How much do you know about Hiroshima? Hiroshima is located in the western region of Honshu Island and is about 3 hours away from Osaka by bullet train. You can also fly to Hiroshima Airport directly from many places as it is an international airport. The unique landscape allows you to enjoy city exploration as well as adventures in nature. We recommend that you stay in Hiroshima city for at least 2 nights so that you can enjoy the various attractions in the area. Here are 8 activities you should add to your list to fully experience Hiroshima:
1. Visit the majestic Miyajima Island and Itsukushima Shrine
The place you should most visit when in Hiroshima is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine is located on Itsukushima Island, south-west of Hiroshima City. The official name of the island is Itsukushima, but it is more-commonly known as Miyajima, meaning “the island with the shine”. The icon of the island is the Great Torii, a gate that is said to serve as a boundary between Gods and humans. Although the gate is offshore and is usually ‘floating’ on the water, you can walk to it depending on the tide to have a magical moment. You can also board the first ferry ride to the shrine at 6:25 (during summer) for the lovely sunrise view of the gate. It’s definitely worth waking up early! Access to the island is via a ferry ride from Miyajima Guchi, which is about 30 minutes from Hiroshima by the JR Sanyo line.
Address: 1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima
Access info: Ferry ride from Miyajima Guchi station.
Opening hours: 6:30 - 17:00
Fixed holiday: nil
Contact: +81 829-44-2020
Entrance fee: 300 JPY (2.80 USD)
2. The emerald green Sandan Ravine
Sandan Ravine, one of Japan’s “Special Places of Scenic Beauty”, is a 13-kilometre-long (8-mile-long) valley found in Akiota town, north-west of Hiroshima. There are various trekking courses along Sandan Ravine that allow you to view the scenic gorges and waterfalls along the river. As you continue to walk, you will eventually reach the Meoto Pool, which is filled with beautiful emerald-green water. Apart from trekking, boat rides are available at Sandan Ridge, the Kurobuchi Course and Sarutobi Course, open from April to November. Sandan Ravine can be accessed from Hiroshima Bus Centre via the express bus or local bus, which will take about 1 hour and 10 minutes or 2 hours respectively.
3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial
Hiroshima Peace Memorial is located in Peace Memorial Park, where you can find the iconic building that was ruined during the atomic bomb attack on 6th August 1945. The most famous landmark there is the ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Today, various artefacts are put on display at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which aims to contribute to world peace.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Address: 1-2 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima
Access info: 25-minute tram ride from JR Hiroshima Station
Opening hours: 8:30 - 18:00
Fixed holiday: Dec 30th and 31st of every year
Contact: +81 82-241-4004
Entrance fee: 200 JPY (1.90 USD)
4. Tomonoura – the port town where time stands still
Located about 1 hour from Hiroshima Station by bullet train, Tomonoura was one of the inspirations for the acclaimed Ghibli film “Ponyo”. Being a town with about 150 years of history, the architecture in Tomonoura is quaint and the town exudes a retro atmosphere. Among the attractions there are Tomonotsu Gallery Arisoro, a gallery-cum-café that was built in 1917. You can view various accessories and olden Japanese items as well as enjoy their delicious confectionary.
Tomonotsu Gallery Arisoro
Address: 720-0201,715 Tomochotomo, Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture
Access info: 40 minutes from Fukuyama Station by bus
Opening hours: 11:00 - 17:00
Fixed holiday: nil
Contact: +81 80-1636-7965
5. Hiroshima’s original Onomichi ramen noodles
In Japan, many prefectures have their own unique ramen, and Hiroshima is no exception. The Onomichi ramen originated in Onomichi city, Hiroshima, and one of the most famous ramen shops is called Shuukaen. Located in Onomichi, about 1 hour from Hiroshima Station by Japan Railway, the soy sauce based ramen noodle topped with delicious char siu (pork meat) is amazing.
Shuukaen Onomichi outlet
Address: 4-12 Toyohi Motomachi, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access info: 15-minute walk from JR Sannin Main line Onomichi Station
Opening hours: 11:00 - 21:00 (closed once sold out)
Fixed holiday: Thursdays and every 3rd Wednesday
6. The beautiful sakura of Fukuyama Castle
Fukuyama Castle is located Fukuyama city, Hiroshima, and is only 30 minutes away from Hiroshima City via Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen (bullet train). Built in 1622, the castle is famous for its beautiful sakura flowers during spring, and is hence best-visited from March to April. The castle is now used as a museum where you can learn about the history behind Fukuyama city. It is open from 9:00 to 17:00 every day except Mondays (closed on Tuesday instead if Monday is a public holiday).
Address: Hiroshima Prefecture, Fukuyama, Marunouchi, 1-8
Access info: 5-minute walk from JR Fukuyama Station
Opening hours: 9:00 - 18:30
Fixed holiday: Every Monday and Dec 28th to 31st every year
Contact: +81 84-922-2117
Entrance fee: 200 JPY (1.90 USD)
7. Best sunset view of Seto Inland Sea
The south coast of Hiroshima faces towards the inland sea and there are lots of islands around the area. Innoshima (Inno Island) is one of the best islands to be lost in nature and enjoy the great view of the bridges that connect the islands. Cycling along Shimanami Marine Road, you will come across a magnificent view of Seto Inland Sea and Shirataki Mountain. Innoshima is accessible from Hiroshima City by driving for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or by taking an express bus ride for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
8. Hiroshima pancake – the Hiroshima okonomiyaki
The okonomiyaki is a Japanese grilled pancake dish that includes ingredients ranging from vegetables and seafood to even yakisoba (Japanese fried noodles). Hiroshima is famous for its hiroshimayaki, the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and there are various stalls around the prefecture serving this dish. One of the best places to have the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is Okonomimura, which means Okonomiyaki Village. Located just 8 minutes from Hiroshima Station by car, numerous stalls fill the 4-storey building where the mouth-watering savoury awaits you.
Okonomi-Mura (Okonomi Village)
Address: 5-13 Shintenchi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima
Access info: 12-minute walk from Hiroshima Bus Centre
A city the whole world knows
Most might associate Hiroshima only with its history. However, despite having such a past, Hiroshima is a fantastic place with great landscapes and Japanese culture. The natural gifts from Seto Inland Sea, such as oysters and beautiful landscapes, never fail to capture the hearts of tourists, and the atmosphere of Miyajima is beyond words. Hiroshima is surely one of the places you have to visit when going to Japan!
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