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.
Walk 10 min
Commissioned by Hiroshima’s feudal lord Asano Nagaakira, the Shukkeien Garden was built in 1620 by his chief retainer and famous tea ceremony master Ueda Soko. Donated to Hiroshima Prefecture by the Asano family, it was opened to the public in 1940. Although it suffered from the atomic bomb blast, it was restored and reopened in 1951. A brief walk from Hiroshima Castle and the Peace Memorial Park, this peaceful, traditional Japanese garden offers you the chance to shelter from the hurly-burly of Hiroshima city life. Scenes found in nature are carefully recreated in miniature in this garden, with carefully-located tea rooms and rest areas to allow you to enjoy the views. The plum and cherry blossoms and the autumn foliage draw many visitors to the garden. Another popular feature is the shoals of colorful koi carp that swim around the elegantly-designed central lake.
Walk 10 min
This savory ‘okonomiyaki’ pancake is the ultimate soul food for Hiroshima residents. Unlike the Osaka version with its ingredients mixed in batter, the Hiroshima okonomiyaki is cooked in distinct layers. The first layer is a thin batter made of flour, followed by cabbage or bean sprouts, then finally topped off with egg, meat and a range of different options according to your tastes. This Hiroshima delicacy developed in tandem with the city’s post-war economic recovery. Each layer represents the point in time when the different ingredients became generally available in the city. The first layer, the batter, dates from when the Allied forces first brought flour to the city at the end of the war. Each restaurant has its own subtle variations with different toppings and cooking styles so no two okonomiyaki restaurants are alike. So take time to experiment and discover the okonomiyaki that suits you best.
Train 40 min
Ferry 30 min
Regarded as one of the three most scenic views in Japan, Itsukushima Shrine enjoys worldwide reputation. Set against the deep greens of Mount Misen on Miyajima Island, the vermillion shrine with its O-Torii gate rising out of the sea is an instantly recognizable cultural landmark. First built in 593CE, the shrine was extensively redesigned in the 12th century by the famous warlord Taira-no-Kiyomori to form its present-day appearance. As the island has always been sacred ground, Itsukushima Shrine was tucked away in an inlet to avoid disturbing the gods. It has been a popular Japanese pilgrimage destination for centuries and now welcomes visitors from every corner of the globe. To explore Miyajima at your leisure, and to see the shrine illuminated at night, you can find a range of accommodation on the island itself. Itsukushima Shrine was designated a World Heritage Site in 1996.