If you want a leisurely tour of Hiroshima, but don’t feel much like stretching the legs and prefer to let someone else drive you around, then the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus or the Hiroshima ‘meipuru-pu,’ is just what you’re looking for.
There are three routes available: the orange, green and blue. The three cover 11 of the major tourist spots that have been deemed essential for a proper introduction to our wonderful city. These include, among others: the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima Castle and the three museums and art galleries. Each route takes approximately 50 minutes and the tours begin from the bus stop on the Shinkansen or North Exit of Hiroshima Station, just in front of Hotel Granvia.
Saying that though, you don’t have to catch it from there; you can board the bus every 30 minutes, seven days a week from any stop along the route. The cost for a single ride is 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for those under 12. A one day ticket, which allows you to hop on and off as many times as you like, is just 400 yen for adults and 200 yen for kids (again, under 12).
Despite being designed for tourists, the bus is frequently used by locals as it’s cheaper than ordinary buses. Then again, many people just want to take some time out and relax. Either way, it’s a good idea. The bus routes are clearly displayed on the side of the bus and there’s no need to pre-purchase your tickets, just buy them when you get on. Unlike the normal buses though, you board from the front door, not the side. When you want to get off, press the button before your stop and then exit using the side door.
There is also the option of riding the ‘Maple SKY,’ double-decker, open-top sightseeing bus. For this you do need to book and this can be done via the website. There is a one and a half hour or two hour tour and both include a free multi-lingual headset guide available in English, Korean or Chinese. Unlike the regular sightseeing bus, these tours costs 2000 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children. They are available Friday, Saturday and Sunday only and you need to board from the Hotel Granvia bus stop.
In winter there is also the annual Hiroshima Dreamination tour which costs 1500 yen for adults and 750 for children. It’s a great way to see the Christmas lights of the city without having to fight the crowds. Whichever option you choose, you are assured of a comfort ride and if you close your eyes you can almost imagine that you’re on vacation in a foreign country on a guided tour bus seeing the city for the first time. It’s the perfect way to see the sights and a fun experience, even if you are a local.
For more information check out the website, which is conveniently all in English and well set-out.