Hiroshima is the biggest city in the Chugoku region of western Honshu, Japan’s largest island. It is a safe place to visit to learn about the history of the atomic bombing in 1945.
Hiroshima city was a major port and a military headquarters in Japan, a part of the Axis coalition, along with Nazi Germany and Italy, against the Allies including Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and China.
Hiroshima was known worldwide when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the 6th of August in 1945, during World War II, killing thousands of people. The city was destroyed but Hiroshima was rebuilt and became the biggest city in the Chugoku region.
Some of the best things to do in Hiroshima are visiting the site of the nuclear attack including the Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Museum, and Peace Memorial Park.
You can also visit the Miyajima island which is home to Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and try Japanese food such as okonomiyaki pancakes, saltwater eel or anago .
Hiroshima is well-connected to public transport. It can be reached by trains from JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen from Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and Nagoya. There is also Hiroshima International Airport, serving domestic and international flights.
22 Best things to do in Hiroshima, Japan
1. Atomic Bomb Dome
The A-Bomb Dome, also known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, is one of the few buildings remaining after the bombing during WWII. It is located on the bank of the Motoyasu River, in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
The Atomic Bomb Dome is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a symbol of the destruction, and the will and strength to endure caused by the world’s first atomic bomb.
The bombing occurred on August 6, 1945, when an American B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The explosion killed more than 140,000 people, and many more were injured or suffered from radiation sickness.
The building was originally Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall, built in 1915 on the Motoyasu River’s bank as a place where local products are exhibited and sold.
This building was created by Jan Letz, a Czech architect with European style and the building was very modern at the time.
The building is called the atomic bomb dome after WWII due to its distinctive domed steel frame. It has been preserved as a peace memorial where you can learn about the history of the bombing and its impact on the city and its people.
2. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park is one of the best things to do in Hiroshima because it is the most prominent attraction of the city. The park was founded in August 1954, on more than 120,000 square meters, to remember those who died in the bomb explosion and radiation exposure.
Because it was the political and commercial center of the city, it is the target of the pilots. After the bombing, the site became a peace memorial facility.
In the park, you will see the Peace Memorial Museum, A-Bomb Dome, Children’s Peace Monument, and Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims, which is an arched tomb dedicated for victims of the 1945 world’s first nuclear attack.
Visiting the park to learn about the bombing during WWII, as well as the dangers of the war and the importance of peace. It is easily reachable from Hiroshima Station and Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus. The park is open daily and the admission fee is 200 yen.
3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a main facility of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. You can learn the history of the atomic bombing and its aftermath, including the destruction of the bomb explosion, the rebuilding of the city, and the experiences of the survivors via its exhibits both permanent and temporary.
Founded in 1955, the museum shows the world the reality of the damage caused by the atomic bomb and teaches everyone about the consequences of nuclear weapons and the significance of peace.
The museum and park were created by Tange Kenzo, a famous postwar architect who also created the Osaka World Expo and Tokyo Olympics.
The museum is located within a short tram ride from Hiroshima Station and a short walk from Fukuromachi. You can also reach Hiroshima City Circulator Bus.
4. Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
This national memorial hall was founded in 2002, honors and remembers those who perished in the atomic bombing and conveys the destructive power of nuclear weapons and the importance of peace.
You can take a look at the Monument to 8:15, the time the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It is surrounded by water, an offering to those who died craving water.
There is the Hall of Remembrance in the building’s second basement. The hall has a panoramic view of the A-bombed city from Shima Hospital, near the atomic bomb hypocenter.
Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims has a collection of memoirs of A-bomb survivors to convey the damage caused by the atomic bombing.
5. Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle, also known as Carp Castle, is one of Japan’s most beautiful castles.
The castle was built 1589 -1599, by Mori Terumoto, a powerful feudal lord, as Hiroshima’s physical, economic, and cultural center.
Hiroshima Castle was reconstructed in traditional techniques and materials in 1958 after the destruction from the atomic bomb explosion in 1945.
Later, the castle has a museum of the history of Hiroshima. The castle is surrounded by a moat, and it hosts the Hiroshima International Food festival each year.
The castle is easy to reach from Hiroshima Station. It is located within walking distance from the Shukkeien Garden, Peace Park, and Kamiyacho-higashi or Kamiyacho-nishi tram stop.
