Hiroshima today is an intriguing Japanese city of 1.2m residents, similar in size to Adelaide. The prefecture capital, Hiroshima lies in the southwest corner of Honshu Island, Japan’s largest island. Despite being the location for conflict dating as far back as the 1500’s, Hiroshima’s history is a significant part of what makes the city so interesting. Majestic memorials and shrines pepper the prefecture creating a soothing soulfulness at every turn. Then there’s the food! Oh my, stand by for your taste buds to be tantalised!
Things to Know about Hiroshima
|Main JR Stations
||JR Hiroshima Station
||The Nagarekawa district has one of the highest concentrations of bars and pubs anywhere in the world.
Since approx. 70% or Hiroshima’s buildings were destroyed in the 1945 bombing, the city’s historical buildings have been replaced.
Hiroshima Castle was the headquarters for the Japanese Government led by Emporer Meiji during the First Sino Japanese War during the Imperialist period. Keep an eye out for the Australian Eucalyptus tree in the grounds that was one of the few trees that survived the atomic blast.
Hiroshima Museum of Art is home to an extensive collection of French Renaissance art.
You can’t escape the city’s tragic history with the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park amongst the most visited locations in the city. Giving locals and visitors a solemn reminder of the horrors of war.
The Flame of Peace, which has burnt continuously since 1964 and wont be extinguished until nuclear weapons are non-existent worldwide, sits on a sculpture of two hands pressed together, their palms facing the sky.
When to Visit Hiroshima
Hiroshima has a sub-tropical climate with cool to mild winters and summers prone to high humidity. August is usually the hottest month with summer daytime temperatures averaging in the low 30’s deg C with high rainfall. June and July are traditionally the wettest months. Winter temperatures in January are likely to drop to single digits, (below zero temps have been recorded) with little rain falling in January and December.Compare cheap flights to Hiroshima
What to Do in Hiroshima
1. Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima Island
Mid-16th century Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island is one of Japan’s best known shrines. Listed as both a Japanese National Treasure and UNESCO World Heritage site, its elaborate 16m tall torii (shrine gate) seems to float upon the water. The original shrine was thought to have been erected in the 6th century by a feared warlord devoted to the worship of goddesses.
If that’s not enough for you the island is home to hundreds of friendly deer roaming the park which you are welcome to feed and pose for selfies with. The ferry to the island is conveniently included in most JR rail passes.
2. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Other ‘must do’s’ include the Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the adjacent Peace Park, home to an immaculately manicured park with walking trails linking thoughtful memorials. Hiroshima Castle was rebuilt after the atom bomb and provides a fascinating insight into ancient culture and architecture of Japan’s Feudal era.
Hidden Gems in Hiroshima
1. Mt Misen
Technically not a hidden gem as its summit rises 535m above sea level, nevertheless, Mt Misen has plenty of surprises up her sleeve. The highest mountain on Miyajima Island, it is often forgotten even by tourists visiting the island’s revered torii gates.
According to legend, the mountain was visited by the founder of Shingon Buddhism back in the year 806 in the Daido era. Pause a while on hiking trails through the forest on the way to the summit. At the cable car station 430 metres above sea level, you will enjoy expansive views of the Seto Inland Sea.
No visit to Japan would be complete without indulging in exquisite cuisine the country is famous for and Hiroshima won’t let you down. Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake topped with meat and vegetables with more sophisticated versions including local oysters or squid and layered much like a burger. Cafes around Hiroshima station are a good place to find this local specialty. Two distinct ramen styles are found in in the city. Try Onomichi ramen, a soy-based soup with noodles spiced with pork fat or spicy chilli and pork noodle ramen known as Shirunashi Dandanmen at Shukaen in Onomichi.
River eels and saltwater eels are seafood specialties of Hiroshima, if you’re game. Take eel a step further with anago-meshi, a grilled saltwater eel dish served with rice steamed in an eel head broth.
Where to Stay in Hiroshima
Hiroshima hotels range from luxuriously modern to cheap and cheerful guest houses and everything in between.
For budget travellers J-Hopprs Guesthouse is 5 mins walk to the Peace Memorial.The Rhiga Royal Hotel is a high quality mid-priced city hotel within easy walking distance of the Museum of Art, while Hotel Granvia is splendid for train travellers as its located close to JR Hiroshima train station, as is Sheraton Grand Hotel.Compare hotels in Hiroshima
Taking a day trip to Hiroshima from Osaka? Continue exploring Japan with our Osaka City Guide.