Mihara (三原) is a city in Hiroshima prefecture. Mihara’s main point of interests are probably its views over the islands and some beautiful natural spots inland. With several train lines and ferry lines, it is also well located to explore the region. There are quite a few interesting places to eat and drink in the main city, most of them within walking distance.
“Mihara city” usually designates a rather large area (470 km²) including the inner city itself, some more or less wild areas, as well as the Hiroshima Airport, Kosagi Island (小佐木島) and Sagi Island (佐木島). The city is on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, facing the northern half of the Shimani (島並), the chain of islands linking Onomichi on the Honshu Island and Imabari on the Shikoku Island. In 2020, it was home to 91,000 people. Its population has been declining since the mid-1980s.
The locals are quite friendly to foreigners, although English accessibility is not very high. Most places have no English menu and apart from the most famous touristic places, there are few documents provided in English.
Hiroshima Airport (HIJ IATA) is located in Mihara city. However it is not connected to the train line and one must take a bus to the Mihara Station (around 40 min and ¥900).
The Shinkansen goes through the Mihara Station, however only the Kodama line stops here. Coming from Hiroshima, it takes about 30 min and ¥3500. Coming from Osaka or Tokyo, it is possible to take the Kodama line all the way through although it is usually much faster to take the Sakura or Nozomi line and change in Fukuyama.
The local lines Kure and Sanyo share the same station as the Shinkansen. The Kure (呉) line goes along the coast from Mihara to Hiroshima, via Takehara and Kure. The Sanyo (山陽) line goes mainly inland from Kurashiki to Hiroshima, via Fukuyama, Onomichi, Mihara and Higashi-Hiroshima.
There are also several ferry lines and bus lines (see below).
Going around the wider Mihara city is can be done via the local train lines or by bus. As in most places in Japan, the number of buses per day can be surprising given the rurality of some areas. The bus schedules on Google Map seem to be pretty accurate. Still, going inland can be very time consuming via public transports.
The inner city is fully accessible by walking (30 min at most to get anywhere). There is also a car rental company nearby. There are many taxis around the station, and it should take at most ¥1000 to get anywhere within the inner city.
It is possible to rent bicycles near the tourist office at the train station. Various types are available (regular, electric, race, for children) for ¥1000-2000 per day. The office opens at 08:000 and the bicycles must be returned by 17:00. An identity document (passport, licence, ...) will be scanned as guarantee but the procedure is rather simple.
There several ferry lines stopping at the Mihara port, deserving the nearby islands every day. There is also a line to Okunoshima (“rabbit island”) on the week-ends and holidays. The Sunami port also deserves Sagi Island and Ikuchi Island, as well Okunoshima (on the week-end and holidays). See the website (in Japanese).
- Buttsuji Temple (佛通寺), 22 TakasakacyoMotoyama (40 min by bus from JR Mihara station).
- Sankeien Garden (三景園), 64-24 Zennyuji, Hongo-cho Mihara (Next to Hiroshima Airport).
- Central Airport Park (広島県立中央森林公園), 1315 Hongocho Kamikitagata, Mihara (Next to Hiroshima Airport).
- Funaki Gorge (船木渓 (Funakikyo), (Near Hiroshima Airport).
- Mihara Castle Ruins (三原城跡), 1-Shiromachi, Mihara (Next to Mihara Stn). 06:30-22:00.
The views over the islands chain from the Ryuosan (竜王山) and Fudekageyama (筆影山) are worth the trouble. On clear days, one can see as far as the mountains of Shikoku island. They also make good spots to view the cherry blossoms (particularly the Fudekageyama) and autum colors. There is an indicated walking trail connecting the two (about 40 min). They are accessible by car and bus.
For those with a bit of experience, there are some interesting walking trails around the west flank of the Ryuosan, connecting the Jinmu copper mountains (神武銅山) and the lesser known “Peak 246”. Those are loosely indicated so caution is advised.
On Sagi Island, the Taiheizan (大平山) and Inuyama (狗山) also make interesting hiking spots. The island also has a “hill of a thousand cherry blossoms” (塔の峰千本桜), and some momiji (Japanese red maples) near the Mukota port (south). The island can easily be circled by bike. There are some sand beaches and a camping ground in the north (Sagi port).
The Yassa Festival takes place in mid-August. It is the main traditional festival of the city, with dances, concerts and fireworks.
Most eating and drinking places are in the pedestrian area south of Mihara Station. There are also a couple places at the Airport and in the Sunami area.
As in the rest of Japan, many places like the izakaya are difficult to categorize as either eating or drinking establishment. While you can go to an izakaya only to drink, as a matter of etiquette it is generally understood that you should also order at least a couple plates.
