Hiroshima’s city center boutique movie theater is a monument to the golden age of cinema.
After years of city center movie houses closing down and being replaced by suburban multiplexes, the Johakyu [ja], who also run Salon Cinema across the road, renovated and reopened the old Toyo/Meigaza theater in the Fukuya Department Store building. It’s a space that, in the age of streaming and home theaters, succeeds in putting the excitement back into going out to the cinema.
The interior of the two screen (both digital capable) theater was designed by Hiroshima-born Film Art Director Kyoko Heya (whose credits include the Oscar winning Shall We Dance) in a “Japanese Modern” style, and includes pieces brought in from the Toei sets in Kyoto.
Their other cinemas are known for their comfortable seats, and Hatchoza boasts their most spacious and comfortable yet. The former Toei and Meigaza cinemas accommodated 372 and 150 people; they’ve cut this down to 170 and 150 respectively. There is also zashiki tatami and counter style seating.
Another nice addition is Cafe Kioku (Cafe Memory), a collaboration with trendy cafe specialists Commercial Art. Customers are welcome to take food and drinks from the cafe into the movie with them.
Hatchoza does test your ability to read Japanese kanji characters when going to the bathroom, so don’t leave it too late!