There are many reasons to visit Hiroshima and many things to do in Hiroshima, but for me, the reason that I came here was because of a 1980s pop song, more on that shortly. There is a huge amount of history, and the city has been rebuilt, but many of the reasons to come here and the things to see and do in Hiroshima are related to the Atomic Bomb. Understanding more about what led the world to that point and how the city and the country have rebuilt since then it is well worth your time and the trip.
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The Best 16 Things to Do in Hiroshima
Many of the things to do in Hiroshima center around the memorials to the victims of the 1945 Atomic Bomb, but the city is much more than that, come with us and explore some of the top things to do in Hiroshima.
The small island of Miyajima is about an hour away from Hiroshima City. And while it seems strange to say the top thing to do in Hiroshima is to leave, you’ll want to play your trip to Miyajima along with your visit to Hiroshima. If you don’t have a JR Pass but want to spend the day in Miyajima, then taking a planned tour is the best way to maximize your time. This day trip to Miyajima from Hiroshima is a great option.
You can reach Miyajima by JR Train and by ferry, which is also covered on your JR Pass (buy a JR Pass here) , so it can be a cheap day trip from Hiroshima. It’s a beautiful escape from the city. Miyajima is scenic, forested, and with a great deal of cultural interest too. There is great hiking here, an observatory, temples, food specialities, and wildlife lowers some very tame, but wild deer.
If you want to stay longer, then you can read our in-depth guide on what to do in Miyajima here.
You will instantly recognize Miyajima from the photos of the famous “floating torii” – the water entrance to the World Heritage shrine Itsukushima-jinja, which you should visit at both high and low water. At high water, it looks like it’s floating. The vermillion-colored torji (shrine gate is 16 meters tall and there has been a shrine gate here since 1168. This current gate is currently under repair having been here since the 1800s and is unlikely to be visible. So here’s a photo of what it does look like. Book a full-day guided tour of Hiroshima and Miyajima here!
Read more about taking a trip to Miyajima here.
While Hiroshima Castle might have been completed in 1589, it was destroyed by the Atomic Bomb in 1945. Hiroshima Castle is also known as the Castle of the Carp, thought to be because there were so many carp (fish) swimming in the moat. This instance of Hiroshima Castle was rebuilt in 1958 and is a replica. It’s a spectacular sight and you can also dress up as a samurai and it’s a great place to see cherry blossoms in the spring. Read more about Hiroshima Castle (and 6 other stunning Japanese Castles here ). Hiroshima Castle is open from 0900 – 1700 and costs 370 yen to enter. Japanese castles are fascinating, and Hiroshima is no different. You can explore the castle with a local guide – and get all the history, stories and legends here.
Hiroshima Castle grounds contain the Hiroshima Gokoku Jinja – which is the concrete bunker from where the first radio broadcast out of Hiroshima came after the 1945 atomic bomb blast. You’ll also find a eucalyptus tree and a willow tree, both of which survived the atomic bombing in the grounds of Hiroshima Castle.
- Opening Times of the Hiroshima Castle Hiroshima: 0900 -1700
- Cost of Hiroshima Castle Hiroshima: 370 yen
- How to get to Hiroshima Castle Hiroshima: 15-minute walk from the Peace Park.
While you can taste the famous Japanese liquor, sake in Hiroshima, it’s well worth it, if you have the time to take the 35-minute JR Rail train from Hiroshima to Saijo. Saijo is an entire town of sake breweries. You can book a guided tasting tour in Saijo here. Based here because of the superb quality of the water – there are 7 sake breweries where you can explore the different tastes. Tasting is usually free – and it’s a fabulous place to spend half a day. Visit during October for the Saijo Sake Festival. Find out more about Saijo Sake in our in-depth article here.
The main reason that we visited Hiroshima, was, as I mentioned earlier because of a 1980s pop song. Let me explain before we go into the most influential part of Hiroshima’s history.
“It’s 8:15, and that’s the time that it’s always been” goes the lyric from the 1980 hit single, “Enola Gay” from the fabulous Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark (OMD). Back then, at the age of 9, I wasn’t aware of the anti-war sentiment of the song, nor the meaning of the words, I just know that I loved the tune that still sticks in my mind. 8:15 is the time that the Atomic Bomb, Little Boy, dropped by the B29 Superfortress “Enola Gay”, detonated some 600 meters above Hiroshima. That’s the time when the clocks stopped in the city.
140,000 men, women, and children died on August 6th, 1945, and in the following months in Hiroshima. A week later Nagasaki to the south suffered the same fate. It was the beginning of the end of World War II.
Today, Hiroshima is about much more than that fateful day, but there are several locations in the city that you should visit to understand more.
4. Visit the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima AKA the Atomic Bomb Dome
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial is also known as the Atomic Bomb Dome. This is one of the most iconic views of Hiroshima at any time of the day. The building here was the Industrial Promotion Hall – an exhibition hall, built in 1915. While everyone inside the building was killed, as the hypocenter of the atomic explosion was very close to here, the decision to retain the building as a memorial was taken after the war. The Atomic Bomb Dome was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
You can explore the Peace Memorial independently, but if you prefer to have an understanding of what you’re seeing, then there’s a fabulous cycling tour of Hiroshima that goes by all the peace memorials and museums and explains the history.
The site is fenced off, with railings, but it is easy to view. Join this Peace Cycling tour and explore this and the other Atomic Bomb related areas of Hiroshima.
- Opening Times of the Peace Memorial Hiroshima: 24 Hours
- Cost of Peace Memorial Hiroshima: Free
- How to get to the Peace Memorial Hiroshima: Genbaku Dome-mae Tram Stop
5. Visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima and the Flame of Peace
The Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima is located on the island created by the river Ota and the river Motoyasu. It is a large park, full of trees and walkways. Known as Heiwa Kinen Koen, this 120,000 square meter park is an oasis of green in downtown Hiroshima. This used to be the commercial and political center of Hiroshima and this was chosen as the target. visiting the Peace Park is included in the cycling tour that I mentioned. You can see more details about that here.
The park contains memorials and the Pond of Peace, which leads to the cenotaph. The stunning concrete curved Cenotaph protects a stone chest containing the 220,000 names of all known victims of the Atomic Bomb. There is a similar memorial in Nagasaki, equally moving.
On the anniversary of the dropping of the bomb, a minute’s silence is observed at 0815 on 6th August, and various ceremonies are held.
The Flame of Peace at the Pond of peace is set up to burn until all the nuclear weapons in the world are destroyed.
Be sure to find the Peace Bell and ring out for peace too.
- Opening Times of the Peace Memorial Park Hiroshima: 24 hours
- Cost of Peace Memorial Park Hiroshima: Free
- How to get to Peace Memorial Park Hiroshima: Genbaku Dome-mae Tram Stop or Hondori Tram Stop
6. Spend Time at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima is located inside the Peace Memorial Park. There are two buildings in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This engaging, but potentially upsetting museum focuses on what happened here on August 6th 1945. It details the dropping of the atomic bomb and what happened to the humans living here. There are many, many personal effects here. Items have been on display since 1949, and the Peace Museum opened in 1955. Audio guides are available and well worthwhile.
There’s a particularly poignant part of the museum though, describing the story of Sadako Sasaki, who appears to not have suffered when the bomb dropped, became ill some years afterwards. In the cylindrical clear tube in the center of the room, you’ll see just some of the paper cranes that she made. There’s a Japanese legend that if you can make a thousand paper cranes, then your wish will come true. Sasaki wished to be well and while she didn’t manage to make a thousand cranes before she died her classmates continued in her name.
- Opening Times of the Peace Memorial Museum Hiroshima: 0830 – 1800 (1900 in August 1700 between December and February)
- Cost of Peace Memorial Museum Hiroshima: 200 Yen
- How to get to Peace Memorial Museum Hiroshima: Genbaku Dome-mae Tram Stop
7. Children’s Peace Monument Hiroshima
If you visit the Peace Memorial Museum first, this monument will have more meaning. The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima is the status of a child, arms outstretched to the sky, with a crane above her. The monument is based on Sasaki Sadako, who is referred to in the museum.
- Opening Times of the Children’s Peace Monument Hiroshima: 24 Hours
- Cost of Children’s Peace Monument Hiroshima: Free
- How to get to Children’s Peace Monument Hiroshima: Genbaku Dome-mae Tram Stop
8. Visit Ground Zero in Hiroshima – the Hypocenter in Hiroshima
The Atomic Bomb exploded some 600 meters above this spot in Hiroshima. At 0815 on August 6th, 1945, with the explosion above this spot, marked with an information sign now on a side street near to the Peace Memorial Park is where you’ll find the hypocenter. Temperatures of 3,000 – 4,000 degrees centigrade, a blast wind, and radiation followed the initial blast.
This was the location of the original Shima hospital, a 1930’s two-story brick building. It was completely destroyed in the blast. You might have to stand in traffic to read the signage properly.
