Exploring Hiroshima

Vol.08 Loop Bus and Regular Sightseeing Bus in Hiroshima City
The Meipuru-pu Loop Bus & Maple Sky Sightseeing Bus

Although its name might be difficult to pronounce, the “Meipuru-pu” or the “Maple Loop Bus” is fast becoming the transport of choice for travelers who want quick access to all of Hiroshima City’s main sightseeing spots. For those who prefer a regular sightseeing bus, the open-top double-decker bus “Maple Sky” offers a range of city tours - including a night drive through Hiroshima’s famous Christmas lights.

Riding the Meipuru-pu - the Maple Loop Bus

The Meipuru-pu bus stop in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome

The Meipuru-pu bus stop in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome

This loop bus runs from the Shinkansen exit at Hiroshima Station to all the main sightseeing spots in Hiroshima. Stops include the Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Castle, the Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima’s art museums, Shukkei-en garden and the city center.

The best thing about the loop bus? You’re free to get on and off whenever you like. There are three routes - the orange route, the green route, and the lemon route. Each route is slightly different, so check the Meipuru-pu route map and timetables before you board.

You can check the route map at the bus stop

You can check the route map at the bus stop

Check the timetable for the route you want to take

Check the timetable for the route you want to take

 There are three routes - the orange route, the green route and the lemon route

There are three routes - the orange route, the green route and the lemon route

Unlike other buses in Hiroshima, you board the Meipuru-pu through the front doors. Paying is easy, 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for children for single fares. But if you’re looking for good value, go for the one-day pass at just 400 yen (200 yen for children). You can buy the pass from the driver when you board the bus. JR Rail Pass holders can use this service for free.

With its convenience, announcements and signage in English, the Meipuru-pu is by far the most visitor-friendly bus for tourists in Hiroshima.

Check here for more details:

Maple Sky and the Dreamination Christmas Lights

Boarding the Maple Sky outside the Shinkansen Exit at Hiroshima Station

Boarding the Maple Sky outside the Shinkansen Exit at Hiroshima Station

The open-top double-decker sightseeing bus ‘Maple Sky’ offers two daytime tours through Hiroshima - the Hiroshima City Drive Window Course and the Hiroshima City Peace Memorial Park On-Site Tour. The latter includes a guided walk inside Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. Both cost 2,000 yen for adults and 1,000 yen for children.

The open-top deck. Wrap up warm!

The open-top deck. Wrap up warm!

For a limited time every winter, they also offer a night drive through the ‘Dreamination’ - the vast Christmas illuminations in the center of Hiroshima.

Although they hand out blankets and warm air flows from the vents by your feet, it’s a good idea to wrap up and wear a warm hat. Viewing the Dreamination lights from the high vantage point of a double-decker bus is a good way to get an unobstructed view and escape the crowds.

This Christmas tree is right outside the station

This Christmas tree is right outside the station

 Illumination displays along the Hiroshima Dreamination

Illumination displays along the Hiroshima Dreamination

Illumination display of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team cap

Illumination display of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team cap

Our on-board guide explained details about the illuminations in Japanese, and even went so far as melodically humming Christmas songs over the speaker system as we passed through the lights. Now that’s service. Tickets for the Hiroshima Dreamination Window Course on the Maple Sky cost 1,500 yen for adults and 750 yen for children.

All tours for Maple Sky depart from the ground floor of the Shinkansen exit at Hiroshima Station.

Check here for more details:

Words & Photography by Tom Miyagawa Coulton (Visited in December 2017)

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