A Quick Hiroshima Day Trip Itinerary
Each time we have visited Hiroshima on a day trip it has been a very humbling experience that leaves us with more to think about. Seeing the devastation and loss that happened here during World War II is something we could never imagine. But it is also encouraging to see how just over 75 years, the people of Hiroshima have overcome every obstacle and have rebuilt a thriving city. In this Hiroshima day trip itinerary, will take you to all of the well-known places to visit in Hiroshima and where you can find some delicious Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki!
Where is Hiroshima?
Hiroshima is a city located in southern Japan in the Chugoku region. It is only about 2 hours from a few major cities in Japan which makes a Hiroshima day trip extremely easy to add to your itinerary. However, if you can fit it into your itinerary, we recommend spending at least one night in order to enjoy everything Hiroshima has to offer.
How to Get to Hiroshima
The fastest and easiest way to get to Hiroshima is by Shinkansen (bullet train) which is what we have done on a few of our trips to Hiroshima. However, on one of our trips we were in the middle of a Japan road trip so we ended up driving to Hiroshima. Although you don’t need a car while in Hiroshima, the areas around Hiroshima City are great for driving!
Hiroshima Day Trip by Train
- Kyoto to Hiroshima: Approximately 2 1/2 hours via Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen.
- Osaka to Hiroshima: Approximately 2 hours via Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen.
- Tokyo to Hiroshima: Approximately 5 1/2 hours via Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen.
READ MORE: Things to Know About Driving in Japan
Transportation for Your Hiroshima Day Trip
One unique characteristic of Hiroshima’s public transit was the electric streetcar. These above-ground trolleys operate very similarly to other public transit in Japan. To utilize the streetcars (Hiroshima Dentetsu) first, find a streetcar stop/station for your desired car. Utilizing Google Maps can be very beneficial in determining which car you need, what station, and how much it will cost. Similar to buses, enter the streetcar through the “entrance doors”, and pay via cash or transit card when exiting.
Where to Stay in Hiroshima
While it is possible to only do a Hiroshima day trip and return to Kyoto, Osaka, or another nearby city at the end of the day, we feel like you’ll be able to enjoy your time more by spending at least one night for your Hiroshima itinerary, two if you want to spend a full day on Miyajima Island too.
Mitsui Garden Hotel
Budget-friendly and perfect for short stays.
On our first trip to Hiroshima, we stayed at the Mitsui Garden Hotel. The Mitsui Garden was reasonably priced (under 6,000 yen a night at the time of our booking). The room was a great value, considering that the room was comfortably sized for two people on a short stay and very clean.
It has all basic necessities such as a coffee maker, private bathroom, TV, mini-fridge, and toiletries. But if you are planning to stay for longer than 2-3 days, you might want to find a place that is a little more spacious because this is a smaller business hotel.
Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel
Perfect location and spacious, comfortable rooms.
The Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel is another place to stay in Hiroshima and it’s by far our favorite hotel that we’ve stayed at in Hiroshima too! The rooms are stunning, spacious, comfortable – you name it! I also love that the location is steps away from Hiroshima Station making it easy for traveling on the Shinkansen or other trains.
Other Places to Stay in Hiroshima
- BUDGET: Backpackers Hostel K’s House
- MID-RANGE: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hiroshima
- FAMILY-FRIENDLY: Hotel Granvia Hiroshima
Places to Eat in Hiroshima
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese dish that resembles a pancake. It is usually made up of cabbage, pork, other vegetables, and occasionally noodles with a savory sauce on top. It is a well-known dish of Hiroshima, hence why you should definitely enjoy it while you’re visiting. Hassei is the perfect spot to try okonomiyaki for lunch. We loved the casual environment and the ability to customize your own okonomiyaki (they have vegetarian options too!)
