Awaji Island

Last updated
Native name:
淡路島 Awaji-shima
Awaji-island 1.png
Satellite view of Awaji Island
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Location in Japan
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Awaji (Hyogo Prefecture)
Location Seto Inland Sea
Coordinates 34°23′N134°50′E / 34.383°N 134.833°E / 34.383; 134.833 Coordinates: 34°23′N134°50′E / 34.383°N 134.833°E / 34.383; 134.833
Area592.17 km2 (228.64 sq mi)
Length53 km (32.9 mi)
Width28 km (17.4 mi)
Highest elevation606 m (1988 ft)
Prefecture Hyōgo Prefecture
Population129,000 (2019)
Pop. density265/km2 (686/sq mi)
Ethnic groups Japanese

Awaji Island (淡路島, Awaji-shima) is an island in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, in the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea between the islands of Honshū and Shikoku. The island has an area of 592.17 square kilometres (228.64 square miles). [1] It is the largest island of the Seto Inland Sea.


As a transit between those two islands, Awaji originally means "the road to Awa", [2] the historic province bordering the Shikoku side of the Naruto Strait, now part of Tokushima Prefecture.


Awaji island map Location-of-Awaji-island-en.png
Awaji island map

The island is separated from Honshū by the Akashi Strait and from Shikoku by the Naruto Strait. Since April 5, 1998, it has been connected to Kobe on Honshū by the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world. [3] Since its completion the Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway across the island has been the main eastern land link between Honshū and Shikoku. The Naruto whirlpools form in the strait between Naruto, Tokushima and Awaji. [4]

The Nojima Fault, responsible for the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake, cuts across the island. A section of the fault was protected and turned into the Nojima Fault Preservation Museum in the Hokudancho Earthquake Memorial Park (北淡町震災記念公園) to show how the movement in the ground cut across roads, hedges and other installations. Outside of this protected area, the fault zone is less visible. [5] The Onaruto Bridge Memorial Museum (大鳴門橋記念館, Ōnarutokyō Kinenkan) and the Uzushio Science Museum (うずしお科学館, Uzushio Kagakukan) are located near Fukura. [6]


According to the creation myth in Shinto, Awaji was the first of the ōyashima islands born from the kami Izanagi and Izanami. [7] Awaji constituted a province between the 7th and the 19th century, Awaji Province, and was a part of Nankaidō. Today the island consists of three municipalities: Awaji, Sumoto and Minamiawaji.

The Awaji Ningyō-Jōruri, a more-than-500-year-old form of traditional puppet theater, or ningyō-jōruri, daily performs several shows in the Awaji Ningyō-Jōruri Hall (人形浄瑠璃館) in Minamiawaji, Hyōgo in the southern part of the island and is designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Japan. The Awaji puppets perform popular traditional dramas but have their origins in religious rituals. [8]

Starting in the 1830s, the local potter Minpei started producing what would be then known as Awaji ware, also known as Minpei ware.

Tadao Ando designed several structures on the island, amidst them the Hompuku-ji water temple (本福寺) [9] [10] and the Awaji Yumebutai, [11] [12] both located in Awaji, Hyōgo.

In 1995, this island was the epicenter of the Kobe earthquake, which killed over 5,502 people.[ citation needed ]


There are 3 municipalities in Awaji island: Awaji, Sumoto and Minamiawaji. They are part of Hyogo Prefecture.

See also

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Akashi Kaikyō Bridge Suspension bridge in Kobe, Japan

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Awaji, Hyōgo City in Kansai, Japan

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Naruto whirlpools Tidal whirlpools in the Naruto Strait in Hyōgo, Japan

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Minamiawaji City in Kansai, Japan

Minamiawaji is a city in the southern part of Awaji Island in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan.

Ōnaruto Bridge

The Ōnaruto Bridge is a suspension bridge on the Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway connecting Minamiawaji, Hyogo on Awaji Island with Naruto, Tokushima on Ōge Island, Japan. Completed in 1985, it has a main span of 876 metres (2,874 ft). Although it is one of the largest bridges in the world, it is dwarfed by the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, which is on the same route. In 2004, 6.8 million cars and trucks crossed this bridge, translating into a daily average of about 18,600.

Setonaikai National Park

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Japan National Route 28

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Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Expressway Company

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Akashi Strait Waterway between the Japanese islands of Honshu and Awaji

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The Awaji dialect, also called Awaji ben (淡路弁), is a dialect of Japanese spoken on Awaji Island in the southern part of Hyōgo Prefecture. According to the introduction of "Comprehensive Study of the Kinki Region," a publication of the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL), titled "Subgroupings of the Kinki Dialects", the Awaji Dialect straddles the Central and Western Kansai dialect regions. The dialect shares many features with the dialects of the cities of Osaka, Kobe, and Wakayama, which is shares the Osaka Bay with, as well as with that of Tokushima Prefecture, which exercised control over Awaji Island during the feudal period. On the other hand, it bears little resemblance to the Banshū dialect, spoken right across the Akashi Strait from the island.

Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway

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