Hiroshima is a city that has undergone a remarkable transformation since the devastation of the atomic bomb in 1945. Today, it is a thriving metropolis that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.
If you are planning a trip to Japan, then Hiroshima should definitely be on your itinerary. Here are 33 must-do experiences that you should not miss when visiting Hiroshima.
Key Take Aways:
- Plan to spend at least 1-3 full days in Hiroshima to fully explore the city and its surroundings.
- Grab a Hiroshima Tourist Pass or the Japan Rail Pass to save money on transportation.
- Use the streetcar system to get around the city, as it is affordable and convenient.
- Be respectful when visiting the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park, and follow the park’s rules and regulations.
- The city has some of the most interesting and unique tours around.
Known for its tragic past, this vibrant city has rebuilt itself into a modern metropolis that offers something for everyone. From its famous landmarks to its delicious cuisine to its stunning natural attractions, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Hiroshima.
The city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Itsukushima Shrine, as well as several museums and cultural institutions that offer a glimpse into the city’s fascinating past.
Hiroshima is also famous for its delicious cuisine, including Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, oysters, and sake, which are sure to satisfy even the most discerning foodies.
For nature lovers, Hiroshima is a paradise, with several beautiful natural attractions that are just a short distance from the city. From the scenic Seto Inland Sea to the breathtaking Sandankyo Gorge, visitors can explore the region’s natural beauty by hiking, cycling, or taking a leisurely boat tour.
This guide will help you discover the best things to do in this amazing city so join us as we explore Hiroshima’s top landmarks, hidden gems, and must-try experiences, and get ready to fall in love with this incredible city.
Visit the Peace Memorial Park
The Peace Memorial Park is a somber reminder of the devastation caused by the atomic bomb. It is a place where visitors can pay their respects to the victims and reflect on the importance of peace.
The park features several monuments and memorials, including the iconic Atomic Bomb Dome, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims and the Peace Bell are other notable features of the park.
Take a stroll around the park and see firsthand how the city of Hiroshima has turned tragedy into a symbol of peace and hope.
Learn about Hiroshima’s History at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is located in the Peace Memorial Park and is dedicated to the history of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The museum features exhibits and artifacts that document the events leading up to the bombing, the devastation caused by the bomb, and the efforts to rebuild and promote peace in the aftermath.
The museum’s main exhibit is a powerful and moving experience that includes personal stories, photographs, and artifacts from the victims of the bomb. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about Hiroshima’s history and the importance of promoting peace.
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Explore Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle, also known as Carp Castle, is a beautiful and historic structure that dates back to the 16th century. The castle was destroyed during the atomic bomb attack, but it has since been rebuilt and restored to its former glory.
You can explore the castle’s many rooms and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top of the main keep. The castle grounds are also home to a beautiful garden with a pond, waterfall, and teahouse.
Try Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki is a popular Japanese dish that is often referred to as a “Japanese pancake” or “Japanese pizza.” Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is a unique variation of the dish that is only found in Hiroshima. It is made with layers of cabbage, noodles, meat, seafood, and a special okonomiyaki sauce.
It is cooked on a large griddle and then topped with an egg and more sauce. You can find okonomiyaki restaurants all over Hiroshima, but the best place to try it is in the Okonomimura building in the city’s Naka-ku district.
Take a Day Trip to Miyajima Island
Miyajima Island is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima and is home to one of Japan’s most iconic landmarks, the Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine is famous for its “floating” torii gate, which appears to be suspended in the water at high tide.
Visitors can also hike to the top of Mount Misen, the island’s highest peak, for breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Miyajima is also known for its friendly deer, which roam freely around the island and often approach visitors for food.
Visit the Shukkeien Garden
The Shukkeien Garden is a beautiful traditional Japanese garden that is located in the center of Hiroshima. The garden features a large pond, several tea houses, and a variety of trees and flowers.
Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the garden and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The garden is especially beautiful in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
Take a Tram Ride
Hiroshima is one of the few cities in Japan that still has a functioning streetcar system. Taking a ride on one of the city’s vintage streetcars is a great way to see the city and experience a piece of Hiroshima’s history. The streetcars run on several different lines throughout the city and are an affordable and convenient way to get around.
Visit the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art
The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-visit for anyone interested in modern art. The museum features a wide variety of works by both Japanese and international artists, and its permanent collection includes works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Yoko Ono, among others. The museum also hosts several temporary exhibitions throughout the year, so there is always something new and exciting to see.
Try Momiji Manju
Momiji Manju is a sweet treat that is unique to Hiroshima. It is a small cake that is shaped like a maple leaf and is filled with sweet red bean paste. The cake is a popular souvenir and can be found at shops all over the city.
The best place to try it is at the famous Kishimoto Manju Shop, which has been making momiji manju since 1948.
Hike Mount Futaba
Mount Futaba is a beautiful mountain that is located just outside of Hiroshima. The mountain is a popular hiking destination, and there are several trails that lead to the summit. The hike is relatively easy and takes about 2 hours to complete.
