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Travel Guide

Places to visit in Hiroshima
with your Japan Rail Pass

bombed house

Welcome to Hiroshima

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.

Ruins from war


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).

Hiroshima bomb ruins


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.

peace bell


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. 

Museum of war


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.

beautiful tempel


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.

Starbucks cafe


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.

Entrace guarded hounds


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)

Ropeway over trees


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.

Hats on statues


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. 

Mazda cars museum


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.

Hiroshima at night


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.

Sakura trees lake


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. 

Rabbit island


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.

Fireworks colorful


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.

Anything else to know before arrival?

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.

Yes, you are allowed to visit Hiroshima. The city is open to tourists and offers many historical and cultural attractions, including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, dedicated to the victims of the atomic bomb in 1945.

Yes, visiting Hiroshima, Japan, is worth it for its historical significance, poignant Peace Memorial Park and Museum, beautiful Shukkeien Garden, and Miyajima Island nearby. It offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, providing a meaningful and educational experience for visitors.

To travel to Hiroshima from Tokyo, the best way is by Shinkansen (bullet train). Use the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen line from Tokyo Station to Hiroshima Station, a journey taking about 4 hours. We recommend purchasing a Japan Rail Pass, which covers this route and offers unlimited travel on most JR trains nationwide for a set period.

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