Location: 4-17 Fujimicho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0043, Japan // MAP
Kuroyaki is a yakiniku restaurant that serves Motonari wagyu beef which is beef from Hiroshima prefecture. While you can order different beef cuts individually you can also order a set meal that comes with various high-quality cuts. Once you’ve made your selections the barbecue grill in the center of your table will be fired up so you can grill your meat to your liking!
Location: 13-22 Noboricho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0016, Japan // MAP
One-Day Hiroshima Itinerary
“This is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world.”
Atomic Bomb Dome
At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the first in human history. The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome, was directly hit but somehow avoided complete destruction and the remains are still here today. In fact, it is the only structure in Hiroshima that remains from before the bombing.
Because of its history, we started our Hiroshima itinerary in the Peace Memorial Park at the Atomic Bomb Dome, a Japanese World Heritage Site where, as we stated before, the first atomic bomb was initially dropped. The exact number of people who were killed during this catastrophic event is unknown. But it is estimated to be 290,000+ including those who were also killed by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
Location: 1-10 Otemachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0051, Japan // MAP
Children’s Peace Monument
The Children’s Peace Monument is to commemorate the many children who lost their lives, along with the Peace Memorial Museum – both unforgettable and moving. During our first visit, many people who were just small children when this catastrophic event happened were there speaking to local schoolchildren for the 70th Anniversary.
For those who did survive the bomb, there was still extreme suffering. Many people were exposed to high levels of radiation which caused a number of health problems, including leukemia and other cancers.
As a young child, I remember reading a book titled Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes which told the true story of Sadako who was a young, healthy girl at the time of the bombing and a few years later was diagnosed with Leukemia. The story tells how she believed that if she could make 1,000 paper cranes her wish to live would come true. Unfortunately, Sadako passed away due to the after-effects of the atomic bomb. At the Children’s Peace Memorial statue, you can see Sadako on the top holding up a paper crane.
Location: 1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811, Japan // MAP
Another spot inside the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to take a moment to reflect on is the Cenotaph. The stone here holds the names of the 290,000+ people who lost their lives due to the bombing of all nationalities. As new names are discovered they are then added to the list.
Location: Japan, 〒730-0811 Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Nakajimacho, 平和記念公園 // MAP
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Next to the Peace Memorial Park is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The purpose of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is to educate others about the need for lasting world peace and moving toward nuclear disarmament. When you first walk into the museum’s main building you will be taken on a humbling journey of the moments before the bombing on August 6th, 1945, and the aftermath.
In the east building, there is a 3D Projection Model showing a view of Hiroshima City before and after the bombing as well as the exhibits sharing the dangers of nuclear weapons in Japan and other countries and survivor video testimonies which can be viewed in individual booths in a number of languages.
We have visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum a few times, but of respect, we haven’t taken many photos here, although non-flash photography is permitted. But seeing the artifacts and photos along with hearing the stories from survivors was incredibly emotional and moving.
While I still don’t have the exact words, one thought I was left with was to never forget this horrible moment in history or ever take peace for granted.
Location: 1-2 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811, Japan // MAP
Cost: 200 yen/adults, 100 yen/high school students, FREE – junior high and younger
Hiroshima Castle & Castle Grounds
Hiroshima Castle was originally built in 1589 but was destroyed due to the atomic bomb in 1945. In 1958 reconstruction started and you can now visit the castle keep and grounds today. The keep of the castle is now a museum that we highly encourage all to visit to learn more about the history of Hiroshima and see a number of authentic artifacts. Not to mention, the exterior of the castle is beautiful and unique too!
If you have some extra time I recommend taking the casual boat ride offered in the moat of the castle. It’s especially pretty to enjoy the sunset in the summer when the weather cools off or in the spring during sakura season.
Location: 21-1 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0011, Japan // MAP
Cost: 370 yen/person, castle grounds are free to visit
After spending most of our day in Hiroshima we then headed to Miyajima Island via public transportation and ferry. If you are planning to visit Miyajima as well, read this itinerary next!
READ MORE: A Day Trip to Miyajima Island