Summary of contents of this post
Welcome to Hiroshima! It is a pity that the reason why Hiroshima appears on tourist maps of Japan is one of the greatest atrocities in the history of mankind. Even so, for us the visit to Hiroshima is one of the indispensable ones in a trip to Japan. Because sometimes it is essential to remember the mistakes we have made during our history. In this video-post we will talk about what to see in Hiroshima in one day.
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There are many people who skip Hiroshima on their travel itinerary to Japan because they believe it has ‘nothing’ to do with it. And they may be right (even if we don’t agree), but for us the visit to Hiroshima is absolutely essential. Not only because of its Peace Memorial, but because it is a lively and friendly city, reconstructed from its ashes, through which it is wonderful to stroll, shop and eat.
If you want more information about our trip to Japan you can find it here: complete guide to Japan, what to see in Miyajima in one day, what to see in Tokyo in 5 days, Tokyo neighborhoods, what to see in Kyoto in 3 days, Japan map, how to find cheap flights to Japan, how to pack, tips for traveling to Japan from Spain, visa for Japan, plugs in Japan …
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If you don’t feel like reading much, we’ve also made this video-guide in which we talk to you about what to see in Hiroshima in a day, but a little more entertaining 😉
Can you see Hiroshima in a day?
No doubt, yes. In fact, if you are just in time during your trip to Japan, it may be an interesting option to visit Hiroshima on the same day as Miyajima. You can start early in the morning on the island, visit the most important points of interest and after lunch head to Hiroshima to spend the afternoon and have dinner there.
What to see in Hiroshima: Dome
That’s what we did on our second day in Miyajima. We spent the morning visiting Mount Misen and then took the ferry on our way to Hiroshima to eat there and spend the afternoon in the city. It’s a shame, but we didn’t have time to visit the castle because the truth is that we had a lot of fun in the Peace Memorial Park.
As always, the best advice we can give you is to get up early because you can enjoy everything much more calmly.
How to get to Hiroshima
We arrived in Hiroshima from Miyajima, but the day before we made the journey from Kyoto, even if only in passing. Undoubtedly the easiest way to travel to Hiroshima is by train. Best of all, you won’t have to change trains to get to Hiroshima from Kyoto. Shinkansen from Kyoto takes about two and a half hours, so you can also consider a day trip from there.
Tram in Hiroshima
How to get around Hiroshima
Hiroshima is a rather crowded city, and has all the points of interest quite close to each other, so you’ll be able to move around without any problems. However, to get to and from JR station or to other points of interest further from the centre, you can use the tram.
We leave you here the map with all the lines:
Getting around Hiroshima: tram map
A single ticket for the Hiroshima tram costs 180 JPY per person, but there are also day passes available. For 600 JPY you can buy a one-day pass that includes unlimited tram trips and for 840 JPY you have the same option available that also includes ferry trips.
On this page you will find all the passes that are available to move around Hiroshima and surroundings.
What to see in Hiroshima
If you ask us what to see in Hiroshima, no doubt these would be the places that we recommend and that you can not miss. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled them all on this map.
There are a lot of people who skip Hiroshima on their trip to Japan because ‘it has nothing to do with it’. And they may be right, but it has SO much to feel.
In this city, which has been reconstructed exemplarily and completely from its ashes, some 200,000 people died because of human atrocity. And best of all, it’s a Peace Memorial. They don’t talk about guilty people, they don’t talk about ‘look what they did to us’. No. They talk about what happened on August 6, 1945 at 8:15 a.m. has to serve all of us to learn from the mistakes we cannot make again. In fact, there is in the memorial a cauldron with a flame that remains always lit and will not go out until we eradicate nuclear weapons from the planet (yes, as if they were a disease).
What to see in Hiroshima: Clock marking the exact time at which the atomic bomb fell
So to all those who believe there is nothing to see in Hiroshima, I invite you for once to feel and forget everything else. Because from time to time it is necessary to stop, to think about who we are and if what we do brings us closer to what we want to be.
Peace Memorial Park
At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the city of Hiroshima became the first city in the world to suffer an atomic bomb attack. The city was almost completely destroyed and thousands of people lost their lives. And those who survived suffered both physical and psychological damage.
That is why the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park exists today, to remind us all of the atrocities we sometimes commit. That morning 140,000 people died (about 200,000 in total after all), and one of the things that most strikes us is the way we tell the story of the Japanese and the purpose for which the memorial is created.
What to See in Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Park
They’re super-neutral and aseptic telling what happened, they’re not about victims. It’s not like the U.S. came in and knocked them down. It is that all made mistakes and those mistakes must serve to learn and to fight for Peace. That’s the only purpose of the park and the memorial in general. There are no culprits, no victors, no vanquished. Only mistakes that should not be repeated. And we find it SO admirable. SO MUCH.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is the most important area of the city and is about a 25-minute walk from the JR train station, although there are also buses and trams that go there. From north to south there are several points of the park that you have to visit:
Clock of La Paz. It was built so that each day at 8:15 a.m. (the time the bomb was dropped) it emits a sound in memory of all the victims and to remember the mistakes made and not to make them again.
What to See in Hiroshima: Peace Clock
Dome. This is the only building left standing in the area after the massacre. It’s about 150 meters from the epicenter of the bomb. They take great care to make it last forever and remind us of our mistakes. In addition, it has a special anti-earthquake reinforcement. Without a doubt, visiting this building was one of the things that surprised us the most during our trip to Japan. A tangible reminder of that terrible day. A way to remind us how cruel is sometimes the human soul that made explode, burned, burned (the surface of Hiroshima reached 4000 degrees) and filled with radiation an entire city.
