1 day trip to Hiroshima, Japan
Posted on September 10, 2017
When the first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima (広島) on August 6, 1945, the city became known worldwide for this unenviable distinction. The destructive power of the bomb was tremendous and obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometer radius.
Hiroshima is known for 3 things – its tragic history, the oysters and okonomiyaki. Hiroshima has Japan’s largest number of okonomiyaki shops serving its 100,000 residents.
How to get to Hiroshima from Osaka
Departure: Shin-Osaka Station
If you have the JR Pass, take:
- Shinkansen Sakura – 89 min (¥5,620)
- Shinkansen Kodama – 167 min (¥5,620), slower so Sakura is preferred
Not covered by JR Pass:
- Shinkansen Nozomi – 86 min (¥5,620)
- Shinkansen Mizuho – 86 min (¥5,620)
Arrival: Hiroshima Station
Traveling within Hiroshima
Take the convenient sightseeing bus loop (Hiroshima meipuru~pu ¥400). This is covered for free by the JR Pass. Hop on and off as many times as you like riding this cute red bus from the north exit of Hiroshima Station (Shinkansen-guchi entrance), just in front of Hotel Granvia. Bus stop No. 2 on the 1st floor of Hiroshima Station Shinkansen Exit.
- There is a bus about every 15 minutes – both orange and green route buses run every 30 minutes, 7 days a week from 9am – 5:30pm from any stop along the route and the bus takes around 50 minutes to complete the circuit. Board at the front door, leave from the rear doors.
- Before boarding a bus, check the route colour. There are 3 different routes: Orange, Green and Lemon (Yellow).
- Hand your JR Pass to the driver to review when boarding
- The next stop is shown on the screen in the bus. Announcements are made in English and Japanese. Press the button when you want to get off at the next stop.
- All Meipuru~pu loop buses have free wi-fi. Once you have set-up an account on the bus, you can use the same account at many sightseeing spots. You can download the app “Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi”.
Food to try
Hiroshima is famous in Japan for its delicious locally grown oysters and its mouth-watering okonomiyi (griddle cakes with various fillings).
Bus loop routes
If you’re short on time, I’ve crossed out the bus stops that you can skip, but read my description of the stop below to decide for yourself!
The stops highlighted in green is the order I recommend for your itinerary, starting with the orange route and finishing with the green bus route back to Hiroshima Station.
This route is the same as the Orange Route except it doesn’t go to the last stop for Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art.
- Hiroshima Station
Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (Shukkeien) – Y500
- Hiroshima Castle – Y370
Hiroshima Museum of Art – Y1000 Kamiya-cho
- Atomic Bomb Dome
- Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art – Y370
- Hiroshima Station
- Atomic Bomb Dome
- Peace Memorial Park
- Namiki Hondori (Okonomimura)
Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (Shukkeien) – Y500 Futabanosato Historical Walking Trail Hiroshima Toshogu Shrine
Order of itinerary
Hiroshima Station Area
The 2nd level of the ASSE Restaurant Floor is a great place to eat okonomiyaki with the locals. It is packed with small and authentic okonomiyaki restaurants.
Yocchan (okonomiyaki) よっちゃん
Located on the 2nd floor of the ASSE Restaurant Floor, this is a great okonomiyaki restaurant in the station area. Look for the white noren curtains with the name written in red letters in Japanese. Open 11:00am-10:00pm, closed 3rd Wednesday.
Hiroshima Castle (広島城, Hiroshimajō)
The castle was constructed in 1589, but destroyed in the atomic bombing. Reconstructed in 1958, the interior of the castle is now a museum focusing on samurai culture. 5 stories tall and surrounded by a moat. 370 yen admission into main keep, walking the castle grounds is free.
Atomic Bomb Dome
As a symbol of the vow to abolish nuclear weapons, the A-bomb Dome is the only remaining bomb damaged building and serves as a memorial to the 1945 atomic bombing and visual icon of Hiroshima. Most of the building miraculously survived the bombing.
It’s located across the river from the Peace Memorial Park, on the east bank of the Motoyasu-gawa River. Cross the Motoyasu-bashi Bridge to enter Peace Memorial Park.
Peace Memorial Park
A park containing many monuments with the hope of realizing world peace. Most people arrive by crossing the Motoyasu-bashi Bridge, which brings you to the reflecting pool and the Cenotaph for A-Bomb Victims. Further south you will find the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Cenotaph for A-bomb Victims
This concrete saddle-shaped monument in the center of the park is designed to symbolize a shelter for all the souls who perished in the atomic bombing. The monument bears an inscription that reads: “Rest in peace, for the error shall not be repeated.”
Children’s Peace Monument
This touching memorial consists of a statue of a child with her arms outstretched to the sky with a crane above her. Based on the story of a girl, Sasaki Sadako, who was stricken with radiation sickness after the bombing. She attempted to fold 1,000 origami cranes in hopes of getting well (it is believed in Japan that if one successfully folds 1,000 origami cranes, their wish will come true). Sadly, she passed away just shy of her goal. In memory of her, people from around the world have folded strings of origami cranes and they are offered all around this monument.
