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orulz

Hiroshima

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Here are some of the best pictures I've got of Hiroshima's skyline from the year I spent living there. Most foriegn visitors to the city see the atomic bomb dome, feel some sort of emotion regarding said atomic bomb, and then move on to Kyoto or Tokyo. It's really a pity, because there's so much more to the city than that. It has a pretty neat streetcar network(hiroden), a great entertainment district (nagarekawa) and an enormous, crowded pedestrian mall (hondoori).

It's also unique in that it's built on top of a river delta and has six rivers flowing through it. Like most rivers in japan, these rivers are culverted, yet they manage to be beautiful nonetheless.

From the top of the reconstructed Hiroshima Castle:

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On the (long) escalator to Hijiyama Park (When I took this picture I was already halfway to the top):

hiroshima2.jpg

From the top of Hijiyama:

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From the top of Miyajima across the harbor

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And lastly, the Hiroshima shot that most foreign visitors think of: the tourou nagashi (candle floating?) on the night of August 6th, 2004, the 59th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb.

hiroshima6.jpg

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Thanks for posting those photos. Next time I go to visit my sister in Japan, I plan to visit that part of the country including Hiroshima. Very nice photography too.

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Something I'll add: there is about 1.8km of subway line in Hiroshima, with three underground stations. One reason that there is not more is that, as I said before, the city is built on a river delta which makes the ground very soft and not suitable for tunneling. The only method of subway construction that would work is cut-and-cover, and that's too disruptive, and limits you to street ROW's.

I can only imagine how deep they had to dig before they hit the bedrock necessary to build the few skyscrapers that dot the skyline. Most construction is in the ~5-12 story range, which may not seem very impressive, but remember, there's "no such thing" as surface parking in Japanese cities.

For an interesting converstaion topic (if you want to stretch the truth a little bit,) Hiroshima is the world's most extreme example of urban renewal. Of course this "renewal" was devastating and unplanned, but the atomic bomb quite literally leveled everything. Before reconstruction began, however, the planners went to work dreaming up what could be done with the blank slate they were now presented with. Main avenues were widened so the streetcars could have dedicated lanes; the previously haphazard streets were converted into a logical block layout; large amounts of open space were dedicated; and Heiwa Doori was constructed.

Heiwa Doori (Peace Boulevard?) is to this day sometimes referred to by its original name, 100 Meter Boulevard, because the right of way is 100 meters wide. There are, however, only three lanes of traffic in each direction (plus frontage roads) which leaves plenty of space for trees, parks, pedestrians, and bicycles. It is a surface street spanning the entire width of the city - something which prewar Hiroshima lacked, and includes a tunnel through Hijiyama Mountain on the east side of town.

All of this was planned back in the early 1950s, and considering how well Hiroshima rebounded from the devastation I think one could call it a pretty resounding success.

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Glad you're thinking of visiting Hiroshima. I strongly suggest that you don't do what most foreigners do, which is go there for a day, cry at the atomic bomb memorials, maybe visit Miyajima, and then hop back on a bullet train to Tokyo thinking "Wow, Hiroshima is such a depressing place."

You should definitely see at least one of the memorials, but if your time is limited, rather than pushing it and seeing both, pick one city and stay there for a couple days. There's so much more to see than just the atomic bomb dome.

How's your Japanese, by the way? I can tell you about a billion interesting things to check out in and around Hiroshima if you're interested. For example...

There's a burger joint called "God Burger" near Yokogawa Station in nishi-ku. Their special, the "Royal God" (their equivalent of the Big Mac, I guess) includes a special sauce, pineapple, and a fried egg, and is the best damn fast food burger I've ever had. Burgers? In Japan? You better believe it.

There is a great used book store where you can pick up tons of japanese comics and novels (even some in english) for dirt cheap on Rijo Doori a few blocks south of Hondoori.

There is a temple at the top of a mountain in Asaminami-ku about a mile's walk from Bishamondai Station on the Astram Line that has the most incredible scenery that I've ever seen.

Around the beginning of may every year, the streetcar company has a festival where they bring out all of their old / special cars and display them to the public.

One time, I had the privilege of riding on a chartered trip on a streetcar imported from Germany (called the Konig Liner!) through the center of town on the week before Christmas. That streetcar doesn't run in regular scheduled service, so you wouldn't believe the looks that we got (and all the waves from kids) as we rolled down the street!

Anyway, you get the idea, and the list goes on and on. There's so much more to Hiroshima than the bomb and I wish more tourists got to experience it.

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Orulz, thanks for tips and pointers! Actually, your pictures were enough to tell me that one day, and just a-bomb memorials simply wouldn't do for a visit to Hiroshima; we will have to see more. We plan on spending up to a week to include Kyoto, Hiroshima and/or Nagasaki, and whatever might be in between. Looks like my wife and I will be headed over first week of April 3 weeks total time.

We = Me, Wife, Friend, & Mother-In-Law (for the 1st week)

Week 2, Wife, Friend and I will head up to friend's hometown near Sendai.

Week 3, Wife and I back to M-I-L's house near Tokyo.

My Japanese is so, so, let's say barely "survivable". Fortunately, since they are Japanese, wife and M-I-L can bail me out as needed! :lol:

Living in Hiroshima for a year must have been awesome! If you can think of anything else that might be worth seeing/doing in Hiroshima and beyond, please let me know. Wish I could catch that streetcar festival in May, but we'll be gone by then. :(

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Hm, okay, interesting things in and around Hiroshima. I'll start with my official "guide" to day trips you can do with Hiroshima as a base. These are mostly things that I've done, and enjoyed thoroughly. They all assume that you are willing to and in fact enjoy to walk quite a bit (perhaps as much as 8 miles in one day.)

1. Catch a high-speed ferry to Matsuyama, ride the interurban and then the streetcar to Dogo Onsen. Assuming you don't mind getting naked in a public bathtub with a bunch of other guys, this place is not to be missed. Matsuyama is a great town. Don't cheap out and go just for the bath; go one step up, where they let you enjoy the resting room and some snacks. Lots of souvenier shopping potential in Matsuyama. This would be a long day, so get a start early in the morning.

2. Ride the train to Onomichi. It's a port and fishing town, you might not think there's much to see, but for two things. First, its udon is very famous (people will sometimes line up for blocks to get a seat at one of the popular restaurants). Second, there's an amazing park and a temple called Senkouji with a great view at the top of the mountain in the center of town. I recommend going on foot both ways, but there's a ropeway if you're not up to the hike. On my second visit, I borrowed a truck from my school, and a friend and I threw our bikes in the back and tried to ride up to the top. Didn't work so well (fixed gear bikes) but the trip down was incredible!

3. Sandankyo. This is a mountain resort town. They had JR service up until November 2003, when the Kabe line was decomissioned beyond Kabe. I rode it a week before service ended and that train was packed with people bidding the line "farewell." Now you have to ride a bus, which you can catch from the Hiroshima Bus Center (3rd floor of the Sogo department store, about a quarter mile walk down Aioi Doori from the atomic bomb dome). Sandankyo is especially beautiful in the fall, but springtime should be great too, and it's up in the mountains so it can be a great break from the sweltering heat and humidity of summer, too. And the fact that the train doesn't run up there anymore means that it will be less crowded!

4. Miyajima. This island is a popular destination for Japanese and foreign tourists alike. All the standard sights are great, but in addition to the touristy, settled areas of the island, you might also take a hike to the top of the mountain (the ropeway is nice, but I prefer hiking) or walk around to the back of the island, where they have a nice campground, a decent beach, and some more great hiking trails. If you go there from Hiroshima, take JR one way and LRT the other to get the full effect!

5. There's a steam powered train doing scheduled excursions in Yamaguchi prefecture, if you're into that sort of thing. They call it the SL Yamaguchi-Gou. I haven't ridden it, but I know said train makes stops in Tsuwano, which is picturesque little town.

There are more, of course, and there are also countless things to do that I haven't done... but I don't want to overwhelm you :rolleyes:

My guide to Hiroshima City will come later :)

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Awesome!! This is all excellent info. Giving me some great ideas. This will save a lot of time trying to figure out what we can do. Don't worry about overwhelming me with info, I'll take as much as I can get. I don't want to out you to too much trouble though, so whatever you're willing to offer will be appreciated. We're all definitely into hiking (though I'm embarassed to say that the mother-in-law outhiked my wife and me 3years ago in the Japanese Alps.... :blush: ). The steam train would be great too. Look forward to your "Guide to Hiroshima"! :D

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There's a plan in Hiroshima to build a new station in Hakushima, at the intersection of the Astram Line and JR's Sanyo Main Line. There was an article in the Chugoku Newspaper on April 5th about the subject.

When the Astram Line was built (1994) they built it to allow for a station in the median of Highway 54. See image:

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At the time JR was opposed to this because the station would be too close to the neighboring stations - Yokogawa and Hiroshima. However, recently JR allowed a privately funded station (Tenjingawa) to be built just to the east of Hiroshima, where only local trains stop. This station would be similar, and now JR has changed their stance to "As long as we don't have to pay for it, you can build the station."

The station is projected to cost roughly 4.5 billion yen (~$40 million) and the national government is supposed to provide 1/3 of the money. It's not sure when or if this money will come through, but it's looking more and more like it will happen. I'm not sure exactly where the rest of the money will come from, but that's not lined up right now either.

Previously the only connection between Astram and JR was at Omachi, which is in a more suburban location. This plan would provide extremely convenient and fast access from JR to the commercial center of the city for commuting and recreation. Officials are hoping this plan could help head off the decline of center-city Hiroshima before it builds up any steam.

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Hey! Finally back in action here. I'll have to get my rear in gear and upload some photos of the trip. Still snow on the ground in some of the higher, mountainous areas. Wasn't expecting that. Saw that steam train (coal burner!), didn't have a chance to ride though. Went through a cave system (3rd largest in the world apparently?) in Yamaguchi-ken. Went to Miyajima, didn't know about the deer! Excellent views from the top (we did the ropeway, then the final hike to the peak of the mountain, forgot the name). It was a bit hazy, but nonetheless impressive! Became too intimately familiar with momiji manju..... :lol:

Of course the A-Bomb park and museum were impressive. The whole area really was beautiful. I didn't realize the surrounding areas were so mountainous. Like I said, get off my butt and get some pics up soon.....

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