The 19th of September was Respect for the Elderly Day and as this was a national holiday in Japan, Dustin had the day off. We decided to head south to Tomonoura, the port district of Fukuyama. It was about a 15 minute bus ride from downtown, and about as touristy as I have seen Fukuyama get, which is really not that touristy at all. There were no big crowds, only a few little souvenir shops, and only one street food vendor.

The district is pretty small with narrow, winding, stone paved streets and beautiful old Edo period buildings. 

There were old storehouses from the 1800's that you could wander around in, and quite a few little shops selling yomeishu, a sweet herbal liqueur which is supposed to promote a long life. 

Hayao Miyazaki rented a house here in 2005 and based the town in Ponyo off of Tomonoura. Every souvenir shop had a few cute Ponyo themed items for sale which took a lot of self restraint not to buy. 

We went to a quaint udon shop for lunch. The man who owned it told us that Miyazaki had used the goldfish in his courtyard for his original sketches of Ponyo. Theo loved his onigiri. 

William charmed his way into the owner's heart and by the end of our meal he asked us if he could take a picture for his "wall of good customers".  Here was the outcome:

The old stone lighthouse was made to resemble the lanterns used at temples.

Tomonoura is on the Seto Inland Sea with lush little tree covered islands scattered here and there. 

From the harbor you can see tiny Benten Island with its pagoda and torii gate. 

Directly behind Benten Island is Sensuijima, a much larger island, with a little hotel, hot springs, and campground. There is a ferry that takes you from Tomonoura to Sensujima which is made to look like an old sailing ship. Theo was so happy about riding on the "pirate ship".

There was a really nice beach near the campground and Theo was ecstatic to take a dip in the ocean. The water in this area is extremely calm and there were hardly any waves. It was a warmish, over cast day and the water was really pleasant, so Theo spent almost 2 hours enjoying himself in the water. 

Hopefully we can find a free weekend sometime soon to come back and camp. It looked like there were a few trails to wander and beaches to discover on the island and best of all, very few tourists!

1 comment:

Kate Minor said...

Fun! Ponyo is such a cute movie. If you get a chance, the Ghibli museum in Tokyo is really fantastic. I know that is a trip for you though!