Let’s enjoy walking and the great scenery of the Setouchi Inland Sea on Ikuchi-jima Island on the Shimanami Kaido! /A National Treasure, the three-story pagoda of Kojo-ji temple and the townscape of Setoda (Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima)

Setoda is one of the popular sightseeing spots on Shimanami Kaido.

Setoda Port and the streets around the port are located on the west-coast of Ikuchi-jima Island – one of the popular sightseeing spots representing “Shimanami Kaido.”

There are liners (high speed vessels) to the port from Onomichi or Mihara, so that you can come to this island without using a car if you wish.

Setoda has been a well-known natural port since the Muromachi period (1333-1573).
There were many houses and warehouses owned by wealthy merchants who made fortunes from the salt production or shipping businesses along the coast in the Edo period (1603-1868), and parts of the old streets still remain.

We are introducing a 2-hour walking course on which you can enjoy the old streets of Setoda.

The starting point is Setoda Port.
You will find the yellow colored “Kone Ohashi Bridge,” when you walk north along the coast.
The island on your left is “Kone-jima Island.”
This strait is called “Setoda Suido,” and its geographical features became a natural wind screen for zonal wind.
Therefore, Setoda was a very important port where ships could shelter from bad weather.

There is a tourist information board along the street as you keep walking along the strait.
This is one of the entrances for the street walk.
You will find a sloping path with stairs, and “Kojo-ji Temple,” the first destination, is on top of the hill.

A beautiful three-story pagoda and the great scenery of Setouchi are waiting for you!

Kojo-ji Temple was built at the beginning of the Muromachi period, and the three-story pagoda with a height of 19 meters is on the hill when you go up the stone steps from the back of the main hall.
This pagoda was built by the lord of Ikuchi-jima Island in 1432, and designated as a National Treasure.
The architectural style is a mix of Chinese and Japanese, considered to be one of the most beautiful architectural styles in this era.

Go on to the slope behind the pagoda, and you will be able to reach the top of Cho-on-zan Mountain.
Don’t forget to look back right before reaching on the top!
The scenery of the pagoda with the Setouchi Inland Sea in the background will restore you after the long climb up the mountain!

The hill, including Kojo-ji Temple, is maintained as a park called “Cho-on-zan Koen,” so that there are some benches and small arbors along the path.
There is also a spot where you can get a distant view of “Kozan-ji Temple,” which is also one of the representative sightseeing spots on Shimanami Kaido, when you descend south from the top of the mountain.

Let’s walk on an old street in Setoda!

You will arrive at the “Shiomachi Shopping Street” when you descend on the south side of Cho-on-zan Mountain.
This shopping street has old buildings ranging from the Edo period to the beginning of Showa period (1926-1989), and you will enjoy this “retro” atmosphere for around 600m from Kozan-ji Temple to Setoda Port.
“Shiomachi-tei,” a café & bar which is from the end of the Edo period, is especially recommended as a spot for having some coffee or tea during the walk.

This renovated house has a long history, and it was at times a Japanese-style restaurant and a post office.
You can enjoy a relaxing time inside while viewing a nice courtyard.
Also, the shopkeeper is a licensed bicycle maintenance technician, so you can buy or rent bicycles here, and of course have bicycles repaired as well.
That is why many cyclists who are cycling the Shimanami Kaido visit this place.

You will find the “Setoda Town Museum of History and Folklore” after you’ve walked through the shopping street and are approaching the port.
This building was used as a salt storehouse in the Edo period, and now it is open to the public as a museum on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays.

It shows earthenware from the Yayoi period (10th century BC to the middle of 3rd century AD) excavated on the island, various historical materials related to agriculture, fishing or the salt industry,
tools for farming and salt making, and handicrafts.
Also, you can see some battle-gear on 2nd floor, and it is especially interesting to see the unique war helmets made in the shape of a bat, butterfly, or a gourd.

Now you see there are a lot of historical places in this walking course of the Setoda area on Ikuchi-jima Island.
Not only there are some old temples and buildings, but also many fantastic viewpoints to observe the beautiful Setouchi Inland Sea.
You can arrive back at the port around 2 hours after you’ve started even if you don’t walk fast, so just relax and enjoy the atmosphere and scenery!

Three-story pagoda of Kojo-ji Temple & Cho-on-zan Park
Address/57, Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
Phone/0845-27-0051(Setoda branch of Onomichi Tourist Association)
Open/24 hours
Closed/No holiday
Admission fee/Free
Parking lot/Available(Use parking lot for Shiomachi Shopping Street etc.)

Bicycle café and bar Shiomachi-tei
Address/425, Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
Open/cafe 11:00~16:00 bar 19:00~22:00
*The bar is closed on Sunday and Monday
Parking lot/Available(Use parking lot for Shiomachi Shopping Street etc.)

Setoda Museum of History and Folklore
Address/254, Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
Phone/0848-20-7514(Onomichi City Cultural Promotion Division)
Open/10:00~12:00&13:00~16:30 on Saturday, Sunday, and National Holidays
Closed/Weekdays, and December 29th to January 4th
Admission fee/Free
Parking lot/Available(Use parking lot for Shiomachi Shopping Street etc.)

Photographs and text by Hironobu Matsuoka

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Written by

Hironobu Matsuoka

Hironobu Matsuoka

Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.



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