The Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海, Setonaikai) stretches over 400 kilometers from Osaka to Kitakyushu, confined by the Japanese main islands and 3000 islands more, many of which are inhabited. The area is part of Setonaikai National Park, one of the first national parks designated in Japan. The Seto Inland Sea is often compared with the Mediterranean Sea because of its mild climate and its islands' relaxed atmosphere.


Historically has been an important trade route and is covered by not only an extensive ferry network but also by three of the major series of bridges in the world, some of them offer a unique cycling route with astonishing views.


Apart from the classical touristic options important cities like Hiroshima, Kobe, Kurashiki, Okayama, Takamatsu or Osaka offer, many islands in the Seto Inland Sea offer attractive resorts with beaches and cultural attractions. The eastern islands around Naoshima have become known as a modern art destination with several excellent museums on Naoshima, Inujima and Teshima.


Picture (top) by Takako Mori