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Shimonoseki city

ShimonosekiMap of Shimonoseki Shimonoseki is the city located at the southwest end of Yamaguchi Prefecture, and it is the most western city in Honshu Island.
The south coast faces narrow Kanmon Channel like a canal, and the opposite side of the channel is Kitakyushu city on Kyushu Island.

Shimonoseki is the largest city in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and is the economic center in the prefecture.

And it has been the entrance to Korea and China by ship since ancient times.
Now, the ferries to Busan in South Korea are operated nearly every day, and the ones to Qingdao and Suzhou in China are operated a few times a week.

Many ships swim through Kanmon Channel, because it is the main route connecting Seto Inland Sea and Korea, China.
The total length of Kanmon Channel is about 20 km, and the width is only 0.7-2.0 km. Additionaly the route is V-shaped and the tidal currents are complex.
So it is one of most difficult water route for ship in Japan.

Three tunnels (Shinkansen, JR and national road) and a bridge (Expressway) run under/over Kanmon Channel, and they connect between Honshu Island and Kyushu Island.

Shimonoseki Port is positioned roughly in the center of Kanmon Channel, and there is JR Shimonoseki station near the port.

The longtime central area is located about 2 km east of the port, and is called "Karato area".
There are some old buildings, temples and shrines.

The southernmost area is an island separeted by a narrow canal, and is called "Hikoshima island".

Shin-Shimonoseki station on Shinkansen is located about 8 km north of central Shimonoseki city.
To visit central area, change to the train of JR San'yo Line there. It leads to Shimonoseki station in about 10 minutes.

Shimonoseki Sightseeing Guide : Shimonoseki City, International Affairs Division official website

Sightseeing spots around JR Shimonoseki station

  • Green Mall shopping street /1/ : The shopping street along JR line located just north of Shimonoseki station.
    Many of the shops are run by Korean people living in Japan, so we can get various Korean foods, sundries and traditional Korean wears. So it is called "Little Korea" or "Little Busan".
  • Kaikyo Yume Tower /2/ : The observation tower located about 0.8 km west of Shimonoseki station.
    It faces Shimonoseki Port.
    The height is 153 meters, and the observatory room is at the level of 143 meters.

Sightseeing spots Karato area

  • Former Akita Company Building /11/ : The building of former maritime company built in 1915.
    It is a Western-style building, and Japanese garden is set up on the top of the building.
  • Former British Consulate /12/ : The building of Japan's third British Consulate built in 1906.
    It is a Western-style brick building, and is designated as a national important cultural property.
  • Kaikyokan aquarium /13/ : The aquarium opened in 2001.
    Shimonoseki is famous for puffer fish, so this aquarium contains about 100 different species of puffer fish in the world.
  • Karato Market /14/ : The old market for citizens in Shimoseki.
    The observarory deck is set up on the second floor, so we can overlook the market.
    On weekends, the first floor changes to the town of many sushi stands.
  • Shunpanrou /15/ : An old Japanese restaurant of puffer fish dishes.
    There is a guest house in the site, and the Treaty of Shimonoseki between Japan and China was signed in 1895, to end the First Sino-Japanese War.
    This building became the memorial museum in 1937.
  • Akama Shrine /16/ : A Shinto Shrine enshrining Emperor Antoku (1178-1185).
    He became the Emperor at the age of 2. His mother was from Taira Clan at the helm of the government, but Taira Clan was at later stages in life.
    Taira Clan was lost in the battle against Minamoto Clan at this channel in 1185, then his grandmother with him drowned themselves in the sea. He was only 8 years old.
    And Minamoto Clan founded new government by samurai in Kamakura.
    Dead little Emperor Antoku was buried here, and this shrine was founded in 1191.
    The current buildings were rebuilt in 1965.
  • Kanmonkyo Bridge /17/ : A bridge for car across Kanmon Channel.
    The length is 1,068 meters, and the height above sea level is about 141 meters.
  • Kanmon Tunnel Footpath /18/ : Kanmon Roadway Tunnel is 3,461 meters long, and runs under Kanmon Channel.
    And along the tunnel, another tunnel for pedestrian is set up.
    The entrances to the tunnel is near the coast, so the length of the tunnel is 780 meters. We can go to Kyushu Island on foot.
  • Hinoyama Park /19/ : An observatory park on the hill located about 1 km north of Kanmonkyo bridge.
    The ropeway is operated from the foot of the hill.

Sightseeing spots in Hikoshima island area

  • Ganryujima island /21/ : A small island located just east of Hikoshima.
    Musashi Miyamoto fought a duel with Kojiro Sasaki in 1612.
    Musashi was the strongest samurai with the technique of fighting with two swords, and Kojiro was a young swordman using a long sword.
    It is said that Musashi beat Kojiro, but not much is known about the fight.
    Therefore many fictions about this fight such as novel, movie have been created, then most of Japanese people know this fight.
Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By Shinkansen

Most of rapid trains of "Nozomi" and "Hikari" don't stop Shin-Shimonoseki station.
So I suggest that you get off at Kokura station in Kitakyushu city. All trains stop at Kokura.
Then get on the train to Shimonoseki on JR Line. It takes about 15 minutes.

By airplane

Yamaguchi Ube Airport has the flights from Tokyo (Haneda).
By route bus, about 1 hour and 15 minutes from the airport to Shimonoseki station.

A shop in Little Korea
Photo by Kanmon Kaikyo Kanko Suishin Kyogikai
Kaikyo Yume Tower
Former Akita Company Building
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture
Former British Consulate
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture
Karato Market
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture
Memorial museum in Shunpanrou
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture
The room where the treaty was signed in 1895
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture
Akama Shrine
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture
Kanmon Tunnel Footpath
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture
A view of Kanmon Channel and Kanmonkyo bridge from Hinoyama Park
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture
Ropeway to Hinoyama Park
Photo by Kanmon Kaikyo Kanko Suishin Kyogikai
The scene of the fight on Ganryujima
Photo by Yamaguchi Prefecture

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