Sprawling across the middle of Awaji Island, Sumoto is a small city topped by a recreated 16th-century castle. It’s an ideal base for visiting the famous Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and Tadao Ando’s memorial to the Great Hanshin Awaji earthquake, as well as experiencing Minamiawaji’s unique style of puppetry.
Things to do in Sumoto
One of the city’s most prominent landmarks is the Sumoto Castle, which overlooks Osaka Bay from a hilltop. Built in the 16th century and reconstructed in 1928, it’s the oldest replica donjon in Japan and affords magnificent city views.
A short drive north of Sumoto takes you to the Awaji Yumebutai complex that was built near the epicentre of the 1995 Great Hanshin Awaji earthquake. Famously designed by Tadao Ando, it features a memorial to the victims as well as the Hyakudanen, a series of 100 terraced flower beds.
Want to see the longest central span suspension bridge in the world? Visit the observation deck of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, which spans the bustling Akashi Strait in the north of Awaji Island. It’s particularly impressive at night when brightly illuminated, with its colour displays and designs changing during special events and festivals.
Awaji Island is renowned for its traditional puppetry and the Awaji Ningyō Jōruri troupe that regularly performs at the Awaji Doll Jōruri Pavilion in Sumoto’s nearby city of Minamiawaji. Experience the quick changes of costumes and settings that make this style of puppetry unique, together with the lavish costumes and stage displays.
Getting around Sumoto
Sumoto is a 1.5-hour drive from the centre of Osaka and Osaka International Airport. Buses travel around Awaji Island, but having your own vehicle is the best way of getting around.