Land area: 66,934 ha
Designated on 16 Mar, 1934
The large sea area of the Inland Sea has a mild climate through the year, rich nature, people living in harmony with nature and old, traditional culture. While each of these has its own charm, they integrate together to present comprehensive attractions. The famous shrine which is listed on the World Heritage Site has a beautiful figure on the surface of the sea. The park welcomes visitors with rich nature and culture that have been nurtured and protected by the inland sea.
Setonaikai National Park is a seaside park which includes most of the Inland Sea area extending more than 400 km east and west. It stretches over three regions in western Japan: the Kinki, Chugoku and Shikoku Regions, and contains major islands on the sea and inland observation spots.
In the eastern part of the park, there are some notable sites such as Mt. Rokkosan (931 m) and Awajishima Island in Hyogo Prefecture. Awajishima Island is one of the largest islands in Japan which consists of a great number of islands. Mt. Rokkosan in the main island is a major tourist resort in the Kansai Region and the splendid night view of the Inland Sea from the mountaintop is very famous. One of the most picturesque sites on the sea is the whirlpool in the Narutokaikyo Straits which separates Awajishima Island from Shikoku. The whirlpools of Narutokaikyo are as large as 20 m in diameter, and flow in whirls at high speed then dissolve in the water. Sightseeing boats to observe the whirlpools are operated and passengers can see their powerful movements from up close if the timing is right.
In the west of Awajishima Island, there are many scenic islands including Shodoshima Island, a popular tourist spot. Shodoshima Island is also known for producing traditional processed foods essential to Japanese daily meals including soy sauce and fine noodles.
The Geiyo area located further west has many notable spots besides the Geiyoshoto Islands, which are of high cultural value such as the Itsukushimajinja Shrine, a World Heritage Site.
Major sightseeing spots in the west part of the park include the Kanmonkaikyo Strait which lies between the main island and Kyushu, the Kunisakihanto Peninsula in Oita Prefecture and Cape Sadamisaki in Ehime Prefecture.
There are three bridges across the Inland Sea that connect the main island and Shikoku. The three routes are the Akashi ? Naruto route, Kojima ? Sakaide route and Onomichi ? Imabari route. Natural beauty and man-created beauty harmonize to produce landscapes with new qualities.
The main vegetation in the coastal area is Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii) woods. There are many factors behind this including the thin and infertile soil, relatively dry climate with low precipitation and logging of the woods for use as fuel for salt production. While some forests have regenerated in recent years, many of them have changed to broad-leaved forests. Miyajima Island has beautiful mixed forests of coniferous and broad-leaved trees. Autumn leaves on the island are as gorgeous as those on Shodoshima Island.
Regarding the fauna in the park area, Japanese macaques in Mt. Takasakiyama and Shodoshima Island, and Japanese shika deer in Miyajima Island are well-known. Japanese horseshoe crabs which live in Kasaoka, Okayama Prefecture have special value as their numbers are sharply decreasing.
In the Inland Sea area, civilization developed early on along the coast and there are many historic sites with the famous Itsukushimajinja Shrine listed first.
The Itsukushimajinja Shrine was a very old shrine with long-held traditions. It was built in 593 and its main shrine was constructed in 1168. While the shrine has many cultural assets of high artistic value, the buildings in the premises are very beautiful against the background of Mt. Misen, in which some natural forests remain. The buildings look like they are floating on the sea and present a very impressive landscape.