My previous posts on Okayama:

  1. Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter
  2. Affordable shopping

 

Today we are visiting Kojima (児島), a peninsula surrounded by the Seto Inland Sea located at the southern tip of Kurashiki city.

Facts about Kojima:

1.It serves as the gateway to Shikoku.

2.It thrived in the textile industry, and is the birth place of Japan-made jeans.

 

Seto Ohashi Bridge Cruise

If you know a little about geography of Japan (if not, refer to my Japan map 101 blog post:47 Prefectures.), you may appreciate this cruise even more.

Kojima is located on the Honshu (Japan main island), and this cruise brings you around the amazing great Seto Ohashi Bridge that connects Honshu to the island of Shikoku through the Seto Inland Sea (Setonaikai, 瀬戸内海).

(Read more about Seto Inland Sea on my Setouchi blog post.)

I was so thrilled because… I was so close to conquering yet another prefecture – Kagawa! I could literally see it but just see no touch haha. Nevermind. Back again next time and I’ll conquer the remaining 3 in Shikoku all at one go.

Kojima Sightseeing Port – This is where you board the cruise, and it’s only a 5-min walk from Kojima Station.

You board a 45-minute cruise out to the sparkling Seto Inland Sea, watch the gorgeous sky turning all sorts of sunsetty colors and sigh at how magnificent the great bridges are.

The entire bridge is 13km long (and is made of 6 connecting bridges, making it one of the longest in the world!), and is double-decked with highway on the upper deck and railway on the lower.

Quite a romantic cruise over gorgeous sunsets.

One day soon, I will cross that bridge to Kagawa!

Fee: 1,550 yen for adults and 780 yen for children, no reservation needed!

 

Washu Highland Hotel

This is where I stayed on the first night of my trip in Okayama. And I think it’s the perfect ryokan to spend a rather relaxing yet entertaining night in.

I have stayed in so so so so many different ryokan before and this is one of my favorite. For a few reasons:

1.It has an unbeatable view from the rotenburo (open-aired onsen)
2. Unexpected entertainment
3. Very, very good food

Basically when a ryokan has good view and good food it is already perfect.

My room was a modern Japanese room with bed, there are also tatami rooms available (I always sleep better on futon!).

Ryugu No Tsukai Buffet Style Dining

Washu Highland Hotel serves amazing food. For dinner, there are over 50 dishes to choose from, using fully fresh produce from local sea, mountains and fields.

Love the plating! Not only pleasing to the eyes, they are also making it super convenient for diners. I spot a lot of premium ingredients especially seafood such as sea urchin, anago and lots of fresh sashimi!

Steaks are cooked live in front of you! It was soooo good.

ODEN BUFFET OMG THAT’S MY DREAM.

Try their special Salt Lemon Sour (alcoholic). Really thirst-quenching!

Odennnnn. Daikonnnnnnn.

So very satisfied with the buffet!

Half way eating, there was an announcement about a live octopus show that was about to start.

 

Tako No Ikezukuri Show

There was an explanation about the anatomy of the octopus. It was a very eye-opening (almost literally) performance.

I retrieved a video from their website, you can have a look! Don’t scream at the octopus-beheading part!

They also serve the sliced octopus for tasting afterwards, so you are really eating the freshest octopus you ever can.

Buffet breakfast was just as pleasant, with a gorgeous view in addition.

 

Kimen Daiko 鬼面太鼓

At 8pm, here’s a free Taiko (Japanese drums) performance for all the hotel’s guests.

While everyone was excitedly waiting for it to start, and the host said, I need a few volunteers to demonstrate Taiko. And I really don’t know 我吃了什么豹子胆 cuz I was the student who looked away from the teachers when they asked questions, but that night I was the first person who raised my hand to be picked.

And I did. It was my first time holding a pair of Bachi and my heart was thumping before the drums did ok. (Other than playing Taiko no Tatsujin in the arcade lol) I LOVE taiko. I love seeing taiko performances, and actually my latest resolution was to learn taiko.

It all started during my trip in Uchiko, Ehime. I chanced upon a Taiko performance by local highschool students at Uchiko-Za, a kabuki theatre in Uchiko (blog post here). The resounding beats of the percussion left me charmed ever since. I was so intrigued that I started develop an interest to the point that I wanted to start learning it myself.

Anyway, among jokes and banters, we played the drums for about 10 minutes, before the real deal started. Lights were all out, and suddenly, a neon demon appeared, and then another, and more…

Kimen Daiko performance. Haunting, dazzling, they totally smashed it.

My heart was beating with every strike on the drum. Absolutely amazing. When they finished and the lights are back on, the audience gave an equally thundering round of applause for a whole half minute. Absolutely well deserved.

Bear in mind that these performers aren’t full time drummers, they are all hotel’s staff, some working in the kitchen, some at the reception, but they put up a stunning show, every single day for as long as 15 years!! (Check out their arm muscles!!!)

Thank you so much. Thanks for the hospitality. It was really well appreciated.

Here’s a video of the performance from their website, to give you a feel how it was like!

The show goes on every single day at 8:30pm, free of charge as an act of omotenashi for all its guests.

 

Onsen

Hotspring is another highlight of our stay!

The spring is Mt Washu Fukiage hot spring, the only natural hot spring in Washuzan.

I absolutely love how Washu Highland Hotel tries their very best to provide a special experience for their guests.

They have multiple baths in the premise, and one of them is Minazuki No Yu Onsen – Honey & Pearl onsen using Yamada Bee Farm Dehydrated Honey and pearl extract in the bath!! 😱 The water is golden in color, with more than 180 types of rich nutrients to nourish your body!

Check out the sunset and sunrise time for the following day, so that you can enjoy “a view second to none in the world” from the Sky View Open-Aired Bath on the hotel’s rooftop, according to a famous photographer Yoichi Midorikawa.

Couldn’t take a photo from inside the bath for obvious reason, but it’s the same one as this!! Can’t really argue that it is indeed, one of the best views from an onsen bath I’ve experienced.

I didn’t expect to write a full blog post just on a ryokan, but that was how much it has impressed me. Make sure you spend a night here if you ever come to Kojima. 🙂

Share: