Here are some recommended strolling spots around Tomonoura and please enjoy pleasure taste of Tomonoura.
Recognition as a Heritage of Japan
A port town of early modern times surrounded by the evening calm of Seto Inland Sea ~ Tomonoura where daily life merges into the sepia-colored port town.
Tomonoura, Fukuyama city is located at the east end of Hiroshima Pref., in the middle of Seto Inland Sea. Tomonoura is an elegant port town with magnificent scenery with rich nature, townscape appointed as "National Preservation District of Important and Traditional Buildings" in Nov., 2017 and the port facilities from Edo-era are still remaining. The story which tells about the traditional and cultural charms of Tomonoura "Tomonoura the most picturesque port town in modern period covered by a evening calm where the daily life blends into sepia colored port town" was recognized by the Agency of Cultural Affairs as Heritage of Japan in May, 2018. Each of the local aspects has its own outstanding feature such as historic background as a tide-waiting port and culture, tradition, life locally rooted and inherited over generations. Tomonoura locates at a very convenient place not only for visiting Tomonoura, but also visiting Onomichi and Shimanami Sea Route which is very famous for literary sites, movie film locations and cycling course. Kurashiki is also famous for its beautiful sites.
The lighthouse called "Tourodo" built in Edo-era, guides the boats sailing in and out. The height is 11m from the foundation platform in the sea to the top sacred gem stone, tallest among existing Joyato at ports in Japan. It is the symbol of Tomonoura. Almost all visitors comes here and is the most popular sightseeing spot.
Scenery from the wharf
The view of Tomo port from the wharf. The scenery of small fishing boats come and go will give you tender sentiments of Tomonoura. It is recommended to drop by when you wander around Tomonoura.
Irohamaru Exhibition Hall
This is a must-visit-spot for Sakamoto Ryoma fans where exhibits diorama of Irohamaru which sank at offshore of Tomo in 1867, reproduced room where Ryoma hid and the wreckage and retrieved artifacts of the ship.
Ota Residence area
Originally, this residence belong to Nakamura family who started brewing Homeishu (distilled spirits with medicine herb) and Ota family became the owner in Meiji-era. This residence typifies the house of merchant in modern times and was appointed as a National Important Cultural Property in 1991. Also had been frequently used as a filming location. At the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the property was known as the lodging site of Sanjo Sanetomi and other seven court nobles in Sonno-Joi Party who escaped from Kyoto.
Ruin of Irohamaru Parley site area
The very first maritime court case in Japan called "Irohamaru Compensation Parley" took place.
Ruin of Ryoma's Lodgings
This is the house of Masuya Seiemon, shipping agent in Edo-era. At the time of Irohamaru boat collision, Seiemon supported Sakamoto Ryoma and Tosa Kaientai and offered lodging for them. Unfortunately, inside is not open to public.
Sawamura Ship Chandler
Sawamura Ship Chandler has been running business since Edo-era. The style and appearance shows its long lasting history.
Enpukuji Temple / Remains of Taigashi Castle and its vicinity
The location was the battle field back in Nanboku-Era (14th Century) and at Irohamaru parley, this hall was served as a lodging for Kishu-Han. The view from backyard of main hall is so splendid and very popular spot for photographers. There is also a poem monument of a poet Matsuo Basho.
Tomonoura Museum of History and Folklore area
Located in the old castle remain area where commands panoramic views of Tomo port, this museum introduces the industries, festivals and history of the port where sailors awaited tides to turn from ancient days. Some rare Hina-Dolls are displayed during Machi-Nami Hina Festival in spring.
Mutsu Inari Shrine
Locally well known shrine as "Anaba-San" located at the port. Not only locals but also many visitors pay visit for prayers and pictures.
Splendid View from Yodo Hime Shrine
Yodo Hime, a younger sister of the Empress Jingu, was ordered to stay here at Tomo as the chief priest of religious rites, and later she was enshrined as a tutelary god in the memory of her virtue. The view from the shrine is gorgeous and portable shrine parade is held during the festival in August.
The scenery of this island represents the view of Tomonoura. Although visiting island is not allowed, you can enjoy its beautiful views from the boat called Heisei Iroha Maru sailing back and forth between main island and Sensui Island.
Benzaiten, a guardian god for maritime affairs, is enshrined on the island, and beside the shrine, there is a stone monument for consoling the spirit of young men who died for keeping the glory of Tomo.
Small Fish Market of Tomo around Watasu Shrine
Small fish can be directly purchased around Watasu Shrine from local fishermen. Very popular among locals and visitors which is often purchased as a souvenir. Very fresh and tasty.
Taichorou/Fukuzenji Temple area
This is the 2nd visiting sacred place among Bingo thirty-three (33) pilgrimage. This is the place every Korean Communication Delegation in Edo-era used for their lodging and the view from the window was admired as the most spectacular view in Japan. Also the place of parley where Sakamoto Ryoma and directors from Kishu met after Irohamaru incident.
This is the pristine shrine of Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto and proud of its long history and formalities. There are many dedicated things from all over in Japan such as Noh-Stage (National Important Cultural Property) which Toyotomi Hideyoshi loved, Stone Archway (Prefectural Important Cultural Property) and lanterns and Tamagaki-Fences dedicated from all over Japan. This shrine has been loved by local people as "Gion-san at Tomo" and visited by unending worshippers.
Small Fish Market of Tomo
In front of Keishokan Sazanamitei and around Watasu Shrine. Small fish can be directly purchased from local fishermen. Very popular among locals and visitors which is often purchased as a souvenir. Very fresh and tasty.
Iouji Temple / Birth Shrine of Hiraga Gennai
The precinct located on the halfway up the Ushiro-Yama, is one of the best view points at Tomonoura which provides the views of the townscape and whole bay area of Tomonoura. Full of ambience and heartstring on ascent up the hill.
At the foot of the Deva gate of Shingon Sect., there is a small shrine on the birth place of Hiraga Gennai who was a genius lived in Edo-era.
Folk Craft Tea House Fukatsuya
Coffee/Tea lounge and Café in cozy atmosphere. Loved by many people as a Japanese Style Café. Folk Craft Tea House Fukatsuya locates in the property of Sawamura Ship Chandler which has been doing business since Edo-era.
Recommended to stop by during your journey.
Oishii Kobo Umihiko
A rare cheese cake with a light aftertaste based on the recipe from 30 years ago. Also popular is the old-fashioned pudding, which is simply finished with simple raw materials.
Tea House Tourodo
This is a tea house in Tomonoura Literature Museum.
Tomomachi Café 454
Café, Bar, Italian Tomomachi Café 454. Restaurant like a hideaway at Tomonoura.
Restaurant of local cuisine (others), seafood dishes and ramen noodles.
Particular about menu using fish, and the taste is truly exquisite.
Tomonotsu Gallery Arisorou
Built in 1918, you can get a glimpse of the characteristics of the Yukaku architecture of the time.
Tomonoura a café
Tea Room, Café and Bar Tomonoura a Café, produced by "Design Board" a LLP formed by designers in Tokyo. The area in front of the café is the CM location of Life Card with Jo Odagiri and Sachiko Sakurai.
Oyumi Ritual (February)
A traditional event with high social status, where an arrow, which represents a prayer for the purification of all the evil things in the past year is released toward the target wishing for the peace of the coming year. (Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Fukuyama City)
Tomo Machi-Nami Hina Festival (February ~ March)
Various Hina Dolls, from the old times and also hand-made ones, are displayed all around the town. The exhibition of traditional Hina Dolls is held at the Folklore Exhibition Hall. Exhibited Hina Doll are wide in variety, such as luxurious seven-tiered platform display from Edo-era and palace-style display from Meiji-era.
Tomonoura Tourism Taiami (May)
Traditional net fishing method of chasing school of cherry anthias in a fleet.
You can watch a spectacular picture scroll on the sea from the ship.
Otebi Ritual (July)
Carrying a huge lit torch by the shoulder, men will march up the long stone steps of the shrine. It is one of the three major fire festivals in Japan. (Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Fukuyama City)
Hassaku no Umadashi (September)
Wishing and celebrating birth and healthy growth of children, people would parade through the town with children on a dolly with the white horse.
An annual festival of the god of the sea worshipped for "peace and safety of the sea route". Seven towns take turns to host this festival so each town is on duty once in seven years, therefore it is the most lively festival.