- Opening Times of Ground Zero Plaque Hiroshima: 24 Hours
- Cost of Ground Zero Plaque Hiroshima: Free
- How to get to Ground Zero Plaque Hiroshima: Genbaku Dome-Mae Tram Stop
That brings us to the end of the Peace memorials, the Atomic Bomb related things to do and see in Hiroshima.
9. Eat Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima – Okonomi Mura
If you eat nothing else Japanese in Hiroshima then you MUST eat Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is known sometimes as Japanese Pizza. Which, considering it’s nothing like pizza is weird. We can only assume that pizza = comfort food and okonomiyaki is amazing comfort food. And it’s best eaten with a beer. In company. So, yeah, ok, think of it as Japanese pizza.
There are two main types of okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki from Hiroshima and Okonomiyaki from Osaka. And they are very different and you owe it to yourself to try both. Trust me. And then let us know what your favorite is.
Okonomiyaki is amazing. And the Okonomiyaki from Hiroshima is my favorite – you can even learn how to make it yourself – keep reading to learn more – or check out this fabulous home cooking course here.
Hiroshima has an entire village, Okonomi Mura dedicated to providing Okonomiyaki. Well, it’s 25 food stalls spread across three floors of a building, where individual owners offer their okonomiyaki recipes.
Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese dish. It’s made of flour batter, cabbage, vegetables, and condiments, you choose which proteins (meats, cheese, etc) to add to it.
Find Okonomi Mura on our Hiroshima things to do map and head off there. The entrance is off Chuo-dori – opposite the white Parco shopping center.
- Opening Times of the Okonomi Mura Hiroshima: 1100 – 0200
- Cost of Okonomi Mura Hiroshima: Free to enter, cost to eat.
- How to get to Okonomi Mura Hiroshima: Hatchobori Tram Stop
10. The Wood Egg Okonomiyaki Museum
Whether you choose to come to the Okonomiyaki Museum before or after you eat at Okonomi Mura doesn’t really matter. At the museum, you’ll get to understand a little more of the history of this iconic Hiroshima dish and where it came from.
The museum (and there is a factory here too) is run by the Okonomiyaki sauce manufacturer Otafuku Sauce and provides 3 options to understand more about Okonomiyaki. Tour the museum, take a factory tour, and cook your own okonomiyaki. The factory is robot operated and delivers 9,000 bottles per hour and is a sight to see in itself! Take a factory tour and get a just bottled sauce as a souvenir!
The factory and Okonomiyaki museum entrance are free. If you wish to take a course in cooking Okonomiyaki then the cost is 1,000 yen using a TEPPAN griddle, or 700 yen with an electric griddle.
- Opening Times of the Wood Egg Okonomiyaki Museum Hiroshima: 0900 – 1700 (reservations required) weekdays only.
- Cost of the Wood Egg Okonomiyaki Museum Hiroshima: Depends on Tour/Activity
- How to get to the Wood Egg Okonomiyaki Museum Hiroshima: 25 minutes walk or 5 minutes by taxi from JR Shin-Inokuchi Station
Get an authentic Japanese cooking experience with a Japanese host in their own home. In this experience, there are 12 different ones available in Hiroshima and more throughout Japan – you’ll learn to cook homemade Japanese food. Then you’ll get to eat it around the table with your Japanese hosts at their dining table. Here are just three of the experiences! Check out others here!
- Learn how to cook Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki > check prices and book now
- Homemade Korokke and Miso soup and Japanese-style rolled omelet Cooking Class > book now
- Learn how to make Gyoza in Hiroshima > Nom Nom book this one now!
12. Go to Hijiyama Park for Great Views of Hiroshima
A glorious park, walk to the top for a fabulous view of Hiroshima. The park contains the only public manga library in Japan as well as the Museum of contemporary art in Hiroshima. It’s very popular in Cherry Blossom season.
- Opening Times of the Hijiyama Park Hiroshima: 0500 – 2300
- Cost of Hijiyama Park Hiroshima: Free
- How to get to Hijiyama Park Hiroshima: 400 meters from “Hijiyama-shita Station
13. Take the FREE Mazda Factory Tour
The Mazda Factory tour is a fabulous way to spend half a day in Hiroshima and it’s free! The Mazda Factory is just 6 minutes on a train from Hiroshima. The only way to visit is to take a free tour, and English tours happen at 1000 every day – pre-booking is essential and you can find out more here). It’s an awesome factory tour and the train trip is covered on your JR Pass.
