We didn’t really know what to expect before we went to Hiroshima. There is certainly a lot of information about Hiroshima on the internet, but it seems to focus more on the tragic history of the city. We had been told by a friend that Hiroshima was a very difficult city for him to visit, so we were prepared for a bombardment of difficult memorials and images of the past. Yes, Hiroshima certainly pays tribute to it’s traumatic past, but we found the city to be incredibly uplifting and peaceful.
Hiroshima ended up being our favourite city in Japan, and we want to share our top five things to do there.
Number 5: Hondori Street
Hondori Street is a shopping area close to Peace Memorial Park. The streets are connected by covered roofs, so you can enjoy shopping even when it’s raining. We liked visiting the arcades and shops, as well as Okonomimura (our favourite place in Hiroshima)!
Number 4: Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima castle is a beautiful reconstruction of the original Carp Castle that was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. The grounds surrounding the castle are free to explore. The area is really lovely to walk around and explore, there is an ancient tree that survived the atomic bomb. If you’d like to visit the castle itself, the entrance fee is 370yen. We visited the castle right before sunset, and the views from the top of the castle were stunning.
Number 3: Peace Memorial Park
The Peace Memorial Park is a beautiful, yet haunting tribute to the victims of the atomic bomb of 1945. The most iconic memorial is certainly the A-dome, one of the only remaining structures from 1945. The dome is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Children’s Peace Monument is covered in paper cranes, sent by children from all around the world as a sign of remembrance.
Number 2: Day Trip to Miyajima
Miyajima is an island less than an hour away from Hiroshima. The island is accessible by a 30 minute train ride, then a 15 minute ferry ride from Hiroshima. The island is most recognizable because of it’s iconic floating torii gate. The island is inhabited by wild deer, but unlike the deer in Nara, the deer here are peaceful.
Number 1: Okonomimura!
Okonomimura is a three story okonomiyaki restaurant complex in the Hondori street shopping area. http://www.okonomimura.jp/foreign/english.html This incredible building is filled with restaurants, each specializing in a variation on the okonomiyaki dish.
We were able to try out two of the restaurants!