This is an Asia Art Tours featured property. For all our tours we will recommend and book all your accommodations while traveling with Asia Art Tours) 

In Tomonoura (1.5 hours from Kurashiki, 1 hour to Onomichi) one can see Japan’s only intact Edo Era Port. Though not known to tourists, Tomonoura is an open secret, as it was the “star” used by both Ponyo Director Hayao Miyazaki and Wolverine Director James Mangold to set and inspire their respective movies.

(Our Founder, unleashing his inner Wolverine at the Migiwatei

For clients who wish to live like movie stars I stopped in at the Migiwatei Ochi Kochi Ryokan to check out where Mr. Jackman stayed and see the views of this well-regarded Ryokan. They emcompass the iconic Sensuijima and Bentijima (a sacred island only Shinto priests can walk upon), the very same view one receives from the Taichoro Guesthouse, where Japan historically received guests on their way to Edo. Its historically been thought of as one of Japan’s best views.

Tomonoura has about 80 buildings from the Edo Period but has been discovered by tourists. Japanese tourists know it from Ponyo and its famous Sea Bream Dotonbori. Western Tourists know it more and more from bloggers recommending it. And the locals are very much torn! They fought viciously to preserve the town from development (they wanted to build a carport that would obscure the town’s view) but they could not stop its development as a tourist destination. I think Tomonoura is worth a stop on the way to Onomichi (You can also kayak in the bay) but anything beyond that and you would quickly run out of things to do and perhaps feel like you had overstayed your welcome!

(The Migiwatei  is a hotel you can visit as an add-on for our Delicate Clay, Japan Ceramics Tour)

Author Matt Dagher-margosian

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