- Daisuke Okui
Onomichi, a city of temples, hills, and movies (Hiroshima)
What is Onomichi?
Located in the southeastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture, facing the Seto Inland Sea, Onomichi is attracting attention from home and abroad as a town for cyclists with the "Shimanami Sea Route" and "Onomichi U2," and is also known as the "City of Temples," "City of Slopes" and "City of Movies," offering a retro townscape with history, including Senkoji Temple, Onomichi Main Street Shopping Street and Neko no Hosomichi (Cat's Narrow Path).
Location and Access
Access from Hiroshima City
By car : Approximately 1 hour on the Sanyo Expressway.
Public Transportation : By Shinkansen bullet train, Shin-Onomichi Station is about 40 minutes away. By local train, it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to "Onomichi Station".
Access from Tokyo
Public transportation : Take the Shinkansen "Nozomi" from Tokyo Station to Fukuyama Station in about 3 hours and 40 minutes. From there, take the JR Sanyo Main Line to Onomichi Station in about 20 minutes.
Highlights of Onomichi
The temple is said to have been founded by Gyoki during the Tenpyo period (729-748). Unlike other temples, what makes it unique is the huge sandals hanging over the gate. These giant sandals are about 2 meters long, and are hung on the temple gate as a prayer for good health, "to have legs as strong as those of Lord Niou. If you come to Onomichi, visit Saikokuji Temple to pray for the health of your feet and the safety of your trip before going sightseeing.
Senko-ji Temple was founded in 806 and is located halfway up Mt Taihou. From the temple grounds, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Onomichi and the islands of the Seto Inland Sea. The main hall of the temple, built on the same stage as Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, is commonly referred to as Akado (red hall) and is beautifully painted in vermilion.
The symbol of Senko-ji Temple is "Tamano-iwa" or "Toriboshi-iwa. It is said that there used to be a ''jewel'' at the top of this rock that shined far into the distance. Today, a replica of the jewel is placed on the top of the rock and lights up at night.
After getting off the Senkoji ropeway at the top of the mountain, there is a 1-kilometer-long promenade covered with trees. It is called "Bungaku no Komichi (Literature Trail)," and poems by writers associated with Onomichi are engraved on the stones. The view of downtown Onomichi and the Onomichi Waterway while strolling along the trail is spectacular.
Ushitora Shrine, located just a short walk from Senkoji Ropeway Station, is the oldest shrine in Onomichi and is also famous as the location for the movie "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time(2012)". Within the shrine grounds is a 900-year-old camphor tree, designated as a natural monument by the prefecture. Many people may recognize it from the movie.
Neko no Hosomichi (Cat's Narrow Path)
Neko no Hosomichi is a narrow alley that runs for about 200 meters from the east side of Gon Shrine to the three-story pagoda of Tennei-ji Temple.
One of the oldest temples in the Chugoku region, it is said to have been founded by Prince Shotoku. The main hall and the pagoda are designated as national treasures, the gate and the Amidado Hall as national important cultural properties, and the entire temple grounds are designated as a national cultural property.
Gourmet Food in Onomichi
Onomichi's gourmet food is Onomichi Ramen. Onomichi ramen is a style of ramen that originated in Onomichi City and spread throughout eastern Hiroshima Prefecture. The soup is based on chicken stock and fish stock from the Seto Inland Sea combined with soy sauce, and the minced back fat floating on the surface adds a rich texture. The noodles are orthodox flat noodles.