You’re probably thinking a visit to Hiroshima will focus on memorials to the atomic bombing of 1945 and the history from that time. While you’re not entirely wrong you’ll soon realize that there is so much more to do in Hiroshima. We’ve made a list of the top 10 things to do in and around Hiroshima to help you kickstart your adventure in this lesser-explored city.
The first thing on your list should be trying the incredible local Hiroshima cuisine on offer. It is impossible to visit somewhere new and not try the food that the locals enjoy. For Hiroshima, their famous dish would be okonomiyaki. This is a delightful savory pancake with a variety of ingredients mixed, like squid, egg, pork, and noodles – basically whatever your heart desires.
Anyone that has had okonomiyaki will probably tell you that the best of it comes from Hiroshima. Okonomiyaki is the perfect thing to enjoy after a busy day of ticking off the top 10 attractions to visit in Hiroshima. One of the best places to enjoy this local Hiroshima cuisine is Okonomimura.
Atomic Bomb Dome
Possibly the most associated symbol of Hiroshima given the legacy that goes along with the city, the Atomic Bomb Done commemorates the tragedy that occurred in August 1945. A visit here should definitely be at the top of your list when looking for things to do in Hiroshima the Atomic Bomb Dome is exactly as it was all those years ago, surrounded by rubble and twisted metal just as in the aftermath of the bombing. The Dome is meant to show the power and destruction that nuclear weapons can cause, and serves as a symbol of peace in the wake of war.
Peace Memorial Museum
A visit to the Peace Memorial Museum will help you get a perspective of what happened on that fateful day in 1945 and how it still affects people today. With the atomic bombing being tied to the history of Hiroshima, this museum captures everything to do with this inexplicable tragedy. This museum is not meant for the faint-hearted but is definitely a must-visit for those that want to understand what that atomic blast did to the Japanese people, especially those in Hiroshima. The museum contains accounts and information from the immediate aftermath and shows the detailed chronology of events leading to, during, and after the bombing in incredible detail.
Hiroshima Castle was originally built in the 1590s as a vital government center for the Hiroshima region. Although the atomic blast destroyed the original castle in 1945, the castle that stands today is just as exquisite as the original. Hiroshima Castle is home to traditional Japanese artifacts and works of art from ancient times that are bound to impress any art lover during your tour. Enjoy the most picturesque views of the city skyline and the surrounding castle gardens from the top of the castle or take a stroll through the serene gardens. There is also a historical play at the castle’s entrance every day which is great for the whole family.
People have been coming to this shrine to worship for centuries and to admire the stunning beauty, architecture, and rich history of this ancient shrine. The shrine is on a sacred island and it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. The gate is constructed in such a way that makes it seem to be floating above water especially during high tide, giving it an air of mystique that adds to the already fantastic experience. Avoid the crowds and visit this beautiful place early in the morning when it opens so that you can experience the calm, peaceful atmosphere that it is known for.
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For a bird’s eye view of Hiroshima, a trip to Mount Haigaine is a must, especially if you’re looking for things to do in Hiroshima at night. This mountain offers one of the top three nightscapes in Japan and the view from here is one everyone will enjoy. The view is described by locals as looking over a see of sparkling jewels in the night. As the mountain is the only high point in the area it gives you a panoramic view of the surrounding islands and the twinkling city below.
If you’re looking for another breathtaking view then a ride across the Miyajima is a must. Enjoy the magnificent views of the Seto Inland Sea and the ancient forest of Miyajima from 500 meters above sea level in a gondola. This sightseeing adventure is a great for the whole family. It is accessible from Mt. Misen, connecting it to Momijidani Park; it takes approximately one hour to hike to the top of Mt. Misen. From there you can take a cable car across the sea, and take in the views from the observatory at Shishiiwa Station.
This is definitely more of a lesser-known hidden gem in Hiroshima but it is well worth visiting to see all of its features. You’ll find the Daisho-in Temple at the foot of Mt. Misen, and the head priest of the Itsukushima Shrine used to reside in it until the Meiji period when Buddhism and Shintoism separated. The Daisho-in Temple is exquisite and breathtaking. There are countless statues, all different sizes, and shapes waiting to be discovered and the Cave there is filled with Buddhist icons believed to give blessings.
This island is one of the most exquisite places in Hiroshima and one of the best places to visit during autumn when the leaves of the surrounding trees turn beautiful shades of orange, red and yellow. Miyajima Island is easily accessible with a short boat ride from the mainland port of Miyajimaguchi. The island is full of exquisite Japanese architecture and culture waiting to be explored. Home to picturesque forests and a number of temples preserved from ancient times, as well as Buddhist temples where people go to worship, this island has something for everyone.
If you’re looking for something more unusual to do during your visit to Hiroshima then this will be perfect for you. You’ve probably seen a Mazda car before, but have you ever wondered where they’re made? In Hiroshima, you can visit the corporate headquarters and see an actual working assembly line. You will be able to see the entire assembly line, development center, and discover the history of Mazda on a guided tour with a representative. There is even Mazda merchandise that you can buy if you’re looking for a Mazda memento to take back home.
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