Islands can quickly lose their charm when they become attached to land masses. This, mercifully, has not happened to Ikuchijima Island in Japan's Geiyo archipelago, a cluster of islets in the Seto Inland Sea that, despite its two connecting bridges, feels defiantly detached.

Writers have often compared the rocky outcroppings of the Seto Inland Sea to the Greek Islands. The ripening oranges, olive terraces, lavender-smelling grasses and clove scents, the vernal purity of forested slopes, the sails of distant fishing skiffs, and small shrines cantilevered over rock faces, can easily evoke the wine-dark Aegean Sea.

Yukio Mishima set his popular novel "The Sound of Waves," in these waters. An unabashed love story between a young fisherman and a female abalone diver, it could easily have been set on a Cycladic island. Smaller than Crete but larger than Amorgos or Astypalaia, Ikuchijima, with its citrus groves and bleached beaches, supports the Ionian analogy.