The best way to travel around Japan is by train – and you can save a fortune on train travel in Japan by buying the JR Pass BEFORE you get to Japan. You can buy the JR Pass from a number of outlets. We recommend:
Get your JR Pass from KLOOK here. – estimate 2 weeks for delivery of the exchange order
Buy a JR Pass from JRAILPASS here – get it Fedexed within 24-48 hours to any location including a Fedex office or your hotel in Japan.
14. Visit Shukkein Park Hiroshima
One of Japan’s top 100 Historic Parks, this Japanese Garden Park contains many different styles of gardens. The name SHukkein translates to “shrunken scenery garden” and here you’ll find miniaturized gardens of mountains, forests, lakes, and valleys. The garden dates back to 1620 and provides stunning photo opportunities.
- Opening Times of the Shukkein Park Hiroshima: 0900 – 1800 (until 1700 October to March)
- Cost of Shukkein Park Hiroshima: 260 yen
- How to get to Shukkein Park Hiroshima: 2 minutes walk from Shukkeien-mae Tram Stop
15. Hiroshima Carp BaseBall
Housed in the Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium, the Hiroshima Carp play professional Japanese baseball. The atmosphere here is electric. If you’ve ever watched football in South America, then this is a similar experience – fans stand, dance, cheer. And a baseball game takes place at the same time. Well worth attending if you’re here during baseball season to watch the fans if nothing else!!
Japanese Baseball season is from February through the end of September. Buy tickets for Hiroshima Carp games here
16. Ride the Hiroden Street Car in Hiroshima
There are 300 street cars in Hiroshima. They’re called the Hiroden and they’ve been used since 1912. In the aftermath of the atomic bombing in 1945, these streetcars were back up and running after just 3 days.
Not all of the streetcars that you’ll find in Hiroshima hail from here – the city buys up discontinued trolleys and streetcars from other cities. That’s one of the reasons that the Hirdeon is also known as the “Moving Streetcar Museum”. Tickets are cheap (180 yen) and it’s a great way to get around the city.
You can buy day trip tickets for the Hiroden for 840 yen and this includes the trip to Miyajima.
Map of Things to Do in Hiroshima
You can also see the map of Hiroshima’s things to do here.
What to Eat in Hiroshima
Each area and city of Japan has its own food specialties. Hiroshima is no exception. Here’s a short guide to what you should eat in Hiroshima and nearby. Experience cultural Japan at a tea ceremony in Hiroshima > here
Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese dish. It’s made of flour batter, cabbage, vegetables, and condiments, you choose which proteins (meats, cheese, etc) to add to it.
Hiroshima and Miyajima Oysters
The region of Hiroshima is Japan’s largest oyster farming region – with more than 50% of the oyster production in the country. Hiroshima oysters are big and rich tasting. You’ll find oyster stalls in Hiroshima and especially in Miyajima, where we recommend you try curried oyster bread (really!!).
Another oyster specialty of Hiroshima is the “kaki no dotenabe” a hotpot with Hiroshima oysters cooked in a pot with sweet miso bean paste, tofu and vegetables.
This specialty seafood – it translates as conger eel, is very popular on Miyajima island. Most popular is a local Hiroshima prefecture dish called Anago-meshi, grilled eel is served over white rice. The grilled eel is topped with a further piece of eel that has been toasted over charcoal and flavoured with soy sauce. Available in bento boxes at Hiroshima train station.
Tsukemen is a combination of cold noodles that you dip into a hot, spicy broth. If you like spicy unique food, you’ll love this. The cooked noodles are cooled in ice water, then topped with green onion and cabbage – ask for additional toppings like roasted pork and egg.
Onomichi Ramen is a style of noodles sold near Onomichi city added to a soy sauce-based soup that’s blended with chicken broth and seafood it’s a delicious option. Sometimes you’ll find chunks of pork fat added for a richer taste (!).
The maple leaf is a traditional symbol of Hiroshima and these local specialties are small cakes in the shape of a maple leaf. They’re filled with sweet red bean paste or other flavors. You’ll find them packaged as souvenirs to take home.
Hiroshima Prefecture Sake from Saijo
Hiroshima prefecture is one of the 3 major sake-producing areas of Japan. The nearby town of Saijo has 7 sake breweries. If you can’t make it over for there for a tasting, then be sure to buy some local sake and try it in Hiroshima.
Where to Stay in Hiroshima
There are a host of places to stay in Hiroshima – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Hiroshima, mid-range places to stay in Hiroshima, and budget accommodations in Hiroshima. We’ve also included the best ryokan in Hiroshima and a capsule hotel in Hiroshima too.
Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel, Hiroshima, Japan: The Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel is a luxury hotel a short distance from the Atomic Bomb Dome and a 1-minute walk from Hiroshima Station. This top hotel in Hiroshima has four dining options as well as an indoor pool and a fitness center. All of the rooms in Hiroshima’s Sheraton Hotel have both air conditioning and heating as well as a refrigerator, ironing equipment, and a flat-screen TV with a DVD player. En-suite bathrooms have free amenities as well as a bathtub. There are also laundry and dry-cleaning services available as well as luggage storage at the 24-hour front desk. Check availability of this top Hiroshima hotel here.
GRAND BASE Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima, Japan: The Grand Base Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a mid-range Hiroshima aparthotel located 400 meters from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. Each apartment at this superb hotel in Hiroshima has a kitchenette with a microwave, a sitting area, a flat-screen TV, a washing machine, and a private bathroom with a bidet and slippers. A fridge, cooktop, and kettle are also supplied. There is also air conditioning and complimentary WiFi available at this mid-range Hiroshima hotel. Want to see more about GRAND BASE Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park?
KIRO Hiroshima by Share Hotels, Hiroshima, Japan: The KIRO Hiroshima is a budget hotel conveniently located in Hiroshima. This budget-friendly hotel in Hiroshima offers air-conditioned rooms, a bar, free WiFi, and a communal kitchen and lounge. The hotel is near various well-known sights, including Hiroshima City Minami Ward Community Cultural Center (1.8 km), Chosho-in Temple (1.9 km), and Kat Tomosabur Bronze Statue (1.9 miles). Each room at this budget Hiroshima hotel has a flat-screen TV and bed linen and towels. This is a great place to stay, especially if you’re planning to see the most popular sites near Hiroshima. See room rates for this budget hotel option in Hiroshima here.
If you prefer to stay in a ryokan in Hiroshima, then we recommend the Ikawa Ryokan Hotel, Hiroshima, Japan: The Ikawa Ryokan Hotel is a Hiroshima Ryokan just half a kilometer from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This traditional ryokan in Hiroshima. Some rooms have a television, and private bathrooms include a hairdryer and bathrobes. This is a fantastic ryokan to stay at and spend your time in Hiroshima. See room rates here.
For a truly unique Japanese experience in Hiroshima, you can also stay in a capsule hotel. The Sejour Inn Capsule, Hiroshima, Japan is a budget capsule hotel in Hiroshima’s City Centre. All of the options at the excellent Sejour Inn Capsule in Hiroshima offer air-conditioned capsules with a flat-screen TV. This Hiroshima capsule hotel also offers free WiFi throughout the property. The shared bathroom has a bath or shower, slippers, and complimentary amenities. There are also laundry facilities and each floor has a unique element and breakfasts are also available here too. The Sejour Inn Capsule is a great choice if you’re looking for a budget capsule hotel in Hiroshima. Check availability here.
How to Get to Hiroshima
Hiroshima is easy to reach on many Japan Rail Trains. Easy to reach from Tokyo in about 4-5 hours, Hiroshima is well located. We traveled around Japan on Japan Rail Trains and it was really easy. The best way to get a JR Pass is to buy it before you leave home.
- Buy your Japan Rail Pass before you arrive in Japan
How to Travel Around Hiroshima
Most people arrive in Hiroshima at the JR Hiroshima station. The downtown area, near the Peace Memorial, is about 2.5 kilometers, an easy walk in about 30 minutes. The Hiroden trams are also an easy way to travel around Hiroshima. You can buy individual tickets for your route (JR Station to downtown about 180 yen per adult), or buy a day pass for 840 yen.
Travel Tips for Exploring Japan
- Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.
- Download and install a VPN BEFORE you travel to Japan > discount coupon here
- Read our guide to the Japan Rail Pass here
- Check the details of the 2023 Japan Rail Pass Increases here
- Buy your Japan Rail Pass before you arrive in Japan
- Book the best tours and guides in Japan on, GetYourGuideand Klook
- Learn to cook Japanese food in Chef’s kitchens in Japan
- Save money in Japan with a Wise debit card
- Find the right accommodation for you via Booking.com
- Book an incredible ryokan experience in Japan
Final Words on the Top Things to Do in Hiroshima
We initially came to pay our respects at the Peace Memorial, to visit the museum, and to understand more about the impact and effects of the atomic bomb here. We loved the city of Hiroshima. We visited the island of Miyajima, explored the hiking trails and the observatory, and saw the Itsukushima-jinja shrine at low and high tide. We thought Hiroshima Castle was stunning, we visited the Sake brewery town of Saijo to take sake. So do we have a favorite? Well, we loved the Okonomkiyai, but it’s the memorials and what we learned in the peace museum that will stay with us.
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