The Temple Walk and the Way of Literature
Onomichi is a Japanese city located on the coast of the Inland Sea in Hiroshima Prefecture. It is characterized by being a quiet city full of ninth-century Buddhist temples. The city is located on several hills so it is a network of alleys with quite a slope.
In order to not to get lost among all these alleys one can choose between two types of routes: Temple Walk (Old Temple Loop) and The Path of Literature. Of course, it’s best to combine them.
The Literature Trail is the shorter of the two, stretching from Senkoji Park to the city. Once in the city the path joins the Temples Walk. This walk runs from east to west and connects 25 of Onomichi’s best-known temples.
How to locate Onomichi temples?
If you arrive at the Shin – Onomichi station, you will start your journey by the Way of Literature, if you arrive at the Onomichi station, at the bottom of the hill, you will start your journey by the Temple Walk.
In my case, I arrived directly at Onomichi station. Just arriving at the station there is an information point where you are given a small map so that you can quickly find the beginning of the path.
Once on the path it’s pretty easy to follow the map. All the temples are different, all are very nice and full of details. During the tour you can take a detour up to the viewpoints on the different hills of Onomichi. In my opinion, you don’t have to climb everyone, and if you do, get ready to sweat. On the other hand, if you’re lazy, you’re also lucky because one of them can be climbed on a chairlift.
Curiosities of the city
The city of Onomichi has been featured in many Japanese films, including Tokyo Story and The Naked Island, two Japanese classics. It is also featured in the anime series Kamichu! about high school students living in Onomichi. The city also has a museum dedicated to Hirayama Ikuo, one of Japan’s most famous painters.
On gastronomy, Onomichi’s local specialty is ramen. If you tell a Japanese person that you’ve been to Onomichi, the first thing they’ll ask is if you’ve tried ramen there. So if you go, don’t forget to try it.
In one of the alleys we find the Cat Alley, a small neighbourhood dedicated to cats, with art galleries, museums and cafés. The local artist Shunji Sonoyama personally painted all the fukuishi neko (lucky cats) that are located in different points of this curious corner of Onomichi.
How to get from Okayama to Onomichi?
From Okayama you can go to Onomichi with the JR Sanyo line. The journey is 1h 30 and costs 1140 yen. There are trains every half hour, it is the cheapest and most comfortable option. If you decide to take the Shinkansen line, apart from the fact that you will have to pay more, the Shin – Onomichi station is far away and when you arrive you will have to take a bus to the center. For more information on how to get there, you can visit the wikivoyage.
Is Onomichi worth going to?
Without a doubt, what I liked most about Onomichi is that you can walk through the temples in silence, almost without crossing anyone. This tranquility combined with the spirituality of the place makes Onomichi a perfect place to relax and let yourself be carried away by the temple routes.
Although the city is beautiful, if you go just in time you don’t need to stay one night. You can do as I did: arrive in the morning, spend the day walking around quietly and in the afternoon take the train to the city of Hiroshima.
In my next post I will tell you about Hiroshima, a modern city that looks to the future but does not forget the past.
Everything you do comes back to you.