Best things to do in Hiroshima
Find out more about those top places in Hiroshima
Hiroshima needs little introduction. Since August 6th 1945, this once little known Japanese city has been known for one thing: the dropping of the world’s first atomic bomb. However, Hiroshima is far from a depressing place. The rebuilt city’s premier attraction is the Peace Park, a vast swathe of central Hiroshima given over to commemorating one of World War Two’s darkest moments. Highlights of the leafy Peace Park include the abstract cenotaph, which lists the names of all the known victims of the bombing, and the Flame of Peace, which will burn until all nuclear weapons are decommissioned. However, the main draw is undoubtedly the Atomic Bomb Dome, the hollowed out husk of one of the few buildings that survived the blast. Beyond Peace Park, Hiroshima is one of Japan’s most vibrant cities with a plethora of bars, restaurants and cutting-edge art galleries.
One of the world’s most haunting monuments to World War II is Hiroshima’s Atomic Bomb Dome, which was the only structure that survived the nuclear blast in the downtown area. Originally built as an industrial promotion hall in 1915, the building today is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is best seen in the evenings when floodlit.
To truly understand the devastation wrought on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by nuclear weapons, a visit the former’s Peace Memorial Museum is a must. Displaying items ranging from clothing to a broken watch that stopped at the exact time of the bomb and melted lunch boxes, the museum offers a harrowing look at the human suffering inflicted by the bomb. For the best experience, guided tours of the museum are available that fill you in on the history of nuclear weapons and the role the museum plays in advocating for disarmament.
One of the world’s most contemplative locations is Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, which is laid out close to the epicenter of the blast. The centerpiece of the landscaped garden is the cenotaph that is inscribed with the names of all known victims of the attack and the tranquil Pond of Peace. Other highlights include the eternal flame, which will burn until all nuclear weapons are decommissioned.
Modeled after origami paper cranes, which in Japan symbolize longevity, the monument is dedicated to all the young children who lost their lives during the atomic bombing and those who subsequently perished from diseases, such as cancer. The monument is one of Hiroshima’s most touching as schoolchildren from across the globe show their solidarity by sending colorful origami cranes to be displayed around it.
The most popular day trip from Hiroshima is to the nearby island of Miyajima, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island is most famous for its spectacular torii (shrine gates) that pepper the landscape, including an often-photographed one that seems to float on water. The island contains numerous hiking trails that lead to other landmarks, including Itsukushima-jinja. The easiest way to reach the island is by organized tours from Hiroshima.
While the original castle was obliterated by the atomic bomb in 1945, it was painstakingly reconstructed in the 1950s and is now one of Hiroshima’s most impressive attractions. The surrounding park is one of the city’s finest while the castle itself is home to a museum with a vast collection of artifacts that explore Hiroshima’s rich history through the ages. For the best experience, visit on a Sunday when samurai demonstrations take place.
For a glimpse into Japan’s post-war economic miracle, visit Hiroshima’s Mazda Museum where you can take guided tours of the highly automated assembly line, which is a whopping 7 kilometers long, and get to grips with the latest technology in the car industry.