6. Miyajima Island
Miyajima, also known as Itsukushima, meaning shrine island, is a beautiful island, located in the Seto Inland Sea, within easy reach from Hiroshima. The island is known for its giant floating Torii Gate and the Itsukushima Shrine.
Miyajima is a peaceful and romantic island, a perfect place for couples to visit and stay in a traditional ryokan.
You can also meet wild deer on the island, and shop along the island’s main street called Omotesando Street, which is lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, coffee shops.
You can hike or take a ride on the ropeway to the top of Mt. Misen, the tallest mountain on the island, provides great views from its observation deck.
If you choose to hike, there are three hiking paths including the Momijidani Course, Omoto Course, and Daisho-in Course. The beautiful Buddhist Daisho-in temple can be found here.
While visiting the island, you can check out the aquarium to see local sea life including oysters. Admission fees are 1,400 yen for adults, and free for children.
One of the must-see on the island is the five-story Pagoda, home to the Buddha of Medicine. It is at its best during cherry blossom season, when all blossoming trees bloom.
Miyajima can be reached from Hiroshima 30 minutes by train ride on the Sanyo line to Miyajima-gushi station from where you can walk to the pier to take the ferry to the island.
7. Itsukushima Shrine
The Itsukushima Shrine is a famous Shinto shrine on Miyajima island, and a World Heritage Site in 1996. The shrine is world-renowned for its giant floating torii gate.
Itsukushima Shrine was built in 593 to be delicate to the seas and storms Shinto deity. The shrine was reconstructed during the Heian-period in 1168 .
The shrine complex is supported by pillars above the ocean. It is home to a main hall, a theater stage, and a prayer hall, which are all connected by walkwalks. The torii gate is located in the Seto Inland Sea, reaching by a path which is beautiful during sunset.
8. Local Hiroshima Cuisine
Hiroshima is famous for its local cuisines including Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, oysters, momiji manju, and tsukemen. There are many restaurants around Hiroshima Station and downtown Hiroshima.
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake in Hiroshima, made of flour, cabbage, and yakisoba noodles with oysters, squid, bonito flakes, and okonomiyaki sauce. There is a high concentration of okonomiyaki restaurants found in Hiroshima Station and Okonomimura.
Hiroshima has a long history of oyster cultivation. Oysters are a famous product in Hiroshima Prefecture both domestically and overseas.There are many restaurants, food stands and ryokan serving oyster dishes with soy sauce or ponzu.
Momiji manju are famous dessert, maple leaf-shaped cakes that are filled with sweet red bean paste, while tsukemen are cold noodles that come with red pepper sauce.
9. Mazda Museum
The Mazda Museum is located at the Hiroshima headquarters of Mazda. The museum has 10 different zones with different themes. To help visitors learn Mazda’s vision for the future and history over the past 100 years.
The Mazda Motor Corporation was established in 1920 in Hiroshima, and grew and expanded as an essential part of the city’s economy.
Mazda’s headquarters and factories are located in Hiroshima. The city is also home to Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima and Mazda Hospital.
Mazda Museum’s tour is free of charge, but you should book a reservation online.
You can visit the Mazda Museum and factory daily. To reach Mazda Museum, you can take a local train to Mukainada Station, and from there you can walk to the Mazda Head Office.
10. Shimanami Kaido Expressway
The Setouchi-Shimanami Kaido, also known as Shimanami Expressway, is a 60-km long highway linking the Honshu island to Shikoku island, passing through six small islands in the Seto Inland Sea, between Onomichi City and Imabari City.
The Shimanami Kaido area provides beautiful scenery. The six islands are Mukaishima, Innoshima, Ikuchijima, Omishima, Hakatajima, and Oshima.
To experience the Shimanami Kaido, you can walk or jog but the best way is to ride a bike. The routes are around 70 km.
There are numerous attractions along the way such as the Hirayama Museum on On Ikuchijima Island, Towel Museum, Murakami Suigun Museum, Kosanji temple.
Onomichi is also a quaint historic city located in the Seto Inland Sea, a short train ride on the JR Sanyo Line from Hiroshima station. Onomichi is famous for its temples, cats, and cycling.
