Hondori shopping street with its beautiful lily-of-the-valley lanterns (c. 1937).
Courtesy of Hiroshima Municipal Archives
Painting : Goro Shikoku
Hondori Shopping Street
Stretching from the Motoyasu Bridge to Kinzagai Street, Hondori was a commercial area that prospered for centuries as a strip along feudal Japan's Saigoku Kaido, the ancient highway traversing western Japan. The area west of Hondori was bustling until the latter years of the Taisho Period, but by the early 1920s, the heart of the shopping street had moved eastward, primarily because of Shintenchi and the Fukuya Department Store.
In 1931, Hiroshima became one of the first cities in Japan to install lily-of-the-valley lanterns. Late into the night, festive lanterns lining the Hondori shopping district enchanted strollers. During the Pacific War, the lamps were confiscated for the metal.