Ōshima means ‘big island’ although as islands go, it’s quite small. It’s the first major island on the Ehime side of the Shimanami Kaidō.
Ōshima is mountainous with several steeply sloping peaks. The road through the valley isn’t flat either. It passes through scenes of rice paddy, shrines, temples, and cherry blossom. The island is a source of high-quality stone for building and statuary, and parts of the mountains have been cut away in quarries. There’s even a Stone Culture park in the middle of the island.
On the west side of the island is the Rose Garden which boasts 400 varieties. These are best viewed from June to late autumn. Next to the garden is the Yoshiumi Local Culture Center with its fascinating museum of armour, weapons and daily life going back two centuries. The Murakami Suigun Museum also repays a visit.
Ōshima is also home to the I-S Shipyard, a more interesting and visually appealing place than you might think. It stands at the end of a beautiful sandy beach where local people gather seaweed to eat. From the island, you can see the spectacular eddies and whirlpools caused by the peculiar tides in the Inland Sea.
Name in Japanese: 大島
Address: Yoshiumi, Imabari, Ehime