The iconic Tsunoshima bridge is the gateway to the charming island of Tsunoshima, one of Japan’s many beautiful islands!
Exploring the Island of Tsunoshima provides breathtaking views of crystal clear, blue water and lush green countryside. The vistas drew us to this destination and didn’t disappoint, but there is so much more to do!
For Matt’s birthday we wanted to wake up early and have a day full of adventures! Along the way we wanted to eat good food and explore some things rarely seen by most tourists. This is totally Matt! He loves the idea of doing things that few people have ever done, or don’t usually do.
Luckily for us the kids have no problem waking up early thanks to us living in the land of the rising sun! We were able to get up and get going before the kids woke up so that when they got out of bed at six, we put them straight into the car and hit the 7-Eleven before getting on the freeway!
The first half of Matt’s birthday was going to see the Tsunoshima bridge. I saw a picture of it on an ANA flight that was highlighting Japan, and it went right on our bucket list.
Tsunoshima bridge is the second longest toll-free bridge in Japan. The only one longer is in Okinawa. It goes over beautiful blue/green clear water for over a mile. On the mainland, right before you turn onto the bridge, there is a beautiful white sand beach. There is a small overlook with a beautiful view including the view of a tiny island with a lighthouse! There are also bathrooms and a souvenir/snack store.
Lighthouse and Lessons from Paw Patrol
After driving across the bridge we headed straight to the lighthouse which took about 10 minutes. When we got there Royce had hundreds of questions about the lighthouse. He is in the “why” phase so every answer we gave him to a question was followed by another “why?” or “por quê?”.
The kids don’t watch many shows or videos, but they have really loved Paw Patrol. They have learned a number of good lessons from the show, and it helped Royce out on Tsunoshima! Royce asked what a lighthouse was and why they need a light. I talked with him about a Paw Patrol episode where the lighthouse light goes out and the pups need to turn it back on for a ship that is passing by. It was fun that he was able to visit the Tsunoshima lighthouse and put the two together to see the importance of lighthouses!
There was a small garden area with some rolling hills that the kids raced through. We didn’t go down to the shrine but there was a small shrine just down from the garden toward the water. There was a souvenir shop behind the lighthouse that had several locally-created knick-knacks including some body clay that looked tempting! After we looked inside we climbed some stairs that went above the shop to get a better view of the area. We had an excellent view of the shrine, a church and distant parts of the island.
There was a map near the restrooms that had pictures of some of the highlights on the island. This was just the first half of our birthday adventure day so we decided to only see one other point of interest. We decided that Demon Rock looked exciting!
The kids loved seeing the pictures on the seawall of the demons chasing people. They started to play monsters and were running up and down along the wall! The rock may look a bit like a demon, but it is actually a rock thrown by a demon general long ago! There is a fun story behind it – demons causing problems, stealing chickens and cows, drinking too much, and trying to expand their dominion – only to be stopped by thousands of chickens! See the full story (in Japanese) here:
We got in the water a bit and looked at the sea snails. The water was actually pretty nice! I can only imagine going to the white sand beach on a nice sunny day, it would be blissful place to spend an afternoon!
We then left for the next half of our adventure: Exploring Tawarajima!
What to know before going to Tsunoshima:
- From Iwakuni, the toll was 3200 yen on the way there and 3000 yen on the way back.
- Parking below the lighthouse was 300 yen.
- The drive took us about 2 ½ hours of driving through beautiful Japan with its bamboo forests and hundreds of rice paddies. I absolutely love seeing the farmers out in the fields planting the rice. Maybe I’m so impressed because the average age of Japanese rice farmers is around 70 years old!
Have you been to Tsunoshima Island? Which Island in Japan is your favorite?