HOME
The Info List - Seto Inland Sea


--- Advertisement ---



The Seto Inland Sea
Sea
(瀬戸内海, Seto Naikai), also known as Setouchi or often shortened to Inland Sea, is the body of water separating Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū, three of the four main islands of Japan. The region that includes the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
and the coastal areas of Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū
Kyūshū
is known as the Setouchi Region. It serves as a waterway, connecting the Pacific
Pacific
Ocean to the Sea
Sea
of Japan. It connects to Osaka Bay
Osaka Bay
and provides a sea transport link to industrial centers in the Kansai
Kansai
region, including Osaka
Osaka
and Kobe. Before the construction of the San'yō Main Line, it was the main transportation link between Kansai
Kansai
and Kyūshū. Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Hyōgo, Osaka, Wakayama, Kagawa, Ehime, Tokushima, Fukuoka, and Ōita prefectures all have coastlines on the Seto Inland Sea; the cities of Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Takamatsu, and Matsuyama are also located on it. The Setouchi region is known for its moderate climate, with a stable year-round temperature and relatively low rainfall levels. The sea is also famous for its periodic red tides (赤潮, akashio) caused by dense groupings of certain phytoplankton that result in the death of large numbers of fish. Since the 1980s, the sea's northern and southern shores have been connected by the three routes of the Honshū– Shikoku
Shikoku
Bridge Project, including the Great Seto Bridge, which serves both railroad and automobile traffic.

Contents

1 Extent 2 Geographical features

2.1 Major islands

3 Fauna 4 History 5 Industry 6 Transport 7 Major tourist sites 8 Literature 9 References 10 External links

Extent[edit] The International Hydrographic Organization's definition of the limits of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
(published in 1953) is as follows:[1]

On the West. The Southeastern limit of the Japan
Japan
Sea
Sea
[In Shimonoseki-kaikyo. A line running from Nagoya Saki (130°49'E) in Kyûsû through the islands of Uma Sima and Muture Simia (33°58',5N) to Murasaki Hana (34°01'N) in Honsyû]. On the East (Kii Suidô). A line running from Takura Saki (34°16'N) in Honsyû to Oishi Hana in the island of Awazi, through this island to Sio Saki (34°11'N) and on to Oiso Saki in Sikoku. On the South (Bungo Suidô). A line joining Sada Misaki (33°20'N) in Sikoku and Seki Saki in Kyûsyû.

Geographical features[edit]

2004 Sunset over the Seto Inland Sea. The bridge on the foreground is the Great Seto Bridge
Great Seto Bridge
in Kurashiki, Okayama
Okayama
Prefecture.

The Seto Inland Sea
Sea
is 450 km (280 mi) long from east to west. The width from south to north varies from 15 to 55 km (10 to 34 mi). In most places, the water is relatively shallow. The average depth is 38 m (125 ft); the greatest depth is 105 m (344 ft).[2] The Naruto Strait
Naruto Strait
connects the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
to the Kii Channel, which in turn connects to the Pacific
Pacific
Ocean. The western part of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
connects to the Sea
Sea
of Japan through the Kanmon Straits
Kanmon Straits
and to the Pacific
Pacific
through the Bungo Channel. Each part of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
has a separate name in Japanese. For example, Iyo-nada (伊予灘) refers to the strait between Ehime, Yamaguchi, and Ōita prefectures in the western portion of the sea; Aki-nada (安芸灘) is the open expanse west of the Geiyo Islands, near Hiroshima
Hiroshima
prefecture; and Suō-nada (周防灘) refers to the expanse between Yamaguchi prefecture and Suō-Ōshima. There are also many straits located between the major islands, as well as a number of smaller ones that pass between islands or connect the Seto Inland Sea to other seas or the Pacific. Almost 3,000 islands are located in the Seto Inland Sea, including the larger islands Awaji-shima and Shōdo-shima. Many of the smaller islands are uninhabited. Major islands[edit]

Eastern part: Awaji Island, Shōdo Island, Ieshima Islands, Naoshima Islands, Shiwaku Islands Central part: Ōmishima, Innoshima, Itsukushima
Itsukushima
(popularly known as Miyajima), Hinase Islands, Kasaoka Islands Western part: Suō-Ōshima, Uwakai Islands, Hashira-jima Islands.

