Two world heritage sites symbolize Hiroshima. At the heart of the city, the Peace Memorial Park with its museum and stark Atomic Bomb Dome is a reminder of the ravages of war. Then, just a short ferry ride away, Itsukushima Shrine’s iconic Torii gate welcomes you to the island of Miyajima.
But Hiroshima Prefecture has more to offer besides. One of the most geographically diverse prefectures in Japan, Hiroshima boasts densely forested mountains to the north, cut through by plunging gorges, while to the south you can explore the archipelagos of the Seto Inland Sea. With just a day-trip from Hiroshima City you can step back in time by visiting the historical preservation districts of Takehara and the island town of Mitarai. Head east for the vibrant city of Onomichi and starting-point for the Shimanami Kaido - the island-hopping cycle route to Shikoku.
Bus 60 min
The Atomic Bomb Dome is recognized the world over. The haunting shell of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall with its twisted metal dome is a potent symbol for the global peace movement and nuclear disarmament. Located only meters away from where the first atomic bomb detonated during the closing stages of the Second World War, the dome was one of the few structures to remain standing. Since then, Hiroshima has developed into a vibrant modern city, but this monument, designated a World Heritage Site in 1996, remains a permanent reminder of the devastation and suffering caused by war. No visit to Japan is complete without taking time to contemplate it firsthand. And there are no shortage of volunteers and survivors near the Atomic Bomb Dome ready to offer vivid accounts of the events that unfolded on that clear morning in August 1945.
Walk 5 min
Crossing the river from the Atomic Bomb Dome brings you into the Peace Memorial Park. Here you’ll find exhibits and monuments linked to the atomic bombing, including the Children’s Peace Memorial and the Flame of Peace. The basement of the Rest House just across the bridge from the Atomic Bomb dome has also been preserved from the time of the explosion and is open to the public. Continue south through the park to the Peace Memorial Museum. Opened in 1955, the museum has two wings. The East Wing describes Hiroshima in the pre-war years and covers the events leading up to the decision to drop the atomic bomb. It then presents the aftermath of the bombing and the subsequent efforts towards international peace. The West Wing details the actual damage the bomb wreaked, including harrowing descriptions by citizens who were caught in the blast.
Walk 5 min
Hiroshima Castle is a short distance north of the Peace Memorial Park. Built in 1589 by Mori Terumoto, the Mori clan used the castle as their base to govern their dominions in western Japan. The decisive battle of Sekigahara during the warring states period saw a decline in the Mori clan’s fortunes. The castle eventually passed to the Asano clan who were its stewards for the next two hundred years. Although the castle stood the test of time, it could not resist the force of the atomic bomb in 1945. The current castle is a careful reconstruction completed in 1958. Visitors can enter the castle and climb the turret. On each floor of the castle are exhibits detailing the history of the castle as well as its construction and traditional samurai life in Edo, Japan. There is also a section where you can try on samurai armor - a great photo opportunity.