HOME
The Info List - Seto Inland Sea



--- Advertisement ---


(i)

The SETO INLAND 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
Japan
. The region that includes the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
and the coastal areas of Honshū , Shikoku , and Kyūshū is known as the Setouchi Region . It serves as a waterway , connecting the Pacific Ocean
Ocean
to the Sea
Sea
of Japan
Japan
. It connects to Osaka Bay and provides a sea transport link to industrial centers in the Kansai
Kansai
region, including Osaka
Osaka
and Kobe
Kobe
. Before the construction of the San\'yō Main Line , it was the main transportation link between Kansai
Kansai
and Kyūshū.

Yamaguchi , Hiroshima
Hiroshima
, Okayama , Hyōgo , Osaka
Osaka
, Wakayama , Kagawa , Ehime , Tokushima , Fukuoka , and Ōita prefectures all have coastlines on the Seto Inland Sea; the cities of Hiroshima
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 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

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

_On the West._ The Southeastern limit of the Japan
Japan
Sea
Sea
.

_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

2004 Sunset over the Seto Inland Sea. The bridge on the foreground is the Great Seto Bridge in Kurashiki , 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 (9.3 to 34 mi). In most places, the water is relatively shallow. The average depth is 37.3 m (122 ft); the greatest depth is 105 m (344 ft).

The Naruto Strait connects the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
to the Kii Channel , which in turn connects to the Pacific Ocean . The western part of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
connects to the Sea
Sea
of Japan through the 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 Archipelago , 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
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

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

FAUNA

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

The torii of 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 mountains and 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
China
. Even after the creation of major highways such as the 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 planned to move the capital from Kyoto
Kyoto
to the coastal village of Fukuhara (today Kobe
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 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 (today Ehime Prefecture ) and Kobayakawa (later Mōri ) in Aki Province (today a part of Hiroshima Prefecture ) clans were two of the more famous _suigun_ lords.

In the 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
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 (which was called Ezo at the time). Major ports in the Edo period were Osaka
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
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 and the Yosan Main Railroad Line in Shikoku (both completed before World War II ) and three series of bridges connecting 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 with Shikoku and Kyūshū .

INDUSTRY

Major cities with heavy industrial activity on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
include Osaka
Osaka
, Kobe
Kobe
, and Hiroshima
Hiroshima
. Smaller scale manufacturing and industry can also be found in Kurashiki , Kure , Fukuyama , and Ube in Honshū, and Sakaide , Imabari , and 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.

TRANSPORT

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
Kobe
, Okayama , Takamatsu , Tokushima , Matsuyama , and Hiroshima
Hiroshima
. Honshū and Shikoku have been connected by three series of bridges since the late 1980s. Those series of bridges, collectively known as the Honshū– 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
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
Japan
, Korea
Korea
, and China
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
Pacific
.

Due to the development of land transportation, the travel between east and west — that is, transportation within Shikoku, within Honshū, and between Honshū and Kyūshū — shifted to railroad and road transport. Two coastal railways, San\'yō Main Line in Honshū and 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 and then Shikoku Railway Company , ran some train ferry lines between Honshū and Shikoku including the line between Uno Station (Tamano ) and Takamatsu Station (Takamatsu). When the Great Seto Bridge was finished and began to serve the two coastal areas, that ferry line was abolished.

MAJOR TOURIST SITES

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 Shrine , on the island of 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
Kyoto
. Shōdoshima , nicknamed the "island of olives", and the Naruto whirlpools are two other well-known tourist sites. Neighboring locations like Kotohira and 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

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
Kobe
) and Akashi for two years.

In medieval literature, because of the Genpei War , the Seto Inland Sea
Sea
is one of the important backgrounds of _ The Tale of the Heike _, particularly in its latter part.

In the Western world, 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.

Koushun Takami 's novel _ Battle Royale _ took place on a fictional island in the Seto Inland Sea.

REFERENCES

* ^ "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

* Seto Inland Sea
Sea
National Park Official site {Japanese} * I Love Setouchi - Setouchi Brand * Enjoy the