Only 90 minutes from Hiroshima! “Small Kyoto” sight-seeing in the Takehara area

This is an article about a trip to Takehara in Hiroshima, also called “Small Kyoto”, which has been selected as an Important Preservation District of Historic Buildings. You can get there by 90 minute train ride on the Setouchi Marine View from Hiroshima city.

I went to Takehara city of Hiroshima, where was the hometown of Massan’s by Setouchi Marine View (train).

Massan is the nick name of Mr. Masataka Taketuru who was the founder of the first Japanese distillery, Nikka whiskey. Massann became very famous because his biographical drama was on the air at NHK (National TV channel) in 2014 every morning.

Takehara city itself is nothing to do with whiskey but established as a saltern city during the Edo period. Takehara is called “Aki’s little Kyoto” where is a tranquil and peaceful old town and designated as the Nation's Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings.

Let’s go to Takehara by taking Setouchi Marine View!

On the way to Massan’s hometown Takehara, I met a man in the train and he told me…

Man: I lost my wife 5 years ago… I woke up in the middle of the night and feel like to die…

We cheered up this man!!!

This is Setouchi Marine View. It operates in the section between Hiroshima station and Mihara station only on Saturday, Sunday and holidays.

We were there at a good timing so we tried!

The nautical interior was cool.

It took about 90 minutes from Hiroshima to Takehara.

I got a sightseeing map from the information and headed to preserved area.

It was about 10 minutes walk, but actually we got lost and asked the direction…oops.! (I’m sure it was not difficult, maybe only us!!)

Preserved Historic Building area Takehara!

This is the house where Massan was born.

Café Ao… the curry rice looked yummy and I wanted to try but unfortunately it was closed.

Then, I strolled...

The view from the second floor.

We went up the stairs….


It was built refer to Kiyomizudera in Kyoto.

Morikawa residence is the old mansion house.

It’s open to a public so you can see what was like wealthy people’s house.

I was really surprised to see how big the house was.

The owner of the house was the man who built a fortune by saltern.

Fujii Brewing & Exchange House

There is a shop in the brewery and Soba (buckwheat noodle) restaurant too.

We had a lunch there. While we are having our noodles we heard a familiar voice…. “I lost my fife 5 years ago….” Oh gosh, it was him! The man we have met on the train!!

It was him again! ( I presume he didn’t notice we were there.)

I had ice cream wafer cake call “Syuzou Ice Monaka”. It had Sake aroma and was delicious. We found this at Michinoeki (Drive-in shopping area) Takehara too. I also loved the naturally leavened bread from Baking Factory Mochiduki. The bread was all fluffy and tasty!

There is Okuno Island near Takehara where is called Rabbit’s Island. I recommend visiting there too.

*To get to the Okuno Island there is a ferry boat from Tadanoumi station. It’s 3 stations from Takehare (about 10 minutes).

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Written by Kinako Kashiwagi

Lives in Hiroshima. I draw comics and illustrations. My hobby is traveling alone. I want to visit every prefecture in Japan!