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The 10 Best Things To Do in Hiroshima

With delicious soul food, need-to-know history and stunning natural scenery, get to know the top 10 things to do in Hiroshima Prefecture.

By 5 min read

While Hiroshima usually conjures images of the atomic bomb, this is only one of the prefecture’s many identities. Alongside the difficult yet necessary displays at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima Prefecture offers plenty of nature, culture and cuisine.

In the heart of the Chugoku region, Hiroshima Prefecture has mountains to the north and the sea to the south. As a result, the area is abundant in agricultural produce and fresh seafood. Also, Hiroshima has historically been a nexus point of culture and commerce connecting the Asian mainland and eastern Japan.

From Hiroshima’s famous foods to the best spots to see cherry blossoms, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Continue reading for our list of the 10 best things to do in Hiroshima.

1. Okunoshima Rabbit Island

Sunbathe next to rabbits on the beach.

Okunoshima is famous for its dark history and being home to over 1,000 wild rabbits. The island once served as a chemical weapons production center during WWII. However, Okunoshima’s main attractions are the hundreds of adorable rabbits that roam freely around the island. The island also has magnificent views of the Seto Inland Sea and surrounding islands. Okunoshima is a one-of-a-kind experience and probably the only place you can sunbathe next to rabbits on the beach.

Tadanoumicho, Takehara, Hiroshima - Map
Nearest station: JR Tadanoumi. Take a ferry ride to the island from Tadanoumi Port.
Fees: No fees except for the ferry ride. 
Hours: Open all year round

2. Onomichi and Senkoji Temple

The view from the temple provides gorgeous vistas of the Seto Inland Sea and Onomichi’s cityscape.

Onomichi is a port town well-known for its Temple Walk, a 2.5 km walking route. It features 25 temples and can take up to a few hours to complete. The 6th stop of the route, and close to the summit of Mount Onomichi, is the iconic Senkoji Temple. The temple was built around 1200 years ago and overlooks Senkoji Port. The temple’s main hall has striking vibrant red lacquering seen on postcards and photographs.

15-1 Higashitsuchidocho, Onomichi - Map
Nearest stations: JR Shin-Onomichi or JR Onomichi. You can access the temple via the Mount Senkoji Ropeway.   
Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

3. Takehara Townscape Conservation Area

Walk the recreated streets of Takehara and feel like you’ve gone back in time.

Known as Little Kyoto in Aki, Takehara Townscape Conservation Area is a historical district capturing life in Japan’s feudal era. Aki, the old provincial name of Hiroshima Prefecture, was once a leading salt producer. Walk the recreated streets of Takehara and explore restored merchant houses, Saihiji Temple and a sake brewery.

3 Honmachi, Takehara - Map
Nearest station: JR Takehara

4. Hiroshima Castle

For an impressive view of the castle, head to the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower rooftop.

Hiroshima Castle was first built in 1589 and was long an important castle in western Japan. The castle was constructed in the center of the populated area rather than on a hill so the city developed around. Unfortunately, the original Hiroshima Castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. Today, you can see detailed reconstructions of the main keep, the moat, a shrine and some defensive buildings of the Ninomaru (second circle of defense).

Hiroshima Castle

21-1 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City - Map
Nearest tram stops: Kamiyacho-nishi or Kamiyacho-higashi 
Fees: Free, but admission to the main keep costs ¥370 
Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (until 5 p.m. from Dec. to Feb.)
Hiroshima Orizuru Tower

1-2-1 Otemachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture - Map
Nearest tram stop: Genbaku-Domu Mae
Fees: ¥2,200
Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

5. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Today’s open green space, memorials and museum serve as reminders of the horrors of the atomic bomb.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park stands in contrast to the thriving city center that once stood before August 1945. Today’s open green spaces, memorials and the museum serve as reminders of the horrors of the atomic bomb. The Peace Memorial Museum documents the bombing of the city and its aftermath with a focus on human stories. Visit the A-Bomb Dome and see the only structure left standing at ground zero in the wake of the onslaught. Finally, pay respects at the Cenotaph for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb which stores the names of all who perished.

