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July 17, 2018 - Hidden Honshu: Tomonoura
After visiting Iwakuni in the morning, I drove a few hundred kilometers on the Expressway to Tomonoura (a port town located near Fukuyama). This town has been seen in a few movies such as "The Wolverine" but unfortunately many of the sites I visited today were closed.
My first stop for the day was Fukuzenji Temple which costs 200 yen and is nothing special in the way of what it has to look at inside the temple. However, you pay for the view.
There is no doubt that Tomonoura is a very photogenic town - probably a bit more than normal. Note that the town is relatively small and you can walk to most sections within 30 minutes.
One location I was hoping to visit was the large Ota Residence which costs 400 yen to enter. Unfortunately, it's closed on a Tuesday and I visited on a Tuesday. Oh well - stuff happens.
My next stop was the Imohamaru Museum which costs 200 yen to enter and is not of much interest to most international tourists due to the location being more of interest to the Japanese. The museum celebrates the finding of a famously sunk boat from before the Meiji Restoration.
One of the specialties of Tomonoura is selling medicinal alcohol. As I was driving, I could not try any of the local brew. Note that it should take at least 30 minutes by bus from Fukuyama Station and the buses have signs in English.
This town used to be home to two small castles. The History and Folklore Museum is located on one of the old sites - but it's unfortunately close until late August for change in exhibits.
My next stop was Nunakuna Shrine which is located right next to the Temple district of the town. It's also got a Noh Stage which is rather rare, but oddly I've seen two Noh stages today!
My second last stop for the day was Ankokuji Temple which costs 150 yen to enter and is around a 5 minute walk from the Shrine (it's a smaller town that it looks on the map). This temple has a small garden and you can go inside the main hall. Note that you left your money in a collection box at the front when I visited. As such, try and have some loose change when visiting secondary cities/towns such as this as this is quite common.
My last stop was Kogarasu Shrine which is just a shrine I walked past and I went back to my car. Note that most sites have good english translations outside the front of the building and there are many tiles around the town which have maps on them including in English.
Tomonoura is definitely pretty and there are a few other sites to visit which I missed, but I feel as though Japan has many other much more impressive locations to visit. However, if you are in the area then it would be a nice half day if the weather was not too hot. On the day I visited, it was 37C and 80% humidity. Add that there was a lot of stone and concrete which made the day hot hot hot! For tomorrow, I'll be visiting Fukuyama before I make my way back to Narita Airport for the night.
Tomonoura Tourist Information: https://tomonoura.npnp.jp/en/