The Top Places to Visit in Onomichi in Hiroshima

ByJustin Hanus
Apr 20, 2023

The Top Places to Visit in Onomichi in Hiroshima

The port town of Onomichi in Hiroshima prefecture may be small, but it’s packed with things to do. Although it’s ideal for walking around and discovering little gems, it’s even better if you know where some of the top places to visit are before you go.

Temple Walk

The main attraction in Onomichi is Temple Walk: a route that will take you past 25 temples. It starts in downtown Onomichi and takes you across a mountain, a distance of 2.5 kilometers. A highlight is Saikokuji Temple for its spectacular panoramic views and the giant straw sandals at the Niomon Gate. Another interesting spot on the route is Senkoji Park, which sits at the top of a hill (you can take the ropeway up if you’d prefer not to walk). The Onomichi City Museum of Art is inside the park, which has constantly changing temporary exhibits.

Shimanami Kaido

Another trail is Shimanami Kaido, which traverses the bridges crossing the Seto Inland Sea from the main island of Honshu to Shikoku, taking you through many smaller islands. Although it’s suitable for pedestrians, you’ll need a bike to cover the entire route, as it’s 70 kilometers long. Since it’s mostly flat, you can cover the whole course in a day.

You’ll pass through six islands, each with a share of things to see. For instance, Ikuchijima Island has the Hirayama Ikuo Museum of Art, which features paintings and sketches of the artist Ikuo Hirayama. To see everything, you may like to spread the journey over a few days and camp on some of the islands.

The Hillside Streets

If you’d prefer a short stroll, walk through some of the streets along the hillside in Onomichi. Exploring the residential neighborhoods and small shops will give you the sense you’re stepping back in time. The good news is it’s challenging to get lost because most streets go directly up the hill or parallel to the coastline.

Kosanji Temple

You can reach Kosanji Temple by taking the Shimanami Kaido to Ikuchijima Island. It’s much more modern than many temples you will have seen in Japan — its construction was completed as recently as 1936. You may recognize some of the structures if you’ve visited many temples. This is because many of them are replicas of other temple buildings.

Most of Kosanji Temple is full of color. The exception is a garden of white marble at the summit of a hill called Miraishin no Oka — which translates as Heights of Eternal Hope for the Future. This spot is artistic rather than religious.

Finally, make sure you walk through the 350-meter-long cave. It’s decorated with images portraying torture in Buddhist hell, which is more than a little scary!

If you’ll be in Onomichi long enough, it’s worth taking one of the small ferries between downtown and the nearby islands. This is a great way to have a proper port town experience!

AC Manley from UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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