20 Things To Do In Hiroshima

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Japan offers a blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions that attracts millions of travellers annually. One of its cities, Hiroshima, is infamous for the devastating bombing during World War II. On August 6, 1945, the United States made the historic and devastating decision to drop the first-ever nuclear bomb used in warfare on Hiroshima as part of its efforts to force Japan’s surrender in the war. This atomic attack caused extensive loss of life and destruction to the city’s infrastructure and long-term health effects for survivors who suffered from radiation exposure.

Nevertheless, Hiroshima has bounced back from the tragedy and emerged as a thriving city. The Peace Memorial Park in the centre of the city is a testament to the victims of the bombing and a reminder of the devastating effects of nuclear weapons. Today, the city continues to play an important role in advocating for the abolition of nuclear weapons. It is a symbol of peace and a frequent host of international conferences on nuclear disarmament. To help you experience this unique city, these are some things to do in Hiroshima.

Hiroshima, Japan

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20 Things To Do In Hiroshima

1- Visit The Atomic Bomb Dome

free things to do in hiroshima dusk at the atomic bomb dome
Admire the view of the atomic bomb dome in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Atomic Bomb Dome is a landmark in Hiroshima that serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the world’s first atomic bombing on 6 August 1945, during World War II.

The dome was the only building left intact in the vicinity of the atomic bomb explosion and has been preserved exactly as it was immediately after the bombing.

In 1996, the Atomic Bomb Dome received recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, acknowledging its historical and cultural significance.

Thousands of visitors travel to Hiroshima every year to remember the victims of the bombing and to reflect on the importance of peace.

The Atomic Bomb Dome is at 1-10 Otemachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0051. Join the Cycling Peace Tour to discover more.

2- Walk Through The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum

top ten things to do in hiroshima the building lit up at dusk
Spending time in the Peace Memorial Museum is one of the things to do in Hiroshima.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum commemorate the victims of the atomic bombing on 6 August 1945.

Join the Hiroshima Peace (Heiwa) Walking Tour and delve into the history and resilience of the city.

While exploring the park, you will see monuments, sculptures and other memorials honouring the memory of the victims.

The tour also includes a stop at the Orizuru Tower’s observatory area for panoramic views of Hiroshima and visits to the Aogiri tree and the Atomic Bomb Dome, providing insight into the city’s history, from the aftermath of the bombing to its current revival.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is at 1-2 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811.

3- Pay Your Respects At The Cenotaph For Atomic Bomb Victims

things to do in hiroshima in one day garden arch
Wandering around Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and acknowledging that this was the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack is one of the unique things to do in Hiroshima.

The Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims is a poignant and powerful monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

This monument serves as a memorial to the victims of the atomic bombing and a reminder of the devastating impact of war and the importance of promoting peace.

The Cenotaph is a simple and elegant arch-shaped structure made of concrete and marble engraved with the poignant words, “Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat this evil.”

At the centre of the arch lies a tombstone with the names of all victims of the bombing.

The Cenotaph For Atomic Bomb Victims is at 1-1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811.

4- Pay Homage At The Children’s Peace Monument

7 things to do in hiroshima autumn season at dusk
The Children’s Peace Monument with a statue of a girl holding a folded paper crane is in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan.

The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima is a memorial dedicated to the children who lost their lives due to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

The monument was inspired by the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who was exposed to the bombing of Hiroshima at the age of two and later died of leukemia at the age of 12.

Moved by Sadako’s death, her classmates launched a nationwide campaign to create a monument honouring the children who died from the atomic bombing.

The Children’s Peace Monument was built with support from 3,100+ schools in Japan and nine international schools.

The monument stands nine metres tall in the shape of a dome, with a bronze statue of a young girl lifting a golden paper crane perched on top.

It symbolises hope and the importance of remembering the lives lost due to conflict and war.

The Children’s Peace Monument is located at 1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811. 

5- Explore The City On A Food Tour

10 things to do when in hiroshima food cooking on a hotplate
Tasting local food like Okonomiyaki, which the city is known for, is one of the fun things to do in Hiroshima.

Hiroshima comes alive after dark with its vibrant food culture, including street food and traditional dishes, there’s no shortage of delicious treats to sample.

To get the most out of your culinary exploration of Hiroshima, consider going on a food tour.

With a range of dishes to try, such as okonomiyaki pancakes, juicy oysters that can be served in different ways, and the unique Hiroshima-style mazemen, there’s no shortage of local flavours to discover in this foodie city.

