A slow journey within the Seto Inland Sea




There are rapid and slow ferries running from Takamatsu to Naoshima. If time permits, I will always choose slow ferries. Setonaikai, or the Seto Inland Sea, is the body of water between the Japanese main islands of Honshu and Shikoku. There the weather is usually pleasantly warm, and you can always feel the gifts of nature on the surrounding small islands. Looking at these small islands from the sea is a uniquely different experience. Standing on the deck of the slow ferry while embracing the sea breeze and staring at the waves, when the scattered small islands pass slowly by, I feel as though I had ventured into the tranquility of nature and inside deep blue waves.




Within the Seto Inland Sea, you can often spot cruise ships resembling small wooden houses floating on the sea. They are called Guntu, which begin their journey from Onomichi, making their way to Miyajima before sailing towards Omishima. Sometimes, they take different routes, heading to Takuma and Tomonoura instead. Despite their being short, these routes will take a Guntu three or four days to complete. Without haste, these Guntu travel through the narrow waterways, dorking at the harbor at night while not making any stops during the day. This is to allow travelers to enjoy a calm and peaceful journey on the sea, and to take in the beauty of Setonaikai.

Guntu was designed by the architect Yasushi Horibe. Since he does not want the cruise ships to disturb the sceneries of Setonaikai, for his design, he drew references from residence houses from neighboring small islands so that they can blend in with the surrounding environment. The ship boasts a total of 19 rooms, each equipped with a large window offering seaview outdoors, and is complete with a spa, a gym, restaurants serving both Japanese and western food, as well as a few coffee shops and cafes providing desserts. All dishes are directed by famous Japanese chefs. This three to four-day journey can satisfy the body, mind as well as palate of voyagers.