Fauna[edit] Over 500 marine species are known to live in the Seto Inland Sea. Examples are the ayu, an amphidromous fish, the horseshoe crab, the finless porpoise, and the great white shark, which has occasionally attacked people in the Seto Inland Sea. In the past whales entered the sea to feed or breed, however due to whaling and pollution, they have totally disappeared from the Seto Inland Sea, except for occasional lost individuals. History[edit]

The torii of Itsukushima
Itsukushima
Shrine

It is believed that in the last ice age the sea level was lower than today. After the ice age, sea water poured into a basin between the Chūgoku
Chūgoku
mountains and Shikoku
Shikoku
mountains and formed the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
as we know it today. From ancient times, the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
served as a main transport line between its coastal areas, including what is today the Kansai region and Kyūshū. It was also a main transport line between Japan and other countries, including Korea
Korea
and China. Even after the creation of major highways such as the Nankaidō
Nankaidō
and San'yōdō, the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
remained a major transport route. There are records that some foreign emissaries from China
China
and Korea
Korea
sailed on the Seto Inland Sea. Due to the importance of water traffic, regional powers often had their own private navies. In many documents, these navies were called suigun (水軍, "water army"), or simply pirates. Sometimes they were considered to be public enemies, but in most cases they were granted the right to self-governance as a result of their strength. In the 12th century, Taira no Kiyomori
Taira no Kiyomori
planned to move the capital from Kyoto
Kyoto
to the coastal village of Fukuhara (today Kobe) to promote trade between Japan
Japan
and the Song dynasty
Song dynasty
of China. This transfer was unsuccessful, and soon after Kyoto
Kyoto
became the capital again. Later, the Battle of Yashima
Battle of Yashima
took place off the coast of present-day Takamatsu. During the feudal period, suigun seized power in most coastal areas. The Kono in Iyo Province
Iyo Province
(today Ehime Prefecture) and Kobayakawa (later Mōri) in Aki Province
Aki Province
(today a part of Hiroshima
Hiroshima
Prefecture) clans were two of the more famous suigun lords. In the Edo
Edo
period, the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
was one of the busiest transport lines in Japan. It was a part of a navigational route around Japan's islands via the Sea
Sea
of Japan. Many ships navigated from its coastal areas to the area along the Sea
Sea
of Japan. It was not only the main transport line between Kansai
Kansai
and Kyūshū, but also for Hokuriku, Tōhoku, and even Hokkaidō
Hokkaidō
(which was called Ezo at the time). Major ports in the Edo period
Edo period
were Osaka, Sakai, Shimotsui, Ushimado, and Tomonoura. The Seto Inland Sea
Sea
also served many daimyōs in the western area of Japan
Japan
as their route to and from Edo, to fulfill their obligations under sankin-kōtai. Many used ships from Osaka. Thanks to transport through the Seto Inland Sea, Osaka
Osaka
became the economic center of Japan. Each han had an office called Ozakayashiki in Osaka. These Ozakayashiki were among Japan's earliest forms of banks, facilitating domestic trade and helping to organize the income of the daimyo, which was in the form of koku, giant bales of rice. The Seto Inland Sea
Sea
was also part of the official Chosendentsushi route, bringing Korean emissaries to the Shogunate. After the Meiji Restoration, the coastal cities along the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
were rapidly industrialized. One of the headquarters of the Japanese Navy was built in the town of Kure. Since the Meiji period, development of land transport has been reducing the importance of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
as a transport line. Remarkable land transportation innovations include the San'yō Main Railroad Line in Honshū
Honshū
and the Yosan Main Railroad Line in Shikoku
Shikoku
(both completed before World War II) and three series of bridges connecting Honshū
Honshū
and Shikoku (completed in the late 20th century). The Seto Inland Sea
Sea
is still used, however, by an international cargo transport line and several local transport lines connecting Honshū
Honshū
with Shikoku
Shikoku
and Kyūshū. Industry[edit] Major cities with heavy industrial activity on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
include Osaka, Kobe, and Hiroshima. Smaller scale manufacturing and industry can also be found in Kurashiki, Kure, Fukuyama, and Ube in Honshū, and Sakaide, Imabari, and Niihama
Niihama
in Shikoku. Major industries include steel production, vehicle manufacture, ship building, textiles, and since the 1960s, oil refining and chemical products. Thanks to the moderate climate and beautiful landscape, fishing, agriculture, and tourism bring a lot of income to the area as well.[citation needed] Transport[edit]

Major ports and bridging Expressways of the Seto Inland Sea.

