After an early morning onsen soak and another great Japanese breakfast in Sumoto, three of us left Sumoto and the group and headed for Suo-Oshima in Yamaguchi prefecture, where my mother-in-law was raised after being born in Hawaii. We got to Shin Iwakuni station and met our hosts who had come to pick us up and drive us to Suo Oshima. Along the way, we stopped at the picturesque Kintaikyo bridge that Wailoa bridges may be modeled after.
We made it to Suo Oshima and like the Big Island, Suo Oshima is a big island–the word oshima actually means big island. One website describes it as an Aloha Island floating in the Seto Inland Sea. It is the Hawaii of Setouchi and is actually a sister island to the Island of Kauai. Every Saturday during the summer vacation, they have Satahula or Saturday Hula! Unfortunately, we won’t see the hula since we aren’t staying on a Saturday.
We did get to visit the Hawaii Immigration Museum where we saw so many artifacts from people who immigrated to Hawaii from Suo-Oshima. We made our way across the island, checked in to the Sunshine Sazanseto where we had 10 minutes to get our bags to the room and head back to visit city hall to meet with the mayor, the council chair, and the former mayor who is president of their international cultural exchange organization. We were able to share a video message from our Mayor Roth who was traveling to Izu Oshima on a separate sister city visit. We saw how wonderful the sister city partnership is with Kauai county and saw a video of the many projects that Suo-Oshima participated in with Kauai. Love the ideas and opportunities for Hilo.
After our meeting, we went to Restaurant Arakawa, owned by the council chair and partook in one of our favorite meals of the entire trip! I’ll post more of the food pics on Instagram so you can drool over them. One of the many dishes we enjoyed was the fresh oyster–and fun fact-Chair Arakawa mentioned that Ozeki sumo wrestler Konishiki also loves raw oysters and ate around 20 oysters when he visited the restaurant a few years ago. We had beer and sake while forming new friendships here in Suo-Oshima.
We were here for only one night and the next morning, we checked out and headed back to Iwakuni to catch the shinkansen to Kanazawa. We were there on time and ready to go. But I, unfortunately, was not paying attention and was waiting on the wrong platform. So we missed our train. Luckily, we could exchange our tickets and make it on the next train just one hour later. Not quite as planned but not a disaster. This slight delay gave me time to stop in 7-11 and find truffle Pringles! Living Hilo Style in Suo-Oshima.