G7 Hiroshima Summit Venue Offers Views of Nature, Culture

The Japan News
The lobby of the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima on Ujina Island, Hiroshima

Leaders from around the world are set to gather at the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima on Ujina Island for the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima starting Friday.

The island, which can only be accessed by land via a single road, overlooks the scenic Seto Inland Sea and is located within the Setonaikai National Park.

The 23-story triangular hotel has 510 rooms, large and small banquet halls, and a natural hot spring where guests can relax while looking out onto the ocean. A long spiral ramp, which connects the lobby with the second floor, traces the circumference of a water feature at the center of the first floor. The ramp was designed to convey the theme of “sea to sky” and is used during wedding ceremonies. The hotel was built in 1994 but has undergone extensive renovations to update the building in preparation for the summit.

When the G7 Ise-Shima summit was held in 2016, the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima hosted the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida served as foreign minister at the time.

As I entered the hotel on April 26, eight small suits of Japanese-style armor with helmets, representing the G7 member countries and the EU, were on display in the hotel lobby.

“These figures were made by a local doll company that occasionally collaborates with the hotel,” a hotel official said. “As security will be tight during the summit, we’re not sure if we’ll be able to have them on display when it begins.”

The hotel also has a pier where visitors can hop on a boat to get to Miyajima Island, where the World Heritage site Itsukushima Shrine is located.

The shrine’s otorii gate was refurbished in December after about three and a half years of work. The current otorii gate is the ninth version to be erected at the shrine since the Heian period (794-late 12th century). Itsukushima Shrine was built in the late 6th century and was rebuilt in its present form in 1168 by Taira no Kiyomori. When the tide rises, the shrine appears to be floating in the middle of the sea, creating a mystical sight.