Comfort Hotel Hiroshima Otemachi
3-7-9 Otemachi Naka-ku
Phone: (81) 82 545 7811
Fax: (81) 82 545 7812
Everything from 500-milimeter zoom lenses, hermetically sealed storage cabinets, to disposable underwater cameras and point and shoots are available at Saeda. Camera bodies, and in particular lenses, by such famous Japanese makers as Nikon, Canon, Tamron and Sigma, can be a good deal compared to prices overseas. Availability is outstanding and cameras are on open display, where you can play to your heart's content; with little fear of sales pressure. Print developing here is quick, if pricey, while slide film is expensive and developing can take a day or more.
From Peace Memorial Park to PARCO department store, Hondori is Hiroshima's version of that ubiquitous city landmark, the covered shopping arcade. Fast food, boutiques, and department stores shelter under the high roof. By day, Hondori streams with shoppers and young people determined to flaunt Japan's reputation as a nation of conformists--by conforming closely to the counter-culture style. Hondori is also the place where office workers, students, and dropouts mingle. By night buskers and fortune-tellers set up in front of shuttered storefronts. Whether you go to shop or not, it is a great place to people-watch.
This is not a souvenir store; it is more than that, with many local products that people buy not as gifts but for themselves. The shop is geared toward tourists, however, and if you are looking for a gift from your travels, this may very well be the right place to shop. The local products come from or are famous in central Honshu Island, of which Hiroshima is a part. Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake-omelet) packages, the famed manju (a kind of bean cake), and other edibles are among the more popular gifts.
Normally, when you hear the phrase "casual clothing", you are wont to think cheap. Yet this store, while it does sell what many consider casual, is not cheap at all. The quality of the clothing is top of the line, and many famous brand names are represented on the shelves. From pants to vests to shoes, you will likely find something nice. How nice? Try well over JPY10,000 for some of the shirts, making these items more "formal" casual wear than you might be accustomed to.
Five floors of boutiques stock fashion and lifestyle accessories necessary for young Japanese to hold their head high on Hondori and in the nightlife district around PARCO. A visit here provides insight into Japan's ever-changing pop culture scene. HMV shares the second floor with LB-03: Love, Power Soul and other club fashion boutiques. Girls Fantasy Loveboat Drugstore awaits those intrepid enough to enter its day-glow interior.
Outerwear styles for Hiroshima's rainy season, from the rugged to urbane, in a spectrum of traditional and high-tech fabrics line the racks here. Trench coats in special nylon can be had for around JPY10,000, while a Gore-Tex version may set you back two or three times that. More conventional rainwear is also available. Rubber shoes and knee-high boots that were no doubt designed for Normandy mud would serve well in rice paddies and rain soaked bamboo groves, or wading through mud flats in search of shellfish.
This conspicuous seven-story shopping mall (with one basement floor) is extremely popular among local youth in their teens and early 20s. Within, you will find dozens of fashion outlets, especially those that cater to that distinct, hip (sometimes ridiculous) look of young Japanese girls. There is also a huge open area on the fourth and fifth floors that sells generic goods and reasonable prices. In an attached building, you will find a number of good restaurants as well.
Located in the west end of the Shareo underground shopping mall, Jupiter is a cosmopolitan retailer and cherished link to the outside world for Hiroshima's long-term foreign residents. Though only a medium-sized store, Jupiter still manages to stock an impressive array of foodstuffs, drinks, beer, wine, cooking ingredients, spices, sweets, coffees and teas from around the world. Their most extensive selection is Mediterranean-oriented, but they also stock a respectable assortment of cheeses and deli meats, as well as having the best selection of Thai and Mexican ingredients in the city. Jupiter is well-staffed and most clerks speak basic English, and as an added bonus, gift-wrapping is free of charge. - Brent Katte
Hiroshima and the Seto Inland Sea attract numerous outdoor enthusiasts, and many opportunities to hike and paddle the nearby mountains and islands present themselves. SRC, a warehouse-type outfitter located in trendy Wiz Wonderland, carries an impressive array of gear for hiking, climbing, kayaking and canoeing, and a fully equipped SCUBA supplier. Sea kayaks hang from rafters; entire walls are devoted to packs and accessories. Look for the small display room with inflatable and folding kayaks and canoes.
J-Pop bands such as Kinki Kids and GLAY give even Celine Dion and Smashing Pumpkins a run for their money with Japan's youth. Music stores like Tower Records reflect this reality, and floor space is divided according to styles from both sides of the Pacific. CD prices are cheap by British standards, expensive by North American--about JPY2,500. Still, this is a good place to check out the latest releases on personal listening stations.
Every morning at 10am the clock above the main doors chimes "It's A Small World After All" and reveals dolls in costumes from around the world. Inside the store, highlights include the top floor Family Land, with indoor playground for kids and beer garden for adults. Japanese tableware and lacquerware on the seventh floor make useful souvenirs. This is also a good place to find Buddhist altar fittings, for religious or souvenir purposes. Service in English is available at the Information Desk.
Kinokuniya's Hiroshima branch is located on the sixth floor of the SOGO Department Store, which makes it a convenient location for picking up a book or magazine before continuing on your bus or train journey. English reading material is located along one wall, near the down escalators. Kinokuniya carries an especially large stock of teenage fan club magazines, and is a popular destination for high school students after class hours.