10 Things to Do in Hiroshima: Japan

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hiroshima_0Source: PROXiquinho Silva

World Heritage sites, scenic Nature spots, delicious gourmet cuisine; the Prefecture of Hiroshima is a place that has it all. While there are countless things to see and do in this beautiful city, here are the best 10 experiences that are a must-try for any visitor.

1. Visit the ‘floating shrine’ at Miyajima

hiroshima_1Source: Rdsmith4

Miyajima, also known as Itsukushima, is one of an archipelago of islands located on the North-western side of Hiroshima Bay. The place is well known as one of Japan’s top three scenic spots, together with Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture and Amanohashidate in Kyoto.

The first thing which catches a visitor’s eye as they approach the island by ferry is a huge torii gate seemingly floating above the water. The gate, together with the Itsukushima Shrine, was built just by the shore’s edge, creating an illusion of a mystical shrine floating on the sea during high tide. Adventurous visitors may also walk up to the gate itself to snap some memorable photos during low tide.

Miyajima is also known for being the home to many wild deer who roam the streets of the island alongside the people. Most are docile and can be found wandering along the road or sitting in the shade of trees by the shore, so feel free to approach any with a biscuit treat.


  • Name: Miyajima / Itsukushima
  • Access: Directions here
  • Website: http://visit-miyajima-japan.com/en/

2. Catch the annual Water Fireworks Festival

hiroshima_2Source: Daisuke K

Visitors to Miyajima in August will get the chance to take part in a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The annual Water Fireworks Festival is famous for its splendid display of fireworks launched just off the water’s edge. This results in breathtaking sights of exploding lights both in the sky and reflected on the sea, placed against a backdrop of the giant torii gate and the floating Itsukushima Shrine.

An estimated 40 000 visitors flock to Miyajima for this event every year, so be sure to book a spot on the numerous sightseeing boats operating during the period for the best view of this brilliant fireworks show!


  • Name: Miyajima / Itsukushima
  • Access: Directions here
  • Opening hour: Mid-August
  • Website: http://www.miyajima.or.jp/english/event/event_hanabi.html

3. Appreciate the value of peace at the Peace Memorial Park

hiroshima_3Source: kmf164

The Peace Memorial Park is one of the most prominent landmarks in Hiroshima. The Park which stretches from the A-Bomb Dome to the Peace Museum and surrounding grounds commemorates the devastation of August 6, 1945, when an atomic bomb was dropped on a heavily populated city for the first time in world history.

The A-Bomb Dome is what most visitors usually see first once they alight at the nearest tram station. Located right beneath the spot where the bomb detonated, the building was one of the few that did not collapse from the blast and still remains standing today.

Visit the Cenotaph for A-Bomb Victims, a figurative tomb for all those who had died in the bomb blast and those who subsequently lost their lives due to the aftereffects of radiation poisoning. View paper cranes folded by children from all over the country at the Children’s Peace Monument, a memorial dedicated to Sadako, a young girl with an iron will to live. Lastly, visit the Peace Memorial Museum to learn more about the history of Hiroshima, the atomic bomb, the destruction wrought upon the city and its slow road to recovery.


  • Name: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
  • Address: 1-2 Nakajima-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0811, Japan
  • Price: 50 yen
  • Access: Directions here
  • Opening hour: 8:30 – 19:00 (closes early in winter)
  • Holiday: December 29 to January 1
  • Website: http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/index_e2.html

4. Savor delicious gourmet and sweet treats

hiroshima_4Source: Everjean

Hiroshima is home to many of Japan’s best foods, especially okonomiyaki. The okonomiyaki, which literally means “grilled favorites”, is like the Japanese version of a crepe or pancake, filled with savory ingredients such as noodles, cabbage, egg, pork, seafood and more, slathered with a generous serving of sweet sauce. The Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is unique from its Kansai counterparts, in that the ingredients are layered instead of mixed together, to give a more structured dish. Visitors keen to try this cuisine can visit the Okonomiyaki-mura, a theme park-cum-restaurant located in Hiroshima downtown known for serving the best variety of okonomiyaki in the prefecture.

Those with a sweet tooth can also try out the momiji manju, Hiroshima’s local dessert. A tasty cake filled with mashed red bean paste and shaped into maple leaves, the momiji manju is a top selling souvenir and a hit with tourists.


  • Name: Okonomiyaki-mura
  • Address: 5-13 Shintenchi Naka-ku, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0034, Japan
  • Access: Directions here
  • Opening hour: Depends on each eatery
  • Website: http://www.okonomimura.jp/foreign/english.html

5. Be awed by Nature’s beauty at Taishakukyo Valley

hiroshima_5Source: Giyu (Velvia)

Taishakukyo Valley holds the honorable title of being one of Japan’s top 100 scenic views, offering an amazing panorama of one of the most beautiful valleys in the country. No matter if you are there to view the budding green leaves of spring or the spectacular riot of colors in autumn, you will not be disappointed. Even during the hot summer, the vibrant green hills and mountains pose a majestic sight. Don’t miss out this amazing stop during your trip to Hiroshima!


