Tokyobling's Blog

Hiroshima Streetcars – Hiroden

Posted in Places by tokyobling on July 17, 2014

If there is one thing that Hiroshima is more well known for than the special Hiroshima Okonomiyaki, it must be the hodgepodge fleet of streetcars servicing the city day in and day out. Unlike other cities of similar size in Japan, it was not technically possible to build an underground railway here due to the myriad streams and rivers crisscrossing the city and the poor soil conditions of the relatively few patches of dry ground. Instead the city for a long time relied on a system of streetcars operated by the Hiroshima Railway company, Hiroden for short. The streetcars are slow and not very comfortable but they do the trick of transporting people from one end of town to the other economically and conveniently. Theses days a couple of lines even go quite far out of the city into the neighboring towns and villages.

The Hiroshima streetcars are especially well known by streetcar lovers all over the world for the myriad of makes and models that traffic the system to this day. The oldest cars are almost a century old and the newest just a few years young, making for a very interesting mix of vehicles. You never know what kind you will be riding until it turns up at your stop! About half the cars are articulated, double-cars, while the rest are ordinary single cars like the ones we sometimes see in other parts of Japan.

During the war electricity was rationed and very few of the cars were running on that faithfull day of August 6th, but all of them suffered considerable damage. Most amazingly, the plucky 651 which was very close to the nuclear bomb detonation is actually still in service! When the bomb dropped, all 81 people onboard were killed instantly and only one person survived, but it wasn’t long until the 651 was repaired and put back into service. I missed getting a shot of it myself, mostly because it is only occasionally put into use in the morning rush hour traffic, but if you are in Hiroshima on August 8th, you will be sure to see it as it is always put into traffic on that day. I have borrowed a couple of photos of it from Wikipedia, which you can see at the end of this post.

Sorry for the terrible photos, it was raining almost my entire visit to Hiroshima. I hope for more sunshine the next time I visit!

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8 Responses

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  1. amadl said, on July 18, 2014 at 7:22 am

    I aLways find streetcars more exciting (and.. romantic) than any other transport system. I especiaLLy want to ride the ones in Nagasaki and Lisbon ^^

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on July 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      I love them too! I don’t think I have ever ridden on the ones in Lisbon or Nagasaki… maybe someday! (^-^)

      Like

  2. Timi said, on July 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Oh, so cute little ones 😀 I would definitely take a ride if I saw one!

    Like

  3. Mikku said, on July 19, 2014 at 4:37 am

    I used to live in Budapest and loved riding the older ones there!

    Like

  4. Yousei Hime said, on July 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I just realized there is no way to search topics on your blog. Have you done any posts set in Aichi prefecture?

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on July 22, 2014 at 3:05 am

      There is! You can use the word cloud to the right, or the tags underneath the photos, or if you think you are lucky you can just enter it in the url, like this:

      https://tokyobling.wordpress.com/tag/愛知県/

      I haven’t been very much in Aichi prefecture, so there are not even two dozen posts with the tag so far. Hope to get the chance to add more!

      Like


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