Founded as a castle town, Hiroshima developed into the urban centre of the Chigoku Region from the Meiji Era. In April 1889, Japan’s first municipal system was born and Hiroshima became a city along with 30 others.
The Sino-Japanese War began in 1894 and a military rail line (Ujina Line) was created between Hiroshima Station and the Ujina Port, which went on to become a transport base for moving soldiers and supplies to mainland China. Hiroshima looked like the national temporary capital, as the Imperial Headquarters, the highest command, was moved from Tokyo to Hiroshima, bringing with it the Meiji Emperor and senior government officials. A Provisional Diet Building was constructed and Diet meetings were held there. After the Sino-Japanese War, the city became home to military facilities, such as the Army Transport Division and various depots for army provisions, clothing, and ordnance, strengthening the city’s image as a military city.
Yet, Hiroshima wasn’t just becoming a military city. With the construction of the first higher school of education outside of Tokyo, and many other higher educational institutions such as a technical school and a women’s vocational school that followed it, Hiroshima became a city of education.
In 1912, a streetcar service started and the city centre began to see the construction of brick and reinforced concrete buildings, ushering in a modern age for the city.
- Information sign at Hiroshima National Peace Museum