Spend the Day in Shimonoseki, Japan

With the cherry blossoms blooming and spring weather warming up, Japan is a top consideration for traveling families. Located on Japan’s main island of Honshu, Shimonoseki is basically as far west as you can get. Explore the island with the family from tip to toe, or just peek at it from afar through the Kaikyō Yume Tower observation deck. If your family happens to travel through, or nearby, and have just one day to explore, stick to this list to get the most out of the city.

Sashimi lunch in the marina area of Shimonoseki, Japan © Angelique Platas

Sashimi lunch in the marina area of Shimonoseki, Japan © Angelique Platas

Probably the most famous aspect of the city, Karato Market is known for its fishing culture, marina shops and impressive lineup of blowfish stalls. This nearby port is worth a stop for an incredible fresh sashimi lunch, green tea ice cream or just walking around.

Marina area near the market in Shimonoseki, Japan © Angelique Platas

Marina area near the market in Shimonoseki, Japan © Angelique Platas

You’ll have to set your alarms really early to make it in time to see the fish market auctions in action or just enjoy the afternoon, visiting local shops, cafés and seaside strolls. Even if it’s closed for the day, you can still walk along the water and visit the impressive warehouse where the market is held.

If you need a little more marine biology and interesting sea life in your day, Kaikyokan Aquarium is worth a visit. The kids will love checking out the resident dolphins, penguin feedings and nearly 100 species of, you guessed it, blowfish. The fish is basically the mascot for the city.

If you see views of a bridge in the near distance, that’s the Kanmon Bridge. You’ll have scenic snapshot moments of the Kanmon Bridge from really any seaside attraction you visit, but you can also bring the family a bit higher on the nearby city Ferris wheel, which you may see while driving in.

If you have some extra time and want to explore a bit further, travel like a local and venture through the undersea Kanmon Pedestrian Tunnel. The walk will bring your family to Kyūshū, a city island offering waterfalls and lush hillsides. Spend some time visiting natural wonders in the area, hiking or rent bikes to ride along flat green paths.

For the history buffs in the family, Shimonoseki has a landmark or two to visit. Visit the Shinto shrine, Akama Shrine and, if you have an hour, take a tour and learn all about the Battle of Dan-no-ura, circa 1100.