Travel through Hiroshima history with digital maps

Travel through time using this ingenious “now and then” widget based on historical maps of Hiroshima city.

This widget, built by Kenji Tani of Saitama University, allows you toggle back and forth over the pass 100 years or so, comparing maps of Hiroshima city center over the past 100 years. Select the year you want to compare with today and it will appear in the left frame. Click the top box, labelled 2画面表示 to expand the old map to take up the whole widget.

「この地図は、時系列地形図閲覧サイト「今昔マップ on the web」((C)谷 謙二)により作成したものです。

As well as Hiroshima, you can view maps of a total of 13 areas around Japan and Professor Tani has utilized over 2600 maps in creating his widget. The Hiroshima maps cover quite a wide area, including Miyajima and Kure.

Antique hiroshima map area

The comparison of the southern end of Hiroshima city in the early 20th century and today is particularly striking, as is the amount of land given over to military installations and training grounds. You’ll notice that the old characters of ‘Hiroshima’ 廣島 rather than the modern rendering 広島 and that you have to read place names that are written horizontally from left to right, so Hiroshima-shi reads 市島廣.

Hiroshima city coastal development

You can waste hours clicking back and forth. I like this little fish farm next to Eba-yama that is shown on the earliest pre-war map (1925-1932), but that had been engulfed by land reclamation by the 1950s.

Early 20th century Eba fish farm