Onomichi is a port city along the Seto Inland Sea in Hiroshima Prefecture, and it’s a must-visit though it’s far less famous compared to other tourist attractions like the Atomic Bomb Dome and Itsukushima Shrine. But the city is really beautiful and fun to visit. Since it has an impressive, a little nostalgic view, it has been a shooting location for many films and dramas such as 時をかける少女 (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), 転校生 (Transfer Students), and the internationally renowned film 東京物語 (Tokyo Monogatari) directed by Yasujiro Ozu. Even though it’s a small city in the countryside, many travel lovers say that they love the place more than any other sightseeing spot.
Onomichi flourished as a trading port during the Edo Period, and many wealthy merchants contributed money to build shrines and temples. That’s why there are so many shrines and temples even today in the small city. Temples are within walking distance of each other, so people can enjoy the “Temple Walk” and visit all the 25 temples one after another. The most famous and visited one is Senkoji Temple, which is located on the hill. You can overlook the city of Onomichi and even Shikoku Islands if the weather is fine. Even if you are exhausted after having walked to the top of the hill, the view from there will blow off your fatigue and take your breath away. And you can take the ropeway when you go down the hill.
The lovely hilly city has been admired by many writers and poets too. Famous people like Shiki Masaoka, Naoya Shiga, Fumiko Hayashi, Koan Ogata, Basho Matsuo and more were inspired by the beautiful scenery and the nostalgic atmosphere. 文学のこみち (The Path of Literature) was made as a reminder of the artistic greatness of the city. Stones engraved with poems and scripts are placed along the path so that you can enter into the poetic sentiments while being in the exact place where those literature works were born.
Onomichi is also a fantastic place if you are a cat lover. You’ll encounter lots of cats while walking around, and most of them are quite amiable. There is even 猫の細道 (Cat Alley), where you can find cafes, souvenir shops, Maneki-neko Museum, and a bunch of cat monuments. Do you know why cats love to live there? The city is rich in fish, the weather is nice and warm, people are kind to cats, and there are no cars on the hill. These are probably the reasons why it has become a cat utopia (Cat-pia?)
And there is one more thing that you should never forget: Onomichi Ramen. Indeed, it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions of the city. The ramen is characterized by its shoyu-based soup and pork back fat sprinkled over the soup. It may sound heavy, but you’ll find it heavenly delicious. Famous shops of the ramen are always crowded and there are long queues of people outside waiting to eat the ramen.
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