From Kure, we caught the train to Onomichi. Onomichi is a very hilly town with many temples. A life-size set of the battleship Yamato was built here and filming also took place on a little island called Mukaishima. We stayed at the Green Hill Onomichi hotel, which looks out onto the Onomichi channel and faces Mukaishima. An actor, Sorimachi Takashi, also stayed at this hotel while filming, "Yamato". I've also been to the sister hotel in Kobe with my host-mom and host-sister for lunch.
On Sunday, we caught the ferry (only 100 yen, $1, one-way) and got to walk on the deck of the set. This set really looks like a real battleship!
After walking on this set, we caught the ferry back and went sightseeing around Onomichi. Our first stop was lunch. Onomichi is kind of famous for their ramen. When you travel around Japan, you'll notice that every area has their own original ramen. Onomichi is no different...they have thick slices of "char-siu" (seasoned pork), lightly season "shinachiku" or "menma" bamboo shoots, green onion, shoyu (soy sauce) based chicken stock, thin-flat noodles and pieces of fat from the pork's back. The place we had our ramen at was called "Friend", it had 6 counter seats and 2 tables of 5 seats each. (If your party is small, you'll have to share a table...) This ramen was really tasty and the broth was light. Definitely worth the wait!
Here's a photo of some of the lines you'll see--people waiting to get into "Shukaen" for ramen...
After lunch, we walked to the Museum of Film Cinema. A lot of areas in Onomichi have been used to film movies. This museum showcases these areas and the movies.
From the museum, we walked to catch a cable car up to the top of Senkoji Park. From the top, you can see the whole city. The walk down brings you through many temples and shrines. This one shrine prays for humans 88 sins. The huge rosary (juzu) is pulled on to pray for your sins, as the beads come down a clicking sound is made, "click, click, click". Praying for your sins and hearing the sound is supposed to bring you peace with yourself. This is a photo of someone praying and pulling at the rosary, I took this photo while waiting for my turn.
Another temple that we visited was Saigokuji, the big "warazori" straw slippers are a symbol to protect your feet. This temple also has 108 steps to symbolize the sins of humans. I'm not quite sure if human sins are 88 or 108, it varies...
Onomichi also has a castle. We didn't get to explore it, but I thought the view of it from the deck of the Yamato set looked like it was about to fall off its perch...(don't sneeze!)
A citrus fruit that is found in this area is called "hassaku" orange. It is kind of half "zabon" pommelo, half orange. This daifuku mochi had "an" sweet bean paste and a chunk of "hassaku" inside. Delicious!