Shimonoseki is a small town on the southwestern tip of Honshu Island. Unless you arrive in Japan via an overnight ferry from Busan it's unlikely that you would spend much, if anytime, in the city. I was here for a day and only saw one other Westerner at the train station. Shimonoseki may seem like a strange place to start a month long trip through Japan but at this point in my travels I look for the smaller cities to start rather than the traditional gateway cities. Shimonoseki was a nice and quiet introduction to Japan. I stayed in the business center and wandered around a relatively sleepy town. With a population of 250,000 Shimonoseki isn't too big, it isn't too overwhelming and allows a traveler to ease into the Japanese experience.
The city is famous in Japan for Fugu, the poisonous pufferfish. The poison does not cross the blood / brain barrier meaning that you retain consciousness while you're being paralyzed. Fortunately training is required to become a Fugu Chef and learn the proper way to fillet the fish without killing the diner. The best place to have Fugu is around the pier area. There's a few other things to do in Shimonoseki but the main thing I did was just orient myself to Japan and see what life in a smaller city was like. The photo on the bottom right is the Kanmon Strait Bridge.
I wasn't sure how to try pufferfish so I opted for a combo meal that included pufferfish three varities: sushi, deep fried, and soup.
There's pufferfish everywhere. The town has pufferfish manhole covers, pufferfish telephone booths, and stuffed animals who's cuteness may cause you to overlook the fish's deadliness.
Interesting ferry ride. Interesting introduction to Japan. Sleeping in a dorm room with no beds. No pillows. Just grab a yoga block and hope to sleep through the night. There was a cool arcade center tough.
For additional Shimonoseki photos see FLICKR ALBUM.