We stayed here in Oct 08 and were a bit disappointed. I agree with the other reviews that the volunteers were friendly and easy going and gave good advice. It was also interesting to have breakfast with other travellers at the same table to talk with. However we found the place over priced, a bit shoddy and poor a location, compared to other hotels for much the same price.
The price has gone up - Its now 7800 yen (cash only) for 2 people and you get twin beds and have to share 1 shower. There are some very good modern hotels for a similar price (8000-8800 yen) with your own bathroom and free japanese breakfast, free internet pcs and far better location.
Poor Location- Its on the wrong (West) side of the peace park in a residential area-15min walk to peace park with not much around. Other hotels are on the commercial (East) side and a similar distance or closer to the peace park, but with hundreds of good restaurants and shops all around you and on the way. From WFC to the commercial area its about a 30 min walk or 10 min walk and a tram ride. Its worth going into town if only for the excellent hiroshima style okonomiyaki at Okononomi-mura in the commercial area and theres not much choice around WFC.
Rooms- There is nothing in the room except the beds, a light and a clock and not much space. The pillows are awful (big sewed-in hole in the middle!) I found it a bit old and shabby and little details like having an electric socket next to your head when in bed, made it all seem a bit shoddy.
In hotels for a similar price you get a beautiful and comfortable modern room and ensuite, lots of amenities like TV, slippers, tea and coffee and a kettle, english newspapers, shampoos, moisturisers, razors, a mirror and hairdryer etc etc which are missing in rooms at the WFC.
Internet- It costs 300 yen to use the pool PC for internet (usually free). Theres a washing machine but with STAFF USE ONLY sign.
Getting a shower in the morning- Sharing with 7 other people and with breakfast at either 7:45 or 8:30 means a rush for the shower and waiting around. Its an old bathroom with blocked drain in the shower at the time.
Sure the breakfast is a social experience, but without a shared lounge, its not that social here outside of that time.
9:30 check out time! (usually 10)
No Alcohol !
Its not a japanese experience staying here. The place is setup in western style except that you sleep on the floor have tatami floor in the rooms and take off shoes at the door. Theres not the Japanese attention to detail that one may start to become accustomed to. Its kind of like staying for free at friends house or a student flat, except that you pay. If you want a Japanese experience you will find a Japanese run Ryokan much more japanese.
I would recommend the better value Toyoko inn (8000, for 2 people) or Hotel Active 8800 (for 2 people) over this place for a far superioir, more comfortable room, your own bathroom and all the little japanese touches that make Japan so cool! Comfort Hotel Hiroshima Otemachi (8500 2ppl) is also a good option.
However, if you want a more western experience, western breakfast (toast and muesli, although its easy to get bread and use the often supplied grill ovens anyway), speak to some fellow travellers during breakfast and dont mind some discomfort and inconvenience you may like to stay here.
Their brochure says the volunteers are from the Bretheren church and they have some "peace" activities, also on their website, which you may wish to read before you assume they have a worthwhile impact on world peace.
For us it was the crumbiest place we stayed in Japan and one of the more expensive.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Center for Peace Education. Free talks with Hibakusha *A-bomb survivors are included. Free tours in the Peace Park are included. Western style breakfast is included. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- World Friendship Center Hiroshima
- World Friendship Center Hotel Hiroshima