Hiroshima belongs to the southern part of Japan and is the capital of the Chugoku region. However, do not underestimate the city, which today is home to over a million inhabitants. In 1945, the first atomic bomb fell on the city and destroyed almost everything within a 2 km radius. Today, society is restored after many years of toil and work.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a green and beautiful park in central Hiroshima consisting of a large memorial site from the 1945 bomb. Stroll around and take in the tragic history depicted in the park
In the park stands a large stone monument that looks like a saddle. The monument should symbolize protection for all those who perished. Under the monument there is a stone with the text “Rest in peace, for (they or we) shall not repeat the mistake”, carved into it.
The park is most easily reached via tram. The two closest stops are Genbaku Dome-mae Tram Stop (3 minute walk) and Hondori Tram Stop (5 minute walk).
The Peace Monument in Hiroshima is an iconic symbol of the city as it is the only one left in such good condition after the world’s first atomic bomb.
At 08:15 on August 6, 1945, the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. The monument stood almost next to where the bomb landed but somehow managed to manage very well, unlike its surroundings.
You will find the monument on the other side of the Motoyasu-gawa River from the Peace Memorial Park. The easiest way to get to the place is by tram. The nearest stop is Genbaku Dome-mae Tram Stop.
The Bell of Peace was installed in the park to symbolize the elimination of all nuclear weapons and to enforce world peace. On the watch is engraved a world map without any national borders to symbolize “one world”.
In front of the bell hangs a large log that can be used to ring the bell. The public is welcome to ring the bell, but please be considerate of your surroundings.
South of the Peace Memorial Park you will find the Peace Memorial Museum. A must for those who want to understand the horror behind the atomic bombing in 1945. Here you can relive the tragic day, what led up to it and what happened afterwards.
An important story that some, but not all, can handle. The exhibition is created to give a real picture of what happened and how it affected the Japanese people. This museum is not suitable for younger children due to its graphic content.
The museum is a 7-minute walk from both Genbaku Dome-mae Tram Stop and Chuden-mae Tram Stop. The area belongs to the Peace park.
You will find this beautiful castle in the heart of Hiroshima. Like much else, the castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945 but rebuilt in 1958. The castle consists of five floors that are home to works of art, Japanese artefacts and other great works from antiquity.
When you’ve climbed all the floors, you can go out onto the viewing plastic castle and enjoy a beautiful view of the city. You can also see that the castle is surrounded by a large moat and inside it there are beautiful gardens that are supposed to be one of the city’s best places to see the cherry blossoms.
Hondori Shopping Street, the main street of “Downtown Hiroshima” is a passage full of restaurants and shops. The street starts right next to Peace Park and stretches half a kilometer east. Once you’re in the area, be sure to try Hiroshima’s famous Okonomiyaki. Hiroshima’s definition of the country’s own pancake.
Hondori is 5 minutes from Hiroshima Station by tram or 20 minutes by foot. The nearest stop is Hacchobori tram stop and can be reached via lines 1, 2 and 6.
Miyajima is a small island just outside Hiroshima and is best known for its floating torii gate, Itsukushima Shrine. The view of the torii gate is considered one of the best in Japan during high tide. At low tide, you can walk out to the gate and take pictures. The local name for the island is Itsukushima but is more commonly known as Miyajima.
The island is very romantic and consists of several ryokan and a lot of free deer that wander around town. The wild deer roam public areas but are very calm and kind. Take the opportunity to feed the deer and take some nice pictures!
The island can be reached in several ways. The easiest is by direct boat from Hiroshima Peace Park and takes 45 minutes. However, the price is 2,200 JPY per way and the JR Pass does not cover this trip. Option 2 is to take the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station (covered by JR pass) and then a 10 minute ferry across to the island. (costs 270 JPY and is not covered by the JR Pass)
When you are on Miyajima Island, you must not miss climbing to the top of Mt. Misen. Here you are treated to an unbeatable view of the sea and the Shikoku mountains. To get all the way to the top, we recommend you take the Miyajima Ropeway, a cable car that takes you on a beautiful ride 500 meters above the ground.
The cable car departs from Momijidani station, which is located in Momijidani Park. You can hike up to the station and it takes about 1 hour. For the more comfortable, there is a shuttle bus that runs every 20 minutes from the park’s entrance.
Before you leave Miyajima Island, we recommend a visit to the Daishoin Temple located at the foot of Mt. Misen. It was once home to Itsukushima Shrine’s priest which can be seen even today in the beautiful architecture of the building.
Dasihioin temple is worth visiting for several reasons but what makes the temple unique are the 500 straight stone statues that are found at the temple steps. All the statues are wearing hats but beyond that each statue is unique.
Another thing that makes the temple unique is that it is home to the Henjyokutsu Cave which has 88 different Buddhist icons. The icons represent the 88 temples that are part of the Shikoku pilgrimage.
The cave is incredibly beautiful with lanterns filling the ceiling and if you look under each icon you will find sand from the various temples.
Car fans look here! Take the chance to go behind the scenes and see how the production of one of Japan’s oldest car brands is done. Mazda’s museum is a tribute to their cars and is located adjacent to the headquarters and production facility.