KURE-MATSUYAMA ferry, Seto Inland Sea
Sea
2017

Today the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
serves its coastal areas mainly for two purposes: first, international or domestic cargo transportation, and second, local transportation between coastal areas and islands on the sea. Major ports are Kobe, Okayama, Takamatsu, Tokushima, Matsuyama, and Hiroshima. Honshū
Honshū
and Shikoku
Shikoku
have been connected by three series of bridges since the late 1980s. Those series of bridges, collectively known as the Honshū– Shikoku
Shikoku
Bridge Project, are, from east to west, Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, Great Seto Bridge, and Nishiseto Expressway. On the other hand, no bridge over the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
connects Kyūshū and another island. Historically, the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
as transport line served four coastal areas: Kansai, Chūgoku, Shikoku, and eastern Kyūshū. The Seto Inland Sea
Sea
provided each of these regions with local transportation and connected each region to the others and far areas, including the coastal area of the Sea
Sea
of Japan, Korea, and China. After Kobe
Kobe
port was founded in 1868 to serve foreign ships, the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
became a major international waterway with connection to the Pacific. Due to the development of land transportation, the travel between east and west — that is, transportation within Shikoku, within Honshū, and between Honshū
Honshū
and Kyūshū
Kyūshū
— shifted to railroad and road transport. Two coastal railways, San'yō Main Line
San'yō Main Line
in Honshū
Honshū
and Yosan Main Line
Yosan Main Line
were built. Those railway lines stimulated the local economy and once invoked a rail mania. Many short railroads were planned to connect a certain station of those two lines and a local seaport on the Seto Inland Sea, and some of them were actually built. The Ministry of Railroads, later the Japanese National Railways
Japanese National Railways
and then Shikoku
Shikoku
Railway Company, ran some train ferry lines between Honshū
Honshū
and Shikoku
Shikoku
including the line between Uno Station (Tamano) and Takamatsu Station (Takamatsu). When the Great Seto Bridge
Great Seto Bridge
was finished and began to serve the two coastal areas, that ferry line was abolished. Major tourist sites[edit] The coastal area of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Japan. Even before Japan
Japan
opened to foreigners in the middle of the 19th century, the sea's beauty was praised and introduced to the Western world by those who visited Japan, including Philipp Franz von Siebold, and after the country's opening, Ferdinand von Richthofen and Thomas Cook. Its coastal area, except for Osaka
Osaka
Prefecture and a part of Wakayama Prefecture, was appointed the Setonaikai National Park (瀬戸内海国立公園, Setonaikai Kokuritsu kōen) on March 16, 1934, as one of three oldest national parks in Japan. Itsukushima
Itsukushima
Shrine, on the island of Itsukushima
Itsukushima
in the city of Hatsukaichi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
and one of the most famous Japanese sites outside Tokyo
Tokyo
and Kyoto. Shōdoshima, nicknamed the "island of olives", and the Naruto whirlpools
Naruto whirlpools
are two other well-known tourist sites. Neighboring locations like Kotohira and Okayama
Okayama
are often combined with the tour of the Setouchi region. Some historic sites, including Yashima in Takamatsu and Kurashiki, also attract many visitors. Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the neighbor city to Itsukushima Shrine and another UNESCO World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
because of atomic bomb damage in 1945. Literature[edit] Some sites along the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
were featured in eighth-century Japanese literature, both in prose and in verse, including Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, and Man'yōshū. Since some sites were used as places of exile, their feeling and landscape were evoked in waka. In fiction, in The Tale of Genji, Genji fled from Kyoto
Kyoto
and resided in Suma (now a part of Kobe) and Akashi for two years. In medieval literature, because of the Genpei War, the Seto Inland Sea is one of the important backgrounds of The Tale of the Heike, particularly in its latter part. In the Western world, Donald Richie
Donald Richie
wrote a literary nonfiction travelogue called The Inland Sea
Sea
relating a journey along the sea, beginning from the East at Himeji and ending at Miyajima in the West, close to Hiroshima, going from island to island, exploring the landscape, meeting and discussing with local people, as well as musing on Japanese culture, the nature of travel and of identity, and his own personal sense of identity. In 1991, filmmakers Lucille Carra and Brian Cotnoir produced a film version of Richie's book, which further explored the region through interviews and images photographed by Hiro Narita. Produced by Travelfilm Company and adapted by Carra, the film won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the Hawaii International Film Festival (1991) and the Earthwatch Film Award. It screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992.[3] Koushun Takami's novel Battle Royale took place on a fictional island in the Seto Inland Sea. References[edit]

