Splendid views and abandoned castle in Onomichi

After a 50-minute wait at Kurashiki station, the train for Onomichi finally arrived. On the train I saw an add for something Meitantei Conan (‘Case Closed’) related going on in Tottori (the birthplace of the mangaka). Being a huge fan of Meitantei Conan, I kept feeling disappointed that I didn’t choose to go to Tottori, the prefecture next to Okayama, as well. Conan kept staring at me like “Why didn’t you come and visit me?!”, so much suffering! 😉 I hope this event is a yearly event, so I can still make it some other time. ^^

Kurashiki, Japan Onomichi, Japan

Onomichi, an hour’s train ride later, had me totally confused. When I exited the station and looked at the map in several directions, I could barely make out where I was. I searched for the rental bikes (with which I could discover the islands between Onomichi and Shikoku, the 4th biggest island of Japan) but gave up after an hour.

There was a hill with temples, of which I’d definitely seen more than enough already, which had an ‘old temple route’. Since I couldn’t go island hopping, I though “okay, why not, nothing to do anyway,” so I started following the route.

Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan

After about five temples, I studied the map again and found out that up the hill was a park with observation deck… Change of route! Up to the observation deck! Turned out to be a good plan. ^^ I had a really nice view of the islands between Honshu and Shikoku in the inland sea. Marvelous!

Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, JapanOnomichi, Japan

I wanted to return by a different route so took a path that was supposed to lead me to the west observation deck and then just further down. The observation deck (or what I think was the observation deck) had signs saying tachi iri kinshi  (do not enter) so I, a bit suspicious though, walked on… and found a random castle. I was told by an old lady who happened to pass by that it was only built in Showa (1926 – 1989) when the economy was going well. The castle was built to show off the town’s prospering economy, but was left to crumble when times turned bad. She told me there are many such castles in Japan… If anyone knows of other abandoned castles overgrown with ivy, let me know!

Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan Onomichi, Japan

After that, I walked down and through a shoutengai where I expected to find my guesthouse. I didn’t find it but had to return to the station to puck up my luggage (which I was smart enough to put in a locker after being completely exhausted carrying it around all day the day before) so I used the WiFi there to check the map. It turned out there was a second shoutengai just a little beyond the one I just checked. I found my guesthouse, which was located behind and above a cafe. I was once again shown around by a staff that was more than happy to show me around in Japanese. 😉

I settled in my bed in the female dormitory and then, before going out, asked the check in guy about recommendations to eat. He pointed one out, gave directions and a map, and off I went… to not find it even after an hour’s search. Most places appeared to be closed so I couldn’t find any other place either. I ended up eating in the cafe in the same building as the guesthouse, after not finding a konbini (convenience store) either.

As I sat down in the cafe, the check in guy (I think the staff for both the cafe and the guesthouse were the same) spotted me and asked whether his directions weren’t good enough. I told him I kept searching and everything seemed to be closed so I ended up there. He said sorry and looked quite pained. Poor guy! In any case, I ordered something there and though it wasn’t much, it turned out to be enough anyway.

I spent some time in the common space and chatted with a Japanese lady (most people in the guesthouse seemed to be Japanese or Asian) and then off to bed!

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22 thoughts on “Splendid views and abandoned castle in Onomichi

  1. Pingback: For the love of Shoutengai | yoooya

  2. Woah, it looks so densely populated close to the water. I’m starting to wonder at which point a village becomes more of a city in Japan. I think in Germany villages only need like a few thousand people to become a town and anything with several hundred thousands of citizens is considered a bigger city. Maybe with Tokyo as a comparison nothing below several million people dare classify as a city? Sorry, just some random thoughts of mine, as usual … 😀
    And: Conan-kun! ^^ One of those anime that go on forever (okay, more like 800 episodes) and still manage to entertain me. :3

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    • Haha I wonder! I think it’s best to not compare with our tiny European idea of cities and town and villages 😛 It’s the same in Belgium as in Germany, just a few thousand people would be a town/city. I’m not sure how Japan sees this city/town/village thing…
      Yep, Conan-kun! ^^ It’s the only anime I actually watch, because all the other ones are just too boring haha! Glad to find another Conan-fan! (I always go crazy whenever I see him somewhere because he’s not all over the place like One Piece etc. :P)

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      • Probably true 😀
        Really? I’d have thought he pops up quite often 😮 Did you ever visit the Gosho Aoyama museum? I can’t remember whether you already wrote about this … O.o But anyways, Conaaaan! ^~^

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      • That’s probably in Tottori prefecture, it’s on my list for my next trip! ^^ I’m sure you’d remember if I’d written about it already 😀 Actually in Japan you don’t really come across Conan-kun often! That’s why I’m always so excited to see him pop up somewhere ^^

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      • Yes, it says “Hokuei town, Tottori prefecture” on their website. You never know, my memory is not always that great … Almost never actually 😀 When will you go next? And for how long? 🙂
        Awwr, poor Conan-kun. I’ll keep am eye out for him when I’m there! :3

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      • Then look out for a post about it in about half a year (I’m sure I’ll get behind again… xD)! I’m sure you’d remember Conan! 😀 As my countdown thingy on the right says: 11 April! ^^ 3 months, but depending on how much money I can earn it could turn out to be 6 months, we’ll see! 😀
        Hehe good idea! Any plans on going yet?

