Tomonoura, one of the most important modern port towns in the Edo period in Fukuyama City is designated as a “Japan Heritage” site!/ Tomonoura (Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima)

Tomonoura is a port town located in Fukuyama City in Hiroshima.
It takes about a 30-minute drive from Fukuyama station, which is 15km north of Tomonoura.
This nostalgic port town was designated as a Japan Heritage site in May 2018.

Tomonoura is one of the most important modern port towns in Japan.

Japan Heritage” indicates stories of cultures and traditions of Japan passed down and based on unique regional histories and traditions.
67 various areas, towns, cultures, and stories have been designated as “Japan Heritage”sites as of 2018.
Onomichi-City and Kure-City have been already designated in the past, and Tomonoura’s story, “the most important modern port town which embraces the evening calm of Setouchi,” has also been designated as one of the “Japanese Heritage” ites in addition to these 2 cities in Hiroshima prefecture.

The deciding factors for the designation were that “5 port facilities built in the Edo period still remain all together only in Tomonoura,” and “these facilities blend together and fit into Tomonoura’s daily life.”
So now, I recommend that you make a special effort to see these 3 below.

The port facility from the Edo Period No.1. “Joyato”

“Joyato,” the stone lighthouse located along the port is a symbol of Tomonoura, has been watching over all ships and people coming or leaving this port for 160 years.
As the biggest stone nightlight of any port in Japan from the Edo period, it is very Instagramable, especially if photographed as a silhouette with the beautiful twilight in the background.
You cannot miss this spot when you visit Tomonoura!

The port facility from the Edo Period No.2. “Gangi”

“Gangi” are the stone stairs built along the port for mooring boats, and they are located just around the Tomonoura stone lighthouse.
This is also the one of the biggest stone“Gangi” in Japan.
Please sit on it and look at the bay.
You will hear the gentle sound of waves and birdsong, see kites flying in the sky, and feel like time is passing so slowly within the calmness of Tomonoura.

The port facility from the Edo Period No.3. “Hato”

The kanji (Chinese character) for “Hato” means “stop waves,” and “hato” is literally a breakwater made of stone during the Edo period.
This breakwater accents the scenery of Tomonoura.
You will feel like you are walking on the sea when you step onto the breakwater.
The wide view from the edge of breakwater is so very nice, as you can see the vast Setouchi Inland Sea and a complete view of the port!
So, please go out onto the edge of the hato.

Tomonoura faces the Setouchi Inland Sea, therefore, the location is also one of the best spots for viewing the beautiful scenery of Setouchi with its many islands on the sea.
Now, here are 3 spots in Tomonoura for nice views that I must recommend.

Superb Tomonoura view spot No.1. Taishi-den

One is “Taishi-den,” a mountain climb of 583 stone steps from “Io-ji Temple,” founded by Kobo Daishi (Kukai, the monk).
The view of Tomonoura from Taishi-den is exceptional, as you can see vast tracts of Tomonoura.
You won’t regret it when you see this tremendous scenery, even if you are very tired from the climb up the hill.

Superb Tomonoura view spot No.2. Taicho-ro

The second recommendation is “Taicho-ro” of “Fukuzenji Temple.”
Fukuzenji Temple was a place for welcoming honored guests of the Korean delegation to Japan when they visited Japan to congratulate the Tokugawa shogunate.
The scenery from this precinct has been called “the most beautiful scenery of Japan,” as the window frames are likened to picture frames.
The archives of the Korean delegation to Japan were added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2017.

Superb Tomonoura view spot No.3. Sensui-jima Island

The third one is “Sensui-jima Island” with its 6-kilometer circumference.
The origin of this island’s name is “The island which entranced the legendary wizards.”
Most parts of this island have not been developed and untouched nature remains here.
This island is now becoming a very popular place becausethe whole island is now believed to be a “power spot.”
The “Five Color Stones” at the seaside of the island are one of the reasons.
The five colors are blue, yellow, red, white and black, and these 5 colors are considered important for Buddhism.
You can visit the island by 5-minute boat ride from the port of Tomonoura.

The most highly recommended way of spending time at Tomonoura is just doing nothing, sitting along the port near “Joyato,” “Gangi,” or “Hato”to watch the port and sea while listening to the sound of waves.
Maybe your best partner will be a cup of coffee, take-out from the café around “Joyato.”
Let’s visit Tomonoura and fully enjoy the scenery and history.

Japanese Heritage, Tomonoura in Fukuyama City
Address/Tomo-cho, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima
Phone/084-928-1278(Cultural Promotion Division of Fukuyama City Office)
Nearest Station/JR Fukuyama Station
Access/40-minute drive from Fukuyama-higashi Interchange. / Get off the bus at “Tomonoura” or “Tomo-ko” bus stops on the Tomo-tetsu bus Tomo line from Fukuyama Station Bus Terminal

Photographs and text by Yusuke Minami

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Written by

Yusuke Minami

Yusuke Minami

Yusuke Minami I was born in 1981 in Kagoshima and currently live in Fukuyama City. I used to work as a management staff member in the world of pro-wrestling. At that time, I travelled around a lot, then one day I was in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture and I saw the Tomono Ura scenery. I immediately fell in love and moved to Fukuyama. Since 2013, I have been working as a chiropractor and representative at Shin-Sakamoto Chiropractic at the Fukuyama Korono World mall. As a sideline, I also run the Bingo no Machikado Shashin - a site dedicated to showing the world the charms of the Bingo area.


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