Historic and modern, Hiroshima is a great stopover for those who have a few weeks in Japan or have already been to Tokyo and Kyoto.
Known for the world’s first atomic bombing on 6 August 1945. However, there’s a lot more to Hiroshima and a great place to spend a few days. The city was re-built after the war making it an interesting and different Japanese city.
Spend your days wandering the peace park and museum to learn about it’s history before moving into the town. It’s a compact city which is easily accessed on foot or by tram. Make sure to visit nearby Miyajima Island to see the famous floating gate, eat oysters and Hiroshima-yaki and take in the best views of the inland sea from Mt Misen.
The below listings are just a small selection of what is on offer in Hiroshima…
How to spend your time in Hiroshima:
To me the most important things to do in Hiroshima are to visit the Peace Park, Memorial Museum, Miyajima and like everywhere else in Japan eat good food. These can all be done in one day if you’re short on time, for those who aren’t I’d recommend 2 days.
Hiroshima is a compact city with a great public transport network of tram, bus, train, boat and ferry which makes getting around very easy! There are many great transport deals which make your travels better value – see here.
Hiroshima in one day:
Wander the peace park and museum in the morning. I would dedicate at least 2-3 hours to this. The museum is big and overwhelming and most likely you will spend a few hours there especially if you’re a history buff and like to read and take everything in carefully.
Next take the boat or tram from the city centre to Miyajima. For those of you who take the tram you will then need to change to the ferry once you get to Miyajima-guchi station. If you can hold out for lunch then save it for when you get to Miyajima as there are lots of great restaurants.
Once on Miyajima wander the village shops and around the Itsukushima Shrine (at high tide the red gate Torii floats in water and is a spectacular site). For those of you that have more time and energy take the cable car to get some excellent views of the inland sea.
Return to the city by boat, ferry & tram or train. Spend the evening wandering the compact yet lively city and have a nice meal out.
Hiroshima in two days:
For those of you that have more time this is great as you can spend more time taking in the city and Miyajima.
I would recommend splitting the above schedule into two days, spend a day in the city and a day on Miyajima.
In the city having more time gives you the chance to really take in the peace park and museum and is a good idea for those of you that don’t want to rush. This is an emotional place to visit and many require reflection or quiet time after. If the weather is good then the park is a lovely place to spend time and even have a picnic for lunch. You may already know that the Japanese department stores and supermarkets make and sell fantastic bento boxes and pre-made foods. I’d suggest visiting Sogo department store which is not far from the peace park and getting some lunch and then enjoying your spread in the park. Good bentos can also be bought in convenience stores.
In the afternoon you can visit the castle and wander around the city. The city’s main shopping area hon-dori is an undercover strip which is great if it’s cold or bad weather. There are lots of great places to shop, eat and drink so you can meander and have a nice afternoon tea as you shop.
On your second day you can spend the whole day at Miyajima, this is great for those of you that enjoy outdoor activities as there is lots to do. The views from the top of Miyajima’s Mt. Misen are spectacular, in winter sometimes it even snows! For those who are really energetic you can hike all the way from the bottom (about 2 hours, there are a few routes) or if you’d prefer a less strenuous day you can take the cable car most of the way and then hike the last 30 minutes. Either way the views and scenic walk past temples is well worth it!
~ by Emily Carroll, Whiteroom’s Travel General Manager, who spent two years living in Hiroshima (2010-2012)
- Hiroshima-yaki! Have you had Okonomiyaki before (savoury pancake)? Well this is Hiroshima’s version (which I much prefer to the traditional dish which is thought to originate from Osaka). The traditional version is prepared with all ingredients mixed together in a pancake style. In Hiroshima they make it in many separate layers as well as adding additions such as noodles and a fried egg. Each restaurant has their own way of preparing it and many have special additions such as oysters which are a regional speciality, accounting for ⅔ of Japan’s oyster production. The most iconic place in Hiroshima to eat Okonomiyaki is Okonomi-mura (Okonomiyaki Village) which is a building dedicated to just Okonomiyak restaurants! There are 25 restaurants over three floors. If this is too overwhelming for you ask your hotel concierge for their favourite local shop. Miyajima is also a great place to eat it.
- Oysters – as mentioned above most of Japan’s oysters come from Hiroshima so they’re very fresh and delicious! The Japanese love to eat them raw with soy sauce or ponzu (a citrus and soy sauce), deep fried or grilled.
- Ramen – most of us who have travelled to Japan know and love ramen. Whilst in Hiroshima you should try Tonkotsu ramen which is very popular. This originates from Fukuoka area and is a pork broth base often with lots of fat as well which makes it very rich and tasty.
- Momiji-manju – these sweet cakes are the speciality of Miyajima. These are small maple leaf shaped sweet cakes filled with many different things including: sweet bean paste, custards, green tea cream, chocolate cream and seasonal fruits. These can be bought from souvenir shops throughout Hiroshima but are best bought fresh / hot from the stalls that make them on Miyajima.
- Sake! There are over 50 breweries in Hiroshima and it’s classed as one of the three great areas for sake in Japan. Ask your hotel where the best local sake bars are so you can try some of the best locally brewed.
Train and/or Shinkansen
- If you’re in Honshu the easiest way to get to Hiroshima is by train and/or Shinkansen
- From Shin-Osaka 80mins
- From Kyoto 1hr 40mins
- From Tokyo about 4hrs
- From Nagano 5 1/2 hrs +
See www.hyperdia.com for train timetables and best routes.
- If you’re coming from Hokkaido there are a few direct flights a day to Hiroshima Airport (HIJ)
- The airport is located in eastern Hiroshima, from there you will need to take a bus to Hiroshima City, about 1hr
***Check back soon, we’re working to add some photos***