Travel Within Hiroshima, Hiroshima
To get to the Peace Memorial Park from Hiroshima station we took the trolley bus. You can catch either number 2 or 6. The fare is a flat 150¥ and you pay on leaving the bus. We weren’t totally sure about this system when we first boarded but this friendly local man showed us what to do, using mime and sign language, and also kindly let me take this photo of him.
The journey takes around 10/15 minutes and the stop is clearly announced – the one by the Atomic Dome. From here you can walk across the bridge on to the island that was once a built-up area but is now totally devoted to the memory of what happened in August 1945 and to trying to ensure that it never happens again.
But before starting to explore it is good to understand some history
Walking in Japan on your own
Hiroshima was the very first place for me to come to Japan, so I did not know if I would be able to get along on my own. This is why I booked a bustour to Miajima and Hiroshima onboard of our cruiseship. There is a good tourist-information as well in the port of Hiroshima, where you will get maps and brochures, BUT I am not sure if I could recommend to do excursions like Miajima on your own.
Inscriptions are mostly in Japanese only and there are certainly some things that you will understand with some common sense, BUT there are machines like the ones where you buy train-tickets and in such occasions you need someone to help you or you will be totally lost.
And you will not only be totally lost, you will also hold up the lines of local people, who are in a hurry and want to buy tickets there as well, while it is your turn and you dont know what to do.
In some of such occasions we found helpful people, who were not able to talk any english, but were able to help anyway, BUT I dont ever want to be in such a situation, when there is just a short time left over before my cruiseship is leaving the port with or without me....
This is of course something completely different when you have some days there and have enough time to make your experiments and there is no Deadline and a ship that might also be leaving without you in case that you come back too late !
by tram through Hiroshima
When you come to Hiroshima you will realize that there is no specific type of trams for that city, but instead the trams look like "leftovers from other cities" around the world. And that is in fact the way it was explained to us: Lots of towns around the world have given some trams as a donation to the city of Hiroshima and in my extra photos here you will see some good examples for them, with some modern and some old types of trams that might have served already in the eastblock or western cities alike.
By ferry to Miyajima island
Millions of japanese people are going to Miyajima every year and so the ferries to the island are very big and they are going to and fro on a regular basis all day long ! You have to choose your time of departure and that will also be printed in your ticket. The ships are taking cars as well, but that is for local people only and does not make sense for tourists, not even for handicapped people, as you cannot drive by car to the touristical sights of Miyajima.
By wheelchair on the ferry and in Miyajima island should be no problem at all, everything is flat and when-ever there are a few steps there is a ramp for wheelchairs as well.
The ferries run about every 15 minutes.
In 2009 a One-way trip was 170 yen for adults / 80 yen for children
there are 2 ships-companies :
JR ferry Tel(0829)56-2045
Matsudai Tourist Ship Tel(0829)44-2171
Miyajima island for handicapped people
Going to Miyajima island will be no problem at all for handicapped people and when-ever there are even just a few steps up or down there will be a ramp as well for handicapped people, that applies for the temples on Miyajima as well as for the ferries !
It is a nice and easy walk along the beach to the Itsukushima Shrine & O-torii-gate and you will pass by a lot of great photo-opportunities along that way. On the way TO the shrine I may suggest that you take the path along the beach and on your way back you might want to take the street through the village with lots of restaurants and souvenirshops. Walkingtime on both ways is about 15 minutes.
In the link below you will find more infos about travelling Japan when you are handicaped !
If you're planning on visiting several sites in Hiroshima, get a Tram pass. It comes in 3 different forms:
Tram only (you can ride any line for one day).
Tram and Ferry to Miyajima
Tram, Ferry to Miyajima, and ropeway in Miyajima.
You could purchase them from machines at certian stations (including at the tram stop at JR station) or on the trams from a conductor. Either way, it's cheaper than getting separate tickets.
The trams run regularly during the daytime. While I was in Hiroshima, I think the longest wait for a tram was between 5-10mins. Very good prices. Adults to any stop = 150 yen, and children are 100 yen. ($1.50/$1.00 $US).
The trams go everywhere around Hiroshima. At the main JR Train Station, there is the main tram & bus stop, and a detailed map in English and Japanese about all the stops. The buses are also easy to take. About the same prices as the trams.
Hiroshima is one of Japan's tram cities. In other cities with trams there are often very few lines, but Hiroshima has a more extensive tram system, so just like you would with the trains, it is important to make sure you know which tram will take you to your station.
Tram number 2 and 6 will take you to Atomic Bomb Dome Station at the north of Peace Park on the Aioi Bridge near Genbaku Dome.
Tram number 1 can take you to Fukuro-machi Station, which is near Fukuro-machi Elementary School and the Peace Museum. (Personally, this is what I'd recommend, so that you can start your visit at the museum and then visit the Peace Park afterwards).
For Miyajima, tram number 2 ends there.
To get to Shukkeienmae (for Shukkeien Garden and Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art), transfer at Hatchobori Station to tram number 9.
The trams within Hiroshima cost 150 yen per ride. To HirodenMiyajimaguchi Station (Miyajima) it costs 270 yen. There are tram day passes available for 600 yen.
The best way to travel around Hiroshima is to use trams which cover all areas including Miyajima and Yokogawa. There are 9 different routes and they frequently operate for public convenience. Another plus is the flat rate within city. For 150 JPY you can travel from one point to another within city limits. Only Miyajima tram which is route no 2 costs more if you travel upto Miyajimaguchi (270 JPY). There are also 1 day and 2 days trip cards which provide good savings if you will use trams extensively.
I would have been fine with just a regular bicycle, but we ended up getting electric bicycles this time. I have to say they are fun. On the downside if you get one of these you won't get anywhere near as much exercise as you would with a regular bicycle unless you run out of juice. I am a regular cyclist as that's how I always get around. These make sense for elderly or people who just don't have the energy to bike a city.
With an electric bike you just barely put your foot on the peddle and the battery provides a great deal of the energy to move you about.
Key points (pros):
-Saves money!!! Cheaper than a taxi and more convenient than trains or buses.
-get around by bicycle where others have to walk.
-Saves time!!! See more of Hiroshima in much less time than by walking.
-Fun!! This is a better way to see the city.
-Environmentally better than trains, buses or taxis.
We rode round the city on a wintery December day.
-If you're irresponsible, you'll pay for it.
-You can't park in areas that don't permit bicycle parking.
-Some days may just be no good for cycling.
-Some places only allow cycling until 5 PM. Some places are 24 hours. Check the internet for more info on places that have 24 hour rental.
-Rates differ. Check the internet.
-Rental bicycles are located in various areas of Hiroshima city.
We rented from the Oriental Hotel in Hiroshima (info on that provided from our hotel, the Mitsui Garden Hotel).
In Hiroshima there are plenty of trains to move around in Hiroshima. The trains don't go
everywhere, but they get you closer to a number of destinations. We paid 150 yen each one way to get to our destination hotel from Hiroshima station.
The train we used rode on rails separating traffic going in opposite directions.
There is no metro/subway in Hiroshima. They say it's too mountainous for that. So, instead, they have trams, which apparently have been gathered here from all over Japan and, indeed, seem to be all very different in colour and make.
The streetcars, called the Hiroshima Electric Railway, are one of the best ways to get around within Hiroshima City. Many of the lines start at Hiroshima Station and cover much of the city including the A-Bomb dome, and as far away as Hiroshima Port and Miyajima Shrine.
The fares, ranging from 110 Yen to 260 Yen per trip, are inexpensive. You can pay in change at the door when you get off the streetcar, or you can use a PASPY or ICOCA, but not a SUICA pre-paid card.
Hiroshima retained it's thankfully trams with a reasonable broad network consisting of about 6 major routes. This tram system is excellent to get about by. As you would probably arrive at the Shin-Hiroshima train station there is a major tram terminus out the front. There there is a colour coded route map and ticket vending machines. All trams have number and name of destination. Japan is quite unusual when it concerns tickets. They are given to the ticket collector when leaving the tram, this applies with most buses also.
The transportation in Hiroshima is superb. They have a extensive Street Car (tram) network which is both cheap and reliable however it can get busy at rush hours. They also have a very good bus service as well. Coupled with the train system, which can get you to some parts of the city very quickly. Buses and trams are the cheapest transport, starting at 200 yen (£1.14) and trains and taxis being more expensive. Most maps have an English translation which makes finding your way much easier.