Onomichi is a beautiful destination with a stunning landscape and home to the well-known cycling area, the Shimanami Kaido.
Apart from Shimanami Kaido, Onomichi is also home to numerous cultural attractions. Senkoji Temple is a beautiful historic temple built on Mt. Senkoji’s mountainside.
The Onomichi Temple Walk is one of the main attractions in Onomichi, connecting several temples and shrines. You can learn the city’s history and culture, enjoy ocean and mountain views.
Setoda Sunset Beach has stunning white sands, while Cat Alley, or Neko no Hosomichi, is another attraction, as well as Innoshima Park.
12. Mitaki-Dera Temple
Mitaki is a beautiful temple located in a the Mount Mitake, north of Hiroshima city. The area is at its best in. Autumn foliage when leaves change their color
Dating to 899, this Shingon Buddhist temple was name after the three waterfalls located in its complex.
Mitaki-dera Temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, Kannon. You will see the two-storied pagoda close to the entrance of the temple.
There are also other memorials for the atomic bomb victims, and jizo statues inside the temple complex.
If you like hiking, you will see a couple of hiking trails up through a bamboo Forest to the top of Mount Mitaki. You can sit at a bench on its summit and enjoy the view over the city.
You can take a train from Hiroshima station on JR Kane line to Mitaki station and from there walk to the temple.
13. Mount Haigamine
Mt. Haigamine, is a 737 m high mountain, located Northeast of Kure City, which is a beautiful port city.
The summit of the mountain can be reached by food or by car. It offers a sweeping view of the city and the sea because it is the tallest mountain in the area.
The mountain also offers romantic views over Kure Port at night when the whole area is illuminated.
14. Wood Egg Okonomiyaki Museum
The Wood Egg Museum is located at the building of Otafuku Hiroshima’s Head Office, which is close to the sauce factory.
At the Wood Egg museum, You can take free tours of the sauce factory and museum, and cooking classes for okonomiyaki.
The museum will showcase the history and culture of okonomiyaki. okonomiyaki sauce, most famously the one made by the condiment company Otafuku.
The museum is open from 9am to 17pm weekdays. All you have to do is book a reservation 3 months in advance from their website.
You can reach the museum by taking a bus from JR Hiroshima Station to Shoko Center 7-Chome stop and walk to the museum.
15. Miyajima Ropeway
Miyajima Ropeway is the easiest way to reach the top of Mount Misen, which is 500 m above the sea. You can hike up through hike trails but it will be longer and harder.
The ropeway Momijidani station is located within walking distance from Itsukushima Shrine and Miyajima ferry pier. along the way, you will be transferred at Kayatani Station before heading to Shishi Iwa Station.
It takes a 30 minute walk up the steep hill from the upper station and Shishi-iwa Observatory, along the way up, you will see Misen Hondo and Reikado.
The gondola lift is open from 9am to 4pm and the ticket is 1,010 yen for adults for a one way trip and 1,840 yen for a round trip.
16. Miyajima Omotesando Arcade
Miyajima Omotesando Arcade is a 35m long popular shopping street that is packed with shops selling traditional Miyajima craftsmanship and restaurants serving local food such as oysters, conger eel, momiji manju and O-Shakushi which is the largest rice scoop in the world.
The street connects Itsukishima Shrine from Miyajima Pier. It is also a beautiful place to take a stroll along its length at night and the street is lit up.
17. Daisho-in Temple
Daisho-in Temple is an important Shingon Buddhism temple, located at the foot of mt. Misen.
It is the 14th temple in the Chūgoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage. founded by the founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kukai in the first year of the Daidō era.
Daisho-in is home to Kannon-do Hall, the Maiden Hall, a Rokkaku Sabo Tea Room and a Henjokutsu cave, stairs with many statues of guardian deities of children.
There is hiking at the Daisho-in temple grounds, which leads to the top of Mount Misen, offering stunning views of the ocean and mountains in surroundings.
18. Senko-Ji Temple And Park
Senko-ji Park is close to Onomichi Station, and on the slope of Mt. Senko-ji. It is home to more than 1500 cherry trees, making it a beautiful place to view cherry blossoms blooming.
