Onomichi - Japanspecialist
Onomichi is a quaint harbour town with a nostalgic atmosphere, enhanced by the city's many slopes and by the wild cats running around here. The city is easy to reach by train from Hiroshima (only 30 min. on the bullet train) and is also the starting point for the picturesque Shimanami Kaido cycling route. The route takes you along bridges across the Seto Inland Sea, visiting one idyllic island after another before eventually arriving at the main island of Shikoku.
Temples and old houses on the hillsides
One of the best ways to experience the unique atmosphere is by following the so-called ‘Temple Walk’ - a designated walking route through the town. During the only 2.5km long walk you pass 25 temples. Most are quite small, but it's a nice way to see the city's many old-fashioned houses, shops and schools. The route can be hiked in about an hour, but you can easily spend half or a full day on it. The higher you get up the slopes, the more beautiful views you get of the city, the Inland Sea and the many small islands. One highlight - literally - is Senkoji Park, which can be reached on foot by taking a detour off the route, or by cable car. The park is one of the city's highest points and offers great views. The park also houses the Senkoji Temple and Onomichi City Art Museum, designed by famous architect Tadao Ando.
Other attractions in Onomichi
Onomichi is the start of the Shimanami Kaido cycling route. If you have time, visit the unique Kosanji Temple, located approx. halfway, on Ikuchijima Island. The temple was built in the 1930s by a wealthy businessman and is very special. It has an entry fee to get in but is definitely worth the visit. Most memorable is the ‘Thousand Buddha Cave’ - a long cave that is supposed to represent the Buddhist version of hell, filled with very realistic and creepy characters. The temple also has a hill made of incredible quantities of Italian marble and its own Italian café!