Although the stars may be a little hard to see sometimes in the city with all the lights, you don’t have to head out to the country in order to find them. Instead, you can make your way to Hiroshima’s very own planetarium, which is located inside the Hiroshima Children’s Museum. For those kids (and big kids, aka adults) who enjoy learning about astronomy and the scientific world in general, this is the place to go.
The whole complex covers four floors with interactive displays and of course, the projection of the stars on the uppermost floor. Most people take the opportunity to look around the whole Museum first before making their way to the planetarium as it’s absolutely free. The planetarium itself though does incur a cost for high school students and over 65s (250 yen) and adults in general (510 yen). As children are free for the entire Museum and planetarium, it’s a great place for families. After you’ve finished, the park outside is a lovely spot to have lunch and to take some time out to relax before heading to your next activity.
The star projection shows are a great visual for kids and last 50 minutes. During the week they are held four times a day at 11am, 1, 2 and 3pm respectively and on the weekends there are additional shows at 10am and 4pm. The Museum does advise individuals who want to see the show that the 11am session during weekdays is often fully booked by school trips so to avoid disappointment one of the later shows is advised.
The planetarium is open every day from 9am until 5pm and is closed every Monday, the day after national holidays and between 29 December-January 3.
Best of all, the Museum and planetarium do hold special events over summer for tired parents… I mean bored, kids. The Japanese website is detailed and very informative but unfortunately the English version does little but give an outline of the opening hours and access. If your Japanese reading skills are lacking and you are really keen to find out more, my advice is to ask one of your Japanese friends to help you. Otherwise, simply turn up, have a look around and enjoy the experience.
If you’re using public transport, the easiest way is to take the streetcar to the Genbaku Dome (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb) stop. Cross the road to the old baseball stadium grounds and head around to the left of it. You’ll see a large brick building with fun kid-related signs and a domed roof where the planetarium is located. There are also plenty of kid-inspired signs so you literally can’t miss it.
Have fun and reach for the stars!
Hiroshima Children’s Museum
5-83 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima, 730-0011, Japan (MAP)
TEL : 082-222-5346