The observation point offers views of the town with its old houses. To get the best view of Senkoji Park, hike up or take a cable car to the top of Mt. Senkoji.
Senkoji Temple is located close to the top of Mt. Senko-ji. The temple is home to the vermilion Main Hall (Red Hall and the Bell Tower), weird shaped rocks on its grounds, and a Ball Rock.
You can reach the Senko-ji Park by taking the Shinkansen train from Hiroshima Station to Fukuyama Station, then change to the Sanyo Line to Onomichi Station.
19. Shukkeien Garden
Shukkeien Garden has a history dating back to 1620, built by the first feudal lord of Hiroshima, Naga Akira Asano, also a warrior and tea master.
Located in the middle of Hiroshima city, Shukkeien Garden offers a green escape from the city vibe. The garden is home to the Atomic Bomb Victims’ Memorial, and it is located next to Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum.
Shukkeien Garden is a traditional Japanese garden, home to a large Takuei pond and many small islands, as well as valleys, bridges, and tea rooms in its landscape.
You can stroll around a path surrounding the circumference. It has tea ceremonies throughout the year and a tea shop where you can enjoy tea, coffee, and Japanese sweets.
Shukkeien garden is located within walking distance from Hiroden Shukkeien-Mae Station and JR Hiroshima Station.
Iwakuni City is located in southeastern Yamaguchi Prefecture, close to Miyakojima and Hiroshima city, and between Hiroshima and Shunan cities.
With its rivers, islands, mountains, and valleys, Iwakuni is a beautiful city. Iwakuni is best known for its unique Kintai-kyo Bridge, and home of a white snake habitat.
It was a military city before the war, and after the war it is home to the Marine Corps and the Marine Self Defense Force.
Iwakuni has good road infrastructure with an expressway, an Iwakuni Kintaikyo Airport, and a harbor, offering easy access to both in other cities in Japan and internationally.
Iwakuni is easily reachable via local train, Shinkansen bullet train, or flights.
Fukuyama is the second largest city in Hiroshima Prefecture after Hiroshima City. Located close to Onomich. It was originally built as a castle town in the early 17 century.
During the atomic bond attack in 1945, 80% of the city was destroyed, and after the air raid, the city was rebuilt.
Fukuyama is a stop on the Tokaido-Sanyo shinkansen line. In the city, you can find Fukuyama Castle, Tomonoura port town, and the Shinshoji zen Temple, as well as Myoo-in ancient temple, Oshima Noh Theater, and Fujii Koto Factor.
22. Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Spots
The cherry blossoms (sakura) in Hiroshima and Miyajima island bloom in the last week of March and the first two weeks of April.
The most popular places for cherry blossom viewing (hanami)are:
- Hiroshima Peace Park has 300 cherry trees park and river’s bank
- Hiroshima Castle has 450 cherry trees on the ground
- Hijiyama Park has 1300 cherry trees around its forested city park
- Shukkeien Garden has 200 cherry trees
- Miyajima is an island that has around 1300 cherry trees around the shrine and walking trails.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Hiroshima most known for?
Hiroshima is famous for being the the’s first city to be attacked by an atomic bomb during World War II, leading to the city’s devastation and the deaths of thousands of people. It is home to nuclear attack sites such as the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park.
What are the best things to do in Hiroshima at night?
Some best things to do at night in Hiroshima are the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, dining at local restaurants, and enjoying the nightlife at bars and clubs, attending a traditional Japanese theater performance, and visiting the Hondori shopping street.
What are the best things to do in Hiroshima in winter?
Some of the best things to do in the winter in Hiroshima are the Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima castle, and eating local foods such as okonomiyaki and oysters, as well as soaking in a hot spring at Miyajima Island.
What are the unique things to do in Hiroshima?
You can visit the Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Museum, take a boat ride on the Seto Inland Sea, and hike to the top of Mt. Misen, and try local specialties like okonomiyaki and oysters.
What are the best Hiroshima hidden gems?
Some of the best hidden gems in Hiroshima include the Shukkei-en Garden, the Fukuromachi Elementary School, the Hiroshima Castle, Miyajima Island, and the Peace Memorial Park.
See more: Where to Stay in Hiroshima
So there you have it, the best things to do in Hiroshima for your next trip. If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment below.