  • Name: Taishakukyo Valley
  • Address: Tojo-cho Taishakuuyama, Shobara, Hiroshima Prefecture 729-5244, Japan
  • Access: Directions here
  • Website: http://visithiroshima.net/things_to_do/sports_and_activities/trekking/there_are_a_number_of_amazing_stones_on_which_some.html

6. Take a stroll in Shukkeien

hiroshima_6Source: Rog01

Located a short distance from Hiroshima train station, Shukkeien is a beautiful tiny garden tucked away amid the noise and bustle of the modern city. Shukkeien, which literally means “garden of miniature scenery”, provides visitors just that, a soothing walk in a quiet, well-kept garden that feels much bigger and spacious than it really is. With that said, visitors should be prepared by coming in comfortable shoes, as a stroll in the garden can get rather strenuous as you take a walk over hills, into bamboo groves, and over little steep bridges. One of Shukkeien’s best features is its seasonal offerings; the garden changes its look each season with a profusion of blooming seasonal flowers. The view of autumn leaves is purported to be the best, so do make sure to pop by this hidden gem for a respite from city life.


  • Name: Shukkeien
  • Address: 2-11 Kaminobori-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0014, Japan
  • Price: 260 yen
  • Access: Directions here
  • Opening hour: 9:00 – 18:00 (closes early in winter)
  • Holiday: December 29 to 31
  • Website: http://shukkeien.jp/pdf/EnglishBrochure.pdf

7. Learn about history at Hiroshima Castle

hiroshima_7Source: m-louis

Hiroshima Castle was constructed in the 1950s by Terumoto Mori, one of the Five Elders on daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s council. While being one of the lesser known tourist spots in the Prefecture, Hiroshima Castle has lots to offer for myriad visitors. The castle grounds are a favorite gathering place for locals on sunny days, some of them coming for the daily historical play that is enacted at the castle’s entrance, others just for a leisurely stroll. Those who wish to learn more about history can venture into the castle building itself, which houses a museum on Hiroshima’s history as a military town after the Meiji Restoration, as well as exhibits on samurai culture.


  • Name: Hiroshima Castle
  • Address: 21-1 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0011, Japan
  • Price: 370 yen for castle tower admission
  • Access: Directions here
  • Opening hour: 9:00 – 18:00 (closes early in winter)
  • Holiday: December 29 to 31
  • Website: http://www.rijo-castle.jp/rijo/pdf/english.pdf

8. Satisfy gourmet cravings at Oyster Road

hiroshima_8Source: Marufish

Tourists who visit Hiroshima in the autumn and winter seasons are in for a treat of oysters, one of Hiroshima’s prized exports. Collectively known as “Oyster Road”, the event is held every year at Hiroshima Minato Park in Ujina, where various eateries open for business, selling delicious oyster-themed dishes for reasonable prices. Try oysters raw, steamed in rice, in miso-based stew and deep-friend, to name a few of the more famous cuisine available only during this season.


  • Name: Hiroshima Minato Park
  • Address: 23-53 2-chome, Ujina-kaigan, Minami-ku, Hiroshima Prefecture 734-0011, Japan
  • Access: Directions here
  • Website: http://minatofesta.com/

9. Experience movie magic at Tomonoura

hiroshima_9Source: Kimon Berlin

Tomonoura, a tiny port town located in Fukuyama city, is perhaps best described as a town lost to time. A picturesque place, Tomonoura is a sleepy town that seemed to have been transported straight from Edo times, and offers visitors nostalgic walks along its quaint old streets and delicious traditional food. But the true charm of Tomonoura comes from recent history, when it had been selected as the filming spot for blockbuster movie “The Wolverine”, and a place of inspiration for the port town featured in popular Ghibli film “Ponyo on the cliff”. Visitors are encouraged to spend an enjoyable afternoon visiting various settings depicted in the films, before ending the day sipping homeishu, a medicinal alcohol drink unique to the town, at a local eatery.


  • Name: Tomonoura
  • Address: Fukuyama-shi, Tomo-cho, Hiroshima Prefecture 720-0201, Japan
  • Access: Directions here
  • Website: http://visithiroshima.net/things_to_do/attractions/historical_places/tomonoura.html

10. Catch a bird’s eye view of the city from Mt. Haigamine

hiroshima_10Source: kenichi nobusue

Selected as the spot where one can view one of Japan’s top 100 nightscapes, Mt Haigamine is a must-visit for avid photographers and anyone who appreciates a good view. Said to resemble a sea of twinkling jewels on a clear night, visitors are offered a view of nearby Kure city, which nestles at the mountain’s base, as well as the Seto Inland Sea and Shikoku in the distance. It is indeed hard to rival the panoramic view on the peak of Mt Haigamine, which spans all 360 degrees due to the absence of other mountains in the close vicinity. So end off your trip to Hiroshima with a spectacular and romantic view of this memorable city.


  • Name: Mt. Haigamine
  • Address: Tochihara-cho, Kure-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture 737-0922, Japan
  • Access: Directions here
  • Website: http://www.city.kure.lg.jp/~haigamine/

Have a good trip and travel!