Due to its tragic past of being the first city in the world or have an atomic bomb dropped on it, Hiroshima is one of Japan´s better known cities. Its inhabitants worked hard after the war to rebuild it and today the only thing that remains of the terrible tragedy of 1945 is a single building in the midst of the city. The people of Hiroshima see it as their role as to remind the world of the horrors of war. The Hiroshima Peace Park is a must go place for all visitors, on top of that it packs a few wonderful attractions such as the famous Toori gate in the sea, Hiroshima castle, Shukkeiken garden, all rebuilt after the war.
How to get there
Hiroshima is a 90 minutes Shinkansen ride away from Shin Osaka station. Tickets cost about 9000 Yen. From Tokyo the ride in the fastest Shinkansen train, the Nozomi takes 4 hours and costs about 17.000 Yen. Note that you cannot use Japan Railway Pass in the Nozomi and must instead use the Hikari which takes five hours. If you are on a budget you can also take an overnight bus, which costs around 5000 Yen from Shin Osaka station or 11.000 Yen from Tokyo or Shinjuku stations.
Things to see and do
You might be surprised to learn that the only thing in the city that reminds one of the bombings is a single house; the A-Bomb dome, located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park it is one of the city´s most notable landmark. In this park has also the Hiroshima Memorial Museum which exhibits all sorts of items from the bombing itself, a small model of the city from just after the bombing, photos, movies and other things. To get there take line 2 or 6 to Genbaku Domu Mae station. Tickets are only 50 Yen.
The Mazda corporation is also headquartered in the city and has a museum where people can explore the history of its cars, the technology made to make them, assembly lines and future prospects. As one of the largest, if not the largest company headquartered in Hiroshima, Mazda plays an important role in the city economy. To visit the Mazda Museum tickets for guided tours must be reserved in advance, this can be done online at https://ssl.mazda.com/en/about/museum/reservations/. To get there take the local train from Hiroshima to Mukainada station.
The Shukkeien garden is a beautiful, traditional garden so typical of Japan. Here mountains, valley and forests as well can be found in miniature size. The garden dates back to 1620 and is a perfect sample of the traditional aesthetics of the Japanese people. A large number of tea houses are also located there which give an excellent view of the scenery. The garden is located just 15 minutes away from Hiroshima station by foot. The fee is 250 Yen.
Hiroshima originally developed as a castle town and in the center of the city on can find the five stories tall Hiroshima Castle, build in 1589 by the feudal lord Mori Terumoto it was at the time an important seat of power, the castle was of course destroyed during the atomic bomb blast in 1945 but was rebuilt. The surrounding garden is also of considerable interest. Admission to the castle ground is free but it costs 350 Yen to enter the castle itself. TO get there take line 1,2 or 6 from Hiroshima station to Kamiyacho-nichi station. Alternatively you can walk there from the peace park.
The most popular attraction of Hiroshima however, even more popular than the Peace Park lies slightly outside of the city, this is the island of Miyajima which lies in Hiroshima bay, just oppose the city itself. Miyajima means Shrine Island in Japanese which says all that needs to be said. The Itsukushima Shrine with the famous floating Torii gate a UNESCO designated site is a must see attraction, entrance fees for this shrine are 300 Yen. You can also take a ropeway up to Mount Misen for a magnificent view of the city, if you are lucky you might spot the wild monkeys which live on the island, although they are quite rare these days. Deers are far more common. Tickets for the ropeway are 1000 Yen for one way, and 1800 Yen for both ways. Other sites on the island include the Buddhist temple Daisho-in, located at the mountain foot of Misen, the Senjokaku wooden hall built by the warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi and a history museum. Prices are Free, 100 Yen and 300 Yen respectively for each of those sites.
An excellent and popular way to enjoy Miyajima is to take a walk along one of its many paths, not only can you enjoy the buildings and scencery this way, you might also run into deers and other wildlife. It also has a decent selection of hostels and hotels, spending an night in this romantic place would be an excellent idea. To get to the island you take the take the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station and then take the ferry from the port nearby. Tickets are less than 200 Yen for a one way trip.
Finally, another interesting destination just outside of Hiroshima is the small city of Iwakuni, famous for its structurally unique Iwai brige. The bridge is completely made out of wood without any nails in it, with bold arches onto large stone pillars as it crosses over the river it is quite a sight. Constructed in the late 1600s, it has been a popular tourist attraction for centuries. For a fast access to the town you can take the JR Sanyo Shinkansen for around 1500 Yen and should arrive there in just 15 minutes. A more economic way is to take the local train (JR Sankyo main line), this takes about 50 minutes and costs roughly 700.
For those on a hurry through Hiroshima the Hiroshima peace museum and the island of Miyajima are the two sites to be focused on. It might be possible to cover both in a day, but we recommend at least two days to enjoy the sights of the city.