Through a guided tour, you can follow the assembly of the cars on their assembly line. You can visit Mazda’s development center and take part in the history behind Mazda. Complete your visit with a souvenir from their shop.
Onomichi is a charming little town in Hiroshima prefecture and is very popular to visit. Onomichi is located along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea and is surrounded by mountains that invite stunning views.
Here you will find the incredibly popular Senko-ji temple and when you are there you will understand why. The temple is located in Senko-ji Park and offers an unbeatable view thanks to its location on Mt. Senko-Ji. The view is just as beautiful during the day as it is at night.
Onomichi is also known for its hot springs “onsen” and its wonderful beaches in the summer. A perfect excursion to get away from the stress of the big city, unwind and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
Relax in this large Japanese garden and enjoy the sounds of nature and feel the stress drain away from you. The Sankeien Garden follows the traditional “Chisenkai-yu” style and has a central pond surrounded by a path for you to enjoy the peaceful scenery.
The inspiration for the park is taken from the mountains and valleys of Hiroshima and the landscape around the Seto Inland Sea and it is designed to mimic these.
The park is divided into three different zones: a land zone, a mountain zone and a sea zone. In the spring you can experience when more than 10,000 plants bloom and in the autumn the park has a leaf festival.
Okunoshima Island, also called Rabbit Island is a small island known to be home to over 700 rabbits. The rabbits live wild but are used to all the tourists so it is free to come and cuddle with them. The rabbits also appreciate if you bring them something to eat. No one really knows how or why the rabbits came to the island, but today it is their home.
However, the island has a dark history as during the Second World War it was a super secret location for several poison gas factories. It was hidden from the public and no one ventured there. Today, some of the abandoned factories remain as well as some military bunkers. Feel free to visit the island’s museum to learn more about the island’s history.
Hiroshima has many festivals but the two big ones are the Hiroshima Flower Festival and the Miyajima Water Fireworks Festival . The first falls in spring at the beginning of May and the second in late summer at the end of August.
The Hiroshima Flower Festival spans 3 days and is a celebration of flowers, nature, music and tranquility. The festival is along Peace boulevard and there are 30 different stages for different performances and celebrations. What you can’t miss is the parade that runs along the kilometer-long boulevard.
Held on Miyajima Island, the Miyajima Water Fireworks Festival takes place on an evening in mid-August and is truly something spectacular to behold. 5,000 fireworks are set off during the evening, 200 of them from the water. The whole sky is lit up by the beautiful fireworks. Although you can see the fireworks from Hiroshima, we recommend that you go out to Myajima Island to experience the fireworks up close.
Don’t worry, we got you covered with the most important information below.
The city’s airport is called Hiroshima Airport (HIJ) and is 30 minutes by car from central Hiroshima.
Bus, train and taxi are available at the airport and will take you quickly into town.
You don’t have to worry about holding tight to your valuables or walking around with larger sums of cash. Japanese are a very loyal and well-behaved people with very few thieves and the like. Watching younger children ride the subway by themselves home from school alone is not an uncommon sight to see in Japan. Of course, there are everywhere, but Japan has very few of them.
Order a JR pass if you plan to move to other cities. If you are only going to be in Osaka, you can do well to pay for your transport at a time. But most visitors take a week in Tokyo and then move on to Kyoto, Osaka and other popular cities. These train distances are quite expensive without JR passes, we therefeore recommend getting one before your departure to Japan. Getjrpass.com is an official ravel agent and seller of these Japan Rail Passes with no middle man.
The metro is well-functioning and cheap – a recommended means of transport. Tickets are very easily purchased by machine on site before entering or via pre-loaded Suica card. Most distances are combined with JR lines and Metro lines to reach your destination in the city.
Suica card – a fantastic IC card that can be preloaded with money to easily blip beverage machines, subway and other machines for a cashless and fast payment. Alternative to the card is Icoca Card & Pasmo Card.
Taxis are everywhere, but are quite expensive. The metro is so functional that Taxi is not needed.
The city has lots of beautiful parks. Enjoy good food and take it easy, enjoy your visit to Japan.
Japan uses Japanese Yen – JPY.
We recommend a smaller exchange before the trip at Forex or another currency exchanger to be able to pay for transport from the airport if you have decided to activate your Japan Rail Pass at a later date, for food and drink on site upon arrival and so on.
Safe ATMs for cash withdrawals can be found around the city. You don’t have to worry about walking around with larger amounts of cash as the country is very safe. Of course there are jerks in the country, but Japan has extremely few of them.
7-eleven usually has a very good exchange rate at their machines. When withdrawing larger sums such as thousands of euros, it can differ up to hundreds of euros against what you get at Forex if you exchange before the trip. We therefore recommend only bringing a smaller amount and withdrawing more cash on site.
Do not exchange at the airport. Visit a bank or 7-eleven in town.
Tips are not appreciated by the staff and can sometimes be considered disparaging.
If you want to tip, ask the staff beforehand if it is okay. Most likely, you will get a no, as tips are not part of their everyday life.
Visit out other travel guides and explore the fantastic country of Japan. We add new destinations weekly and please, feel free to suggest new destinations to the travel guide if you’ve been in Japan before. We appreciate all the suggestions!
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