What to see in Hiroshima: Dome
Children’s Monument. This monument was erected in honor of all the children who died in the tragedy, especially Sadako Sasaki, a girl who became ill with leukemia from radiation and set out to create 1,000 paper cranes (in Japan they are a symbol of longevity and happiness) to heal herself. She didn’t get it, but her classmates did it for her. There is also a small ‘exhibition’ of all the paper cranes that other children in the world have sent as offerings.
Qué ver en Hiroshima: Monument to the Children
The flame of Peace. It’s a cauldron with a flame that never goes out. It has been on since the 1960s and will not go out until the day there is not a single nuclear weapon in the world. It may be difficult, but it is not impossible. Cenotaph in remembrance of the victims. This is one of the park’s most emblematic monuments: a concrete arch with the names of all confirmed bomb victims. Looking straight ahead, you’ll see the Dome right in the middle.
What to see in Hiroshima: Peace Cenotaph
Hall Memorial to the victims. It’s a shy but spectacular tribute. Admission is free and impressive. It has two sources, one outside and one inside, that mark the time when the bomb was dropped. It’s very complicated to describe what it feels like to go in there, but it certainly helps you get an idea of how terrible it was. What to See in Hiroshima: Peace Memorial
What to See in Hiroshima: Peace Memorial
Peace Memorial Museum. We were unlucky to find the main museum closed, as it was under construction until March 2019 while making the necessary adaptations against earthquakes. Yes, we were able to visit part of the museum in an annex building, but it wasn’t all there, only a part. In the museum they tell you how it all happened, you see images of how the city looked like, real objects of the victims… In short, it compiles and exhibits a collection of objects, photographs and documents that testify to the disaster caused by the bomb. It’s a tough visit, but it’s a must. What to See in Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Museum
Admission to the museum costs 200 JPY per person and is open daily from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm (opening hours vary depending on the season).
In addition to the Peace Memorial Park, one of the must-see sights in Hiroshima is the castle. Also known as the ‘castle of tents’, it was built in 1589. After being dismantled during the Meiji Restoration and after suffering the ravages of the 1945 atomic bomb, it was rebuilt in the 1950s.
What to see in Hiroshima: Hiroshima Castle
Its main fortress is five stories high and its grounds are surrounded by an impressive moat. Inside the castle there is an informative museum about the history of Hiroshima, the castle and Japanese castles in general. In addition, the upper floor offers good panoramic views of the city.
Entrance to Hiroshima Castle costs 370 JPY per person and the schedule is as follows:
From 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from March to November. From 9:00 to 17:00 hours from December to February.
What to see in Hiroshima: Shukkei-en Garden
The name Shukkei-en can be translated as “contracted view”, as it aims to recreate large landscapes in miniature. Valleys, mountains and forests are represented in miniature in the landscapes of this beautiful garden. Through the careful cultivation of the soil and vegetation, the garden imitates a variety of natural formations with panoramic views.
Shukkei-en has a long history dating back to 1620, just after the completion of Hiroshima Castle. Around the main pond in the garden are several tea houses that offer visitors ideal views of the landscape.
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Entrance to these gardens costs 260 JPY per person and the schedule is as follows:
From 9:00 to 18:00 hours from April to September. From 9:00 to 17:00 hours from October to March.
If you’re looking for cherry blossoms, this is one of the best places in Hiroshima to find them. Hijiyama Koen is a large, wooded urban park on a hill overlooking the city. There are about 1300 cherry trees planted around the park and it is a very popular place among locals to celebrate parties and to see the cherry blossoms.
Hon-dori and Aoi-dori Streets
If you are looking for an area to stroll through, do some shopping, eat something or just look at shop windows, these two streets are a great option. With the classic structure of many shopping streets in Japan, including the deck to get wet if it rains, these are super lively areas at night. In them you will be able to soak up the local life while you eat or have dinner.
What to see in Hiroshima: Hon-Dori
Where to Eat in Hiroshima
In Hiroshima it will be very easy to find different options for lunch and dinner. You have to keep in mind that one of the specialties of the area is the okonomiyaki, so you can not leave the city without trying it.
On Hiroshima’s two main avenues we talked about earlier, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Okonomi-mura, better known as the theme park of the okonomiyaki, stands out among them all. If you would like to try some other Japanese specialty, you can visit the following restaurants:
Where to sleep in Hiroshima
The most important recommendation we can make to you regarding accommodation in Japan in general is that you book it well in advance because it is quite expensive, especially if it coincides with an event or festival. In this case, unlike Tokyo, it is not necessary for your accommodation to be near JR station because by tram or local train you will easily reach any part of the city. In addition, as I told you at the beginning, all the important points of interest are very close to each other on foot.
The only way to find good accommodation offers in Hiroshima, almost like anywhere else, is to look at it ahead of time.
Where to Sleep in Hiroshima: Park Side Hotel
Our hotel for that night was the Park Side Hiroshima Peace Park Hotel, a Western-style hotel that was quite well located and in which we felt super well treated. The hotel is about a 10-minute train ride from JR Station, but it’s perfect for walking to Memorial Park and the shopping area.
The room was quite large and the bathroom, although small, was super clean and we made the repair without problems 🙂
Where to Sleep in Hiroshima: Park Side Hotel
We paid 8,000 JPY (a little over 60 euros) for a night without breakfast and if we go back to Hiroshima we would certainly repeat.
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