Comfort Hotel Kure
Phone: (81) 823 32 4811
Fax: (81) 823 32 4812
Just imagine the wonderful things you will find at a Japanese flea market! Old phonograph records and videotapes, local arts and crafts, used toys, watches and jewelry, uniquely Japanese clothing, kitchen items, video game software.... Of course, there is an abundance of junk as well as treasures. But the items can be quite unusual and make for great, inexpensive gifts. This particular flea market is one of the better-known ones in Hiroshima, characterized as a "family" flea market. That means there is stuff for everyone, and that the vendors could be anyone. Typically, 100-150 vendors are on hand.
Danbara's two floors of eclectic shops offer an intriguing array of secondhand and antique objects d'art and lifestyle accessories. On the second floor, check out antique masks, ceramic dishes, sake cups, glassware, medals, watches, prints, books and other collectibles, along with military and police surplus. If your suitcase is already packed to the brim, but you still need a few presents, the first-floor textile shop would be a good place to find lightweight souvenirs.
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.
This is the seven-story shopping mall (with basement floor)located in the Hiroshima Station Building, which makes for a great place for last minute shopping (for gifts) before you are own your way to some other destination. There are close to 150 shops here, so you are likely to find whatever you are looking for. And certainly, if you are hungry, there are a number of places to eat in the restaurant garden on the sixth floor, and more notably on the 'Hiroshima Gourmet Street' on the second floor.
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.
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.
Junkudo stocks a large selection of computer books, as well as Lonely Planet guides in the Japanese travel books section, along with the usual classics, bestsellers, movie tie-ins, and a good selection of magazines. What makes Junkudo special, however, is the strategically placed chairs that allow browsers and shoppers alike to read as much or as little of their choice before parting with their money. The Kohikan coffee bar, located just past the computer books, next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, has good, reasonably priced coffee, and an excellent view overlooking the city and one of its many tidal rivers.
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.
CDs and MDs are expensive in Japan, so hip locals go to Groovin' for deals. The store stocks music in all major categories—except classical—with impressive selections of jazz, soundtrack music, Japanese music of all popular genres and imports. Boxes of vinyl records are stacked floor to ceiling on the second floor, and a lot more on display next to the stairwell. Also check out the wall-mounted, vintage album covers.
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.
Now this is an interesting factory outlet shop, totally devoted to socks. And not just any old socks, these are discount socks.Though you may as well take all your pocket change and load up. There are between 100 and 150 types of socks stocked for women and for men. Children's socks are also available. Both imports and domestic socks hang from the racks.
This is Japan's "creative life store," carrying impulse items, gag gifts, and mementos of traditional and contemporary Japanese life as well as a range of do-it-yourself goods. If you can only visit one department store in Hiroshima, Tokyu Hands should probably be it. Highlights include Japanese dollhouses with tatami flooring and sliding paper doors, and paper lanterns. Japanese knives are world famous, and the small fifth floor display suggests another source for unforgettable souvenirs. Mass-produced kimonos, fans, and plastic "body parts" make a different kind of souvenir for the folks back home.