At the top of the mountain, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside. The mountain is also home to several historic sites, including the ruins of a castle and a shrine.
Take a Cruise on the Seto Inland Sea
The Seto Inland Sea is a beautiful body of water that is located between Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, three of Japan’s main islands. The sea is dotted with over 3,000 islands and is a popular destination for boating and cruising. Several companies offer cruises that depart from Hiroshima and take visitors on a scenic tour of the sea. The cruises are a great way to see the beautiful islands and enjoy the fresh sea air.
Explore the Mazda Museum
The Mazda Museum is a must-visit for any car enthusiast. The museum is located in the city’s Minami-ku district and features a wide variety of Mazda cars and other vehicles. Visitors can learn about the history of the company and see how Mazda’s innovative technology has helped shape the automotive industry. The museum also features several interactive exhibits and is a great place to spend an afternoon.
Visit the Onomichi Temple Walk
The Onomichi Temple Walk is a scenic walking path that connects several historic temples and shrines in the city of Onomichi, which is located just outside of Hiroshima. The walk is approximately 2.5 kilometers long and takes visitors through a beautiful and peaceful part of the city.
The walk is especially beautiful in the spring and fall when the cherry blossoms and autumn leaves are in full bloom.
Take a Sake Brewery Tour
Hiroshima is home to several sake breweries, and taking a brewery tour is a great way to learn about the process of making sake and taste some of the best sake in Japan. The brewery tours usually include a visit to the brewery, a tour of the facilities, and a tasting of several different types of sake. Some of the most popular breweries to visit include Kamotsuru Sake Brewery and Hakutsuru Sake Brewery.
Try Tsukemen Ramen
Ramen is a staple of Japanese cuisine, and Hiroshima has its own unique variation of the dish called tsukemen ramen. Tsukemen ramen is a dipping-style ramen that is served with a separate bowl of soup.
The noodles are thicker than traditional ramen noodles, and the soup is made with a variety of different ingredients, including seafood and pork. The best place to try tsukemen ramen is at the popular Taisho Ramen restaurant, which is located in the city’s Naka-ku district.
Take a Hiroshima-style Street Food Tour
Hiroshima is known for its delicious street food, and taking a street food tour is a great way to sample some of the city’s best dishes. The tours are led by local guides who take visitors to some of the city’s most popular food stalls and restaurants. Some of the must-try dishes include Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and oysters. The tours are a great way to learn about the local cuisine and meet other foodies.
Visit the Hiroshima Museum of Art
The Hiroshima Museum of Art is a must-visit for anyone interested in art and culture. The museum features a wide variety of art and artifacts from both Japan and around the world, including works by Monet, Renoir, and other famous artists.
The museum also hosts several temporary exhibitions throughout the year, so there is always something new and exciting to see. The museum is located in the city’s Naka-ku district and is easily accessible by public transportation.
Take a Day Trip to Sandankyo Gorge
Sandankyo Gorge is a beautiful natural attraction that is located just outside of Hiroshima. The gorge is a popular hiking destination and features several scenic trails that take visitors through lush forests and past cascading waterfalls. The gorge is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change color.
You can also take a boat tour of the gorge and enjoy the stunning scenery from the water.
Take a Cycling Tour of Hiroshima
Hiroshima is a great city to explore by bicycle, and taking a cycling tour is a fun and unique way to see the city. The tours are led by local guides who take visitors to some of the city’s most popular attractions and off-the-beaten-path locations.
Some of the highlights of the tours include the Peace Memorial Park, the Hiroshima Castle, and the local neighborhoods. The tours are a great way to get some exercise and see the city from a new perspective.
Visit the Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima
The Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium is a must-visit for any sports fan. The stadium is home to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, a professional baseball team, and has a seating capacity of over 32,000.
Visitors can attend a game and experience the excitement of Japanese baseball firsthand. The stadium is located in the city’s Minami-ku district and is easily accessible by public transportation.
Take a Trip to Iwakuni
Iwakuni is a small city that is located just outside of Hiroshima. The city is famous for its Kintai Bridge, a beautiful wooden bridge that spans the Nishiki River.
You can take a leisurely stroll across the bridge and enjoy the scenic surroundings. The city is also home to the Iwakuni Castle, which offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Take a Hike to Mount Misen
Mount Misen is a beautiful mountain that is located on Miyajima Island, just a short ferry ride from Hiroshima. The mountain is a popular hiking destination and offers stunning views of the surrounding sea and islands.
Visitors can take a cable car to the summit and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside. The mountain is also home to several historic sites, including a Buddhist temple and a Shinto shrine.
Explore the Hiroshima City Manga Library
The Hiroshima City Manga Library is a must-visit for any manga fan. The library features a wide variety of manga and anime titles, including both Japanese and international titles.
Here you can browse the library’s collection and read your favorite manga for free. The library also hosts several events and activities throughout the year, so there is always something new and exciting to see.
