Greetings to you readers of the English language. It’s Goto Izumi, lover of the strange over the pretty. Exhausted Hiroshima’s tourist attractions? I invite you to a veritable wonderland, only a short hop away. Not Miyajima, Onomichi, nor even the Zoom Zoom Stadium, this wonderland of which I speak is the town of Kure.
Kure is so different from Hiroshima. Small, but with a singularly individual character. Forget the Yamato Museum and yatai street stalls, and head for the backstreets where the romance of the Showa era remains. The real Japan, warts and all.
Here, I cover some shopping, amusement, dining, nightlife and haikyo “sights” you won’t find in your Lonely Planet. Information as rare as gold, gathered over 2 full days based of exploration based on recommendations from kindred Kure experts and dredged from the dark recesses of the Internet.
So, without further ado, “Let’s Maniac Kure Tour!”
3-14 Shimizu, Kure-shi 〒737-0022
This temple, founded by an unordained priest in 1964, is filled with Buddhist statues fashioned out of concrete by the same priest. In no way a professional artist, the results are delightfully haphazard and childlike.
5-7-20 Miyahara, Kure 〒737-0024
A sadly, defunct bathhouse. You need to make a reservation to arrange a time to view it, but it’s worth it. The place has been left just as it was when it was in business. It’s like being on a Showa era film set. 0823-21-7576 (Japanese).
2-6-11 Hiroryotani, Kure-shi 〒737-0123
From the outside, you’d swear this place was derelict but it is, in fact, a functioning hospital. Head up to the second floor, however, and you are in real haikyo territory.
Say hello at the reception and they let you have a look around.
3-1 Sawai-cho, Kure-shi 〒737-0028
Ask at the office to get a look inside this wooden western style building built in 1948. It’s still used for occasional events and the staff speak English so it’s possible to ask questions. The building tilts in a beautifully worn way.
Houses clustered under overpasses
3 Sawai-cho, Kure-shi
Right next to the YWCA most of these living spaces built illegally in the post-war chaos are now empty and will surely soon be redeveloped.