Onomichi is a city in the southeastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture. It is not a small town with the population of 130,000, but the image is the town is very small and quiet. The city center lies along the canal. There is a shopping arcade.
But the most attractive part is on the hill and it symbolizes Onomichi. There are a lot of narrow slopes on the hill surrounded by the old houses, old walls and temples. Japanese people have nostalgic feeling when they walk along these streets.
If you are a Japanese movie fan, many movies are filmed in Onomichi. “Tokyo Monogatari” is one of the highly evaluate Japanese films by Yasujiro Ono. Nobuhiko Obayashi made three famous movies in Onomichi, “Toki wo Kakeru Shojo”, “Tenkosei” and “Sabishinbo”. When Japanese people hear of Onomichi, many of them think about these movies.
It is not easy to walk up the hill to enjoy walking in the old town. The recommended way is to go up to the top of the hill by the ropeway. Then, walking down the hill is the best and easy way.
Senkoji-san is 144 meter-high mountain. It takes only 3 minutes by the ropeway, but you can enjoy the breathtaking view lookind down the city and canal and Seto Inland Sea.
It goes every 15 minutes. The one way ticket costs 320 for adult and 160 yen for children.
Around the top of the hill is the Senkoji Park. There are nice view spots in the park. You can enjoy the different views and different atmosphere by the season and the time. In spring, the cherry blossoms bloom all at once. You can enjoy the night view after dark.
The literature path is a comfortable walking way with 25 stone monuments which are dedicated to the 25 famous authors who visited or who are from Onomichi. Their writings or poems including haiku are engraved on the stones. They are appreciating the scenery of Onomichi.
Senkoji is a Buddhist temple of Shingon sect. It is said that it was founded by Kobodaishi, the founder of Shingon sect in 806. The vermilion color main hall is nicknamed Akado (red hall). It is standing close to the top of the hill. There is a terrace in the main hall which looks like a viewing platform of whole Onomichi. So you can enjoy the amazing view.
It is also a Buddhist temple founded in 14th century. It is a Zen temple of Soto sect. The view of the city including its three-storied pagoda is a symbolic scenery of Onomichi. This pagoda is designated as National Important Cultural Asset. Originally it was a five-storied pagoda, but because it got old, so they took two floors out and transformed to three-storied pagoda in the 17th century.
Shimanami Kaido Cycling
Onomichi has become famous as a cycling base. Honshu Island is connected with Shikoku Island in 3 places by the bridges. Shimanami Kaido is one of them. Shimanami Kaido opened in 1976. There are 10 bridges connecting 9 islands. The total length of the route is about 60 km. It was made for the car (express way), but cyclists and pedestrians are also able to pass this route. The goal is Imabari in Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku Island. You can rent a bicycle in Onomichi. You don’t need to come back to Onomichi when you finish one way. You can leave it at the affiliate shops in Imabari.
Cruise to Tomonoura
Tomonoura is an attractive small old port town. They preserve the old streets with old houses. You can enjoy one hour cruise from Onomichi to Tomonoura. The view on the way is beautiful, passing the bridges and seeing the temple pavilion on the cliff. The cruise operates only on Saturday and Sunday.
Onomichi Ramen is a famous delicacy of Onomichi. There are two types. The one was started by the Taiwanese in 1940’s. They use soy sauce base soup added with the port broth. The other one started in 1990’s. They use small sardine and chicken to make broth.
There are a lot of ramen restaurant so you will have a chance to try it.
Access to Onomichi Station (JR):
From Hiroshima Station, takes Sanyo Line. Change at Itozaki (or other stations depending on the time) to Onomichi. It takes about one hour and thirty minutes
From Shin-Osaka Station, take Shinkansen (bullet train) to Fukuyama. Then take Sanyo Line to Onomichi. It takes about one hour and forty minutes.