On my way from Hiroshima Station to Fukuyama to see Pascom Ongaku Club’s Night Flow Tour, I decided to backpack through the smaller towns in Hiroshima to see what they were like. Though Hiroshima is known mostly for its Peace Memorial and remnants of WWII, I was surprised to know that each town within the prefecture had its own different atmosphere.
I previously wrote about the Rabbit Island I visited at Tadanoumi Port from Hiroshima, so now I will cover two major towns I stayed in east of it: Onomichi & Fukuyama.
Onomichi is a very tiny port town, but is famous for its temple walk, cat alleyway, and ropeway. When I first got off at the station, I felt like there was not a lot to see here outside of the main shopping street. However, most of the major sightseeing points are up on a hill because this town is on the incline of a mountain which makes in extremely unique. Growing up in a place that was pretty flat, it amazes me to see how people live in the mountains.
The temple walk consists of 25 temples you can access on foot by hiking up a hill near the main station. I decided to combine this hike with my morning jog, and it took me around 2 hours to see everything. A lot of the temples are tiny, but there is a large one at the top of the hill and beautiful scenery along the way. There is also a “Lover’s Sanctuary” where you can wish for good luck in love. I found it adorable that there was a cat statue with a heart around it too!
As I was walking up the hill, a number of stray cats came out to bask in the sun. Cat alley is on the way up to the top of the temple walk, so likely you will see come adorable felines on the way to the top!
My recommendation is to take a day trip here, or stay for one night. I stayed at Onomichi Guesthouse Anago, which was in a traditional Japanese tatami-styled house near the shopping street. I had an extremely pleasant stay here, because there was a breakfast option and they also had beautiful folded paper cranes.
Onomichi may be small, but it surprisingly has a large variety of food! There are tons of little shops around the station and even on the way up to the temple walk. I found a vegetarian restaurant that serves delicious Falafel sandwiches, and also tried some anago rice (rice topped with eel) at a shop inside of the station. It is also recommended by locals to try the ramen as well. There are options for every diet here.
Getting to Onomichi
From Hiroshima Station, take the Sannyo line to Itozaki, then transfer and take the same line towards Okayama to get to Onomichi Station. This costs 1500 yen and takes 1.5 hours.
You can also go to the Rabbit Island first from Hiroshima Station, then come here and stay overnight if you have enough time like I did (I would recommend this so you can see the most things).
Fukuyama & Sensui Island
After successfully completing the temple walk in Onomichi, I decided to take the train to Fukuyama at the border of Hiroshima Prefecture because that is where Pasocom Ongaku Club’s event was held (I will be covering this in a future post). When I got off at the station, I was astounded to see this town was much more urban than Onomichi and even parts of central Hiroshima was. Since this town borders Okayama Prefecture, there is a much larger population density here than other towns in Hiroshima.
The first thing I noticed was the modernized yet rustic feel. Among shopping malls, upscale bars, and hotels, Fukuyama Castle is also viewable as soon as you get off at the station. I decided to begin my adventure by stopping at the castle first. It is smaller than Hiroshima Castle, but is worth seeing because it is so close to the station.
Since my hotel wasn’t ready until 4pm, I decided to go to Sensui Island and use the famous hotspring there. Sensui Island can easily be accessed by taking a bus from the station to Tomonoura Port (which takes around 40 mins), and then taking a free boat ride from there which takes only 5 minutes to reach the island. You can see a detailed guide and boat timetable from the Fukuyama Tourist Website.
Sensui Island is fantastic for hiking, and there is a boat rental service as well. The accommodations here are surprisingly cheap for only 5500 yen per night. I spent around 45 mins hiking and taking pictures of the scenic island, then I used the hotspring at Kokumin Shukusha Sensuijima for around 1000 yen with the towel included. It was such a relaxing day! I listened to all of my favorite songs and got extremely hype for the event I was going to on the mainland at night. I would love to come here during the summer and go swimming at the beach, because it is extremely private and relaxing.
I stayed at Setouchi Knot Hotel near Fukuyama Station, which was around 3000 yen per night. It is the cheapest hotel in Fukuyama, but was extremely quiet and worth the price in my opinion.
Getting to Fukuyama
From Hiroshima Station, you can take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen directly here. This costs 5000 yen and takes 20 mins (this is expensive because Fukuyama is at the opposite border of Hiroshima Prefecture).
You can also go to Onomichi first like I did, then come to Fukuyama by the Sannyo Line which takes 30 mins and is only 420 yen.