Best 25 Things to Do in Hiroshima
Hiroshima is a city that you have to visit on your trip to Japan.
Surely there are more spectacular destinations, but its view will help you locate and understand the atomic bombing of the city on August 6, 1945, which marked the end of World War II.
Therefore, many of the things to do in Hiroshima are related to this event that changed history.
Even so, there are much more fun activities to do in Hiroshima, such as getting lost in the Shukkei-en gardens.
In this post we’ll tell you the 25 best things to do in Hiroshima.
1. The Atomic Bomb Dome, one of the best things to do in Hiroshima
The most impressive point in Hiroshima is undoubtedly the Genbaku dome, the only building close to the epicenter of the explosion that remained standing.
The building was inaugurated in 1915 for a commercial exhibition that would take place in the city.
After the tragedy, the inhabitants of the city decided to leave the bricks and the steel structure of the dome as they were to raise awareness of the damage caused by nuclear weapons and to ensure peace in the world.
Currently it continues to fulfill that commemorative function and, therefore, it is the point from which a multitude of memorials have been built.
On weekends and holidays there are also often people demonstrating for the elimination of nuclear weapons and collecting signatures for the cause.
2. Visit the Exact Point where the Bomb Exploded (Ground zero)
If you move a few meters away from the memorial area you can visit the exact spot where the atomic bomb exploded.
It is on the Naka-ku side street and there you will find a plaque remembering what happened.
Today there is a clinic there.
It is only symbolic, but it is worth looking at the sky, since the explosion took place at 600 meters high, and praying that nothing similar happens again.
If you want to know all the details about what happened and the consequences caused by the explosion, visiting the Peace Museum is something very interesting to do in Hiroshima.
There is a lot of information there with texts in Japanese and English, creepy photos and even very personal items of the victims.
The truth is that we found it a bit too sensational, since even the nails and hair of the deceased were exposed! If you are sensitive to these things, you will not be too amused to visit this museum.
Adult admission costs 200 yen (€1.70 approx).
If you are very interested in reading all the information there is, we recommend that you go early or last minute, as there are usually a lot of people and the space is not very wide.
4. Visit the Memorial Cenotaph for the Victims
The central memorial to the victims is this large concrete cenotaph.
It is a memorial dedicated to the more than 200,000 victims of the terrible event.
The architect Tange Kenzo, designed the monument making that curve to simulate a cover for all those people who lost their lives.
There is an inscription written in Japanese that says “Rest in peace, the mistake will not be repeated”.
Visiting this place and seeing it covered with flowers in memory of the victims is something very emotional to do in Hiroshima.
5. Trust in the flame of Peace
Another most symbolic monument to remember the victims is the Flame of Peace.
Since it was lit in 1964 it has not stopped burning.
The idea is that it does not go out until the nuclear threats disappear.
If you look closely, the pedestal looks like two hands with the palms up, which has become a symbol of anti-nuclear weapons.
6. Know the history of the Children’s Peace Monument
The monument with the most powerful history behind it is the one dedicated to the children who died and were affected by the atomic bomb.
A 12-year-old girl, Sadako, died a couple of months after the explosion from the leukemia it caused.
When she found out about her illness, she started making paper cranes, as legend has it that if you make 1,000 you can make a wish.
His was to heal, which unfortunately did not happen.
Her classmates and all the children in Hiroshima fought to remember her with this statue.
At the top of the bronze structure is the figure of a girl raising a paper crane that represents Sadako and all the children who were victims of the atomic bomb.
Below the main arch is a peace bell from which a crane hangs.
Something very emotional to do in Hiroshima is to ring it and also leave a paper crane around the monument as a memory of Sadako.
7. The Mobilized Students
Very close to the monument dedicated to children there is another fact to remember the 6907 students who died by the atomic bomb.
Hiroshima’s teenage students were forced to work in munitions factories and even tear down buildings to create firebreaks in the event of an air raid.
Many students were already working in other industries, but the government only wanted to make a memorial at the Yasukini Shrine for the dead mobilized in the war industry.
The families of the other deceased came together to raise funds and managed to build this tower in memory of all the students.
8. Ring the Peace Bell, one of the most famous places to see in Hiroshima
The most repeated sound in the Parque de la Paz is that of a bell.
This is the Peace Bell, financed by the association of victims of the atomic bomb.
It has an engraving of a world map without borders drawn to ensure unity and world peace.
Hitting the bell is a symbolic thing to do in Hiroshima to try to have a much better world.
9. Photograph the Gates of Peace Sculpture
Even in the peace park, five gates each five meters high will catch your eye.
They have the word “peace” written in a lot of languages and are another of the emotional monuments to visit in Hiroshima.
10. Cross the Aioi Bridge, the Failed Target of the Atomic Bomb
The last thing to do in Hiroshima in connection with the atomic bomb is to visit the bridge where it was meant to go off.
The Americans had the Aioi Bridge as their aiming point because it was easily recognizable from the air.
Finally, the bomb did not fall there but the structure was badly damaged.
In fact, in the Peace Museum you can see a piece of the original beam.
Since 1983 you can cross the reconstruction, which imitates the original.
11. Stroll through Kamiyacho, Hiroshima’s Business District
The central neighborhood of Hiroshima is Kamiyacho, where the offices are concentrated.
There are also many shops and cafes, so it’s a good area to walk around.
He is also playing at the Peace Park, the essential visit in Hiroshima.
