The largest island in Lake Biwa
Area … 1.53㎢
Population … 370
Main industry … Fishing

Okishima is the only human-inhabited island in Japan that floats in a freshwater lake.
The history of Okishima is long, and in the past, it was an uninhabited island revered as an island of God.

“Okitsujima, the island of the guardian gods, where the waves are still silent.”
Murasaki Shikibu
The island is also mentioned in a poem by Murasaki Shikibu.

Later, a fallen warrior of the Genji clan, known as the “founder of Okishima,” settled on the island and is said to have been the founder of the island.

Present-day Okishima

The present-day Okishima is characterized by the following points…

First of all, there is not a single car on the island.
The main means of transportation is a three-wheeled bicycle. Most families have their boats, not cars. This is an indispensable means of transportation to and from the other side of the island.

There is a post office, elementary school, daycare center, guest house, and general store on the island, but there are no convenience stores or coffee shops, which can be found anywhere on the island.

Although many people go out to work on the island, many are engaged in the fishing industry and fish seasonally. Since there is almost no arable land, many families are self-sufficient by growing seasonal vegetables in small fields in their backyards or by growing rice in their rice paddies on the other side of the river.

In this way…

Okishima” is an island where time passes slowly and the traditional way of life is still alive.

Source: Okishima Fisheries Cooperative Web


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