What To Do In Hiroshima – A 1-Day Hiroshima Itinerary

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Are you planning to visit Hiroshima? Here we give you our Hiroshima travel guide including a detailed step-by-step Hiroshima itinerary covering all of Hiroshima’s major attractions and sights which can easily be done in one day. This itinerary can also be combined with a visit to Miyajima Island and its famous floating tori gate

When you hear the word Hiroshima, you will most likely think of one thing – that it was the target of the world’s first atomic bomb attack. This is reflected in Hiroshima’s biggest attraction, the Peace Memorial Museum & Park, with its message of peace.

Hiroshimas sad and devastating history does, however, not make today’s modern and cosmopolitan city a depressive or sad place. On the contrary, Hiroshima today is a beautiful and leafy city with wide boulevards, laid-back and welcoming people, and excellent food.

Hiroshima city
Hiroshima is a beautiful city with two big rivers running through it.

Hiroshimas main tourist attractions are in the city’s center and within walking distances of each other, making it an easy city to explore as a day trip from either Kyoto (1h 42min-hour train trip) or Osaka (1h 30min-hour train trip). However, I strongly recommend that you spend a night or two in Hiroshima and/ or Miyajima to explore these two places fully.

If you haven’t booked your Hiroshima accommodation yet, read our where to stay in Hiroshima guide here.

With a population of 1,2 million people, Hiroshima has a bustling downtown area, with Hondori Street/ pedestrian Arcade as the main shopping street.

The 0,5 km long Hondori walking street starts near Peace Park and is lined with big shopping malls, cafes, and restaurants. This is an excellent place to try Hiroshima’s specialty – Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki, often called Hiroshima-yaki, a savory pancake made of fried noodles with different toppings. Hiroshima is also famous for its juicy oysters.

Hiroshima is a vibrant city
Hondori Street/ pedestrian Arcade in central Hiroshima.

To fully explore Hiroshimas food specialties, you should join this foodie walking tour – Best of Hiroshima Food Tour. On this 3-hour walking tour, a local English-speaking guide will take you to the best places to try out the unique specialties of Hiroshima, like Okonomiyaki and Tsukemen (a ramen noodle variant).

Hiroshima Travel Guide

Here we give you our ultimate Hiroshima travel guide, all about what to do in Hiroshima, with the city’s top attractions and sights organized in a 1-day Hiroshima itinerary.

A Brief History Of Hiroshima

Edo Period – World War II

Hiroshima was originally a small fishing village at the shore of Hiroshima Bay. It was established as the main seat of the powerful warlord Mori Terumoto in 1588. He built Hiroshima Castle, which became his home.

Hiroshima later became the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture and a major urban center during the imperial period (1871 – 1939). Japanese economy went from primarily rural to urban industries, and Hiroshima became a central port city.

The Sanyo Railway was extended to Hiroshima in 1894 and became an important railway line for military transport to the harbor during the First Sino-Japanese War. During this war, the Japanese government moved temporarily to Hiroshima, and Emperor Meiji lived in Hiroshima Castle for a year (1894-1895).

Hiroshima also played a role in World War I, as the Japanese government entered the Allied side. About 500 German prisoners were held on Ninoshima Island in Hiroshima Bay.

The Atomic Bombing

6th of August 1945 will forever be Hiroshimas fatal day, as the city was struck by the world’s first atomic bomb in the early morning at 08:15 am. The US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” right above the city center, wiping out 90% of the city’s building structures and instantly killing 80 000 people. Most of these people were civilians, including thousands of Korean slave laborers.

HIroshima city got wiped out by the atomic bombing in 1945
The atomic bombing wiped out most of Hiroshima City. The picture was taken of a photo at the Peace Memorial Museum.

The bomb started intense firestorms that raced through the city’s wooden buildings and homes, making the city burn for three days. Toxic black rain fell over the city about 30 min after the blast with all sorts of deadly radioactive isotopes that contaminated the drinking water, killing and made the thirsty wounded suffer even more. About 130 000 people died of radiation exposure and burns in the following months. A lot of the survivors got cancer and other after-effects of radiation later in life.

Hiroshima was chosen as a target because it was a major supply and logistics base for the Japanese military, a communication center, a central port for shipping, an assembly area for Japanese troops, and had several factories manufacturing parts for planes, boats, bombs, rifles, and handguns. At that time around 350 000 people lived in Hiroshima.

Hiroshima is not radioactive today. So don’t worry, it is perfectly safe to visit Hiroshima.

Only three days after bombing Hiroshima, the USA dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

What To Do In Hiroshima –
The Ultimate 1-Day Hiroshima Itinerary

The map above: What To Do In Hiroshima. Purple = Attractions on this itinerary. Black = Other things to do in Hiroshima

Most of Hiroshimas attractions are located in the central downtown of the city and can be reached by foot from Hiroshima Station.