12. Boat Ride on the Motoyasu Gawa River
You can take a boat ride on the river that runs through Hiroshima.
There are various boarding points along its course.
It’s a particularly nice thing to do in Hiroshima in spring, as there are plenty of cherry blossoms on both banks.
13. Go Shopping on Hondōri Street
Hondori street is full of shops and restaurants of all kinds.
As in many Japanese cities, it is pedestrianized and covered so that bad weather does not leave you without enjoying it.
It is not something essential to do in Hiroshima, but it is a good area to take a walk, since it is in the center.
14. Fall in Love with the City Castle
Another pleasant surprise that we got in Hiroshima was its castle.
Originally built in 1590, it was completely destroyed by the atomic bomb.
A reconstruction as faithful as possible was made, with a spectacular five-story wooden façade.
Inside there is a museum of samurai culture and, in general, of the city of Hiroshima before the impact of the bomb.
As a curiosity, it is one of the few castles in Japan that was built in the center of the city and not on a hill on the outskirts.
You can also go up to its viewpoint, from where there are good views of the city.
The entrance costs 370 yen (approx €3), although you can see it perfectly from the outside without paying for access.
Very close to the castle you will find a torii gate that gives access to the Hiroshima-gokuku shrine.
It is a very large enclosure where you will most likely find yourself with some kind of Shinto ritual or celebration.
For example, there are many families that celebrate there when their children turn 3, 5 and 7 years old.
The little ones are dressed in beautiful kimonos.
Although not necessarily all are celebrations, since many faithful visit this sanctuary asking for good luck.
Admission is free.
16. Learn about Cars at the Mazda Museum
If you are passionate about cars, a must stop in Hiroshima is the Mazda brand museum.
It is still a showroom where they show their new models, technological innovations, etc.
But they also have some old vehicles on display and, most interesting for us, you can see a car assembly line.
17. Get Lost in the Shukkei-en Garden
This garden has a spectacular charm.
Its origin dates back to the 17th century, when a well-known tea master founded it.
Since then, it has been famous for its cherry and plum trees that add a lovely pink color in spring.
But at any time of the year it transmits an incredible peace, also there are not as many people as in other Japanese gardens.
It also has a huge central lake crossed by several very beautiful traditional bridges.
Admission costs 250 yen (approx €2).
18. Get to Know the Mitaki Temple
The Mitaki Temple is on the outskirts of Hiroshima, about half an hour from the city’s central station.
But we assure you that it is worth visiting if you have enough time.
It is known for its two-story pagoda and the good views it has of the city.
On clear days you can even see the sea and the island of Miyajima in the background.
It is a fairly quiet place, away from the main tourist route, with several waterfalls and ponds around.
19. Hiroshima Toyo Carp Stadium
Walking through the city you will surely see a lot of posters dedicated to the Hiroshima Carps.
They are the city’s baseball team and they raise true passions.
We stayed near the stadium and, on the day of the match, we ran into a flood of fans on the street.
It’s very funny, because even in 24-hour stores like 7 Eleven or Lawson you can buy merchandising products from the team.
If you are a big fan of this sport, take a look at the Carps calendar and experience a match at the Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium to the fullest.
20. Take a Trip with the Electric Tram
Taking a tram transfer is something to do in Hiroshima if you want to try the most typical means of transportation in the city.
In fact, the city has the longest tram line in Japan.
Hiroshima Electric Railway is the company that manages it.
It was founded in 1910 and old wagons can still be seen circulating that contrast with the most modern ones.
Inside a curious circular building you can see some masterpieces of European art.
They have paintings by Manet, Cézanne or Dalí, among others.
The museum is quite small but you will not miss anything, it even has a very quiet cafeteria.
The entrance costs 1000 yen (€8.50 approx).
22. Taste a Good Okonomiyaki in Okonomimura, something typical to do in Hiroshima
The dish most associated with Hiroshima is okonomiyaki, so you can’t leave without trying it.
It is an egg-based dough to which you can add various ingredients.
In the heart of the city you will find a building with 4 floors dedicated exclusively to restaurants of this type.
They are small and bustling places, with barely 20 stools around a bar.
But the best okonomiyakis in the city are served there, so when you get hungry you know something else to do in Hiroshima.
23. Stroll through Hijiyama Park
This is Hiroshima’s main park, where locals celebrate hanami by gathering to eat boxes of prepared food.
It has play areas for children, lanes for jogging or cycling and, of course, many esplanades where you can have a good picnic.
Also, it is on a hill from where you will have a nice view of Hiroshima.
At the highest part of Hijiyama Park is the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art.
It was the first museum of this type of art in all of Japan and has an impressive collection of more than 1,400 works in all kinds of formats.
There are both Japanese and international creations and many of them are related to the horror of war, a theme that is very present throughout the city.
Go up there even if you are not interested in going in, you will have one of the best views of Hiroshima.
25. Go on a Hike to Miyajima
Visiting the beautiful island of Miyajima is a very typical excursion to do from Hiroshima.
It is famous for its floating torii gate and just to see the sunset there is worth the drive of about an hour.
But don’t stop there, it has many more attractions.
If you like to walk in the mountains, there are several very cool routes to climb Mount Misen, the highest part of the island.
If you have enough time, we recommend that you book accommodation in Miyajima and stay one night, as it is beautiful.
Map of Best Things to Do in Hiroshima
In the following map you can locate all the things to do in Hiroshima mentioned above.
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