Tomonoura Port 鞆の浦
View of the port of Tomonoura.
Traditional street Tomonoura.
The port town that inspired the movie "Ponyo"!
Close to the modern port of Fukuyama, the town of Tomonoura is a quiet fishing town. It is here that Hayao Miyazaki settled for several months to write Ponyo (2008).
Tomonoura is an old fishing village belonging to the "Setonaikai National Park". A port built in the hollow of a bay overlooking the Seto Inland Sea. Its town center therefore, once flourished with maritime activity, when merchant ships traveling along the inland sea docked in its port.
The Historical Center and The Port
The small port of Tomonoura is a good starting point for a tour, on foot or by bike (rental from the Ferry Terminal). In the morning, you can stroll and watch the fishermen unload last night's catch or mend their nets, or have a glance at the neighboring island of Sensui-jima, with the old stone lighthouse (1863). In May, it was here that the fishing season is in full swing.
The symbolic place of the port is its old stone lighthouse. Built at the time of Edo (1603-1867), it overlooks the city from its eleven meters. To the east of the bay, it is possible to walk on a long pier overlooking the magnificent urban and maritime landscape of the port and the village.
The historic center of Tomonoura has many cobbled streets lined with traditional houses with wooden facades. Some shops still sell homeishu, a local specialty. It is a shochu alcohol in which 16 different plants are mixed.
Nearby is the Ota House, an old store once owned by a wealthy family of the same name in 1791. It has now become a pretty museum, testifying to the enrichment of the local nobility thanks to the homeishu distilleries. Visitors can visit rooms traditionally decorated with tatami mats, a tea room and homeishu warehouses.
Areas Surrounding Tomonoura
You can explore the surrounding area by climbing the hill overlooking the harbor and visiting the Taichoro temple (also called Fukuzenji). It is here where the Korean emissaries and other Catholics prayed while Christianity was prohibited in Japan.
In this temple is a statue of the Virgin Mary, assimilated to Kannon Buddhist Bodhisattva and known as Maria Kannon.
You will also find the most beautiful view of Tomonoura and its bay with the neighboring islands of Benten-jima and Sensui-jima.
If you want to visit the neighboring island of Sensui-jima, a ferry leaves from the port of Tomonura and takes you there in 5 minutes. You can spend a magical moment on this delightful islet between its magnificent beach and its lush-protected nature. We also recommend that you visit one of the onsen on the island.
Inspiration For Movie Ponyo
Over the last years, Tomonoura has been chosen as the filming location for several international and local films, such as "Wolverine: The Fight of the Immortal" with Hugh Jackman.
It also greatly inspired the creation of the port city described at the beginning of the animated film "Ponyo on the cliff" from the popular Studio Ghibli. It is there that Hayao Miyazaki and his team spent months to find the inspiration necessary to create the imagery of their work.
- Also discover: Kanaguya Onsen