Translated by Hilary Keyes
Writer, translator, designer, weirdo.
Known as the city of peace and culture, Hiroshima has many places worth visiting. The Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima Castle, Itsukushima Shrine and Hiroshima Art Gallery are just some of them!
The largest city in the central area of Japan, Hiroshima is internationally famous thanks to its two World Heritage sites, the Peace Memorial Park and its A-Bomb Dome and Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island.
Hiroshima is not just a great sightseeing destination. You will find here amazing local specialties like oysters, okonomiyaki, conger eel rice and momiji manju (maple leaf shaped buns). The city also boasts fabulous shopping spots like the Hondori Shotengai, and department stores like Sogo, Fukuya, and Mitsukoshi all conveniently located by Hiroshima Station.
There are also plenty of other historical places to visit in the city, the highlights of which include Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima Castle and Mitaki Temple. Hiroshima is also a city for the arts - Shukukeien, the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art, the Hiroshima Art Gallery, the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art are all must-visit spots for art lovers.
For sightseeing in Hiroshima city, the streetcar, managed by the Hiroshima railway, is very convenient. Known as the Hiroden to the locals, it is a mainstay of daily life in the city and known as the legs of the city. Though it takes more or less the same amount of time to travel on as the JR lines and buses, the Hiroden is cheaper and travels more frequently. It also stops much closer to most of the sightseeing spots in the city.
Travel costs a flat fee of 160 yen for adults and 80 yen for children. The only exception to this rate applies to trains bound for Miyajima on the Miyajima line trains that travel from Nishi-Hiroshima Station to Kukanunchinsei. Trains from Hacchobori to Hakushima on the Hakushima line all cost 110 yen.
How to Use it
Fares are paid into the fare box when you are alighting from the streetcar at your stop. When you are going to get off the streetcar head towards the exit where the driver or conductor is located. Streetcars with a conductor do not have a stop button as they stop at every tram stop.
Change is not available on the streetcar, so please make sure to have the exact fare prepared in advance. If you are taking the Miyajima line you will need to get a numbered ticket for the streetcar from the machines located on the platform.
Convenient Passenger Tickets
If you would like to sightsee in both Hiroshima city and in Miyajima, we recommend getting the 1 Day Train and Ferry ticket, which also offers a special discount when purchasing tickets for the ropeway.
- 1 Day Train and Ferry ticket: 840 yen for adults, 420 yen for little children (can be used freely on all Hiroshima railway lines and the Miyajima Matsudai Ferries).
If you would like to just spend your time in Hiroshima city, then the 1 Day Train ticket is perfect for you.
- 1 Day Train ticket: 600 yen for adults, 300 yen for little children (can be used freely on all Hiroshima railway lines).
*These tickets are available in all trains, the information desk within Hiroshima Station and at any ticket window, as well as at major hotels in Hiroshima city.
The commuter IC card (PASPY) is ideal for sightseeing as it enables holders to use the streetcar, buses and ferries to Miyajima. These are available in any train or bus or at commuter pass ticket windows and machines. Although you cannot use the Suica IC cards issued by the JR East here, you can use the JR West IC, ICOCA, in Hiroshima.
The Hiroshima city sightseeing loop bus, Meipuru-pu, (1 ride 200 yen for adults, 100 yen for children/all-day pass 400 yen for adults, 200 yen for children), travels to major parts of the city, sightseeing spots and by the art galleries and museums. By all means, please make use of this bus as it is very convenient way to see all the sights within Hiroshima city. There are two routes to choose from: the Orange Route, which travels to the Peace Park by way of the art galleries and the Green Route, which travels to the Peace Park by way of Okonomimura (a famous okonomiyaki restaurant) which both run every hour.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was built right in the area where the atomic bomb exploded, and is where you will find permanent prayers for world peace in the form of the A-Bomb Dome (or Genbaku Dome), which is a World Heritage site, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and the cenotaph honoring those who were killed by the atomic blast.
If you look straight out of the central window in the museum, you will be able to see both the A-Bomb Dome and the cenotaph. The inside of the dome is off-limits to the public, though the outside may be viewed at any time. The dome is illuminated at night, which gives it a strikingly different appearance compared to that during the daytime.
On the commemoration day of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, every year on August 6th (which is known as Genbaku Day), at the time of the attack, 8:15 AM, a moment of silence is held in remembrance of those who lost their lives and to pray for world peace. There are two rivers flowing through Hiroshima - Otagawa and Motoyasugawa, and on Genbaku Day at night on Motoyasugawa, a ceremony of releasing candle-lit lanterns in the river (tōrō nagashi) to comfort the spirits of the dead is held every year.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum entrance fee: Adults - 200 yen, visitors over 65 - 100 yen, high school students - 100 yen, junior high school and under - free.
