Koba *can* be described as a “rock bar”. It is decorated with rock memorabilia, and you are almost certain to hear rock music playing over the speakers and see rock videos or a live concert projected onto the wall. However, Koba is less about the “rock” and more about the “BOM”, the owner who is the life and soul of this little drink and food bar just off Namiki-dori. [日本語]

When it opened in 2002 Koba wasn’t a rock bar at all. The soundtrack was generally a mixture of world influenced beats, leftfield acoustic and intelligent hip hop that suited the “slightly trendy”/“slightly new age hippy” Hiroshima crowd it attracted. Sometimes, BOM would let the demon out after closing, cranking out heavy metal while cleaning up. After some of his loyal customers confessed their past passion for long hair, leather and air guitars, and they would hold the occasional rock night. Gradually, the time for rock got earlier and earlier. First, for a few minutes before closing, then for the last 30 minutes of the night and so on, until Koba morphed into “a bar that plays rock” from open till close.

I can in no way be described as a rock fan, but I wholeheartedly count myself a Koba fan. BOM is an incredible host and goes to great efforts to make new customers feel welcome and to keep his regulars entertained. There are some seats around low tables in front of the bar, as well as upstairs in small loft area, which are great for groups, but if you are on your own or in a small group, take a seat at the counter. BOM is one of those people who, although his English has improved over the years, has the uncanny ability to be able to communicate across language barriers. He is exceptionally welcoming to overseas travelers, and has been responsible for many extending their time in Hiroshima, either so they can return for another night or two at Koba, or by being incapacitated by a well earned hangover!

BOM has developed quite a repertoire of party pieces that have customers in stitches, and, hit it off with him and he will likely give you a performance. For a real treat, mention that you have heard that Hiroshima has it’s own Star Wars and want to know where you can see it.

Koba is officially open every day except Wednesday from 6pm to 2am serving drinks and an excellent food menu. You will, however, often find its doors open well after 2am and BOM often has the place open on Wednesdays just for drinks or for live music events.

Opening hours: 18:00-02:00
Closed: Wednesday

Address: 3rd Floor REGO Building, 1-4 Nakamachi, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken
Telephone: 082-249-6556
URL: Facebook Page

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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.