Hiroshima, a city that has risen from the ashes of its past, is a testament to resilience and peace. For those pondering things to do in Hiroshima, visiting the Peace Memorial Park, a symbol of the city’s commitment to peace and the site of the Atomic Bomb Dome, and exploring Hiroshima Castle, a historic fortress that offers insights into the region’s past, are top activities.
The city’s Shukkeien Garden provides a tranquil escape with its beautifully landscaped grounds and traditional tea houses. Nearby, the Hiroshima Museum of Art showcases an impressive collection of Japanese and European art, reflecting the city’s cultural richness.
Beyond its historical and cultural attractions, Hiroshima is also celebrated for its culinary scene, with local specialties such as okonomiyaki, a savory pancake, being a must-try. For those seeking the best places to visit in Japan, Hiroshima’s blend of history, culture, and resilience makes it a compelling destination.
Table of Contents
Attractions & Things to Do in Hiroshima, Japan
1. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a somber yet important place to visit, dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack. The park features various memorials, including the iconic Atomic Bomb Dome, the Children’s Peace Monument, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which offers a profound look at the events of August 6, 1945, and their aftermath.
Travel Tip: Allocate enough time for your visit, as the museum and park require thoughtful reflection, and consider hiring a guide or using an audio guide to gain deeper insights.
2. Miyajima Island
Miyajima Island, officially known as Itsukushima, is famous for its “floating” torii gate and Itsukushima Shrine, which appear to float on water during high tide. The island also offers beautiful views, hiking trails, and a friendly population of deer.
Travel Tip: Plan your visit to coincide with high tide to see the torii gate and shrine in their full glory, and don’t forget to try the local specialty, Momiji Manju (maple leaf-shaped cakes).
3. Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle, also known as Carp Castle, was originally constructed in the 1590s, destroyed by the atomic bomb, and rebuilt in 1958. Today, the castle serves as a museum showcasing Hiroshima’s history and Japanese castles.
Travel Tip: Climb to the top floor of the castle for a panoramic view of Hiroshima, and visit in the cherry blossom season when the castle grounds are filled with blooming sakura trees.
4. Shukkeien Garden
Shukkeien Garden is a traditional Japanese landscape garden that translates to “shrunken scenery garden,” featuring miniature valleys, mountains, and forests. The garden provides a peaceful escape from the city, with various bridges, teahouses, and the central pond.
Travel Tip: Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy a tea ceremony experience in one of the garden’s tea houses.
5. Hiroshima Museum of Art
The Hiroshima Museum of Art houses a remarkable collection of European and Japanese art, including works by Monet, Van Gogh, and other masters. The museum’s collection offers a cultural respite and a chance to appreciate art in the midst of Hiroshima’s historical context.
Travel Tip: Check the museum’s schedule for temporary exhibitions, which often feature renowned artists and thematic displays.
6. Hiroshima Memorial Cathedral for World Peace
The Hiroshima Memorial Cathedral for World Peace was built by a survivor of the atomic bomb and is dedicated to world peace. The cathedral is a striking building, and its existence is a testament to the resilience and hope of the Hiroshima citizens.
Travel Tip: Take time to appreciate the cathedral’s architecture and its symbolic significance, and consider attending a service if your visit aligns with the schedule.
7. Hiroshima Food Culture and History
Hiroshima is famous for its unique style of okonomiyaki, a savory pancake-like dish. There are numerous okonomiyaki restaurants throughout the city, particularly in Okonomi-mura (Okonomiyaki Village), where visitors can watch their meal being cooked right in front of them.
Travel Tip: Don’t leave Hiroshima without trying okonomiyaki, and consider visiting an establishment where you can sit at the counter and watch the chefs in action.
8. Hiroshima’s Art Scene
Hiroshima has a vibrant art scene, with numerous galleries and art spaces scattered throughout the city. The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art is a notable venue, hosting a variety of modern art exhibitions.
Travel Tip: Explore the city’s smaller galleries and art spaces to discover local artists and unique art pieces.
9. Hiroshima’s Nightlife
Hiroshima has a lively nightlife, with many bars, izakayas, and clubs to choose from. The Nagarekawa district is known as the city’s main entertainment area, offering a variety of options for an evening out.
Travel Tip: Try some of Hiroshima’s local sake or shochu in an izakaya for an authentic experience.
10. Mazda Museum
For car enthusiasts, the Mazda Museum offers a fascinating insight into the history of Mazda and the car manufacturing process. The museum features various Mazda cars from different eras, and visitors can take a tour of the actual assembly line.
Travel Tip: The museum tours are popular, so it’s best to reserve your spot in advance to ensure availability.
FAQ About Things to Do in Hiroshima, Japan
What are the must-visit places in Hiroshima?
Hiroshima is best known for its Peace Memorial Park and Museum, Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island, Hiroshima Castle, and Shukkei-en Garden. These landmarks offer a mix of history, culture, and scenic beauty.
Can visitors explore the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum?
Yes, visitors can explore the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which offers a sobering look at the effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It’s an essential visit for those looking to understand the city’s past and the importance of peace.
Is Miyajima Island worth the trip when visiting Hiroshima?
Definitely. Miyajima Island is renowned for its floating torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides, you can enjoy beautiful walks, traditional crafts, and local cuisine like Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki.
Are there any activities for nature lovers in Hiroshima?
Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the walking trails and autumn foliage at Hijiyama Park, the serene Shukkei-en Garden, and the nearby Sandankyo Gorge for its lush landscapes and hiking opportunities.
What are some unique cultural experiences in Hiroshima?
Visitors can experience traditional tea ceremonies, visit the Hiroshima Museum of Art, or attend a performance at Aster Plaza. For a deep dive into local culture, try your hand at making okonomiyaki, a local savory pancake.
Can I take a guided tour of the Atomic Bomb Dome?
While you can visit the Atomic Bomb Dome at any time, guided tours are available which provide historical context and personal stories that enhance the experience of this important World Heritage Site.
What are some family-friendly activities in Hiroshima?
Families with children can enjoy the Hiroshima City Asa Zoological Park, the Hiroshima Children’s Museum, and the interactive exhibits at the Mazda Museum.
Are there any day trips from Hiroshima for history buffs?
History enthusiasts should consider a day trip to Iwakuni to see the iconic Kintaikyo Bridge and Iwakuni Castle. Another option is taking a trip to Okunoshima, also known as Rabbit Island, for its war history and friendly wildlife.