The Hiroshima Nighttime Food Tour provides visitors with an exciting culinary experience in the city, with options to accommodate any dietary requirements and preferences for alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks.

This food tour celebrates the city’s street food culture and is a feast for the senses.

From steaming hot dumplings to succulent meat skewers, there’s something to please any craving. And with various drinks, including traditional tea and the latest craft beers, you’re guaranteed to find something that suits your taste.

6- Bike Through The Majestic Shukkei-en Garden

things to do in hiroshima japan interesting installations in the garden
Exploring Shukkeien is one of the things to do in Hiroshima,. The Japanese-style garden was originally constructed as part of the villa grounds for a local daimyo (feudal lord) in the 17th century.

Riding a bike in Hiroshima is a convenient mode of transportation and a fantastic way to experience the city.

The Morning Bike Adventure ticket offers a unique opportunity to get a feel for the city, discover its history, and explore hidden neighbourhoods known only to locals.

This bike tour in Hiroshima is ideal for first-time visitors, allowing you to cover more ground than a walking tour and see numerous top attractions, including the Shukkei-en Garden.

With a visit to the beautiful Japanese garden, you can see miniature representations of valleys, mountains and forests, meticulously cultivated to mimic a variety of natural scenes and views.

The tour also includes stops at iconic landmarks like the Peace Park, Gokoku Shrine, and Memorial Cathedral for World Peace.

You can also cycle at your pace, take a break to snap photos, and soak in city sights. 

7- Discover The History Of Hiroshima Castle

things to do in hiroshima cherry blossoms in the foreground with castle in the background
Visiting Hiroshima Castle is one of the top things to do in Hiroshima and it’s especially fetching during Cherry Blossom season.

Hiroshima Castle is an impressive structure that played a significant role in the history of Hiroshima, offering a captivating look into the past.

Built in the 16th century, the castle symbolised the power and influence of the feudal lords who ruled the region.

It was destroyed during the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 but was later reconstructed and now serves as a museum and cultural centre.

On this tour, you can explore the castle’s keep, exhibitions and artifacts, including armour, weapons and other important cultural items.

The castle grounds also feature a beautiful moat, gardens and a restored turret, where you will see a scenic view of the city.

The tour also covers other important sites in Hiroshima, such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, built in honour of those lost in the atomic bombing and the picturesque Miyajima Island, where you’ll see the beautiful floating Itsukushima Shrine and the serene Daisho-in Temple.

Hiroshima Castle is at 21-1 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0011.

8- Learn The Art Of Making Sake

The production of sake in Hiroshima began as a simple home-based activity in homes and over time, it evolved into a thriving industry, with many large breweries that produce high-quality sake.

Saijo Sake Brewery Street is a hub of activity, bustling with breweries and attracting visitors seeking to sample and learn about this traditional Japanese drink.

A guided tour is an excellent way to experience the world of sake.

The Saijo Sake Brewery Street tour provides an understanding of sake making, including learning about the history and process, visiting breweries, meeting the makers and exploring traditional brewery houses.

It’s also an opportunity to taste and compare the different flavours and aromas of the various sakes, learn about the qualities that make each one unique, and gain insight into Saijo’s local culture and lifestyle.

9- Visit The Serene Mitaki-Dera Temple

The Mitaki-Dera Temple is a serene place amid a lush forest and a peaceful retreat with waterfalls, peaceful paths, lanterns and statues.

Mitaki-Dera Temple is filled with Buddhist statues, including Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy.

This statue is revered by visitors, who flock to the temple to pay their respects and offer prayers for peace and well-being.

The temple also features numerous statues of Jizo, the guardian of women, children and travellers, recognisable by their red hats and bibs.

You can relax and unwind by the sound of rushing water, take a peaceful stroll along the paths and admire the temple’s beauty.

Complementing the solemn atmosphere is a charming tea house that serves traditional Japanese dishes.

Mitaki-Dera Temple is at 411 Mitakiyama, Nishi Ward, Hiroshima, 733-0805.

10- Admire The Art At Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum

fun things to do in hiroshima
Colourful paper cranes at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

The Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum houses a vast collection of art from different eras, including modern and historical pieces.

One of Japan’s largest art museums, it showcases traditional Japanese crafts and works by renowned artists of the modern period, such as Aoki Shigeru and Nakamura Fusetsu.

The museum has a rich collection of traditional Japanese art and an impressive display of Western art.