1-1-10, Nakajimacho 1, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City - Map
Nearest tram stop: Genbaku-Domu Mae
Fees: ¥200
Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (until 7 p.m. in Aug. and until 5 p.m. from Dec. to Feb.)

6. Miyajima Island and Itsukushima Shrine

Wait for low tide and walk to the torii gate for an unforgettable photo op.

An hour’s drive from Hiroshima City, Miyajima, or “shrine island”, is home to one of Japan’s top three sights. The island is home to the famous torii (shrine gate) which appears to be floating above the water at high tide. Itsukushima Shrine’s spectacular red torii gate and multiple shrine buildings, such as the main hall, prayer hall and Noh theater stage, are uniquely built above water.

1-1 Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture - Map
Nearest station: JR Miyajimaguchi. Take the Miyajimaguchi ferry to the island.  
Fees: ¥300 for Itsukushima Shrine and an additional ¥200 for the Treasure Hall 
Hours: Open all year from 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

7. Shukkeien Garden

A quiet escape from Hiroshima City.

Shukkeien Garden is modeled after a famous Chinese landmark, Lake Xihu. This traditional Edo-period garden is a quiet escape from Hiroshima City with scenic bridges and beautiful greenery. Following the atomic bombing, this garden served as a refuge for people fleeing, only reopening with renovations in 1951. Walk this garden’s ambling paths and take in its seasonal flower displays on your next trip to Hiroshima.

2-11 Kaminobori-machi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture - Map
Nearest tram stop: Shukkeien-mae
Fees: ¥260 
Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Mar 16 – Sep 15)  9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sept 16 – Mar 15)

8. Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki

Hiroshima’s version of okonomiyaki packs an extra punch.

One of this prefecture’s most celebrated specialty foods is Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki. Soba noodles are cooked on top of the pork and vegetable flour pancake. Different Hiroshima cities use unique sauces and ingredients, like chicken gizzard in Onomichi and minced meat in Fuchu. Looking for a classic Hiroshima City okonomiyaki? Don’t miss Rei-Chan, a specialty restaurant first founded in 1956 and now conveniently located in Hiroshima Station’s Ekie shopping plaza.

Hiroshima Okonomiyaki Rei-Chan

1-2 Matsubara-cho, Minami-ku, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture - Map
Nearest station: Hiroshima station
Hours: 11a.m. – 10 p.m. 

9. Shimanami Kaido

One of the most scenic cycling routes in Japan.

Shimanami Kaido is an expressway that traverses the Seto Inland Sea. The route has become popular among cyclists and pedestrians. There are bike rentals available throughout the Shimanami Kaido. While the full route can be completed in a day, there are plenty of rest stops and accommodations. Highlights include Suigun Castle, Kosanji Temple and Oyamazumi Temple which houses the largest collection of feudal-era weaponry in Japan.

The fees vary depending on the mode of transportation
Hours vary depending on the establishment 

10. Tomonoura Port Town

See spectacular views of the Seto Inland Sea alongside views of the iconic Joyato lighthouse.

This old-fashioned port town has a wonderfully nostalgic atmosphere. In recent years, it’s become a popular location for filming movies like “The Wolverine,” and the inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s well-loved animated film, “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.” Additionally, this area is also famous for its houmeishu, a medicinal alcoholic beverage made from shochu (distilled spirit) and 16 kinds of herbs. Be sure to visit Irie Toyosaburo Honten to sample and purchase some of this local specialty drink.

Tomo Tomocho, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture - Map
Nearest station: JR Fukuyama.  
Irie Toyosaburo Honten

534 Tomochotomo, Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture - Map
Nearest station: JR Fukuyama
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where are your favorite things to do in Hiroshima? Let us know in the comments below!

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