Translated by Clarke
Featured In Films! A Town Brimming With Edo Spirit: Tomonoura
A port town located in Fukuyama city, Tomonoura is where one will find streets just as they were hundreds of years ago during the Edo period. Here visitors will be treated to the Japan of antiquity with all of its charms.
Written by MATCHA-PR
Tomonoura, located in Fukuyama city in Hiroshima, is a port town that has served as the setting for numerous television shows and films. The streets of this town have remained unchanged since the Edo period, and is one of the few places where one can experience the splendor and charm of old Japan. This article will point out several spots to check out when visiting Tomonoura.
Streets of Antiquity
Around half an hour by bus from Fukuyama station, after getting off at the last stop, Tomoko, the first thing to greet visitors will be a view of the small port town. The refreshing breeze and the view of the sea are sure to make one forget all about the troubles of the world once they arrive.
Just a short stroll away you’ll find a town that will have you questioning whether you came in on a bus or a time machine. Row after row of charming, Edo period buildings line the streets, sure to spirit away even Japanese visitors to a time they’ve only glimpsed in history books.
Joyato Stone Lantern
From the bus stop, one can see the symbol of Tomonoura, a lantern known as a Joyato. Built in 1859, the lantern used to function as a lighthouse, helping to keep passing ships from running aground. Many visitors stop here to take a souvenir photo, melding the magnificent Joyato against the tranquil ocean.
With the tip of the lantern located 11 meters above sea level, this is the tallest lighthouse built during the Edo period (1603 - 1868) that is still extant today.
Tomonoura has been used countless times as the setting for television shows and movies. Have you happened to catch a glimpse of this lighthouse while watching an old samurai flick perhaps? Still, seeing it on the screen is no match for having the giant structure situated right before your eyes!
Joyato Stone Lantern
Address: Tomocho, Fukuyama, Hiroshima
Access: A few minutes walk from Tomoko Bus Station
Ota Family Residence
The Ota family residence, designated an important Japanese cultural heritage site, is made up of nine different structures including the main household as well as a brewery for a type of liqueur known as homeishu (which we’ll get into later). This brewery, which flourished under the supervision of the Nakamura family, was expanded upon between the middle and end of the Edo period until it reached the size it is today.
This building is full of wonder, giving visitors a glimpse into what life was like hundreds of years ago in Japan. Upon entering the main household, one can see all the various intricacies of the building, stylishly adorned with sliding shoji doors and fusuma screens.
The exterior of the building, while exuding a uniquely Japanese air, has a mysteriously modern quality to it as well. This is one place that we highly recommend to anyone interested in Japanese architecture and Japanese history buffs alike.
|Address||Hiroshima, Fukuyama, Tomocho, Tomo 842|
|Business Time||10:00 am - 5:00 pm|
|Fixed holidays||Tuesdays (if a national holiday, the next day), Dec. 29th - Jan. 3rd|
|Accepted Credit Cards||Not Available|
|Menu/Pamphlets in Other Languages||English|
|Nearest station||JR Fukuyama Station|
|Access||30 minutes by bus from JR Fukuyama Station to the Tomoko bus stop, then a 5 minute walk|
|Price||400 yen for junior high students and older, 200 yen for elementary school students and below|
Homeishu from Homeishuya Brewery
One of Tomonoura’s most famous products is Homeishu. A liqueur made with 16 different kinds of spices, this beverage was first produced in Tomonoura at the beginning of the Edo period and is known to help cure various ailments and lead to a long life. Homeishu is brewed only with natural ingredients and doesn’t use sugar or any artificial sweeteners of any kind. Furthermore, Homeishu is brewed in Tomonoura and nowhere else.
A signboard inherited by Okamoto Kametaro Honten from the Nakamura family
“Okamoto Kametaro Honten” is an establishment that has inherited both the traditional homeishu brewing techniques and signboard from the Nakamura family. Made from spices distilled in sweet rice wine brewed from scratch by Okamoto Kametaro Honten, homeishu is known for its perfectly balanced sweet and spicy flavor.
The homeishu from Homeishuya is known for its fresh and sweet flavor. Irie Toyozaburo Honten’s, on the other hand, is both sweet and crisp, and a staff member at the brewery tipped us off that splashing a little into milk tea was a great way to enjoy it. Including Yada Homeshu Ho, there are four shops catering traditional homeishu to visitors, and with each shop having a different take on this sweet liqueur, we recommend tasting them all.
Okamoto Kametaro Honten
Address: 927-1 Tomochotomo, Fukuyama, Hiroshima
Hours: 09:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed: Open Year Round
Price: 300 ml bottle for 800 yen (tax incl.) and up
Website: Okamoto Kametaro Honten
Homeishuya Tomo Brewery
Address: 1013 Tomochotomo, Fukuyama, Hiroshima
Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed: Open Year Round
Price: 180 ml bottle for 500 yen (tax incl.) and up
Website: Homeishuya (Tomo Brewery)
Irie Toyozaburo Honten
Address: 534 Tomochotomo, Fukuyama, Hiroshima
Hours: 09:00 am to 4:00 pm
Closed: Open Year Round
Price: 300 ml bottle for 720 yen (tax incl.) and up
Website: Irie Toyozaburo Honten
Yada Homeishu Ho
Address: 531 Tomochotomo, Fukuyama, Hiroshima
Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Closed: 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month
Price: 180 ml bottle for 550 yen (tax incl.) and up
Website: Yada Homeishu Ho
Image provided by: Murakami Suigun Kayak
Tomonoura is well known as serving as the inspiration for the film ”Ponyo”, directed by Studio Ghibli head Miyazaki Hayao. Such to be expected from a film that focuses so much on the ocean, Tomonoura offers a number of seafaring activities, one of our favorites being sea kayaking.
At Murakami Suigun Kayak, even people with no kayaking experience can go on a half day kayaking tour. After learning the basics of kayaking on the shore, seafarers take to the water, paddling through the gentle waves of the Seto Inland Sea. With their sit-in-kayaks, even inexperienced kayakers can feel at ease. Paddling along with the aroma of the bay in your nostrils and the gorgeous greenery of Sensui-jima Island in the distance, this is a relaxing getaway from the worries of the world. Half day tours run for 3 hours, and tourists planning to visit Tomonoura can make kayaking reservations on the Murakami Suigun Kayak website.
The Allure of Tomonoura
With a thriving Edo period town, surrounded by luscious green and the deep blue water, this charming antiquity of Tomonoura is certainly to capture the imaginations of visitors of any age.
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