A Quick Hiroshima Day Trip Itinerary
Our Hiroshima day trip was a very humbling experience for us that has left a mark for a lifetime. Seeing the devastation and loss that happened here during World War II was something we could never have imagined. But it was also encouraging to see how after 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 Hiroshima. However, on one of our trips we were in the middle of a Japan road trip so we ended up driving to Hiroshima.
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. As similar to buses, enter the streetcar through the “entrance doors”, and pay via cash or transit card when exiting.
READ MORE: Important Things to Know Before Traveling to Japan
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
On our first trip to Hiroshima, we stayed at the Mitsui Garden Hotel. The Mitsui Garden was reasonably priced at 5,090¥ (around $48 USD) a night (at the time of our booking). The room was a great value, considering that 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.
Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel
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
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 that lost their lives, along with the Peace Memorial Museum – both unforgettable and moving. During our first visit, many people that 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 you will be taken on a humbling journey of the moments before the bombing and the aftermath.
Out of respect, we didn’t take 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 we don’t have the exact words to explain what we saw, 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
Hours: March-July/September-November: 8:30am-6pm, August: 8:30am-7pm, December-February: 8:30am-5pm (Closed Dec. 30 & 31, last entry is 30 minutes before closing time.)
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 at 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
Hours: March-November: 9am-6pm, December-February: 9am-5pm, During Obon and Golden Week: 9am-7pm (Admission ends 30 minutes before closing).
Cost: 370 yen/person, castle grounds are free to visit
Places to Eat in Hiroshima
Hassei – Okonomiyaki
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
Hours: Sunday-Saturday: 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-11pm (Closed Mondays)
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
Comments & Reviews
Thank you for all these great posts about Japan. We are heading there in November and I really enjoying reading these.
Paula, I’m so excited for your adventure and that you found our Japan guides helpful! It’s by far our most favorite country that we’ve visited. Let us know if you have any questions. We’d be happy to help! 🙂
Ashley Smith says
I visit a lot of tragic spots (for whatever reason lol) and I know exactly the feelings! I still feel they’re important places to visit though. Your pictures are gorgeous though and those deer are precious. ♡♡
Ashley, I completely agree with you. It’s a humbling experience to visit such places and it really puts things into perspective. Thank you for the compliments!
I use to read the Thousand Papers Cranes to my 5th graders when I taught US history. The memorial looks just like the pictures in our history books. Very moving!
Isn’t it a touching story? We didn’t take many photos inside the memorial because we were afraid it would be disrespectful, but we tried to take a few so that others could see the devastation second hand. It was definitely very moving!
Very useful post, Kallsy. I’d like to make another trip (or two) to Japan since its just next door. Well, kinda. I understand how you feel. I read 1000 Paper Cranes too when I was younger 🙁
I wish we lived closer! We absolutely love Japan. Seems like many have read that book and I am really glad! 🙂
I remember reading the Thousand Paper Cranes! Thank you such a poignant post. I think it’s really important to also visit places such as Hiroshima and pay respect for what has happened there. I’ve never been, but Japan is on my husband’s wishlist of places to visit.
Susan, I’m glad you also remember reading it! It’s a fabulous and humbling book. I highly recommend visiting if you have the chance. 🙂
Very poignant post! Hiroshima is somewhere that I want to visit, especially as a History graduate.
I hope you make it someday Tom! It’s a very special experience.
Russell Fernandez says
I can imagine how it would feel being at a place with significant history and hope much the place would have changed since that time. Is live to visit hiroshima for all of its history and paying homage to the countless people that lost their lives. Appreciate the deep insight to the place but also it’s recovering interests that have rebuilt the place.
Russell, it’s truly amazing to see how much they’ve rebuilt in such a short amount of time. I only wish that the whole world could visit places like this so that we could all understand the need for understanding and peace.
Wow, what a humbling and incredible experience that must have been. I had to do a project on Hiroshima for one of my classes in college, really makes me want to visit and pay respects as well as discover what Hiroshima has to offer. I think you did a great job with this post, lots of information that inspires me to visit even more.
Lianna, thank you so much. When we decided to visit Japan we knew that we would need to visit Hiroshima and do exactly what you mentioned. It was humbling but also encouraging to see how much they have rebuilt and come together in such a short amount of time.
Wanderlust Vegans says
Some really great photos, thanks for sharing. We really want to get ourselves to Japan. I can’t believe you found accomodation for under $50USD! Now we are definitely going!
Thank you Wanderlust Vegans, it’s well worth a visit! Most people think that Japan is expensive but we found that it’s all about how much to research. Most of our accommodations were around $40-$100USD a night and those that were not it’s because we splurged on a few places. 😉 Hope you make it soon!
Johann Kuruvilla says
I should commend the resilience and determination of the people of Hiroshima. This is a very touching post. Its great to know that the people have rebuilt their lives after the devastation they went through. Thank you for sharing this post with the world. Hoping someday I get to go here.
Johann, you are completely right. It’s amazing that the people in Hiroshima and others around the globe have worked together to restore a place with such devastating history. It was interesting to think that no structure that is currently there was there prior to the atomic bomb drop. I hope you are able to visit someday.
Brown Gal Trekker says
Nice experience it seems and the photos are great. Never been to Japan as it’s a bit pricier for travels. Glad to know there are some cheap accommodations.
The flight over to Japan is definitely costly but we found that once we were there it’s more affordable that one would think! I hope you get the chance to visit someday.
Beautiful post about Hiroshima and great gallery of images. One can feel the emotions though the way you looked at the city.
Maria, it was definitely an emotional experience for obvious reasons. Thank you for reading!
Beautiful pictures! I found your post while researching if it’s possible to see both Miyajima & Hiroshima in 8 hours. From reading your post it seems doable. We are planning to go early next year and our plan is to land in Tokyo at 5 am and then head down to Hiroshima via JR train right away (because the flight to Kansai will arrive there at 2 pm and I read that from Kansai to Hiroshima would be another 3 hours – which meant that we will get there at 5 pm). That meant that we are going to get there at 11 am-12 noon.
Kallsy Page says
Thank you for stopping by Joan! The JR ride from Tokyo to Hiroshima will be a bit longer but is definitely doable. Are you planning to stay the evening in a hotel nearby? I think you can see Hiroshima and Miyajima in eight hours but I won’t lie, it will be a bit rushed. 🙂 I would suggest you visit Miyajima first (check and see if it’s high or low tide too) and then go to Hiroshima to see the museum and grab something for dinner. Let us know how you like Miyajima and Hiroshima!