Panoramic view fo the Kanmon bridge in Shimonoseki, Japan
Take a gondola up Mount Hinoyama for panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea, the Sea of Japan and the Kanmonkyo suspension bridge over the Kanmon Straits. You can also hike to the summit in about an hour. Cherry blossoms and azaleas make this lush peak particularly beautiful in spring.
The Akama Shrine in Shimonoseki, Japan
See the elegant white and red gate at Akama-jingu Shinto shrine. Inside, there's a tranquil pool surrounded by bright-red columns. The grounds also contain Nanamori-zuka (seven mounds) — memorials to the fallen Heike warriors, fronted by traditional stone lanterns — and a statue of Hoichi the Earless, a mythological character you may remember from the classic film "Kwaidan."
Blowfish are a local specialty, and the Shimonoseki Kaikyokan aquarium has over 100 species from around the world. Other unique features include a pedestrian tunnel through the penguin enclosure and a large tank that reproduces the tides and whirlpools of the Kanmon Straits.
Karato fish market is a great spot for trying the local delicacy, blowfish (fugu). Famous for being poisonous, it's harmless when prepared by professionals here. Blowfish is served either as sashimi, in thin uncooked slices with black ponzu sauce or as deep-fried tempura. The stalls at the market also sell bento boxes of sushi and cooked fish.
For a full range of blowfish goods, including fugu plush toys, fugu rice crackers and fugu ochazuke — blowfish flakes that go over a bowl of rice or mixed with green tea — head to Daimaru Department Store's outlet at Kamon Wharf. Check out the EDION megastore for Japanese electronics, Anime videos and other trinkets during your Japan cruise.
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