After a day of exploring all of Hiroshima’s must-see sights and discovering all the hidden gems in between, don’t head off to bed just yet. There’s still so much more to explore, although if you searched for "things to do in Hiroshima at night" in Japanese sites, you will most likely see results for recommendations on places to eat. Hiroshima, like most Japanese cities, comes to life as the sun goes down and if you want to do as the locals do, you should most definitely try to visit a few local izakaya and enjoy a gourmet feast in between doing a few of the recommendations below.
Eat, shop and be merry in downtown
Hiroshima is famous for its lively downtown area at night with many options on things to do such as shopping and of course, the local favorite activity, eating!
Visiting at the very least one local izakaya during your visit is a must and you shouldn't leave without trying classic Hiroshima okonomiyaki, specialty oysters, and local ramen. The area of Nagarekawacho is less touristy and packed with izakaya and tachinomiya (standing bars) where you can find local specialties that you wouldn't be able to have anywhere else.
Hiroshima Hondori Shotengai is a 577-meter shopping street that passes through the middle of Hiroshima's downtown Kamiyacho and it is a shoppers paradise with many shops open until 8pm.
Downtown Hiroshima refers to the areas of Hacchobori, Kamiyacho, and Nagarekawacho.You can get there on the Hiroshima Electric Railway from JR Hiroshima Station. Get off at "Hatchobori Station" for Hatchobori, at "Kamiyacho Nishi Station" or "Kamiyacho Higashi Station" for Kamiyacho and Nagarekawacho can be accessed from "Hatchobori Station" in about 8 minutes on foot.
Machiya Street in Miyajima Island
Photo credit: s1.1zoom.me
No trip to Hiroshima is complete without a visit to Miyajima Island. So if you are able to plan a full day visit or an overnight stay there, then I recommend taking a walk along Machiya Street, one of three routes leading to Itsukushima Shrine from the Miyajima pier. This quiet yet popular street is located behind Miyajima Omotesando Arcade. Machiya Street is a paper lantern-lit avenue that retains an air of the past, lined with retro-modern cafés and galleries.
Get a feeling of the lifestyle of Miyajima residents with rickshaws and cars coming and going. Browse the many retro-modern accommodations, shops, and cafés that have been converted from residential buildings. One of the must-visit places along the way is Gallery Miyazato. The gallery has merged with a teahouse and an antique shop that also holds special exhibitions all the time and is the perfect place to enjoy an evening of arts and culture.
Itsukushima Shrine (currently under renovation until further notice)
At night, the whole site is lit up so that it gives the illusion that it’s floating on the light. The iconic red Torii gate glows a warm hue too which makes this historical site dating back to the 12th century a must-visit at night. Surrounding the shrine are dense green forests and a bustling village town which is also well worth exploring if you’re looking for more things to do in Hiroshima at night. In addition, you may be lucky enough to become friends with one of the hundreds of deer wandering around the island.
Miyajima island is one of Japan’s most picturesque attractions with beautiful views of the Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto shrine, and UNESCO world heritage site. You can take a one-way direct ferry from Hiroshimako port to Itsukushima for ¥1,850 which departs every 30 minutes or take the JR Sanyo train from Hiroshima station to Miyajimaguchi for ¥410 and transfer onto a ferry for ¥180.
Please note that the actual shrine closes to visitors at sunset but you can see the illuminated island from boat cruises which last thirty minutes and take passengers around the bay and through the torii gate (during high tide only).
Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki
Hiroshima Okonomiyaki is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the city's local food.
Okonomiyaki is basically a savory “everything pancake” full of an assortment of savory ingredients. The standard pancake consists of a batter, cabbage, and pork layers but feel free to go wild with the options. One of the most popular places to try this local dish is "Okonomi-mura". Here, you can chat with the chefs while you wait for your okonomiyaki to cook away in front of you.
Once you actually get to tuck in you’ll soon realize it was worth the four to five-minute wait. This is great for the whole family and even picky as the dish is prepared right in front of you and you can also pick your favorite ingredients.
Another great place is "Mitchan Sohonten" one of the most popular okonomiyaki spots in the Hatchobori area, and said to be one of the original Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki restaurants, but be prepared to line up as it tends to be very busy.
Try Hiroshima's own ramen - Onomichi Ramen
Famous all over Japan, Onomichi Ramen is a local favorite dish. The combination of chicken, pork-based, and seafood-based soup gives this ramen its unique and delicious flavor.
And the great news is that you don't have to travel two hours from Hiroshima to Onomich to try this popular ramen. Instead, I recommend that you visit the "Omichi Ramen Sanko" restaurant which is conveniently located a 3-minute walk the from the Kencho-mae Station. Don't be put off by the lines of people waiting to be served; they tend to offer a fast service and the wait will definitely be worth it.
Get a panoramic view of the city
At the top of mount Futaba lies the Peace Pagoda, one of the city's landmarks, and a shrine erected a prayer for everlasting world peace and the repose of those souls sacrificed in the atomic bombing.
You can climb up to the Pagoda after dark via a paved path that starts behind Hiroshima shinkansen station (North Exit). It takes around half an hour to reach the Pagoda and the views of the city at night are spectacular.
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