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      • Alright, should I write it down in my calendar and annoy you with some reminders? 😀
        Great! That’s really close and six months sounds awesome. ^^ And I always overlook your countdown-thingy. Probably partial blindness due to jealousy 😀 Weeeell, don’t tell anybody yet, since it’s not a fixed thingy yet (I make it sound as if you’d call all my friends otherwise xD), buhuuuut, I’m aiming for October this year and at least a 3 month stay, if I manage to make enough money. I want to spend the first 4 weeks in a language school (so that I don’t get lost completely xD) and then travel around. *~*

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      • Hahaha sure! 😀
        Aww now don’t be jealous! ^^ Ohoho, now I’m going to find all your friends and tell them about it! Haha no, that’s also pretty close isn’t it 😀 It’s a good idea to go to a language school first, I think. And I definitely recommend GenkiJACS, in case you haven’t come across the school yet. It’s really a great school with supernice staff and fantastic teachers ^^ Ganbatte!!

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      • You have all this experience and know so much more about Japan, how can I be not jealous? ^^
        Aah, how cool! That was actually the school I was wanting to go to! 🙂 Great if you can recommend it! I’m just not sure whether it makes sense to take the one in Fukuoka. I’d like to start there and then travel to Tokyo (maybe my “This is BIG O_O”-shock there wouldn’t be as severe as in Tokyo :D) instead of starting in Tokyo. Did you go to the one in Tokyo?
        Right now I’m also trying to work out whether flights are cheaper depending on the airport and how on earth you can book an open return ticket … As I said: experience is awesome 😀
        ありがとう! ^~^ (Even if I don’t know much more, at least I can type in hiragana and look cool :D)

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      • Hehe, nothing to be jealous of in my opinion 😛
        Which one you go to is of course for you to decide. I went to the Fukuoka one twice now, and I really love it! Of course, if you immediately want the culture shock, Tokyo might have a bigger impression on you 😛 For me, as someone who’s always lived in this 6000-people village, even Fukuoka was huge! 😀
        I guess you could try booking a normal return ticket and then just change the return date afterwards? Of course, it might cost a bit but I guess it’s an easy solution (and a lot cheaper than a one way ticket!) 😉
        カッコイイだね!^o^ I really learned a lot in the five weeks I spent at Genki the first time, all Japanese I met were surprised of my abilities! xD The school is European-oriented, so the way they teach is actually useful for us Europeans! 😀

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      • Ah, parallel answering! XD Now I asked you the same stuff twice, I think … Sorryyy!
        Hehe. はい ^^
        That sounds great. I will impress people, yaaay! So I’ll go for Genki in Fukuoka. :3

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      • Yeees, thank you! ^~^ It was already my favourite, since I want to avoid starting in Tokyo and being like “Meh. Everything’s so small here -_-” in the rest of Japan 😉

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      • Reminds me, when we got to Tokyo (after spending over a month in Fukuoka, then going to places like Osaka, Kyoto and Yokohama), we were like “Hmm, Tokyo really isn’t as busy and chaotic as they say…” because we’d gotten used to a little business already 😛

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      • 😀 So maybe I’ll be bored by Tokyo when I visit too many other cities first? That would be weird. 😀 Oh yeah, if you have any recommendations where I definitely MUST go, city-wise or sightseeing-wise, I’m all ears! (Or rather “eyes” since I’m only reading this, but you know what I mean.)

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      • I’m sure you can’t really get bored in Tokyo (unless you’re a ‘big city-hater’ like me xD). It’s more like Tokyo is a bunch of smaller cities, each city having its own … character I guess? So you certainly wouldn’t easily get bored there ^^
        Well, the usual must-sees you’ll find in the tourist guides and online, so I’ll try to think of something more off the beaten path ^^

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      • Yep, that’s what I mean. I love the Tokyo suburbs, for example, because they’re not like Tokyo at all. (I’m not sure whether you were already following me back then, but if you check the posts on ‘Koiwa’, you’ll see what I mean ;))
        At your service, Ma’am! *bows* ^^

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      • Since I tend to forget all the names of those places you’ve blogged about, I have no idea as well. 😀 Will check out Koiwa then.
        Uhm… Thank you and stand easy, Corporal Yoooya! (Or something like that :D)

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      • Did you find any Koiwa posts? I think I wrote one post about “this too is Tokyo” or something like that, showing a totally different side of Tokyo (in Koiwa) ^^
        Corporal Yooya in stand-by Ma’am!

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