Is this really happening? You better believe it! Filming locations without any prejudice is very much the ethos of Tokyo Fox. Japanese idol girl group AKB48 are everywhere in Japan but apart from the name I wouldn’t know or recognise any of its many, many members (there are way more than 48!) if they passed me by. However, whilst doing my research on Tomonoura I came across a music video from 2014 by Misaki Iwasa who is a member of the group.
‘Tomonoura Boujou‘ is a fairly catchy enka (popular Japanese music genre) song about feelings and the harbour and the video was filmed in and around the port town and I just couldn’t resist seeking a few of them out whilst I was in the Ichichi ward of Fukuyama.
Watch the video here
First up is Tomonoura’s most recognisable symbol and that’s the 11 metre tall Joyato Lighthouse which dates back to the Edo period (1603 – 1868) and is located on the waterfront.
Forming part of the Setonaikai National Park, Tomonoura has a calm and laid-back atmosphere and nowhere is that more noticeable than on some of its narrow streets which are lined with wooden buildings such as the iriko (いりこ – a kind of little fish) one seen below.
In the eastern corner of the bay is a long pier in the foreground of some lush green mountains that stand over this picturesque fishing port town.
If you didn’t know about her video in advance then you’d certainly know on arrival in Tomonoura as images of her were fairly frequent whether it be on the buses (interior and exterior!), shop windows, the ferry port and of course the tourist information centre.
Bonus: Here are some random other shots of Tomonoura which don’t really have any place in my blogs about this music video, the shooting locations for ‘The Wolverine‘ (2013) or the inspirations depicted in ‘Ponyo‘ (2008).
First up is Ankokuji Temple which was founded during the Kamakura Period (1192-1333) and is situated up in the hills (below) with some fine views overlooking the bay that faces the Seto Inland Sea.
Yodohime Shrine (below) is just over a kilometre away to the west and gave me something to aim for as I walked along the horseshoe-shaped bay and again there was a nice panorama of the bay.
Enpukuji Temple (below) has been mentioned in both the Wolverine and Ponyo features though only as a focal point for finding other locations in the vicinity of it. It was constructed around 400 years ago and stands on a hilltop where a castle once stood.
Tomonoura stands on the southern point of the Numakuma Peninsula and there are actually two islands nearby with the closest one being Bentenjima (below) which is noticeable for its pagoda. However, it’s inaccessible to tourists but you can get a good view of it as you go beyond it en-route to Sensuijima which is just five minutes away and costs only ¥240 (return). The time I spent on the island was short to say the least as I had to take a ferry back 20 minutes later!
However, I did take a quick look round the island (below) which has a hotel, camp ground, observation decks, boardwalks, walking courses and some beautiful coloured cliffs covering the rugged coastline.
Finally, half a dozen photos below of random stuff from Tomonoura which I have nothing to add word-wise! Enjoy!
How to get there: Take a bus from stop #5 on the south side of JR Fukuyama station. It’s 14km away and takes approximately 25 minutes to reach the tourism information centre or you can get off a few minutes later at Tomokou bus stop; the final stop down the road from there.
You can see ‘The Wolverine‘ locations in Tomonoura here
You can see the locations which inspired ‘Ponyo‘ here