Please take a look at the cover photo! It’s a scene from TAI-CHO-RO in Tomo-no-ura, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture. The place was once admired by Korean Envoy (Chosen Tsushin-shi) as the best scenic place in Japan. Chosen Tsushin-shi were 17 envoys to Japan dispatched by Korean Dynasties (Goryeo & Yi) from 15th to 19th centuries. Their words of admiring Tomo-no-ura are shown in the six white Chinese characters on the plaque hung on the wall in the upper part of the photo.
One of the series of postal stamps for “Seto Island Sea National Park” issued in 1939 captures an iconic view of SEN-SUI-TO Island (above left). You may notice that the scene caught in the stamp is at almost the same angle as my cover photo. I am so pleased to see the same beautiful scene as admired by people over centuries.
However, the scene was almost doomed to disappear. In 1983, Hiroshima Prefecture revealed a plan to fill up 2 hectares of the port, TOMO-KO, where the stone light house exists (above right photo) and construct a reinforced concrete bridge to cross the sea channel and connect TOMO-KO and SEN-SUI-TO Island. Local people started staging an opposition campaign for preserving the scenery and brought the case to the court. The battle lasted over 30 years and local people’s efforts resulted in a revocation of the plan by Hiroshima Prefecture in 2015.
Instead of a reinforced concrete bridge, a small ferry is your means today to move from TOMO-KO Port to SEN-SUI-TO Island. The 5 minute ferry ride is a fun of feeling a sea breeze. Beeches in the island are so beautiful and you can enjoy walks through primeval forests as well.
After returning to TOMO-KO, please stroll around in the historical harbor. I’d recommend you visit OHTA Family Residence, an important cultural asset. It used to be a huge property maintained by a local family OHTA who brewed HOMEI-SHU, a local liquor for good health. I bought a bottle of HOMEI-SHU as my memory of Tomo-no-ura and a souvenir to my family.
Tomo-no-ura is located to the east of Hiroshima City. Take “Sakura” Shinkansen from Hiroshima Station to Fukuyama Station (23 min) and change to a local bus bound for Tomo-ko (30 min).
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