Visit the Hiroshima Bay Area
The Hiroshima Bay Area is a newly developed area of the city that is home to several modern attractions and entertainment venues.
Explore the area’s many shopping malls, restaurants, and movie theaters, or take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront. The area is especially beautiful at night when the city’s lights reflect off the water.
Take a Cooking Class and Learn How to Make Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake that is a specialty of Hiroshima. Taking a cooking class and learning how to make okonomiyaki is a great way to experience the local cuisine and take a piece of Hiroshima home with you.
The classes are usually led by local chefs who teach visitors how to make the dish from scratch. The classes are also a great way to meet other foodies and learn about the local culture.
Visit the Hiroshima City Transportation Museum
The Hiroshima City Transportation Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in transportation and technology. The museum features a wide variety of exhibits and artifacts that showcase the city’s transportation history.
Visitors can learn about the city’s streetcars, buses, and trains, and see how transportation technology has evolved over time. The museum is located in the city’s Minami-ku district and is easily accessible by public transportation.
Take a Day Trip to Saijo, the Sake Brewing District
Saijo is a small town that is located just outside of Hiroshima and is famous for its sake breweries. Taking a day trip to Saijo is a great way to learn about the history of sake production and taste some of the best sake in Japan.
You can take a brewery tour, sample different types of sake, and learn about the different brewing techniques. Saijo is also home to several historic sites, including a castle and a temple.
Rabbit Island (Okunoshima)
If you love animals, you won’t want to miss a visit to Rabbit Island, also known as Okunoshima. This small island located in the Seto Inland Sea is home to hundreds of friendly and adorable rabbits that roam free.
You can even feed the rabbits, take photos with them, and enjoy the stunning coastal views. The island is accessible by ferry from Tadanoumi Port, which is about an hour’s drive from Hiroshima.
Cycle Shimanami Kaido
The Shimanami Kaido is a 60-kilometer-long toll road that connects Honshu and Shikoku islands, passing through several small islands along the way.
But the best way to see everything is from the awesome cycling road that lets you island-hop access the Seto inland sea.
You can hire a basic bike in Onomichi easily or pay a bit more for a fancy road bike. Either way, this is bound to be an unforgettable experience.
I’ve cycled this rout personally 8 times and I can’t wait to go back for number 9!
Takehara Old Town
Takehara is a small town located about an hour’s drive from Hiroshima, known for its well-preserved historic district. The town’s traditional streets and buildings date back to the Edo period when it was famous for its salt production, and visitors can wander through the charming alleys, visit the old merchant houses, and learn about the town’s fascinating history.
Takehara is also known for its traditional crafts, including lacquerware and textiles, which make great souvenirs.
Try Horishima’s Oishii Oysters
Hiroshima is famous for its delicious oysters, which are considered some of the best in Japan. Visitors can sample fresh oysters at local seafood markets and restaurants, which serve them grilled, raw, or in a variety of other dishes.
Some of the best places to try oysters in Hiroshima include Kaki-ya in Miyajima, Kakiemon in Hatsukaichi, and Yakigaki no Satou in Hiroshima City.
Visit Fukuyama City
Fukuyama is a city located about 40 minutes by train from Hiroshima, known for its castle and beautiful gardens. Visitors can explore Fukuyama Castle, which dates back to the Edo period and enjoy the stunning views of the city from the top of the castle tower.
The city is also home to several beautiful parks and gardens, including the Fukuyama Rose Park and the Tomonoura historic district, which was used as a filming location for the movie “The Wolverine”.
How to Get to Hiroshima
If you are planning a trip to Hiroshima (and we hope after reading this, you most certainly are!), here is everything you need to know about getting there.
Hiroshima is also easily accessible by train. The city is served by several train stations, including Hiroshima Station and Shin-Hakushima Station. The Shinkansen bullet train connects Hiroshima to major cities in Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
You can also take local trains and buses to get around the city and explore the surrounding areas. Japan Rail Pass holders can use their passes to ride the Shinkansen and other JR trains for free.
Several bus companies offer bus services to Hiroshima from major cities in Japan. The buses are usually more affordable than trains or flights, but they take longer to reach the city. Some of the major bus companies that operate services to Hiroshima include Willer Express, Chugoku Bus, and JR Bus.
The most convenient way to get to Hiroshima is by air. The city is served by Hiroshima Airport, which is located about 50 minutes from the city center by car or bus. The airport offers several domestic flights to major cities in Japan, as well as a few international flights to China, South Korea, and Taiwan. From the airport, visitors can take a bus or a taxi to the city center.
The Sum Up
Hiroshima is a city that is filled with history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you are interested in learning about the city’s tragic past or exploring its vibrant present, there is something for everyone in Hiroshima.
From visiting the Peace Memorial Park to trying Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki to taking a day trip to Miyajima Island, these must-do experiences are a great starting point for any visit to Hiroshima.
So why not add Hiroshima to your Japan itinerary and discover all that this amazing city has to offer?