You can admire pieces by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne, providing an insightful comparison between Japanese and Western art.

The museum is also a cultural and educational hub that offers educational activities and workshops for all ages, making it a great family destination.

Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum is located at 2-22 Kaminoboricho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0014.

11- Explore Kure Maritime Museum

Kure Maritime Museum, also known as Yamato museum, is in the port area of Kure. 

The museum introduces the history of the naval base in Kure and its role as a military port, with a focus on shipbuilding and steelmaking.

The centrepiece of the museum is an impressive model of the battleship “Yamato,” which provides visitors with a close-up look at one of the most famous ships in Japanese naval history.

The museum also has a library containing information about ships and aspects of the collection not normally on display, as well as an exhibition room showcasing authentic items such as a Zero fighter Type 62, a human torpedo Kaiten, and other war materials.

Kure Maritime Museum is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning about the history of shipbuilding in Kure and the cultural significance of Japanese maritime traditions during World War II.

The Kure Maritime Museum is at 5-20 Takaramachi, Kure, Hiroshima 737-0029.

12- Smell The Roses In Hiroshima Botanical Garden

The Hiroshima Botanical Garden is a beautiful and family-friendly garden designed to offer a serene setting for visitors to expand their knowledge of plants and appreciate the beauty of nature.

Spanning approximately 10 hectares, the garden’s design features a main conservatory with an extensive array of plant species, well-shaded paths, play areas for children and indoor spaces that allow you to experience tropical blooms all year round.

It has a tea house, several dining options, and the option to have a picnic in one of its designated areas or on the lawn.

The Hiroshima Botanical Garden is located at 3 Chome-495 Kurashige, Saeki Ward, Hiroshima, 731-5156.

13- Relax And Unwind At Kenmin-no-hama Beach

best things to do in hiroshima japan white sand and orange sky with lush trees in the background
If you’re planning on visiting Miyajima Island, another beach to visit is Tsutsumigaura beach. 

Kenmin-no-hama Beach is a serene and relaxing coastal area along Japan’s coast, with crystal-clear waters, soft white sand and beautiful sunsets.

With a length of over 400 meters and a width of 100 meters, this expansive stretch of sand offers plenty of space for visitors.

Enjoy a refreshing swim in the warm waters, bask in the sun on the beach, or sit back and take in the breathtaking scenery.

The area also has a spa, gym, tennis courts, and overnight accommodation for those who want to see clear night skies from the nearby observatory.

If you’re curious about local culture, there’s a small fishing village where you can try fresh seafood and discover the local lifestyle.

14- Immerse Yourself in Art at The Hiroshima Museum of Art

The Hiroshima Museum of Art is a world-class art museum in the heart of Hiroshima, with a collection of French and Japanese art.

The museum’s exceptional collection of French Impressionist paintings is a standout feature.

You’ll have the opportunity to admire works by some of the leading artists of this movement, such as Cezanne, Manet, Renoir and Van Gogh.

The Hiroshima Museum of Art also has a unique and beautiful front yard featuring a Maronien tree donated by Picasso’s son.

This peaceful and serene area contrasts the bustling city outside, offering a chance to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature while surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful art.

The Hiroshima Museum of Art is at 3-2 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0011.

15- Tour The Mazda Museum

The Mazda Museum showcases the history and innovative spirit of Mazda, one of the world’s leading automakers, through vintage and modern vehicles, displays and exhibits.

The museum tour starts with a look at the company’s history, tracing the development of its products from the first autorickshaw.

Throughout the museum, you will see real models of these vehicles and the 787B used by Mazda at the Le Mans in 1991, making it the first Japanese manufacturer to win the race.

After that, you will have the chance to observe a functioning vehicle assembly line, offering a behind-the-scenes look at Mazda’s production processes.

This stop is often considered the highlight of the tour.

The tour continues with a display of future developments, showcasing the latest concept models for Mazda’s next-gen vehicles, which are frequently updated.

Finally, the tour ends at the museum shop, where you can purchase various Mazda merchandise, including t-shirts, keychains, and model cars.

The Mazda Museum is located at 33-1 Shinchi, Fuchu, Aki District, Hiroshima 735-0028.

16- See Hiroshima Beneath Your Feet From Orizuru Tower

The Hiroshima Orizuru Tower is a 50-m structure near the Atomic Bomb Dome and provides a panoramic view of the surroundings, including an impressive aerial view of the Atomic Bomb Dome.

