In my previous blog post on Hiroshima I have covered the city and Miyajima, the most popular tourist destination in Hiroshima. But that barely scratched the surface of what Hirshima has to offer.
During my visit, I also visited a few lesser-known attractions, which I will be sharing today. I think if you have an extra day or two, it is definitely worth exploring these more unfrequented spots.
Tomonoura is an old port town located in Fukuyama City with more than 1000 years of history.
To get there, your best way is to take a bus from Fukuyama Station.
Upon arriving you will be greeted with an old-fashioned fishing townscape, almost a little too quiet.
But it is famed in little ways as this charming little village has been featured in a few films such as The Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman, and it is also said to be the backdrop which Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo on the Cliff is modelled after.
Joyato Lighthouse (常夜灯)
This lighthouse build in the Edo Period (1859) is a symbol of Tomonoura. It has guided and protected incoming boats for a hundred of years and still continues to until today.
Featured in the super famous anime series Sazae-San.
It’s also the filming location of movie “Detective Mitarai’s Case Book – Seiro No Umi” in 2016, featuring handsome actor Hiroshi Tamaki (玉木宏). Wa very tall!!
Love this town so so much! There’s hardly any tourist at all, and so many picturesque photo ops.
By the harbour.
Take a stroll along the historical old streets preserved since hundreds of years ago.
Nobody will be in your way.
On the right is a shop selling Homeishu (保命酒), a medicinal liquor blended with 14 types of traditional herbs, and is said to fight fatigue and promote longevity. The old obaachan offered me a small cup, and it tasted just like Yomeishu (養命酒) that used to be very popular when I was little.
Dried seafood (shrimps, ikan bilis, cuttlefish…) produced and packed locally. I bought a few packets and used it for my cooking and also rice topping!
People who don’t know about history of Japan may not be interested in this but if you do or would love to learn something new, this museum features Sakamoto Ryoma ((坂本龍馬), one of the most famous figures in Japan history, and the story of his ship collision in 1867.
More than a hundred years later, residents from Tomonoura discovered the wreckage and retrieved artifacts and parts of the ship, which are exhibited at the Museum today.
On the second floor sits Sakamoto Ryoma in his “hidden room”. It was placed right next to the staircase so I got a shock upon seeing the very realistic figure.
Sakamoto Ryoma is the hero for many Japanese people, and there are tons of comics and story that features his life story.
This was absolutely my favorite at Tomonoura. So in our itinerary there was a visit to this temple called Fukuzenji. I don’t mind visiting temples but I think we have visited enough, so some of us were a little nonchalant about the visit.
This is Fukuzenji, a humble little Buddist temple that looks just like another regular temple.
Once you enter the temple and walk into the hallway, what greets you is…
a Korean envoy who visited Tomonoura 300 years ago discribed this view as “the most beautiful scenery in Japan”.
Featured in Sazae-San too! With a closer look of the pagoda on Bentenjima island.
Even the boats are extra 有味道 here.
It is not just a pretty view, for centuries it also served as part of a cosmic calendar. If you are interested, you can ask the staff to tell you about the positions of the stars and planets that affects the way people celebrated festive events. Hanging on the walls are photos of the sun and moon from Taichoro, and only in spring, the sun and moon unites and can be seen together. There was something romantic about this.
This is the hallway of the pavilion. The interior is preserved from olden years so the staff will gently remind you to be careful not to sit on the window edge for pictures.
Really one of the most Insta-worthy view.
Haha can make movie poster or not.
That’s all for today. There’s one last part of Hiroshima coming up. The best. haha stay tuned. ❤︎