Ekohiki (Hiroshima oysters) えこ贔屓
This is a popular oyster restaurant across the bridge from the Peace Memorial Park. Try oysters fried, grilled, raw, salted etc. English menu available. Open 11:30 am – 2 pm, 5 pm – 12 pm, closed Mondays.
Okonomiyaki Nagata-ya (okonomiyaki) お好み焼 長田屋
For delicious okonomiyaki right near the Peace Memorial Park, try this popular joint just across the bridge. It’s touristy due to the location. Open 11 am – 9 pm (Mon-Fri), 11 am – 9:30 pm (Sat), 10:30 am – 9 pm, (Sun and public holidays), closed Tuesdays and 4th Wednesdays.
Petite Glace Hiroshima (ice cream)プチグラス 広島店
Not far from the Peace Memorial Park, this ice cream shop is a great place for an afternoon snack on a hot day while touring Hiroshima.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Definitely come if you want to understand the horrors of the atomic bombing, the events that led to it and took place after it. The exhibits are not gory but the amount of human suffering caused by the bombing will weigh heavy on your heart. Get here early to avoid the crowds. Allow about 90 minutes to explore the museum thoroughly. 50 yen admission.
Kamiyacho and Hatchobori
Kamiyacho and Hatchobori is a business district that can be enjoyed for its shopping and cuisine.
In the downtown area, the main feature is Hondori Street. Namiki-dōri is a is one of the fashionable shopping streets in Hiroshima, Japan. The street runs about 400 meters from north to south. It starts near the Peace Park and stretches east about half a kilometer. Running parallel to Hondori is Aioidori (Aioi Street).
Okonomimura (okonomiyaki) お好み村
Translated as “Okonomiyaki Village”, Okonomimura is a small area south of the eastern end of Hondori. It’s a bit kitschy and loud, but the food is tasty and you can usually find a place to sit down without waiting on line.
Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (Shukkeien)
Not a large museum but houses approximately 4,000 works of art relating to Hiroshima, Japanese and Asian art and craftwork, and fine arts of the 1920s and 1930s. The most famous piece is Dali’s Dream of Venus. 500 yen admission for the museum or 260 yen admission into the garden but a combination ticket is available.
Hiroshima Museum of Art
Nice collection of European art, especially Impressionists. Not as much focus on Japanese art. The collection consists of about 300 modern French and Japanese artworks. 1000 yen admission.
Hiroshima Toshogu Shrine
A small shrine, part of the Futabanosato Walking Trail. Wear your comfy shoes, their are lots of stairs, especially if you continue your walk all the way up the hill behind the temple to the Peace Pagoda.
Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art
It’s a steep walk to get here with some nice views. Most likely requires no more than one hour. 370 yen admission.
Like in Nara, the deers are just feely roaming around the island.
About 40 minutes from Hiroshima Station by train and a 10 minute ferry. From Hiroshima take a local train to Miyajima-guchi station, from there the ferry departs to Miyajima island. Both are covered by the JR Pass. Upon arrival on the island, it’s very easy to get oriented. Just walk south along the shoreline in the direction of the famous “floating shrine gate.” Walking from the pier, this means going to your right.
To go home, head to the piers for a ferry back to the mainland (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park or Miyajima-guchi and on to Hiroshima).
Restaurants in Miyajima
- Yakigaki no Hayashi (Hiroshima oysters and typical Japanese dishes) 焼がきのはやし
- Kakiya (Hiroshima oysters) 牡蠣屋
- Iwamura Restaurant (Hiroshima oysters and typical Japanese dishes) 岩むら
- Café Lente (café/restaurant) カフェ レンテ
Itsukushima Jinja Shrine
The famous massive floating Torii gate standing in the sea is considered one of the most iconic sights in Japan. If it is low tide, the gate will be surrounded by mud. You won’t get the iconic floating shot, but you can walk through the gate, which is said to purify oneself. 300 yen admission, open 6:30am-5:30pm.
It has the 5 story pagoda, Itsukushima shrine, Toyokuni shrine, Daisho-in, Daiganji temple – all of these coupled with a majestic natural landscape.
From Itsukushima-jinja, it’s an easy 10-minute walk up to Daisho-in Temple. It’s clearly marked and you can usually just follow the crowds. Take a good hour to explore the temple.
This pleasant park is named for the superb maple trees that burst into fiery reds and yellows in the October/November fall foliage season. It is connected to Daisho-in by a lovely walking path (look for the signs).
The main peak of Miyajima Island is 535m Mount Misen, the summit of which is about 2km southwest of the village. The Miyajima ropeway is a gondola/cable car that gets you most of the way to the top in 15 minutes. From the top station of the ropeway, it’s a 30-minute walk to the summit. If you don’t feel like walking that far, there’s a closer lookout only 5 minutes away. Near the summit, there are some small temples and shrines. 1,000/1,800 yen (one-way/roundtrip). If you’re got the energy and time, you can walk down the summit and get to the village in about an hour.
Okunoshima (Bunny Island) 大久野島, 広島
Rabbit Island is home to more than 300 wild rabbits descended from a small group of domesticated rabbits left here about 40 years ago.
Take 1.5 hour ride to Tadanoumi Station, plus a 25 min ferry (700-2400 yen).