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“SEA SPICA,” the deluxe highspeed sightseeing cruiser recently boarded by G7 Hiroshima Summit 2023 world leaders, brilliantly showcases the Setouchi-Hiroshima region.

The West Japan Railway and Setonaikaikisen corporate groups are delighted to continue service on the popular SEA SPICA sightseeing cruiser. This immaculately innovative vessel was crafted to assist passengers in fully appreciating the spectacular scenery of the numerous islands located within the Seto Inland Sea. SEA SPICA follows a course strategically coordinated with the “etSETOra” tourism train, Shinkansen bullet train line and other state-of-the-art travel modes. The result is an enchanting new excursion route esteemed for its breathtaking views of Setouchi-Hiroshima from both the sea and land.

★ Topics: Global leaders attending the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May 2023 took advantage of their stay for an outing on the SEA SPICA.

■Concept movie

■ Cruiser Name

Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. With its pale blue shine, it is one of the brightest stars that form the Spring Triangle asterism. Named after the star that shines brightly over Setouchi's blue ocean, the cruiser takes passengers on a freeing journey. This is the new Setouchi highspeed sightseeing cruiser.

The distinctive logo combines the image of “Spica” (literally, “Pearl Star”), a key component of the Spring Triangle star cluster within the Virgo constellation, and the route linking isles along the Seto Inland Sea. It is also origin of the “SEA SPICA” cruiser name.

■Onboard Facilities


Contrary to existing highspeed cruisers, SEA SPICA's interior features custom sofa style seating with tables and drink holders at each seat. Window seat pairings are slightly angled towards the window, and have low backrests to offer unobstructed views of the ocean.
★ In preparing for use during the G7 Hiroshima Summit 2023, the four individual seats located at the center section of the upper deck passenger cabins were converted to a long, semi-curved seat facing a table. Along with this, the color schemes of two-person seats behind the cabins on the same deck were transformed from white and orange to blue. Both of these renewed seat types are printed with the G7 Hiroshima Summit logo, and will continue to operate in the "Summit Specification" in 2024.

* Photographs are for illustrative purposes, and may vary from the actual design.

● The four-screen multiple display installed at the front of the lower-deck cabin projects images from the upper-deck pilothouse, ensuring passengers the identical view as the captain.
● This combination monitor also profiles the history, charisma and other aspects of sightseeing stops and scenic viewpoints along the way, further fueling passenger interest and anticipation.
● An onboard concierge fully versed in the Seto Inland Sea provides explanations of the history and appeal of the islands. This special service enriches visual appreciation of the cruise with detailed descriptions of Setouchi enchantments.


The upper-deck “SPICA TERRASSE” features sofas crafted in the image of the Setouchi island chain, along with counter-style tables. These appointments ensure optimum and unobstructed views of the exhilarating Seto Inland Sea scenery. The barrier-free design includes an elevator for ready access from the lower level for mobility challenged passengers.

* Photographs are for illustrative purposes, and may vary from the actual design.

■Seating Layout

★ To better host world leaders attending the G7 Hiroshima Summit, the seats located on the upper deck passenger cabin were partially remodeled.

●The cruiser's capacity of 90 passengers is equivalent to two buses, making it the perfect option for charter tours operated by travel agencies.
●The cruiser is equipped with Wi-Fi and AC adapters, high-quality sound and resolution digital signage boards for foreign visitors, as well as a souvenir stand.
● Added conveniences include a multipurpose restroom with diaper change station, exclusive ladies’ restroom, direct elevator to the upper deck and other amenities to further enhance passenger comfort on Seto Inland Sea cruises.


• Yasuyuki Kawanishi

Architect and Designer. President, Ichibansen.
Born in Nara Prefecture in 1976, Kawanishi founded ICHIBANSEN/next stations co., ltd in 2014. He is the recipient of numerous awards including The Renovation for Nakamura Station Tosa Kuroshio Railway, and the Echigo Tokimeki Railway Setsugekka awards. Kawanishi is also responsible for the design of the WEST EXPRESS GINGA train, launching in Spring 2020.

■ Cruise name : Setouchi Shimatabi Line

■ Serviced areas :
Tobishima Kaido Expressway ~ Shimanami Kaido Expressway areas (Geiyo Islands area)

Tobishima and Shimanami Kaido Expressways, connecting Hiroshima Port (Ujina) and Mihara Port.
Operator : Setouchi Sealine(Setonaikai Kisen Group)
Ship owner : Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (abbreviated name: JRTT) and Setouchi Shimatabi Corporation 
Shipyard : Setouchi Craft Co., Ltd.

■Cruise Route Map

■Local Sightseeing Spots

The Kure Bay area (focused on Kure Port) was once known as the largest naval port in the Orient. It was particularly famed for building the Yamato, the world’s largest warship at the time. As the current home for a base of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, cruises by here provide close-up views of numerous submarines, destroyers and other Self-Defense Force vessels. Depending on the time of day, meanwhile, passengers may also witness the raising and lowering of the naval flags on these ships.

Shimo-Kamagari Island is the first island along Tobishima Sea Route in the Sea of Aki. Several centuries ago, the isle served as the gateway for the local feudal clan in providing a warm welcome to Korean envoys to Japan. Documents attesting to this visit (appearing in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register) are stored at a museum in Shotoen Park. Among the other antique structures here, visitors may enjoy a cup of tasty green tea at Hakusetsuro, a former school with a magnificent view of the tranquil Seto Island Sea.

The Straits of Ondo reach between Japan’s main island of Honshu and Kurahashi Island in the Seto Inland Sea. The passage is said to have been opened by Taira-no-Kiyomori (famed military leader over 1,000 years ago). Two deep-red arch bridges span this passage (Ondo Bridge and No. 2 Ondo Bridge), combining to form a source of true scenic beauty. Due to the swift currents and narrow width, these straights are renowned as a difficult stretch to navigate. Located nearby is Ondo-no-Seto Park, where spring brings the blooming of some 2,300 cherry and 8,300 azalea trees. This furnishes yet another exquisite view from the SEA SPICA deck.

Scene from Mitarai, located on Ōsaki-Shimojima Island – the fourth island along Tobishima Sea Route in the Sea of Aki. This port town retains clear vestiges of the Edo Period, when vessels waited here for favorable winds and tides. There are stores of various sizes, teahouses, shrines, a seawall and other structures dating from that era. From the Hill Overlooking History Park, a site rich in historical ambience, photos can capture an impressive range of the scenic islands of Setouchi Inland Sea below. There is also a traditional inn and boathouse later renovated as a cafe, offering leisurely passage of “island time” at its finest.

Setouchi, comprised of a tranquil inland sea with over 700 distinctive islands, is an area packed with truly lovely landscapes. From the “Spica Terrasse,” the barrier-free SEA SPICA outside deck, passengers enjoy closeup views of the gorgeous island scenery, while being bathed in exhilarating ocean breezes.

Ōkunoshima Island enjoys special fame as the “Rabbit Island” of Setouchi. True to that nickname, over 900 rabbits are estimated to inhabit the isle, and can be encountered in most all areas. In the past a poison gas plant was operated here, with the government deleting the island from all published maps. Traces of those days remain, fostering a unique and thought-provoking atmosphere.

■Service Schedule

April 5 (Friday) ~ September 30 (Monday), 2024: Departures on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays.

* Due to regular inspections, service is unavailable all day on June 24 (Monday), June 28 (Friday).
* Notification of the operation schedule from October 2024 will be made when it is determined.
* Available to both group and individual passengers. Please refer to our website to confirm where bookings may be made.



※All photographs are for illustrative purposes only