Port Trip around Seto Inland Sea in Light Truck (Part 2)

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Port Trip around Seto Inland Sea in Light Truck

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Japan Hour (Synopsis Only):

Port Trip around Seto Inland Sea in Light Truck (Part 2)

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We continue our road trip to ports in search of delicious seasonal food. On the third day, we take a ferry to Miyajima. It is one of Japan's top three scenic spots, along with Amanohashidate and Matsushima.

We go to the main street here, which is lined with several restaurants, food stalls and souvenir shops. We drop by a momiji manju shop, where we buy some freshly-baked manju.

We then head to Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima's main tourist attraction which is a World Cultural Heritage Site. The shrine was built in the style of Heian palatial architecture by Kiyomori Taira. After praying in the main hall, we take a rickshaw ride to what was previously the main street before the current shopping lane was built. We come across a five-storey pagoda, which is called the Sky Tree of Miyajima. It was built in the Muromachi era and has been designated as an Important Cultural Property. We also check out a street called Yamabeno Komichi.

After this, we return to Hiroshima and check into the Toyoko Inn. For dinner, we go to an Okonomiyaki restaurant. While we wait for our Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki to be ready, we have some pan-fried gizzard, a popular snack in Hiroshima.

On the fourth day, we continue driving around Hiroshima on our light truck. We head to Kure, where the famous Battleship Yamato was built during the war. We visit the Yamato Museum next to the docks. Its main attraction is a 1/10th scale model of Battleship Yamato, which was made based on the drawings, pictures and videos of the sunken ship underwater. The original ship was 264m long; it is said to be the heaviest battleship ever constructed. It had a 46cm main gun - believed to be the largest gun ever mounted on a warship - with a maximum range of 42km. The shell used for the main gun is exhibited at the museum. It is 198cm long and weighs 1.46 tonnes. About 330kg of gunpowder was needed to fire this shell.

We have lunch at a restaurant which serves 20 kinds of “Navy curry”. It also has thin noodles and Kure ramen on the menu, both of which are local specialities. The curry is served in a Submarine Kenryu bowl, which is in the shape of a ship. After our meal, we continue driving our light truck along the Seto Inland Sea. We cross the Akinada Bridge that connects to the islands in Seto. There are more than 700 big and small islands in Seto. We make a stopover at Kubi Higashi Port and later visit a place called Mitarai. It flourished as a port town in the Edo era. There are several traditional townhouses - called machiya - here, such as those for merchants, hotels and shipping agents.

After Mitarai, we take a 15-minute ferry ride to Osaki Kamijima Island, where the Okamoto Soy Sauce factory is located. Its speciality product is raw soy sauce, which goes well with white fish. We return to Hiroshima and stay at the Seaside Hotel, with rooms that offer a panoramic view of the Seto Inland Sea.

On our fifth and final day, we start the day by soaking in a refreshing bath while enjoying the spectacular sea view. We next go to Mihara Port to look for octopus. Mihara is famous as one of the major octopus producers in the Seto Inland Sea. Octopus grown in Mihara is called Mihara Yassa Octopus and it is best eaten fried or grilled. Our next stop is Yoshiwa Port in Onomichi, a city between the mountains and the sea which has many hills and alleys. We go to Sasai, a store selling Debera, a delicacy also known as fivespot flounder. People in Onomichi have been eating this since the Edo era and it was once even presented to the Showa Emperor. After this, we drive to the centre of Onomichi. It is a port town with a nostalgic atmosphere and the view from the mountain top is wonderful. We can see Shin Onomichi Bridge and Shimanami Expressway from here.

We then drop by the Kukai ramen restaurant to eat Onomichi Ramen. The soup is a rich broth made of pork, together with seafood soup stock using dried young Seto sardines. It goes well with the noodles. After our meal, we drive the light truck towards Fukuyama city. We make a stopover at Tomonoura. One can still see several machiya buildings from the Edo era in the town. We go to Taichorou, a national special historic site next to the main building of Fukuzenji. Built in 1690, it was a guest house where Korean envoys dispatched from the Yi Dynasty used to stay in the Edo era.

We next enter Okayama from Hiroshima and head to our goal of the Seto Ohashi Bridge. The bridge connects the main island to Shikoku Island. We end our five-day road trip by going to the Washuzan viewing platform at the bridge to enjoy a spectacular view of the islands.

Tips:

1) Yamato Museum is one of the main attractions of Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture
2) Octopus is a must-try item when visiting Mihara Port

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