Tomonoura Dreams of Ponyo

Tomonoura is a small harbour town on the shores of Japan’s Inland Sea, the Setonaikai. A commercial hub for centuries, changes to modern forms of transport must have suddenly upended Tomonoura’s economy, leaving her citizens without the money to change or rebuild their home. The result is a quiet, well-preserved city, with charming shops, and streets to wander.

Imposing, traditional buildings line the streets near the harbour.

Imposing, traditional buildings line the streets near the harbour.

Fishing vessels wait for fine weather.

Fishing vessels wait for fine weather.

Shrines and temples dot the city - most within easy walking distance of each other.

Shrines and temples dot the city – most within easy walking distance of each other.

Hayao Miyazaki stayed in the town, and it became the inspiration for his film, Ponyo: On the cliff, by the sea.

Hayao Miyazaki stayed in the town, and it became the inspiration for his film, Ponyo: On the cliff, by the sea.

Tomonoura is a serene space along Japan’s coastline – a city that is a pleasure to walk in, no matter the weather, and with museums, monuments and cafes to satisfy those willing to take the trip out. From Osaka to Fukuyama, the trip will cost about 4000 yen, while the bus will cost an additional 510 yen. Hiroshima is closer, and cheaper, at 1890 yen, and would be a good side-trip, as well as a chance to see some of Japan’s smaller, less famous cities.

Yokoso! Japan gives excellent directions for how to access Tomonoura by train.

By bus from Fukuyama station. Cross the traffic light at the right side of the South (Central) Exit. Buses run every 15 minutes from the first busstop after the traffic light, in front of Starbucks (30min.).

Japan Guide also gives a very thorough outline of what to see and do within Tomonoura.

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2 thoughts on “Tomonoura Dreams of Ponyo

  1. I’m so glad you visited Tomonoura! Sorry it was a hazy day but your photos are great as usual. Do many foreigners know about Miyazaki Hayao? Come again to Hiroshima area!

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    • I think more people interested in Ghibli will read this than those interested in Japan ^^ I would love to go back again to spend more time there. What other spots would you recommend in Hiroshima?

      Like

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