A-bombed tram back on the rails this summer

One of only two of the seventy trams running on the morning of August 6, 1945 to survive the A-bombing has had some loving care and a new paint job and will be making special runs through the city this summer.

Hiroden’s A-bombed trams known as hibaku densha are objects of great affection among people in Hiroshima. It has been said that the restoration of tram service just 3 days after the bombing was a source of great encouragement to survivors wondering how on earth the city could recover from the devastating attack. Ever since, they have been a symbol of the resilience of the human spirit and of Hiroshima’s recovery.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the A-bombing this summer, one of the surviving trams will be making two return journeys a day through the city center at weekends and on National Holidays until the end of August (excluding July 25). Tram number 653, which has for many years been painted dark green and beige will be restored to a striking blue, as it was painted in August 1945.


The tram will make two runs from Hiroshima Station to Nishi Hiroshima Station and back, via Hatchobori, A-bomb Dome and Dobashi. Departures from Hiroshima Station are at 10:30 and 14:00. There is a passenger capacity of 25 and you’ll need a reservation to get on the tram. 653 was unveiled at the Hiroden Streetcar Festival, after which it made a one hour run around town, but the service starts proper on June 13.

The fare is ¥500 for adults and ¥200 for children from 4th grade through high school (children 3rd grade and younger are not allowed to ride).

Application by email to [email protected] with “被爆電車 申込み” as the subject and included the following information

  • Date and time you want to ride the tram (include 3 choices)
  • Number of adults and children in your group
  • Names, addresses, ages and telephone numbers of all the applicants

Even if you don’t get a spot on the tram, be sure to keep a look out for the blue 653 this summer.

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.