An Excellent Day Trip from Hiroshima: Onomichi

ByJade Brischke
Aug 19, 2021

An Excellent Day Trip from Hiroshima: Onomichi

One of the best day trips that you can make outside of the Hiroshima metro area is to the port city of Onomichi. Onomichi is roughly 90 minutes east of Hiroshima Station by local train, and it is a beautiful town to spend the day relaxing and taking in the sights.

It can be difficult to explain the appeal of small towns like Onomichi. Still, the town has an easygoing feel that makes it perfect for forgetting the hustle-and-bustle of downtown Hiroshima without having to go too far or spend too much. The town has an old-town feel, delicious local specialties, easy access to the Seto Inland Sea, spectacular views, and, very famously, cats.

Sitting on the Seto Inland Sea, Onomichi is famous for being the starting point for cyclist enthusiasts wanting to cross the Shimanami Kaido all the way to the island of Shikoku. Even if you’re not a cycling enthusiast (or if the weather isn’t cooperating), the bridges themselves still serve as an impressive feat of engineering, which is beautiful to take pictures of or look at, especially from the hill behind the station.

When you arrive at Onomichi, cross the road straight in front of the station and head to your left, where you’ll find the 1.6km covered shopping arcade. Despite its ‘shita-machi,’ or ‘low town,’ feel about it, the street has recently become home to many modern cafes. Coffee has become a thriving business, especially when paired with traditional sweets. You can also check out quaint family-owned shops full of trinkets or stop in at one of the many new art galleries that have sprung up. Because the area is constantly evolving, I won’t recommend any particular place. Instead, explore and take in any of the shops that suit your tastes. If you’re lucky, you may even see a few of the ‘locals,’ and by that, I mean cats, who like to stroll through the area.

For food, I would recommend a bowl of Onomichi Ramen, which is probably the most famous local specialty. This soybean-based soup includes pork with flat noodles, and it is very, very popular.  There are multiple shops in town, and they will all usually have very long lines. Make sure to arrive at a restaurant early and bring a book to read if you end up having to wait in line. The ramen alone is worth the trip.

The most famous sight in Onomichi, however, is Senkoji Temple and the Park surrounding it. Although there is a ropeway to access the area, I would recommend walking up and stopping to take photos along the way. As a warning, you will sweat if you make the trek during the summertime, but you will be rewarded with a spectacular view from the top. On the way, you’ll also find ‘The Path of Literature,’ which has monuments to famous artists, and at the very top, you can visit the Onomichi City Museum of Art. Inside the museum, you can see a harbor view, but the best vantage point is at the observatory, where you have a 360-degree view of the islands. I’ve always been during the day, but the night view is considered one of the ‘Top 100’ in Japan, so it’s definitely worth your time and effort.

Finally, let’s mention the cats. As mentioned before, Onomichi is famous for them, and they can be found strolling, sleeping, or simply draped over various pieces of ‘furniture,’ looking as though they do, in fact, own the place. The cats have become so famous that there’s even a street view camera that allows you to navigate your way around the city as though you were looking through the eyes of one of the cats. For more information on this, check out the website at the bottom of the page.

Onomichi is an easy day trip from Hiroshima, and whether you’re a foodie, a cultural enthusiast, an active person, or just like shopping and cats, there is something for everyone. It’s also a place that has something for every season, particularly spring and summer. Onomichi has become famous for its many cherry blossom trees, and in summer, the Saturday night markets and annual fireworks display attract tens of thousands of people. Go on, get out there and enjoy Onomichi life! Onomichi Tourist Association website Hiroshima (Onomichi) Cat Street View


そらみみ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Ozchin from Onomichi, Hiroshima, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Jade Brischke subscriber

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