Island of Walkability: Onomichi (尾道)

Most of the commercial life of Onomichi is concentrated in a compact strip about 6,400 feet long, varying from ~200 to ~1,000 feet in width.

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The fully roofed (アーケード) portion of Onomichi’s central shopping street (商店街) is about 3,000 feet long.

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This commercial core is separated from the waterfront by two lanes of traffic (one lane in each direction) with a relatively high speed limit (40 km/hr ~ 25 mph).
Onomichi waterfront road crossingOnomichi waterfront road
A very similar road (two lanes, 25 mph) delineates the other side of the commercial core, at the foot of the hills.  It is highlighted in red in the diagrams below, but to be fair, it has shorter crossing distances and lower speeds (both legally and by design) than most residential streets in the US (even though it is a national freeway).
Onomichi hillside road
Basically everything between these two main through-roads is a de-facto “pedestrian priority” zone.  In the satellite view below, two lane through-roads are highlighted in red, two lane perpendicular roads are highlighted in orange, and the central shopping street is highlighted in light green.
Onomichi Island of Walkability
This “island of walkability” encompasses an enormous diversity of city life.  The WalkScore diagram below shows the area around City Hall, near the east end of the arcade.
Onomichi WalkScore at City Hall
The hillside adjacent to the commercial core provides another type of walkable typology: the absolutely car-free “stepped path”.  As the diagrams below illustrate, the hills around Onomichi have virtually zero streets that are wide enough and flat enough for an automobile (narrow/stepped paths are highlighted in light green).

Onomichi as “Town of Hills and Cats”

The Cat Trail (lots of photos).
The legendary Cat StreetView (may take a few minutes to load).
Video by HorusPlan showing some local cats on the hills overlooking Onomichi.
Video by Jan Knuesel featuring some great shots of stepped paths leading up the hillside.

Onomichi as “Diorama” or “Bonsai” City


Other Videos

NHK Documentary (“Seasoning the Seasons”)

Onomichi as Japan’s Hipster Capital

Warehouse converted into industrial-chic cycle hotel.
HD video of the cycle hotel (U2).
Promotional video for Anago No Nedoko, a traditional house restored as a hostel+cafe as part of a community revival initiative (Japanese subs in first video, English subs in second).
Denim Run based on the Tweed Run (originally from London).
Coffee: Walkscore counts over 50 “coffee” businesses in the commercial core and adjacent hillside.
WalkScore Coffee 0.2 kmWalkScore Coffee 0.3 kmWalkScore Coffee 0.4 kmWalkScore Coffee 0.5 km 1WalkScore Coffee 0.5 km 2WalkScore Coffee 0.6 kmWalkScore Coffee 0.7 kmWalkScore Coffee 0.9 kmWalkScore Coffee 1.2 km

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