Exploring Hiroshima

Vol.19 Navigating Hiroshima’s Waterways
Hiroshima - The City of Water

If you want to discover a side to Hiroshima rarely seen by tourists and residents alike, get on the water and explore the city’s waterways.

Hiroshima River Cruise

“Come out on the water if you want to see Hiroshima as you’ve never seen it before,” says Maimi Mizuno, conductor and guide of the Hiroshima River Cruise.

Maimi Mizuno on the Hiroshima River Cruise.

Maimi Mizuno on the Hiroshima River Cruise.

Setting off every forty minutes from the Motoyasu Bridge Pier near the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Hiroshima River Cruise is a 25-minute guided riverboat trip up and down Hiroshima’s central Motoyasu and Ota rivers. Just the right amount of time to give you an insight into why Hiroshima is nicknamed the ‘City of Water’.

Along with their distinctive yellow water taxi, the Hiroshima River Cruise offer trips in the ‘Lunlun’ boat - a quirky circular tub popular with children.*
*Advanced booking necessary for the Lunlun.

The Hiroshima River Cruise’s distinctive yellow boat.

The Hiroshima River Cruise’s distinctive yellow boat.

The quirky ‘Lunlun’ boat

The quirky ‘Lunlun’ boat

The standard cruise sets off from the jetty between the World Heritage Route terminal and the floating oyster restaurant Kanawa. You can find the ticket booth near the entrance to Motoyasu Bridge.

The cruise sets off from Motoyasu Bridge Pier

The cruise sets off from Motoyasu Bridge Pier

The ticket booth is next to Motoyasu Bridge.

The ticket booth is next to Motoyasu Bridge.

There are plenty of cruise times to choose from.

There are plenty of cruise times to choose from.

Boarding the Hiroshima River Cruise

Boarding the Hiroshima River Cruise

On board, Maimi provides commentary in both Japanese and English as you pass the landmarks lining the river. The route takes you beyond the Atomic Bomb Dome to the edge of Yokogawa before turning back. The views, the breeze and the sound of the water all make for a perfect mini getaway. With frequent departures, it is perfect for resting weary legs or filling a spare 30 minutes before the next ferry to Miyajima.

Maimi explaining the landmarks as we pass by.

Maimi explaining the landmarks as we pass by.

Heading up the Ota River towards Yokogawa.

Heading up the Ota River towards Yokogawa.

Viewing Hiroshima from the water.

Viewing Hiroshima from the water.

Passing the Atomic Bomb Dome

Passing the Atomic Bomb Dome

The same company runs a water taxi service between the Peace Memorial Park and Hiroshima Station. All the rides stop off halfway at the Shukkeien Gardens and entry is free for any passengers who want to disembark.

You can board the service at the Peace Park or Hiroshima Station. The water taxi runs five times a day, but times may vary depending on the timing of Hiroshima’s colossal tidal changes. All rides on the water taxi must be booked at least two days in advance. Again, it might not run depending on the weather and the tide level.

The Water Taxi timetable at the pier near Hiroshima Station. Book at least two days in advance. Operating times might change/be canceled due to adverse weather or tide levels.

For more information about Hiroshima River Cruise
https://www.hiroshima-navi.or.jp/en/post/007283.html
There are times when the boats cannot operate due to the tides. Please telephone to find out more

TEL : +81 (0)82-258-3188

Gangi Taxi

Another boat service in Hiroshima and the first to operate a river taxi service in the city is the NPO Gangi Taxi. They operate their tourist boat on weekends near the Atomic Bomb Dome and take bookings for chartered boat rides on weekdays. At the weekend, you can easily spot their distinctively colored speedboat moored opposite the dome.

Gangi Taxi picking us up from Hiroshima Station.

Gangi Taxi picking us up from Hiroshima Station.

“Gangi is the word for the stone steps on the riverbanks that lead into the water,” explains the captain Susumu Mihara, who speaks both Japanese and English. “Hiroshima still has 400 surviving gangi along its rivers - more than any other city in Japan.”

Susumu Mihara at the wheel.

Susumu Mihara at the wheel.

Whether it’s viewing remains of private gangi for Hiroshima’s former elite households, or observing a white heron nest in the middle of the river, Susumu is the perfect guide, always keen to share his profound knowledge of Hiroshima’s waterways. With his fascinating explanations, you’re guaranteed to leave the cruise with a new outlook on Hiroshima.

The remains of a private gangi for a large estate.

The remains of a private gangi for a large estate.

One of the biggest gangi in Hiroshima City - the “Kusunoki Ōgangi”.

One of the biggest gangi in Hiroshima City - the “Kusunoki Ōgangi”.

Herons nesting in the middle of the river.

Herons nesting in the middle of the river.

Wonderful views of the city from the water.

Wonderful views of the city from the water.

Because Gangi Taxi does not run to a strict timetable, you can book a range of different bespoke cruises to fit your schedule. They offer cruises ranging from short 10-minute rides up and down the Motoyasu and Ota rivers to full private charters taking you wherever you want to go. They also offer free entry tickets to customers who want to disembark at the Shukkeien Gardens.

You can disembark at Shukkeien Gardens.

You can disembark at Shukkeien Gardens.

Approaching the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Park

Approaching the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Park

Enjoying the views and the breeze.

Enjoying the views and the breeze.

The Gangi Taxi moored at a gangi in the Peace Park across from the Atomic Bomb Dome.

The Gangi Taxi moored at a gangi in the Peace Park across from the Atomic Bomb Dome.

“We have 300 local volunteers helping to run this NPO,” explains Sususmu. “While enriching the experience of tourists coming to Hiroshima, we also try to promote and protect the cultural heritage that is Hiroshima’s waterways.”

With both the Hiroshima River Cruise and the Gangi Taxi on the water, it has never been easier to venture out and discover the appeal of Hiroshima’s rivers.

For more information about Gangi Tax
https://www.hiroshima-navi.or.jp/en/post/007284.html
There are times when the boats cannot operate due to the tides. Please

TEL : +81 (0)82-230-5537

Words and Photography by Tom Miyagawa Coulton. (Visited in September 2018)

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