Old Things Demonstrate Their Worth: Ponyo’s Hometown

Tomonoura, a quiet port town in Hiroshima Prefecture, features various relics from the Edo Period, and is said to be the only port still remaining in Japan that boasts an old-style lighthouse, stepped pier, dock, wooden ship careenage, and customs house. Based on descriptions on maps in the 17th through 19th centuries, the town is preserved almost unchanged, making it a place without peer anywhere else in the country.

In addition to its appeal as a valuable tourist spot, it has also been used as a location for shooting film. Film director Hayao Miyazaki chose this location for the 2008 animated film “Ponyo,” and he stayed at one of the houses there for as long as two months during its  production. The town was also used to shoot “The Wolverine,” a Hollywood film slated for release this coming summer. Some of the port’s residents, annoyed by the chronic traffic congestion, wanted to construct a bridge to the coast. The court ruled in favor of the bridge’s opponents, who wanted to preserve the status quo. Perhaps it is another example of the current trend recognizing the worth of preserving old things over convenience.



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