Speaking of Kure City in Hiroshima Prefecture, what is the first thing that pops up in your mind? When asked about Japanese people's impressions of Kure City, many would probably answer 'battleships and navy'. The reason is that Kure City is located in the southwestern part of Hiroshima Prefecture, bordering the Seto Inland Sea, has been used as a base by the Japanese Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force since the Meiji period. This time, the FUN! JAPAN editorial department actually visited Kure City and dived deep down into its charm and hidden spots. Read on to see what I've found!
What kind of place is Kure City in Hiroshima Prefecture?
Known as the city of the navy, Kure City is located 30 minutes from Hiroshima City by train. The warm climate of the Seto Inland Sea makes it easy to visit all year round. The port town has long been known as a "fine natural harbor", and the famous battleship Yamato was built here. Kure City is also frequently used as a filming location for movies, dramas, and anime. For example, the movie "Umizaru" (海猿) and the anime "In This Corner of the World" (この世界の片隅に) are set here. If you're a fans of these works, be sure visit the sites as a pilgrimage!
Kure City's tourist areas can be roughly divided into four areas: the central area, the Ondo & Kurahashi area, the Kawajiri & Yasuura area, and the Akinada Tobishima Kaido area.
In the central area, there is the "Yamato Museum" where a 1/10 scale replica of battleship Yamato is exhibited. The Ondo & Kurahashi area is a little-known spot for marine sports. In the Kawajiri & Yasuura area, you can enjoy a scenic drive on the M.t Noro Sazanami Skyline, and in the Akinada Tobishima Kaido area, you can enjoy cycling sightseeing just like the Shimanami Kaido! Of the four areas, this time I will introduce the Kurahashi area and the Akinada Tobishima Kaido area!
What is the Akinada Tobishima Kaido, the superb view comparable to the Shimanami Kaido?
The Akinada Tobishima Kaido (安芸灘とびしま海道) is a road that connects seven islands from Shimokamagari Island in Kure City to Okamura Island in Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, about 40 minutes by car from Kure City.
The islands are connected by seven bridges, and a 31-km long seaway stretches from Okamura Island in Ehime Prefecture through Osakishimo Island, Teshima Island, Kamikamagari Island, and Shimokamagari Island to Kawajiri in Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture.
The Akinada Tobishima Kaido is a famous spot for cycling, just like the Shimanami Kaido. You can enjoy sightseeing on the island leisurely on a rental electric assist bicycle (normal mountain bikes are also available)! Compared to the Shimanami Kaido, there are fewer uphills & downhills, fewer traffic lights, and the distance is shorter, so even beginners can enjoy cycling with peace of mind.
Shimokamagari Island where you can feel the history and culture of Japan
Shimokamagari Island (下蒲刈島), the starting point of the Kaido, is one of the two sea checkpoints (関所 / sekisho - a border checkpoint) that used to exist in the Seto Inland Sea. There are many beautiful Japanese gardens on the island, and it is also famous as a garden island (庭園の島 / teien no shima). There are cottages where you can stay overnight and co-working spaces along the coast, making it perfect for workation(*) while enjoying the superb view!
*Workation: A slang term for work+vacation. Remote work at places other than home: vacation destinations such as sightseeing spots and homecoming (to hometown outside the city).
Shimokamagari Island is also full of delicious gourmet foods! This time, I would like to introduce a restaurant called “Okonomiyaki Kishina” (お好み焼き きしな). Speaking of Hiroshima's specialty, it always comes to okonomiyaki (Hiroshima-yaki). The okonomiyaki here has a homely taste and is reasonably priced. Another highlight is that even if you add your favorite toppings on top of such voluminous okonomiyaki, it still does not exceed 1,000 yen. The staff are friendly and the atmosphere of the shop is very nice, so please visit and give it a try!
If you like marine sports, the hidden gem you don't want to miss is "Kurahashi Island"
Kurahashi Island (倉橋島), the southernmost large island of Hiroshima Prefecture, was once used as a secret base for the now-defunct Japanese Navy. The Katsurahama Beach on the island has been selected as one of Japan's top 100 beaches. The water here is highly transparent and the waves are very calm. The Katsurahama Beach is surrounded by mountains, and the name of the mountain is "Hiyama" (火山). The kanjis are also used for "volcano" (火山 - read as 'Kazan'), but it's not a real volcano! What's more, the Hiyama trekking experience offers a beautiful scenery of Katsurahama from the summit.
Kurahashi Island is an island for enjoying marine sports too! The Seto Inland Sea has almost no waves and is calm, so even beginners can easily enjoy marine sports such as SUP and kayaking.
*Even newbies like me was able to stand up without trembling!
Take in the superb view of the Katsurahama Beach all to yourself! Seaside Katsuragahamaso
"Seaside Katsurigahamaso" (シーサイド桂ヶ浜荘), an accommodation facility/co-working space on the island, is just a short walk from Katsurahama Beach. Because it is right next to the beach, you can see the islands floating in the Seto Inland Sea from your very room. Also, be sure take a good look at the name of the room! All the guest rooms are named after fish. For example: Kisugo (キスゴ - local name for Sillago sihama), Gizami (ギザミ - local name for wrasse), etc.
The place is usually only visited by locals and hotel guests, so it's like a little-known beach! You can also experience beach yoga, and if you want to do other marine sports such as SUP, you can apply at Seaside Katsurugahamaso!
In addition to drinks, meals are also served at the cafe annexed to the accommodation facility. Especially recommended is the lunch menu! Most of the ingredients are vegetables and seafood found/caught on the island. You can also enjoy fish dishes that are rarely eaten in other areas.
- Ryokan name: Seaside Katsuragahamaso (シーサイド桂ヶ浜荘)
- Address: 576-7 Sainoki, Kurahashi-cho, Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Number of rooms: 7 rooms
- Check-in/out: 15:00/10:00
- Access: About 35 minutes by car from Kure Station (about 1 hour and 6 minutes by Kurahashi Island route bus)
The places I introduced this time are about 40 minutes by car from Kure Station. The best part is that all of them have spectacular views and are little-known spots! Next time you visit Kure City in Hiroshima Prefecture, it would be a good idea to visit areas other than the area around the station!
- What kind of place is Kure City in Hiroshima Prefecture?
- What is the Akinada Tobishima Kaido, the superb view comparable to the Shimanami Kaido?
- Shimokamagari Island where you can feel the history and culture of Japan
- If you like marine sports, the hidden gem you don't want to miss is "Kurahashi Island"
- Take in the superb view of the Katsurahama Beach all to yourself! Seaside Katsuragahamaso