Shodoshima or bust!
So, after debating where to go to get out of Kobe, we came up with two options. One was South Korea. There was a special deal on and so long as we were willing to do a tonne of train travel and an overnight boat, we could get to Korea fairly cheaply. The problem was that it is winter, and we would be going to Busan, where the bulk of the things to do are not very winterproof. Besides, my friend and I had both been to South Korea previously.
Instead we decided to go to Shodoshima. Shodoshima is an island in Japan’s inland sea. It is famous for being the first place in Japan to grow olives, and is a sister island of the Greek island of Milos. We roped a couple of friends in and booked a hostel. The next day we travelled a couple of hours away to the terminal, and boarded the ferry.
I found a festive round bottle of coke. I drank it on the ferry and felt very, very fancy.
When we were about 3/4 of the way to the Island, the hostel called. Their system had booked us in error, and they were actually closed. This threw a spanner in the works, as staying on a beach in below freezing weather is not my idea of a good time. We arrived on the island and set about finding new accomodation. The only place available was very pricey, so we figured we’d just take the last ferry home, and explore for only a few hours. After making this decision, we went to the bus stop to take the bus around the island. On arrival at the bus stop, we discovered that the busses only leave every 2 1/2 hours and we had just missed one. We asked about taxis and found there were none available. We were a bit stuck and wandered around the town we were in, trying to figure out what to do. The only things open were the shrine and the gas station. The shrine was lovely and quiet, but very small and took all of about 5 minutes to see.
I did love the old torii gates
A few minutes later, a man in a small, white van pulled up into the petrol station. My friend managed to convince him to give us a lift halfway around the island. We ended up in another village, went to the bus station, and found ourselves in the same predicament. Thankfully, there was a taxi nearby, so we went to the closest tourist attraction – the olive park. It was quite cool – very Greek inspired.
Olive ice cream
After visiting the olive park, we took the bus to the ferry terminal to catch the last ferry off the island. We arrived at the terminal and realised one small problem. We had taken the wrong bus and were at the wrong terminal. We looked at the timetable and realised the next bus would get us to the correct terminal with 3 minutes to spare. After a ride across the island, our friend ducked inside to buy the tickets, whilst we talked to the ticket collector in an attempt to stall. We got on the boat, just before it pulled away. To make matters more amusing, there were 8 people on the boat because it was New Year’s Eve. The boat carried 500 lifejackets. We had space. All of the space.
After a dramatic day, I decided not to follow the others into Osaka, but instead got Mcdonalds and ate it at my neighbours house to ring in the new year. It was incredible.