural beauty remains here. The main industry besides Mitsubishi-related operations is aquaculture, which produces yellowtail and seaweed, among other seafood.
|Population||3,323 (as of January 1, 2010)|
Teshima, lying in the eastern Inland Sea near Naoshima, is a 30-minute ferry ride from Takamatsu. Virgin forests of beech and oak cover the mountain of Danyama, rising near the center of the island, and Karato spring water is abundant. As its Japanese name implies, the local environment has provided a rich source of nourishment from rice farming and agriculture (including dairy farming) and fishing for millennia. Quarrying had been a mainstay here, but primary industries have unfortunately been declining as the industrial landscape changes and islands face depopulation and aging communities.
A positive development in the wake of illegal dumping of industrial waste on Teshima starting in the 1970s (which attracted national attention as a major industrial problem) was a settlement reached in 2000, and a processing plant is now operational on Naoshima. Moreover, a children's hospital and special elderly care center built by prewar social reformer Toyohiko Kagawa contribute to the island's reputation for ample social facilities.
|Population||1,053 (as of December 1, 2009)|
Located in Setonaikai National Park about 2.5 kilometers south of Hoden (five minutes by ferry), Inujima is the only inhabited island within Okayama city limits. An unusual boulder on Inujima that resembles a crouching dog (inu in Japanese) is the origin of the name Inujima ("dog island"). The island is known for Inujima granite of exceptional quality, used hundreds of years ago for castles in Tokyo, Osaka, and Okayama and later for the stone wall by Osaka harbor. This local resource is prized throughout Japan. In 1909, the Inujima Copper Refinery was established, a bustling enterprise that contributed to a peak island population of more than 3,000 during its busiest decade. However, the subsequent closure of the refinery and decline of quarrying have contributed to depopulation, and the island's population now stands at only 56, with an average age of 75. Visitors can swim at the beaches and enjoy accommodations and learning experiences at Shizen-no-ie (Nature House) that make the most of the local climate and nature.
|Population||56 (as of February 28, 2010)|