- Ramen Karen (ラーメン華蓮), 1-11-14 Shiromachi. Cheap fat ramen. Gyoza and beer also available. ¥1000.
- Hito to Nomidokoro Uchuya (人と呑所 宇宙屋), 1-6-36 Minatomachi. Modern izakaya with a wide range of food, from traditional Japanese (try the raw liver) to potato salad. You can let the owner choose for you (he might speak a bit English?). Smoking permitted.
- AGITO, 1-4-13 Minatomachi. Italian food izakaya-styled. Smoking permitted.
- Franky (フランキー), 1-6-16 Minatomachi. Modern izakaya with particularly good Mediterannean food and a long wine list. Smoking permitted.
- Izakaya Takuya (居酒屋タクヤ), 1-12-27 Shiromachi. Typical izakaya run by a middle-aged couple. Mostly local crowd but friendly. Has horse and whale. Smoking permitted.
- Mukaiseipan (ムカイ製パン), 1-23-1 Sunami. Amazing bakery in Sunami. Table bread, rice bread, baguette, sandwiches and more. It is open until 18:00 but is usually sold out by 16:00.
- Setouchi Winery ~ Restaurant Mio[dead link] (瀬戸内醸造所・レストランmio), 1-5-26 Nishi Sunami (Access from the station via bus, taxi (¥2000) or train + walking). Beautiful place at the location of a former shipyard in front of Sagijima. Japanese cuisine accommodated with homemade wine. Really good but rather expensive. Check website for hours. Service is usually available in English and French during the week, and eventually the week-end if you ask in advance.
- Grand Cafe (グランカフェ), 1-5-2 Shiromachi. Good music (usually the Rolling Stones). The barman is a musician and knows a lot about the city and wider area.
- Carlton (カールトン), 1-5-4 Shiromachi. Jazz music and no windows. Good selection of whiskies.
- MASH (マッシュ), 1-11-18 Shiromachi (2nd floor). Owner is a fan of Tintin and foreign movies. There is usually something running on the small tv behind the bar.
- Ichimaru (壱〇), 1-9-12 Shiromachi. A small and tranquil bar with a nice selection of wine, beer and whisky.
- Tachinomi Hiro-chan (立ち呑み hiro-chan), 1-5-12 Minatomachi. A friendly standing bar with a selection of craft beers. Also serves fried skewered meat and vegetables (kushiage).
- BAR FLAT, 1-19-3 Shiromachi. A classic bar with a large collection of whiskies and various cocktails. Inside a renovated traditional house (kominka).
Most hotels are near Mihara Station or next to Hiroshima Airport. Mostly typical business hotels with a few more "traditional".
- Yamane Inn (山根旅館), 1-14-21 Shiromachi. Traditional Japanese inn (ryokan) near the station.
- Hotel Suehiro (ホテル寿恵広), 1-4-5 Sunami Nishi. Modest hotel by the sea next to the Sunami port.
In Takehara city (竹原) you can reach Okunoshima (大久野島) by ferry from the Mihara or Sunami ports (week-ends), or everyday from Tadano-umi (忠海), which is accessible via the Kure line. Tadano-umi also has some impressive views from up the mounts Kurotaki (黒滝山) and Shirotaki (白滝). It takes about 30 min by foot from the station to the entrance of the mountain path. Takehara itself is an old merchant city, whose traditional buildings have been preserved in the Takehara Townscape Conservation Area.
On the other side via the Sanyo line, Onomichi has the famous temple Senkouji (千光寺). It is also the northern gate of the shimanamikaidou, the highway crossing the islands chain.
Up north inland, the city of Miyoshi (see the Momonoke youkai museum) can be reached via the Sanyo line with a transfer to the Fukuen line in Fukuyama. With an additional transfer to the Geibi line in Shio-cho, one can reach the city Shobara, famous for its apple orchards.
Among the islands of the Shimanami, the city of Setoda (瀬戸田) on Ikuchi island (生口島) is remarkable for the temple grounds of the Kousanji (耕三寺) and the “Hill of Hope”, a massive marble construction. It is accessible by ferry every day from Mihara or Sunami.
|Routes through Mihara|
|Hakata ← Higashihiroshima ←||W E||→ Shin-Onomichi → Shin-Osaka|
|Hiroshima ← Saijo(Higashihiroshima) ←||W E||→ Onomichi → Okayama|
|Hiroshima ← Saijo(Higashihiroshima) ←||W E||→ Onomichi → Okayama|
|Kure ← Akitsu(Higashihiroshima) ←||W E||→ END|
|Matsue ← Shōbara ←||N S||→ Takehara|