I am captivated by the photo of the staircase below, covered with the pink petals of spring, an invitation to climb the stairs and see the pale pink flowering tree at the top. To capture that view, you must have sitting down on the ground, with your camera aimed up? However you managed that, Robert, the perspective is so engaging. ~WaterGirl
Onomichi in Japan is one of those places few foreign visitors know about — the big tourist attractions of Tokyo and Hiroshima and Kyoto overshadow a small city sometimes referred to as “Japan’s Home Town”.
I first learned about Onomichi in a very strange manner, from a Japanese anime series called “Kamichu!” released back in 2005. The town the anime series was based in was Onomichi and when I went to Japan for the first time in 2007 I made a point of stopping by to see the location of one of my favourite animes for myself. And I fell in love. Since then I’ve returned to Onomichi a dozen times, often celebrating my birthday there (alas not this year, for reasons).
So, Onomichi? It’s a town on Honshu in the Kansai region of Japan, situated between Hiroshima in the west and Osaka in the east, lying on the Seto Inland Sea. Just offshore there’s a cluster of islands which connect via bridges and roads to the Home Island of Shikkoku to the south. This has been a big thing for Onomichi’s tourism and regeneration recently as it’s the natural starting point for cyclists planning to travel the scenic Shimanami Kaido route.
Back in the day when Kyoto to the east was still Japan’s capital, Onomichi became a place for rich folks to build holiday homes, easily accessible via boat. Religion followed the money and a number of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines were built in Onomichi, not as big and flashy as the ones in Kyoto or Nara but quite a few of them are still around. Art followed the temples and Onomichi became a haven for poets and artists of all sorts. There’s a Path of Literature running up to the top of Senkouji hill which has poems and quotations from writers who visited Onomichi inscribed on stones on the way. In the 20th century Onomichi was the birthplace of film directors like Ōbayashi Nobuhiko and the town itself featured in a number of influential movies such as “Tokyo Story”.
This is a view of the lower town shoreline of Onomichi from part-way up Senkouji hill. The island across the strait is Mukaishima which hosts a couple of ship repair yards, including the infamous Hitachi-Zosen shipyard that used prisoner-of-war slave labour during WWII. The two bridges at the far end of the strait carry road traffic from Honshu towards Shikoku, however shuttle ferries still ply back and forth across the strait carrying pedestrians, schoolkids on bikes and scooterists as well as cars. If you ever wanted to cross the Pacific for a hundred yen an Onomichi ferry can fulfill your dream!