While much of Tomonoura’s charm comes in the form of quaint cafes and the historic old town, it’s not a destination devoid of luxury. Ochi Kochi, a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) on the banks of the Seto Inland Sea, promises an indulgent stay and the best in Tomonoura hospitality for overnight visitors. I was more than impressed by its seaside patios, private onsen baths and kaiseki (traditional multi-course) dinner, inspired by the seafood of the Setouchi Region.
A Suite with a View
During my time at Ochi Kochi, I had the opportunity to stay in a second-floor suite. The multiroom, tatami-floored accommodation had a full-size hardwood dining room table, a two-queen bedroom, a sitting area with rocking chairs and a TV, as well as a two-sink bathroom complete with a shower and a private rotenburo (outdoor hot spring bath).
Every detail of the room was clearly hand-selected and artisan-made, from the stained-glass bedside table, to the regionally-produced, organic cotton facecloth. But the view is really what made my jaw drop.
To gain some perspective on the setting, Ochi Kochi is just across the street from Taichorou, a temple with a view famously dubbed in the Edo era as “the most beautiful scenic area east of Korea.” In the forefront of this landscape is Bentenjima, a rocky islet with a torii gate and two-story pagoda visible from the shore. Just beyond Bentenjima is the much larger Sensuijima Island, which features three peaks covered in lush greenery. Beyond Sensuijima, expanding in all directions, is the Seto Inland Sea. The sea is dotted with other peaked islands creating a horizon line filled with floating silhouettes. The suite featured floor-to-ceiling windows that spanned the living room and a large patio, producing a view that rivaled Taichorou.
After a long day exploring town, I went to bed early and decided to set an alarm for 6:30. I couldn’t pass up the chance to see sunrise over the sea. I woke up to grind coffee beans and brewed a cup of pour over coffee before taking my place on the patio. I will let the pictures speak for the themselves, but I was far from disappointed by the view.
After soaking up the sunrise with my cup of coffee I moved to far side of the patio, rinsing off in the shower before stepping into the outdoor onsen. On a frigid January morning, I was plenty warm submerged in these hot spring waters. Steam was rising off the surface of the wooden tub and from my place on the patio I could still make out the rising sun over Bentenjima.
A Luxury Ryokan with Luxury Amenities
More than a pretty view, a stay at Ochi Kochi comes complete with the full perks of a ryokan. In addition to private bath, there is an option to book the much larger onsen located on the fifth-floor of the building. This radium onsen bath is yours for an hour, allowing you relax and enjoy the water’s therapeutic properties with a significant other, family members or all own your own. The sea-facing walls open wide creating, offering a elevated view of Bentenjima, even at night when the pagoda and torii gate on the island are illuminated.
After your evening soak, you can sit down to a multicourse kaiseki meal at the hotel’s first-flor dining room. Best enjoyed with a cup of region sake, the dishes are prepared to highlight Hiroshima’s finest seasonal products. Some of my favorites included an oyster served in the shell over a mound of sea salt. The oyster was sautéed with sea urchin, spinach, butter and local lemons. Another favorite was the elaborate display of sashimi (thinly-sliced raw fish).
Breakfast spares no expense, with a dozen plates of food and a Japanese or Western-style option. Each meal is served with freshly squeezed Hiroshima orange juice. The morning of my departure I enjoyed my final glimpse of the striking Seto Inland Sea sipping on hot bowl of miso soup.
Migiwatei Ochi Kochi
Address / 629, Tomocho Tomo, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima,
Tel / +01-84-982-1575
Parking / Available
URL / https://www.ochikochi.co.jp/en/
Writer name: Andrew Deck