A port city with a colorful history and a strategic location on the Kanmon Straits
Shimonoseki is home to Tsunoshima Bridge , one of the most impressive spots in Yamaguchi Prefecture . The shallow waters beneath the long bridge are bright blue in summer and are a popular photo spot.
Equally impressive is the Kanmon Bridge, which spans the narrowest point of the Kanmon Straits that flows between Honshu and Kyushu. Look out towards this impressive feat of engineering from the lively fish market at Karato Ichiba .
- Akama-jingu Shrine, located near Karato Ichiba
- Hinoyama Park, overlooking the Kanmon Straits
- The impressive Tsunoshima Bridge
How to Get There
Shimonoseki is accessible in under half an hour from Yamaguchi City .
From Shin-Yamaguchi Station, take the Sanyo Shinkansen to Shin-Shimonoseki Station. Change there and take the Sanyo Line train to Shimonoseki Station.
For a more leisurely route, you can also take a local train to Shimonoseki Station from Higashi Hagi Station, which takes three hours. Get on the Sanyo Main Line at JR Higashi Hagi Station, change to the Mine Line at Asa Station, and change again to the Sanyo Main Line at Asa Station.
History and conflict
Shimonoseki's history has been peppered with battles for control of the narrow Kanmon Straits. One battle in 1185 determined the dominance of the Minamoto clan in Japan, ushering in 700 years of samurai rule. The Akama Jingu is dedicated to the child Emperor who died in this battle.
Another in 1863 created an international incident when the warlike lord of Choshu domain (former Yamaguchi Prefecture) briefly blocked the straits to foreign ships. The Mori were defeated in 1864.
Today, the straits are a busy shipping route. Watch the boats navigating through the straits from Hinoyama Park , which overlooks the waters.
The former British Consulate in Shimonoseki is a testimony to the strategic importance of the straits.
Try Shimonoseki fugu at Karato Ichiba
Just 10 minutes walking from the Akama-jingu Shrine is the Karato market. You're spoiled for choice at the enormous Karato Ichiba fish market. Take your pick of the tantalizing sushi and other delicacies on display.
Shimonoseki is the largest producer of fugu (blowfish) in Japan. Rest assured, the fish is safely prepared in traditional Yamaguchi style, with spices and a generous sprinkling of sliced spring onions. Always popular and often crowded, this enjoyable market offers a real taste of Yamaguchi culture at reasonable prices.
Tsunoshima Bridge and Tsunoshima Lighthouse
On a sunny summer's day, there is nothing to equal the azure waters of Tsunoshima. Tsunoshima Bridge has become popular thanks to the naturally clear waters, which complete this idyllic scenery.
The lighthouse on the island makes for an ideal photo and romantic location. If you have the energy, consider climbing the narrow, spiraling staircase inside Tsunoshima Lighthouse for a good view.
If you aren't planning on spending a night in Shimonoseki, prepare for a busy day if you hope to take in all the sights. For a shorter itinerary, prioritize a trip across the bridge, watch the ships navigate through the current, then head back to the mainland to indulge in the local culinary delicacies.