Translated by Hilary Keyes
Writer, translator, designer, weirdo.
Hiroshima Castle was lost in the atomic bombing of the city in 1945, but was reconstructed in 1994 and designated as a national historic site and as one of Japan's Top 100 Castles. We introduce the history, highlights and access to the castle.
Hiroshima Castle is a castle that was built in the Naka ward of Hiroshima city, in Hiroshima prefecture over the 16th to 19th centuries. The entirety of the original castle was destroyed during the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945; the castle that stands today is a reproduction, built based on historical documents, which has been designated a national historic site, and ranks as one of Japan's Top 100 Castles.
The most notable point of this castle is the wooden slat covered outer wall of the tenshu (*1). The water-filled moat around the castle with its peaceful waters gives its visitors a glimpse into the solemnity of the original castle that stood here. In this article, we will introduce some basic information, access routes and highlights of Hiroshima Castle, which became a symbol of the reconstruction of the city after the chaos of the Second World War.
*1 Tenshu: the castle tower, the tallest, symbolic portion of a Japanese castle.
The hours of the castle tower at Hiroshima Castle vary by season.
March-November: 9:00-18:00 (last admission at 17:30)
December-February: 9:00-17:00 (last admission at 16:30)
Closed: December 29th-31st (there are also irregular closures)
Admission: 370 yen for adults, 180 yen for high school students, and free for visitors of junior high age and under.
Entrance to Ninomaru (the outer citadel) is free, but please note that the hours and holidays of it are different than those of the castle tower.
April-September: 9:00-17:30 (last admission at 17:00)
October-March: 9:00-16:30 (last admission at 16:00)
Closed: December 29th - January 2nd
Here are the steps to take to reach Hiroshima Castle from Hiroshima Station.
When sightseeing in Hiroshima, the Meipurupu Sightseeing loop bus is most convenient. From Hiroshima station, get on the Meipurupu Orange Route bus bound for Heiwa Koen/Bijutsukan, and get off at Hiroshima Jo (Gokokujinja-mae) bus stop. The castle is a six-minute walk from this stop. As it is also close to the Genbaku Dome, you can walk to the castle in about 15-20 minutes as well.
For more information on how to get to Tokyo from Hiroshima, please see How To Travel From Tōkyō To Hiroshima: A Thorough Comparison.
The castle tower of Hiroshima Castle extends five storeys into the sky. While the outer walls of Japanese castles like Nagano prefecture's Matsuyama Castle and Hyogo's Himeji Castle are often painted black and white, Hiroshima Castle is unique in that it has wooden slats attached to its outer walls instead.
From the observatory within the castle tower, visitors can overlook the whole of the city of Hiroshima. There is a museum in the interior, with displays on the military commanders who built the original castle, plus armor and arms that belonged to Mori Terumoto and the Mori family, the former lords of this castle. In addition, there are substantial displays on the history of Hiroshima Castle and of the surrounding area as well exhibited here.
At Ninomaru you can see sword battles between Mori Terumoto and other military commanders held at the fortifications of the castle, as reenacted by the Aki Hiroshima Bushotai performance troop. With Sengoku era leaders and ninja in full costume, this performance packs quite the punch. If you happen to be visiting Hiroshima Castle on a Sunday, be sure not to miss their amazing show.
A gourmet event held around Hiroshima Castle, here you will find yatai or food stalls selling gourmet specialties from the 23 cities that make up Hiroshima prefecture.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was built as to pray for permanent world peace, and stands opposite to the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Genbaku Dome. Inside the park you will find the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which features displays on the suffering caused by the atomic bombs and memorial monuments to those that lost their lives and suffered as a result of this attack. It is a fifteen minute walk from Hiroshima Castle to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
Address: Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Naka, Nakajimacho 1
Shukkei-en is a garden that was created in 1620 for Asano Nagaakira, the daimyo of Hiroshima Castle at the time. Different flowers bloom here all year long, making it an ideal place to visit at any time of year. As it is adjacent to the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art, it is also a great place to stop after enjoying the arts.
Entry Fee: General 260 yen, High school/university age 150 yen, elementary/junior high age 100 yen
Address: Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Naka, Kaminoboricho 2-11
Website: http://shukkeien.jp/ (English brochure opens in a new tab)
|Address||Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Naka, Motomachi 21-1|
|Business Time||Castle tower: March-Nov. 9:00-18:00 (last entry 17:30), Dec.-Feb. 9:00-17:00 (last entry 16:30) Ninomaru: April-Sept. 9:00-17:30 (last entry 17:00), Oct.-March 9:00-16:30 (last entry 16:00)|
|Fixed holidays||Castle tower: Dec. 29th-3st Ninomaru: Dec. 29th-Jan. 2nd|
|Accepted Credit Cards||Not Available|
|Nearest station||JR Hiroshima Station|
|Access||Take the Meipurupu Orange Route bus bound for Heiwa Koen/Bijutsukan, and get off at Hiroshima Jo (Gokokujinja-mae) bus stop, then walk for 6 minutes.|