Kashima Island is a distinctive blob of mountain that sits in the sea just off the shore of Hojo, on the northern boundary of Matsuyama. Only 1.5 kilometers round, it offers a couple of good walks—round the island and over the top of the mountain. On a clear day, there are spectacular views from the lookout at the top, over the Seto Inland Sea and across the water to Mt. Takanawa.
Kashima means “Deer Island”, and you can see wild deer as soon as you get into the forest, and tame deer in an enclosure close to the ferry port. These deer have been on the island since ancient times.
At low tide, the path gives access to many little sandy beaches that are good for swimming and snorkeling from. The water is cold and clear even in summer. Dotted along the path are decorative stones inscribed with haiku poems. Views from the paths include two pairs of rocks standing in the sea, the smaller of which are joined by a sacred rope (shimenawa) and topped with a torii gate. The annual replacement of this sacred rope is a major event in the spring Kashima Festival in May.
The various routes up to the lookout platform at the top of Kashima are steep, and in summer it can be a hot climb. The views from the top are rewarding in any season.
Kashima has a number of shops selling snacks and drinks, including beer. There’s also a restaurant serving a variety of seafood dishes. Built out over the sea, mainly of glass, it has the appearance of a large greenhouse. Although it’s rather run-down, dining there with the breezes coming off the sea is an experience. There are plenty of public toilets and covered platforms for shade, making Kashima popular for BBQ parties and picnics. You can also camp here.
The ferry costs 210 yen return for adults and 110 yen for children. A timetable is posted, but the ferry seems to ply back and forth at intervals of no more than 20 minutes. See the timetable at the ticket office for the last ferry.
Name in Japanese: 鹿島
Address: Kashima, Matsuyama, Ehime