A unique terroir of rich fertility covers acres and acres on this island blessed with a year-round mild climate. In addition to renowned Awaji beef (sold on Honshu and to the world as Kobe beef), onions, lettuce, oranges, and decorative flowers and plants, there is an abundance of fresh seafood from the “sea terroir” in the surrounding waters. For these reasons and more, Awaji is a gourmet’s island that garners attention from foodies and tourists around the world.
The Kuniumi Chapter of Japan’s creation myth lives on today in Awaji-shima. According to the myth as told in Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) as well as Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan) and other historic literature, it was the first of eight islands created by Izanagi and Izanami, brother and sister gods recognized as Shinto deities. Standing on the Floating Bridge of Heaven (Ama-no-Ukihashi), they reached down and churned the chaotic earth with a sacred spear from whose tip droplets of salt fell far below to form the Japanese archipelago.
Products from the sea, such as salt, abalone, and seaweed, have always been considered sacred and used in ceremonies honoring the deities. Known long ago as Awaji-no-Kuni, Awaji as well as Wakasa and Shima are islands that played historically important roles in providing tributes of marine products to the imperial household and court.