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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 70 years, this town has overcome every obstacle and has rebuilt itself as a thriving city. In this Hiroshima day trip itinerary, will take you to all of the well-known places to visit in Hiroshima and we’ll cover information about visiting Miyajima Island too.
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 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 did during our first Hiroshima day trip. However, on our second trip, 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.
If you are traveling to Miyajima from Hiroshima you will take the streetcar to the JR Ferry. The JR Ferry will take you to the island in roughly 10 minutes for only 180¥ ($1.70USD) each way or for free with the JR Pass.
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 felt like we were able to enjoy our time more by spending the night for our Hiroshima itinerary.
Since we only stayed one night in Hiroshima, we decided to stay at the Mitsui Garden Hotel. The Mitsui Garden was reasonably priced at 5,090¥ ($48USD) a night (at the time of our booking). The room was a great value, considering the room was comfortably sized for two people on a one night 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.
Other Places to Stay in Hiroshima
- BUDGET: Backpackers Hostel K’s House
- MID-RANGE: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hiroshima
- LUXURY: Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel
- 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.
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 school children.
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 and how she believed that if she could make 1,000 paper cranes her wish to live would come true. Unfortunately, Sadako was not able to fulfill this dream and passed away due to the after-effects of the atomic bomb.
Another spot inside the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to take a moment to reflect 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.
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 towards nuclear disarmament. When you first walk in 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.
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
LUNCH: 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!)
Address: 4-17 Fujimicho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0043, Japan
Hours: Sunday-Saturday: 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-11pm (Closed Mondays)
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.
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
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
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