Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Michi no eki Shodoshima Olive Park 道の駅小豆島オリーブ公園

Visited 15.11.2014 (Sat)

Olive in Japan? It all begun with the first batch of olive seedlings brought to Japan from United States a century ago. Many attempted the trial but failed, and it was Nishimura in Shodoshima, where olive cultivation saw a blink of hope. The process was not smooth sailing as farmers had to undergo numerous trial and error and suffered setbacks. Persistence eventually paid off. Under the great care of farmers, olive was successfully bred and Shodoshima became their birthplace in Japan. The key to success: the moderate, relatively dry climate in Shodoshima was suitable for olive cultivation.

Mediterranean or Japan? And because olive is a symbolic plant in the Mediterranean region, features that are Mediterranean influenced can be spotted almost everywhere in the compound. My favourite spot in the entire park is the olive tree plantation field where a Greek Windmill stands. Shodoshima is a sister island to Milos Island in Greece in 1989 and this windmill was built to commemorate the friendship established by both islands. Apart from the iconic windmill, a panoramic view of the Seto Inland Sea can be admired from the elevated grounds here. This is undoubtedly one of the most photogenic spot in the park. One special activity that many would engage in here is to comb for a heart shaped olive leaf. It was said that this uniquely shaped leaf will bring happiness to the person who found it. Truly a luck dependent exercise!

In Fureai Square (ふれあい広場), the tall chalk white structures surrounding the compound were exact replicas of ancient Greece. Milos, a building that takes after a Greek Chapel, is actually a place where herb crafts making lessons, such as potpourri and wreath, are held. To my surprise, there were even accommodation available in this roadside station. The Mediterranean style lodge named "Uchinomi" provides gorgeous view of Seto Inland Sea. Sun Olive is a complex comprised of restaurant, where olive inspired food and fresh ingredients harvested from the land of Shodoshima and the sea surrounded the island can be tasted, and hot spring facilities, where one can enjoy a relaxing soak and admire the beautiful scenery of Seto Inland Sea at the same time. Did not get to try any main courses here because I planned to settle my lunch in this Italian Restaurant called "Furyu" (and I did not get to do so because I only got to know it was fully booked for the day when I arrived there). But the photos of the food featured on their website do look pretty appealing!

Left: Olive Museum; Background: Sun Olive.
Fureai Square surrounded by tall white Greek style structures.
Milos, a herb craft pavilion, which I mistook it as a chapel.
Unique soft serve! In the Olive Museum, there is a gallery exhibiting the history and characteristics features of this fruit; a restaurant named "Olivaz" serving Mediterranean cuisine and a shop stocked up with an extensive range of products, all made using olive. You name it, they have it - from virgin olive oil for cooking and cosmetic purposes to olive flavoured sweets and drinks. Savoured the one and only olive flavoured soft serve which is made using olive leaves and drank a bottle of sparkling olive lemonade. Soft serve has a strong milk taste coupled with a tint of olive leaf bitterness; and surprisingly the combination was quite harmonious to taste. To me, this roadside station is not just a rest place for drivers after spending long hours on the road, but a tourist attraction to get a glimpse of Mediterranean style on the other side of the world.


Michi no eki Shodoshima Olive Park 道の駅小豆島オリーブ公園
761-4434 香川県小豆郡小豆島町西村甲1941-1
Opening hours: 0830 - 1700 hrs

How to get there?

(1) Shodoshima Olive Bus
There is a bus stop (Sun Olive, サン・オリーブ) located right at the doorstep of the park, however there are only four bus services per day. Please note that only buses heading for 24 Hitomi Eiga Mura (二十四の瞳映画村) will stop at place. 
The next nearest bus stop is at the foot of the park (オリーブ公園口) and is separated from the park by a 5 - 10 minutes walk (up hill).  

  • From Tonosho Port (土庄港)/Ikeda Port (池田港), 
    • take Tanoura Eiga Mura line (田ノ浦映画村線) and alight at Sun Olive (サン・オリーブ).
    • take Sakata line (坂手線) heading towards Sakata Port and alight at Olive Park Entrance (オリーブ公園口).
  • From Kusakabe Port (草壁港), 
    • take Tanoura Eiga Mura line (田ノ浦映画村線) heading towards Tonosho Port/Ikeda Port and alight at Sun Olive (サン・オリーブ).
    • take Sakata line (坂手線) heading towards Tonosho Port/Ikeda Port and alight at Olive Park Entrance (オリーブ公園口).
Bus schedule:


Video: Shodoshima Olive Park was featured in Taiwanese travelogue program "Go Go Japan".

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