I do miss the days when you could put all the random big pieces of garbage, that don’t fit into the normal pick-up days, out on the street once a month. It was kind of fun to see what others threw out and hey, if you needed a table or bookcase, sometimes you could salvage something in decent condition as a bonus. Although there are some areas of Hiroshima where you can still get rid of “Daigomi” (big garbage), most of us have to do it the hard way.
Usually, to get rid of something that doesn’t fall under any of the usual burnable or recyclable days, residents are advised to either contact the office and arrange pick up for an extra fee, or drive it to the big-garbage dump yourself. If you choose to call or fax the people at the garbage information center, you need to give them a detailed description of the garbage and it’s measured size. You can contact this office Monday through Friday between 9am and 6pm. You can also do this big-gomi reservation process online, but it seems overly complicated and is only possible in Japanese.
I have faxed a small sketch of an item, with the size listed in cm, and they’ve faxed me back a simple sheet detailing how much it’ll cost and when to put it out. If they are unsure about something they may call you back, but it’s usually pretty straightforward. Once you’ve arranged an extra pick-up, then you should go to the convenience store and buy stickers to put on the stuff (equal to the amount they told you it will cost). Then, you have to make sure to put it out on the day they scheduled for you (or the night before).
However, if it’s an electronic appliance like a refrigerator, air-conditioner or TV you have the added duty of paying a “recycling charge”. It is actually much easier if you are buying a new appliance like a fridge or a/c at the electronics shop to pay them the recycling charge and have them haul it away when they deliver the new one, aaah much easier! You can also ask at a recycle shop if they want it and they may take it off your hands for free. Here is a map and list of Hiroshima city’s recycle shops via google maps. If you are leaving and have a lot of stuff, it may be worth calling one of these recycle shops and a staff will come by and take what they want; they sometimes give you a little bit of money if they think they can re-sell it.
The easier alternative for getting rid of a trunk load of junk is… Asa-minami-ku’s Big Garbage Sorting Station
If this sounds too involved or you have a pile of junk and don’t want to spend all that time going back and forth with the staff on the phone or fax, and you have time; I recommend driving it out to the dump. I was a bit worried about the trip not really knowing the way. I had accumulated a huge pile of unwanted, worthless junk that I wanted to get rid of, but didn’t know if it classified as “big gomi” or not. Luckily, I was not the only one and the staff were completely at ease with my messy pile of unsorted items. The dump I went to is designated for the Hiroshima city area and located in Asa-minami ku. It is not far off the main road that runs under the Astram line heading toward the Big-Arch Soccer (San Frecce) stadium. It was quite a lot easier to find than I thought it would be, but if you are uneasy, I’d recommend getting the google map play by play (with pictures) to find it.
Follow rt 54 as you head along the Astram line past Fudoin-mae, turn left before the expressway onto rt 38 and continue for about 30 minutes past the turn off for Asa Zoo, past the Transportation museum. You will see a 7-11 convenience store on the left side of the road and a sign in English for “Obara stn”, turn right and this road continues as rt 38. Drive straight up this road for about 5 minutes, you will see a “recycle shop” half way up on the right that offers to take items you may normally have to pay a charge for (like electronic appliances- PC’s, air-conditioners, etc).
Google Map here.
Around the corner from this you will see another “daigomi” sign and a new, cheerful green and white sign with the opening hours on it (9-4 Mondays to Saturdays). Follow the arrows and you will come to the first garbage staff after turning right.
The first stop in this dai-gomi adventure brought me to a very cheerful character who asked me “so, what kind of garbage do we have today?” (in Japanese). I answered that I wasn’t sure and he said, “Sure, no problem- let’s have a look.” No one I encountered spoke English but they were all extremely helpful and non-judgemental. He took one look at my lot and said they might not be able to take all of it, but they will be able to take some, so keep going. He then asked me to fill in my name, address and telephone number on a piece of paper and then drive forward to the weighing station. A cute tune played and the man in the booth said “thank you, carry on.” I then drove to the next area (following arrows and waving staff) and waited my turn to go to a large, wet room where they had me back my car toward the piles and open the trunk and pull things out. Then 2 friendly guys in masks helped toss my junk into piles and politely put back some things in my trunk. I said thank you and drove out. My car was weighed again, I handed back the paper they gave me at the first weigh-in and I was done. There was no charge and the whole process was quite hassle free. I was a bit surprised that they took a large cushion, screen and pieces of glass but didn’t take the large styrofoam or random metal pieces. I guess those are things I should be able to put out on normal garbage days- good to know!
If you want to see the detailed list of what to put out in English, have a look at this page. To know when to put it out, ask your neighbor or landlord as all residents are usually given this poster in Japanese with the specific garbage dates for your area listed on it as all areas have different pick up days.
Asa-Minami-Ku Garbage Sorting Center for Big Garbage 広島市役所 安佐南環境事業所・安佐南区: 4013-1 Numata-cho, Oasa Tomo, Asa-minami-ku, Hiroshima Tel: 082-848-3320 Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am-4pm, Closed Sundays and Holidays