For years I had been intrigued by the Seto Inland Sea town of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture. Not because of its ropeway, where the carriage slides up the face of Mount Senkoji like a spider escaping a bird in flight, nor because of the famous view of the Inland Sea or the revered Senkoji temple near the apex of the mountain. Rather, my interest in this Japan Heritage city was piqued long ago by the recondite Bungaku no Komichi (Path of Literature).

One reason for the decade-long delay in visiting was my own hesitation to delve into the Japanese works of the two most prominent scribes associated with Onomichi: Naoya Shiga (1883-1971) who is still studied in Japanese literature classes and Fumiko Hayashi (1903-51), one of the most popular female writers of her time.

"Someday I'll go!" I kept telling myself. Then, among the first colored leaves of autumn, that day finally arrived.