A historic fishing village and port town that's home to more than its fair share of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, Tomonoura can feel on the sleepy as well as quiet side these days. As it so happens however, it's also achieved cinematic fame this century as one of the locations for The Wolverine (2013) and -- much more importantly to me -- the inspiration for the port town in Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo On the Cliff by the Sea (2008)!
Travelling as I do with a certain Puppet Ponyo, I figured I had to spend some time in what could be looked upon as Ponyo's hometown when I was visiting the part of Japan where it's located. And after doing so, I have to thank Ponyo (and Hayao Miyazaki) for having let me come to know about Tomonoura's existence -- because it really is a charming little place which does seem to be very much off the beaten tourist track (still) despite its not inconsequential historical as well as cinematic significance!
Even before we got off the bus, we could see -- and smell! --
the sea which still gives quite a few residents their livelihood :)
Plying the nearby waters were ships that instantly brought to mind
Sosuke's father's fishing vessel in Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
Truly, the views when looking out to sea were so mesmerizing
that it was very hard to tear one's eyes away from them
The antics of Puppet Ponyo did help some though... ;)
One look at Tomonoura harbour and it's easy to see
how its very sight can inspire filmmakers...
Puppet Ponyo helps give a good idea of the size of the
tallest stone lighthouse in Japan, not just Tomonoura
Don't streets like these look so inviting to wander along
as well as downright quaint and photogenic?
And when wandering along some of Tomonoura's streets and lanes,
we discovered that Puppet Ponyo had sisters in the town! :)