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.
The fully roofed (アーケード) portion of Onomichi’s central shopping street (商店街) is about 3,000 feet long.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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”
Onomichi as “Diorama” or “Bonsai” City
Onomichi as Japan’s Hipster Capital
Coffee: Walkscore counts over 50 “coffee” businesses in the commercial core and adjacent hillside.