^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010.  ^ "Inland Se". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 22 February 2013.  ^ NY Times review

External links[edit]

Seto Inland Sea
Sea
National Park Official site Japanese I Love Setouchi - Setouchi Brand Enjoy the Setouchi of Japan: Setonaikai - Yokoso! Japan
Japan
by JNTO Seto Inland Sea
Sea
travel guide from Wikivoyage

v t e

Earth's oceans and seas

Arctic Ocean

Amundsen Gulf Barents Sea Beaufort Sea Chukchi Sea East Siberian Sea Greenland Sea Gulf of Boothia Kara Sea Laptev Sea Lincoln Sea Prince Gustav Adolf Sea Pechora Sea Queen Victoria Sea Wandel Sea White Sea

Atlantic Ocean

Adriatic Sea Aegean Sea Alboran Sea Archipelago Sea Argentine Sea Baffin Bay Balearic Sea Baltic Sea Bay of Biscay Bay of Bothnia Bay of Campeche Bay of Fundy Black Sea Bothnian Sea Caribbean Sea Celtic Sea English Channel Foxe Basin Greenland Sea Gulf of Bothnia Gulf of Finland Gulf of Lion Gulf of Guinea Gulf of Maine Gulf of Mexico Gulf of Saint Lawrence Gulf of Sidra Gulf of Venezuela Hudson Bay Ionian Sea Irish Sea Irminger Sea James Bay Labrador Sea Levantine Sea Libyan Sea Ligurian Sea Marmara Sea Mediterranean Sea Myrtoan Sea North Sea Norwegian Sea Sargasso Sea Sea
Sea
of Åland Sea
Sea
of Azov Sea
Sea
of Crete Sea
Sea
of the Hebrides Thracian Sea Tyrrhenian Sea Wadden Sea

Indian Ocean

Andaman Sea Arabian Sea Bali Sea Bay of Bengal Flores Sea Great Australian Bight Gulf of Aden Gulf of Aqaba Gulf of Khambhat Gulf of Kutch Gulf of Oman Gulf of Suez Java Sea Laccadive Sea Mozambique Channel Persian Gulf Red Sea Timor Sea

Pacific
Pacific
Ocean

Arafura Sea Banda Sea Bering Sea Bismarck Sea Bohai Sea Bohol Sea Camotes Sea Celebes Sea Ceram Sea Chilean Sea Coral Sea East China
China
Sea Gulf of Alaska Gulf of Anadyr Gulf of California Gulf of Carpentaria Gulf of Fonseca Gulf of Panama Gulf of Thailand Gulf of Tonkin Halmahera Sea Koro Sea Mar de Grau Molucca Sea Moro Gulf Philippine Sea Salish Sea Savu Sea Sea
Sea
of Japan Sea
Sea
of Okhotsk Seto Inland Sea Shantar Sea Sibuyan Sea Solomon Sea South China
China
Sea Sulu Sea Tasman Sea Visayan Sea Yellow Sea

Southern Ocean

Amundsen Sea Bellingshausen Sea Cooperation Sea Cosmonauts Sea Davis Sea D'Urville Sea King Haakon VII Sea Lazarev Sea Mawson Sea Riiser-Larsen Sea Ross Sea Scotia Sea Somov Sea Weddell Sea

Landlocked seas

Aral Sea Caspian Sea Dead Sea Salton Sea

  Book   Category

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 251799254 GND: 42450

.