Karato is a great town for walking. We recommend taking a stroll along the seaside boardwalk. After enjoying the sea breeze, the sound of the waves, and the picturesque scenery, you can explore some of the other town attractions, like Kaneko Misuzu Poetry Lane and the area’s retro-modern architecture.
At this shrine is venerated Emperor Antoku, the grandson of shogun Kiyomori Taira, who drowned himself in the Kanmon Strait at just eight years of age after losing the battle of Dan-no-ura during the Genpei War. Suitenmon gate, which overlooks Dan-no-ura, features vivid dragon palace-style architecture. It is said to reflect the desire of Niinoama (Antoku’s grandmother) that there be “a capital city in the sea as well.” The treasure hall displays valuable artifacts, and its grounds also include a shrine to Hoichi the Earless, a mythological character well known from a ghost story by Koizumi Yakumo.
Shimonoseki Aquarium Kaikyokan
This aquarium has so many must-see exhibits, including its large tank that recreates the currents of the Kanmon Strait, its display of pufferfish from around the world, its complete (and authentic) blue whale skeleton of which few remain worldwide, and Penguin-mura, Japan’s largest penguin exhibit facilities. The dolphin and seal performance stage is also a popular attraction.
This market is where restaurateurs from Kitakyushu as well as Shimonoseki come. There are also retail outlets where the general public can get their hands on inexpensive, fresh foods. Open-air stalls offering fresh seafood fare are open Friday and Saturday (10:00–15:00) and Sunday/public holidays (8:00–15:00).
This seaside mall offers a great variety of shops and restaurants, including gift shops and sellers of Kanmon seafood. The boardwalk affords a panoramic view of Kanmon Strait.
Arukaport of night
Just a two-minute walk from the hotel, this boardwalk is a nice place for a stroll. Why not enjoy the sea breeze while looking out at the ships navigating the strait by day, and the lights of Mojiko across the water by night? A pair of red and white lighthouses known as the “lovers’ lighthouses” are situated at the ends of the piers where the strait separates them. It is said that if two lovers pledge their love to each other from each lighthouse, they will surely be wedded together. This location was featured on the television anime series Detective Conan.
This amusement park opened in September 2013. There are eleven different rides to enjoy inside the park, including a 60-meter-tall Ferris wheel that offers a panoramic view of Kanmon Strait.
Former Shimonoseki British Consulate
Constructed in 1906, this building preserves Shimonoseki’s history as a thriving hub for diplomacy, transport, and finance. It features an art nouveau mantelpiece and tiles, reflecting the lifestyle of the consul during that period. It is a national important cultural treasure.
This shop opened during the Keio era (1865-1868) as a confectioner that made awayuki, the signature dessert of Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Awayuki would be served alongside green tea whenever the Imperial family and other nobility visited Yamaguchi.
Former Akitashokai Buildings
This building—the first in Western Japan to utilize reinforced concrete construction—was completed in 1915 as the offices and dormitories of Akita Shokai, a company involved in commercial activities and shipping related in particular to the lumber trade. This unique structure features a blend of Japanese and Western design, with shoin-zukuri architecture and Japanese residences on the second and third floors, while the first floor houses the Kaneko Misuzu Corner. The exterior is lit up from sundown until 23:00. (At present, the roof is not open to the public.)
Nisshin Kowa Memorial
The peace conference to end the First Sino-Japanese War took place in 1895, with the Treaty of Shimonoseki being signed here. This museum contains related photographs and historical materials as well as furniture used during that conference.
Shimonoseki Kaikyo Festival
The magnificent, luxurious Senteisai festival reminds spectators of the Taira clan, which was overthrown in the battle of Dan-no-ura during the Genpei War. The countless warships streaming the red and white banners of the Genji and Heike clans together with their armor-clad warriors are recreated in the Genji-Heike Naval Battle. The Hatchohama dance recalls the story of Okame who was sacrificed to calm the strait and enable Shimonoseki’s prosperity. The Ganryujima Festival includes concerts and reenactments of the duel between Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro. The Emperor Antoku Formal Dress Worship reproduces the Taira family’s court ladies and warriors. These colorful, lively events are repeated all along the Kanmon Strait.
Kanmon Kaikyo Fireworks
This is one of western Japan’s biggest fireworks performances—an event in which over 13,000 fireworks in total are launched from both shores of Kanmon Strait. This is the biggest summer event at the Strait.
This is a summer festival in which the citizens of Shimonoseki participate. Numerous night stalls are set up at the main festival site at Kanmon Yume Hiroba, and the entire city throngs to experience this event entered around song and dance. The highlight is the Heike dance on the final day, in which some 4,000 dancers take part.