Miyajima, also known as the Miyajima of Aki (Aki being the former name of Hiroshima prefecture), is where you will find the World Cultural Heritage site Itsukushima Shrine, which is considered to be one of the most scenic places in all of Hiroshima.
With both Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines dotting the landscape, this island is also referred to as Kami no Shima, the "island of the gods" and here you will find many historical structures, from Itsukushima Shrine to Daiganji and Daishoin Temples. When the tide is out, visitors are even able to walk out on the ocean floor and actually touch the great torii that stands in front of Itsukushima Shrine.
And, towering over Miyajima at an elevation of 533 meters is Misen, an incredible mountain trail. By taking the Miyajima ropeway you can ascend to the summit of this peak in a single stretch; from this peak you can command an incredible view of the land around you and the sea. At the foot of Misen lies the famous park Momijidani Park where, in the fall, thousands of spectators come to take part in momijigari.
After passing through Itsukushima Shrine and heading past Daishoin, you will find yourself at the Miyajima Aquarium, which is affectionately called Miyajima Marine by the locals.
- Itsukushima Shrine entrance fee: Adults 300 yen, high school students 200 yen, junior high and elementary students 100 yen/Admission to the treasure hall is separate (and follows the same pricing as the entrance fee)/Common fee: Adults 500 yen, high school students 300 yen, junior high and elementary 150 yen.
- Miyajima Ropeway round trip fee: Adults 1800 yen, children 900 yen.
- Miyajima Aquarium entrance fee: Adults 1400 yen, high school students 700 yen, elementary students 700 yen, infants 400 yen.
Hiroshima Castle was a fortress built by the great commander of the city Mori Terumoto at the delta on the mouth of the Ota river.
All that remains is the castle tower and outer citadel still enclosed in its moat; visitors can enter the castle. Inside the castle is Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine, which is called on by many worshipers.
Every Sunday you can see dance performances in military garb by the sightseeing PR troupe, Aki Hiroshima Bushotai, at the outer citadel too!
Castle Tower entrance fee: Adults 370 yen, over 65s 180 yen, high school students 180 yen, junior high and younger are free; there is no entrance fee for the outer citadel.
*There are no toilet facilities in the castle tower, so please use those located in the parking area or elsewhere in the park.
Shukukeien is a genuine Japanese landscape garden with a 400 year old history. Inside the garden there are flowers for each of the four seasons, making it a place of perpetual color. As there is a path to the garden from the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art, why not take a stroll through Shukukeien after seeing the art exhibitions?
- Shukukeien entrance fee: Adults 260 yen, high school/university students 150 yen, junior high/elementary students 100 yen.
- Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art entrance fee: Adults 510 yen, university students 310 yen, high school students and under free/Special exhibits have different prices.
Established 100 years ago by the Bank of Hiroshima, this art gallery is located in the heart of the city. Featuring many different works of modern art by French Impressionists, this gallery has about 300 works of Japanese Western-style art, Japanese paintings and modern art in its collections, with 76 on permanent display in their main building. There are special seasonal exhibitions and events here, as well as monthly museum concerts for visitors to enjoy.
- Hiroshima Art Gallery entrance fee: Adults 600 yen, high school/university students 300 yen, junior high/elementary students 120 yen/ Special exhibits have different prices.
To the northwest of Hiroshima in the valley of Mount Mitakiyama, you will find Mitaki Temple. Close to the city, it is also known as Mitaki Kannon to the locals.
Within its grounds stands a vermilion two-storied pagoda, an important cultural property of Hiroshima prefecture, and within that, a Japanese important cultural property - a wooden sculpture depicting the seated Buddha; both of which appoint this as a prominent Buddhist temple in the city. Cherry blossoms in the spring and fall colors in the autumn also make this an incredibly popular place for sightseers all year round.
- Mitaki Temple entrance fee: Free
There is a abundance of places and things to see throughout Hiroshima. When you are visiting this incredible city, please use this article as a guide!
Hiroshima Area Guide - All You Need To Know Before You Go!
5 Things To Do In Hiroshima, The City Of Peace And Culture
How To Travel From Tōkyō To Hiroshima: A Thorough Comparison
Souvenirs From Hiroshima – 6 Delicious Sweets That Make Great Gifts!
Home Of The Gods – Itsukushima Shrine, A World Heritage Site