The tower opened in September 2016, with the main attractions being the café and souvenir shop on the ground floor, the observation deck on the top floor and the interactive multimedia zone on the 12th floor.

The remaining floors house offices. 

The observation deck on the top floor is exposed to the elements, allowing you to feel the wind while enjoying the panoramic view.

On the 12th floor, just one level below the observation deck, you’ll find the interactive multimedia zone, providing entertainment for visitors of all ages.

There’s a timelapse that showcases post-war Hiroshima and envisions what it will look like in a hundred years.

Downstairs is the souvenir shop and Akushu café, where you can browse through locally-made products and take a break at the café.

Hiroshima Orizuru Tower is located at 1 Chome-2-1 Otemachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0051.

17- Explore The Secret Beauty Of Okunoshima Island

Okunoshima Island (Rabbit Island), off the coast of Japan, is a hidden gem that may be small but is full of surprises.

From its breathtaking landscapes to its adorable population of wild rabbits, you can join an exciting journey to Rabbit Island and Saijo city on this tour with a local guide.

The island is a unique destination where you can wander freely among wild rabbits, as there are over 900 on the island.

The island also has an intriguing history, as it was the location of a secret chemical weapons factory during World War II.

In 1929, rabbits were brought to the island to use as test subjects in chemical weapons experiments.

While some believe the present rabbits are descendants, according to the authorities, the test rabbits were euthanised after the factory closed.

Following the Rabbit Island tour, you’ll visit Saijo, a city renowned for its Japanese sake breweries and where you can sample various types of sake while learning about the brewing process of this Japanese drink.

18- Visit The Itsukushima Shrine

things to do in hiroshima in winter torii gate and red temple pavilions
Going on a day trip to Miyajima Island, famous for its floating Torii gate, is one of the most popular things to do in Hiroshima.

Itsukushima, also known as Miyajima, is a small Hiroshima Bay island famous for its forests and ancient temples.

The island has a large orange torii gate at the entrance to the centuries-old Itsukushima Shrine.

This shrine and its torii gate are distinctive (you have seen them in brochures) because they are constructed over the water, appearing to float in the sea during high tide.

Join a Miyajima private tour with a government-licensed guide to discover the historical and cultural importance of the Itsukushima Shrine.

The shrine consists of several structures, including a Noh theatre stage, prayer hall and main hall connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the water.

You can also combine your tours and choose a full-day tour that includes a visit to Hiroshima, where you can pay homage at the Atomic Bomb Dome.

Itsukushima Shrine is at 1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588.

19- Explore The Daisho-in Temple

Daisho-in is one of the most important temples of Shingon Buddhism and sits at the base of Mount Misen on the island of Miyajima.

The temple is steeped in history and significance, as it was on Mount Misen that the sect’s founder, Kobo Daishi, first began the practice of Buddhism.

Marvel at a range of buildings, sculptures and other religious objects, including the Kannon-do Hall, the Maniden Hall, a sand mandala made by Tibetan monks, a tea room and a cave containing 88 symbols representing the temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

The temple also offers the opportunity to participate in a unique Buddhist ritual.

As you walk up the temple steps, you’ll encounter spinning metal wheels engraved with sutras and it’s believed that turning these inscriptions while walking brings blessings. 

The Daisho-in Temple is located at Takimachi-210 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0592.

20- Enjoy A Game At The MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium 

Mazda Stadium Hiroshima is a baseball stadium in Minami-ku and the home field for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Japanese Central League.

This baseball stadium has a seating capacity of 32,000, making it one of the larger venues in Japan.

It is designed with the spectator’s comfort in mind and offers a range of amenities that enhance the game-watching experience.

The stadium’s open-air design allows plenty of natural light to enter the stands and playing area, creating a lively atmosphere on game days.

In addition to being a great place to watch a baseball game, you can also tour the stadium to get an inside look at the facilities and learn more about the team and the sport.

The MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima is located at 2 Chome-3-1 Minamikaniya, Minami Ward, Hiroshima, 732-0803. 

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Jane Williams is a writer living in Mexico. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, she has visited over 30 countries and lived in Japan for two years. Passionate about culture and history, her fascination for ancient civilisations has led to her to explore the world's iconic sites, such as Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat. Even though she loves uncovering the secrets of the past, she feels equally at home exploring contemporary culture. A mother of two with a degree in anthropology, she enjoys sharing her travel adventures with others.