Onomichi Shopping Street
One of the main attractions in Onomichi is the long “shotengai”, or shopping street. Despite the old Showa Era atmosphere, this street is still full of life, activity and of course plenty of good shopping opportunities.
Despite the modest size of Onomichi, this city has a surprisingly long and interesting shopping street. Stretching over one kilometer from start to finish, the Onomichi Hon-dori, on some signs also referred to as Center-gai or Onomichi-dori, is a classic Showa Era shopping street, covered with a semitransparent ceiling that will give you some much appreciated shelter on rainy days, and is full of old shops.
One thing that stands out somewhat, is the fact that unlike other shopping street in similarly sized Japanese cities, the one in Onomichi actually still seems to be doing quite well. Most of the shops are in operation, and we saw fairly few places that seemed all shuttered down. Perhaps it’s all thanks to Onomichi’s recent surge as a hotspot for young entrepreneurs and creatives, which is to a large extent thanks to the Akiya project that has revitalized several abandoned houses, giving this shopping street a boost as well.
Still, most of the signs in front of the shops, scream of old post-war Japanese typography. Streets like these are indeed a gold-mine to anyone interested in fonts and graphic design in general, and we absolutely think they deserve more attention as the cultural heritage they indeed are.
A few years ago, this shopping street managed to get some international recognition thanks to a project undertaken by the Hiroshima Tourism Board. To help promote Onomichi, and to boost is image as a heaven for cat lovers, they designed a street view-esque service mapping most of the shopping street, but from the viewpoint of a cat, including short biographies of some of the cats living around here as well. The project went viral and was reported by many major international news outlets. The service is still online and visible for anyone via the following URL:https://hiroshima-welcome.jp/kanpai/catstreetview/
Not far from the western end of the shopping street, towards the JR station, is a small open space where various events such as a local farmer's market and music performances are arranged from time to time. On the day of our visit, there were plenty of people selling lemons and oranges that had just been harvested from some of the surrounding islands in the Seto Inland Sea. There were also some owners of local cafés selling hand-drip coffee, as well as some local select shops doing pop up stores on the square. In all, the atmosphere was very warm and friendly, and it made us feel that Onomichi surely has managed to create a strong sense of community among its residents. Many of the people we talked to told us that they had moved here from other more populated areas in Japan to fulfill their dream of living a slightly slower life.
- Facility Name
- Onomichi Honmachi Ctr Shotengaishinkokumiai
- Hiroshima Pref. Onomichishi Tsuchidou 1-7-7
- Information Sources:
- NTT DIRECTORY SERVICES