Along the Path of Literature

Onomichi (尾道; ) has been called "Japan's hometown", a quiet port city of temples and literature along the Seto Inland Sea.


Though under the radar of most foreign tourists, Onomichi has dozens of ancient temples and monuments, which are connected by two enjoyable walks, and the start of an exceptional bike trail to Shikoku. It has been the home of a number of Japan's more famous authors, such as Shiga Naoya, Takahashi Gen'ichirō, and Hayashi Fumiko. Better preserved than most towns of its kind, Onomichi has also been the setting for a number of movies and TV dramas, including Yasujiro Ozu's 1953 classic Tokyo Story, and a 2005 anime series, Kamichu!

Tourist information

Get in

By train

The centrally-located JR Onomichi Station is on the San'yo Main Line, between Hiroshima to the west and Okayama to the east. Shin-Onomichi Station is on the San'yo Shinkansen, but it's only served by the all-stops Kodama. Buses run from Shin-Onomichi to the city center (15-20 minutes, ¥170).

Map of Onomichi

Alternately, if you're traveling by Shinkansen, transfer to the San'yo Main Line at Fukuyama all Kodama and Hikari trains stop there, as does one Nozomi per hour and complete the trip to JR Onomichi Station from there (20 minutes by regular train).

By ferry

Ferries travel to islands in the Seto Inland Sea, and also to Imabari on Shikoku, which is not far from Matsuyama. The harbor is next to JR Onomichi Station. Shuttle ferries also run from the harbor across the strait to Mukaishima (2 minutes, ¥100 one-way for foot passengers)

By bus

Two daytime buses run from Osaka (approx. 4 3/4 hours, ¥3870 one way, ¥7020 round trip). Shuttle buses also run from Tokyo (Shinjuku), Kobe (Sannomiya), Hiroshima, and Hiroshima Airport (80 minutes, ¥1120).

Get around

A convenient bus shuttles through the town, with a terminal outside JR Onomichi Station.



Onomichi is best known for two walks. The Path of Literature (文学のこみち Bungaku no komichi) is the shorter of the two, winding its way downhill from Senkōji Park back to the city. It features 24 stones, carved with memorable quotes from Japanese authors linked to Onomichi; alas, they're all in Japanese, but it's a pleasant stroll through woods, temples, and shrines just the same.

At the bottom of the hill, the path merges with the well-signposted Old Temple Loop (古寺めぐり Koji-meguri), which connects 25 of Onomichi's better-known temples in a 2km east-west walk. The western end is a short distance from the train station, beginning with the stone gate of Jikoji (持光寺); to start at the eastern end, take the bus to Jodoji-shita and head to Kairyuji (海龍寺).



Entrance to Ichibangai


Onomichi rāmen

The local specialty is Onomichi ramen, a variation of the ubiquitous noodle soup that would look suspiciously like the ordinary soy-flavored kind if not for the hint of fish paste in the stock and the gobs of melted lard floating on top. The cylindrical restaurant at the top of the Senkō-ji ropeway will happily serve you a bowl, as will nearly any restaurant in the station/harbor area.


Onomichi is not long on nightlife. Several of the ramen shops serve beer as well. If you'd just like a drink, do as the locals do grab something from a convenience store and claim a bench by the harbor.


Unless you have a keen interest in Pure Land Buddhism or Japanese literature, it's probably not worth your while to spend the night in Onomichi. Most people opt to day-trip from Hiroshima or Okayama.

Go next

Bridge over Ikuchijima
Routes through Onomichi

Hakata Mihara  W  E  Fukuyama Shin-Osaka
Hiroshima Mihara  W  E  Fukuyama Okayama
END  N  S  Imabari
Hiroshima Mihara  W  E  Fukuyama Okayama

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