Two Nature Sites to Visit in Awaji

Located just across the world’s longest suspension bridge, the island of Awaji hosts some of the best natural scenery in Japan as well as the center of the nation’s mythical origins.P1020115

Originally used a quarry to provide resources to make the artificial landmasses like that underlying Kobe Airport, Awaji Yume-butai (Stage of Dreams) was restored as a place of nature scenery and flower gardens. Yume-butai consists of a resort hotel, greenhouse, expansive flower terrace, and more. I went to the greenhouse, called “Kiseki no Hoshi Botanical Garden” (Admission 600 yen, 10am-6pm).P1020143

Kiseki no Hoshi’s entrance is themed after the development of the earth, with several flights of stairs decorated with fossil designs and such. After the stairs, the entire expanse of the greenhouse is visible. Depending on the season, different flowers and plant-life are exhibited, making the greenhouse worth multiple visits. I went there when a bonsai exhibition was running, in addition to autumn and Christmas decorations.P1020181

While you’re there, I also recommend going to the free Hyakudan’ en (flower terrace) right next to the greenhouse. It’s quite a large terrace, and it offers a beautiful sea view that makes for a nice stroll.P1020092

For a full on hike, I recommend the free Awaji-shima Prefectural Park (Hyogo-kenritsu-awaji-shima-koen), which is located a very high point in the island that also offers beautiful views of Osaka Bay, Kobe City, and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. Black Kites commonly fly above the park in large circles, which I quite enjoyed.

In the coming days, I’ll post about two more sites around Awaji Island.

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