|The lighthouse at Tomonoura.|
For it is a slightly-modified animated version of Tomonura that appears in the movie.
Situated midway along the Seto Inland Sea, Tomonoura was a major port in the Edo era (pre-1868), as it was as far as a sail-powered ship would get on its east-west (or west-east) voyage before losing the help of the tide.
So Tomo was where ships would berth to wait for the tide to change before continuing their journey.
And, in an era when Japan was shut off from the rest of the world (even shipwrecked foreign mariners were summarily executed), Tomonoura was one of Japan's few ports that were conditionally open to outsiders.
It was a "diplomatic" port, where envoys from China and Korea would stay when travelling to Edo (Tokyo).
But with the advent of steamships, Tomo was no longer a necessary port and it was bypassed for the neighbouring railway-accessible cities of Fukuyama (of which Tomo is now an outlying suburb) and Onomichi.
So progress has largely bypassed Tomo over the last 150 years, leaving its horseshoe-shaped harbour as the only surviving example of a "traditional" Edo-era Japanese port.
Today, Tomonoura's harbour is a fishing port, with the fleet mooring largely on the eastern edge of the harbour to divest their catch into a small industrial complex that feels to itself be half as old as time and, apparently, the "home-away-from-home" for many of the town's local cats in quest of an easy meal.
And Tomonoura is, I happily discovered, the home of Homeishu -- which, I'm told by someone near to me, was first brewed in the building where I first met my wife.
The building is listed as an Important National Cultural Site, and is stilled owned by the Ota family, which began brewing homeishu in the early Edo period.
Ota House dates back 260 years, and its attendant complex was built over a few decades, with its newest buildings being storehouses built in the late 1780s.