The Real Life Ponyo Town is a port town on the Seto Inland Sea’s coastline in Bingo, an area in the southeast of Hiroshima prefecture. The serene ambience of this nostalgic fishing town, as well as its steep landscapes, influenced Studio Ghibli and American movies. Let’s check out the Real Life Ponyo Town, Tomonoura to revive some iconic scenes
As said earlier, Tomonoura is home to Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo On the Cliff by The Sea Ghibli movie in 2005. It was also the location for The Wolverine filming in September 2012. The location is still valued for its old-fashioned atmosphere reminiscent of the Edo era (1603-1868), as typified by the prominent Joyato lighthouse.
A Short History of Tomonoura
Tomonoura is part of Setonaikai National Park, which is administered by Fukuyama City and offers stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea and its lovely archipelago of rocky islands covered in forest. Aside from its cultural significance, the real life Ponyo Town is appealing for its landscape, which can be viewed from the port or the mountainside.
The touristy side of Tomonoura can be enjoyed with a simple stroll through the village’s narrow alleyways. Wandering from temples to cafés, between wooden houses and local businesses, is relaxing and provides a flavor of a more tranquil way of life, in contrast to many Japanese cities’ frenzied pace.
Despite its tiny size, Tomonoura conceals various temples and shrines hidden near water or in the forest. The most well-known is Fukuzen-ji, with its traditional tatami room Taichoro and a stunning view of the Benten-Jima and Sensui-jima islands, which are accessible by boat from the port.
Furthermore, Fukuzen-ji houses an exquisite Maria Kannon Statue, which conceals its Christian traits in a traditional Buddhist portrayal to avoid the anger of the anti-Christian feudal rulers.
Visiting Some spots in Real Life Ponyo Town
It should be noted that there are no exact filming site match-ups in Tomonoura because this port town inspired and served as the basis for Miyazaki’s novel. He spent two months there before filming began in 2005, and his experiences influenced and shaped the animated village in which Sosuke lives.
Sosuske’s house was inspired by a private house on the cliff directly under Ankokuji Temple, which was built during the Kamakura Period (1192-1333).
This is the rocky beach near the ferry port and Enpuku-ji temple is where Sosuke discovers Ponyo.
The Route Sosuke and His Mother Commute
Sosuke and his mother’s journey takes them along the road shown below, with his school visible in the distance on the left. The school’s façade even has a painted signboard with Ponyo on it.
The Intersection Sosuke and his Mother Pass during the Stormy Day
Despite the terrible weather and danger, Sosuke and his mother are determined to return home on a stormy day. They travel by an intersection identical to the one above, which is essentially just looking back the opposite way to the previously mentioned commuting path.
Ponyo’s human form is lost in a tunnel about 3 kilometres west. However, during a break in filming for ‘The Wolverine’ (2013) in September 2012, Rila Fukushima went there and tweeted a picture of herself in front of the tunnel where Ponyo reverts to a fish owing to utilizing too much magical power to help Sosuke and others.
The ferry passenger terminal.
Anime Attractions in Tomonoura
Ponyo goods are available at the Tourist Information Centre. It is the last stop on the bus route from Fukuyama station to Tomonoura, and they can print you a Ponyo map of the area for free. There are also Wolverine maps available.
As you wander through the main town, you’ll find a lot of posters on stores and noticeboards proclaiming how proud they are that Tomonoura inspired the town represented in this wonderfully magnificent fairy tale.
Rel life Ponyo town has a long history of chirimen. It is created by boiling juvenile sardine white bait in a pot, then extracting and drying precisely the appropriate amount of moisture.
It is stated that chirimen got its name because the appearance of shirasu dried in the sun mimics the texture of crepe. Shirasu cultivated in the nutrient-rich Seto Inland Sea yields a tasty, umami-rich chirimen.
Chirimen of Tomonoura
Tomonoura sea bream
How to Get to Ponyo’s Real Life Locations, Tomonoura
Tomotetsu bus, boarding from South exit, house n°5 (550 / US$3.81, numerous departures from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
1 hour by boat from Onomichi (US$15.25)
Sensui-jima: Heisei Iroha Maru ferry (240 yen / US$1.66 roundtrip) takes 5 minutes from the harbor.
The Location is inaccessible via JR Pass
You can get there with a rented car or your Suica card.