Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Geiyo islands in the Seto Inland Sea, the body of water that separates the main islands of Japan.
“Whirlpools and other complex currents routinely roil Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. Strong tidal currents send water churning through a maze of channels and narrow straits surrounding thousands of islands in the shallow sea. The islands of the Geiyo archipelago are among them,” reports NASA.
“On May 30, 2021, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this natural-color image of currents swirling around several of the Geiyo islands. The complex topography creates areas of choppy and smoother waters depending on the day’s weather and water flows. In this image, some water surfaces gleam with sunglint, an optical phenomenon that occurs when sunlight reflects off the surface of water at the same angle that a satellite sensor views it.”
At one time, the only way to move between the Geiyo islands was by boat. Now, the Nishiseto Expressway has 55 bridges that connect nine of the islands, including Ōshima, Ōmishima, and Innoshima.
The largest island in the Geiyo Archipelago is Innoshima, followed by other significant islands such as Omishima, Ikuchijima, and Itsukushima (also known as Miyajima). These islands are known for their rich history, beautiful scenery, and important cultural heritage sites.
The Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima, for example, is one of the most iconic sights in Japan. It’s famous for its torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on the water. The shrine complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In addition to natural beauty and cultural heritage, the Geiyo Islands are also known for citrus farming, fishing, and shipbuilding industries.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory