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Hiroshima Today: Exploring the Unseen Sides of the Prefecture

Hiroshima stands as an incredible testament to human resilience and community spirit. It suffered one of history's most horrific events, but it has since emerged even stronger. Although Hiroshima will always be known for the atomic bomb tragedy, today, the city stands as an icon for renewal, growth, and undying hope.

A sunny view of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial along the Motoyasu River
A sunny view of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial along the Motoyasu River

The name “Hiroshima” itself may be well-known. Still, it holds a wealth of undiscovered gems waiting to be explored - from lesser-known corners within Hiroshima City to picturesque landscapes in its Prefecture. Welcome to a Hiroshima that embraces its past, exciting present, and promising future!

Hiroshima Transformed: Exploring the Future City

When you visit Hiroshima City, you'll find much more than its famous landmarks like Peace Memorial Park or Hiroshima Castle. Though visiting these spots will provide insight into its tragic side, we want to encourage guests to discover lesser-known aspects that enrich Hiroshima beyond typical tourist paths.

Hiroshima's city government also hopes that you experience another side of Hiroshima: its future! 

Launched on the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing in 1995, the Hiroshima 2045: City of Peace and Creativity project seeks to shape Hiroshima for fifty years ahead. By creating a distinctive urban landscape that honors the past while at the same time celebrating innovation, creativity, and forward-looking thinking, Hiroshima becomes a city that keeps both past and future.

The Most beautiful "Museum of Garbage" in the World

Within the Hiroshima 2045 project, the city has completed six projects, including a technological fire station and elementary school designed to coexist with nature. But the Hiroshima Naka Incineration Plant, or the "Museum of Garbage" as its creator affectionately named it, stands out among the most ambitious and involved projects.

The inside of the Hiroshima Naka Incineration Plant, with elevated views of the river-mouth near the ocean.
The Hiroshima Naka Incineration Plant designed by Yoshio Taniguchi produced energy as a by product of processing 400 tons of garbage daily

The project's creator, Yoshio Taniguchi, is responsible for this 400 million yen incineration plant project, completed in March 2004. Taniguchi is also known for redesigning the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York and various Japanese museums.

A staircase at the Hiroshima Naka Incineration Plant through a corridor overlooking the bay
With Yoshio Taniguchi's designs, it's hard to tell that the Hiroshima Naka Incineration Plant is a waste reduction project!

The incineration plant is a remarkable waste processing facility with state-of-the-art architecture. Located along Yoshijima-dori, connecting the Peace Memorial Museum to the seashore, its distinctive design makes it a captivating landmark. Beyond being an architectural masterpiece of Japanese design, this facility also serves as a means for visitors to engage actively in discussions surrounding eco-sensitive waste management strategies.

The front of the Hiroshima Naka Incineration Plant
The Ecorium, where the real magic happens, turning all of the waste into reusable energy.

Visiting this place for an afternoon can be a delightful experience. Initially, you might come out of curiosity, but you'll soon find yourself exploring the building for hours, enjoying the wide open spaces and beautiful views. 

The Tower of the "Folded Crane"

Situated next to the Atomic Bomb Dome at the heart of the city, the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower provides one of the best night views of Hiroshima. Orizuru means "folded crane" and refers to the origami paper crane - a symbol of peace in Japan.

A view of the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower peaking in the background.
Sip some drinks at the rooftop bar while enjoying the night view over Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Miyajima Island!

On the 12th floor, visitors will find an interactive activity that connects the past, present, and future of Hiroshima. Here, you can craft and set free paper cranes. By participating, you leave a piece of yourself in Hiroshima and contribute to the wish for world harmony.

The 12th floor viewing deck from the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower
The view from the 12th floor deck is quite spectacular!

The Rest of Hiroshima Prefecture: A Port Town Resembling Scenes from Studio Ghibli

Hiroshima City is incredible, filled with fascinating history, rich culture, and a bustling scene. But to experience this region's unique colors, you must venture beyond the city limits and explore the hidden treasures that lie outside. Every part of this prefecture has something peculiar: breathtaking views, traditional crafts, or delicious food. 

One example is the charming town of Tomonoura. Strolling through its narrow streets is like stepping into a scene from a Studio Ghibli movie. And it's no coincidence: Hayao Miyazaki spent several months living in this small town while creating one of his beloved films, Ponyo. If you're an anime fan or just looking for a picturesque escape, Tomonoura is worth visiting.

Many fishing boats docked at the Tomonoura Cove in Hiroshima Prefecture
Tomonoura Cove is a stunning place, and you can feel like you're walking through a Studio Ghibli film!

This idyllic port town has charming cafes, craft shops, and small museums behind hidden doors. For optimal experiences, we strongly suggest hiring a professional guide to discover all the secret spots of the town.

Hokkaido in Western Japan

I saved my personal favorite for last with the snowy landscapes of Akiota town.

A snow-covered street in Akiota town in Hiroshima Prefecture. The trees and street signs are all covered in snow.
With this much snow, it's surprising to most that this is in Hiroshima prefecture and not Hokkaido.

Akiota town is a stunning display of Japan's snowy landscapes, even in a typically mild region like Hiroshima Prefecture, which generally experiences temperate winters. With an annual average snowfall of three meters (or more!), it's no surprise that Akiota has earned the nickname of the "Hokkaido of Western Japan."

Beyond skiing and other snow activities, this area boasts a rich tradition—Japanese Wood Carving.

Togouchi kurimono master wood carver Yokohata-san sitting with an array of his carving tools
Togouchi kurimono master Yokohata-san in his shop, the last of its kind in Akiota

Long ago, an accomplished carpenter who built temples and shrines on Miyajima Island, an acclaimed World Cultural Heritage site, relocated to Akiota due to abundant resources of trees. Today, when visiting Akiota, you can participate in workshops that teach this technique of hollowing wood blocks into household items using tools like chisels, planes, and pruning knives.

Planning your trip to Hiroshima

In conclusion, Hiroshima is a place that offers much more than just its cityscape. From awe-inspiring eco-sensitive architecture to picturesque towns nestled in the snowy mountains and the stunning blue waters of the Seto Inland Sea, there is something for everyone to explore and enjoy. If you're considering a trip to Hiroshima, the team at Untold Japan would be thrilled to help you plan your adventure and ensure that your visit is unforgettable.

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