Travel Diary
Diary #5

Ondo & Kurahashi

The enchanting island of Ondo and Kurahashi lie to the south of central Kure. A perfect destination for scenic drives and plenty of delicious local food to savor.

According to legend, Hiroshima’s famous warlord Taira-no-Kiyomori carved out this thin stretch of water separating Ondo with the mainland in one day. Known as the Ondo-no-Seto, the strait is a busy thoroughfare with ships of all sizes passing under its two iconic bridges – the Ondo Ohashi and the Daini Ondo Ohashi. You can cross the strait on the Ondo Tosen - Japan’s shortest ferry ride.

Ondo Town
After you cross into Ondo, spend time strolling through the streets of the old town, taking in its atmosphere. Be sure to pop into the Tenjinan – a beautifully renovated bakery and café on the main thoroughfare.

If you fancy a meal with a view of the sea, head to the stylish 5 Coffee Market on Ondo’s northern coastline. Housed inside converted freight containers, 5 Coffee Market is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet drink or meal while taking in the view of Kure harbor.

Katsuragahama is the jewel in Kurahashijima’s crown. This south-facing beach is a must, especially during the warmer months of spring and summer. The Japanese pine trees lining the beach and the great stone torii gate adds to Katsuragahama’s charm.

In July and August, you can pitch a tent at the Katsuragahama campsite. But book quickly. As soon as they start taking reservations in June, the campsite becomes fully booked in an instant.

Around Katsuragahama
For food and drinks, look no further than Seaside Café Alpha. This beautiful café overlooking the whole of Katsuragahama Beach is a wonderful place to relax and unwind. Take a book off their shelves and enjoy the view while indulging in their signature dishes like the otakara fritter or English crumpets.

Katsuragahama Onsen is also a stone’s throw from the beach. Known to have curative properties with over 24 different beneficial particles detected in the water, the hot spring draws bathers from near and far. Try their freshly pulped tomato juice after bathing for the full detox experience.

For history and culture, visit the Nagato Shipbuilding Museum and the Kurahashi Folk History Museum. Delve deep into Katsuragahama’s shipbuilding past and learn about how their vessels influenced Japanese culture.
Online Resources (in Japanese)
Seaside Café Alpha:

Popular Eats
Conceived by locals as a tool to revitalize the region, the otakara fritter embraces everything about Kurahashi’s food culture. The seasonal ingredients of the fritter plate are grounded in the region and include Kurahashi’s famous tomatoes, chirimen sardines and dogfish.

You will see signs and adverts for chirimen wherever you go. These tiny cooked baby sardines are a local delicacy and served in restaurants throughout Ondo and Kurahashi. Also, if you travel to the region in spring and summer, make sure to buy some of Kurahashi’s famous otakara tomatoes.

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