On this itinerary, you will be visiting Hiroshimas top three attractions which are all linked to the city’s tragic wartime history. First up is Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its Peace Memorial Park. Next, you will continue on to the neighboring famous landmark of Hiroshima – Atomic Bomb Dome.

In the afternoon, after lunch, you will be visiting the two main sights which showcase that Hiroshima was the main seat of the powerful warlord and samurai Mori Terumoto in the Edo period. You will be visiting the warlord’s home, Hiroshima Castle, and the warlord’s beautiful garden Shukkeien.

But if you are in Hiroshima on a day trip, and don’t plan on spending the night here, I think you should take the ferry over to Miyajima Island instead of visiting Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Garden.

Hiroshima Guided Day Tours

Another option is to opt for a guided tour to maximize your time in Hiroshima and Miyajima if you are short on time.

On the “Hiroshima Private Day Tour“, you get to see the main attractions of Hiroshima and Miyajima with a private tour guide by private car. The tour lasts for 6 hours and all entrance tickets and transport (car and ferry) are included. You will be picked up at your hotel or Hiroshima Station and visit Itsukushima Shrine and the floating torii gate on Miyajima. After Miyajima, you will drive to Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, and Hiroshima Castle. You will be driven back to your hotel or Hiroshima Station.
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If you’d rather go on a guided tour on public transportation and by foot, you should join the “Hiroshima and Miyajima Private Full-Day Guided Tour“. This is a full-day tour that shows you the highlights of Hiroshima and Miyajima. Your private local guide will pick you up in the morning at your hotel or meet you at Hiroshima Station. You will head to Miyajima on public transportation (train and ferry), see the floating torii gate and Itsukushima Shrine and Taishoin Temple, and have lunch on the island (lunch not included). After lunch, you will head over to Hiroshima by ferry and see the Peace Memorial Park and Museum.
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If you’d rather do a shorter guided walking tour, this “Hiroshima’s Hidden Gems and Highlights Private Walking Tour” can be customized to 3, 4, 6, or 8 hours depending on what you want to see and how much time you have in Hiroshima.
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If you want some fresh air and some exercise, why not go for the “Hiroshima Cycling Tour with Local Guide“. Here you will explore Hiroshima on an electric bike together with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide. You will visit Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum, Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Castle, and Gokoku Shrine. Miyajima is not included.
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Must-See Hiroshima 1-Day Trip Itinerary

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum & Park, Hiroshima Castle & Shukkeien Garden

The map above: DIY free walking tour & itinerary of Hiroshima’s main attractions, A – F

If you want to visit Hiroshima on a day trip, you should take an early morning train to JR Hiroshima Station and have a full day to explore this city.

A rough timeline of your day in Hiroshima could be something like this:

09:00 – Arrive at JR Hiroshima Station. Take the Hiroshima city tram 2 or 6 or the sightseeing loop bus to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (a 15-min ride).
09:30 – 11:30 – Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (A)
11:30 – 12:30 – Hiroshima Peace Park (B)
12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch (C). After lunch, walk along the river to Atomic Bomb Dome.
13:30 – 13:45 – Atomic Bomb Dome (D). From Atomic Bomb Dome, walk over to Hiroshima Castle (a 15-min walk).
14:00 – 14:30 – Hiroshima Castle (E). From Hiroshima Castle, walk over to Shukkeien Garden (an 8-min walk).
14:45 – 15:45 – Shukkeien Japanese Garden (F).

This Hiroshima itinerary contains six stops and attractions, all located within the city’s central area. Good walkers can cover this roughly 3 km itinerary on foot, or you can take the city tram or Hiroshima sightseeing Loop Bus to get to these attractions.

Enjoy, and have a fun day in Hiroshima! ♥

This itinerary starts with Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (A). From JR Hiroshima Station, take the city tram line no. 2 or 6 to Genbaku-Domu-mae or Chuden-mae stop (a 15-min tram ride). Or take the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus (Meipuru-pu) to bus stop no. 7 – Peace Memorial Park & Museum. All four sightseeing loop bus lines (orange, green, yellow, and blue) go to the museum. Or you can walk there in 30 min. from Hiroshima Station. 

A. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

  • Estimated visiting time: 2-3 hours

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is Hiroshima’s biggest attraction. At the museum, you will learn about Hiroshima’s tragic history and the events that occurred on the 6th of August 1945.

The museum houses a collection of items from the atomic bombing, personal belongings like destroyed clothes, toys, a child’s melted lunch box, a rusty and burned children’s tricycle, and a watch that stopped at the exact time of the blast – 08:15 am. The walls are covered with photographs of the horrific days after the bombing and show a city in total ruins.

The exhibits and displays are upsetting and really make you think as it was a catastrophic moment in humanity’s history. I walked around the museum with tears in my eyes; the stories are so strong, horrible, and heart-breaking. It is, however, a must-see in Hiroshima and a good reminder of how terrible wars are.

It was especially touching to read the collection of letters written by the engineers who made the atomic bombs, where they pleaded with the US president not to use this devastating weapon.

Although the museum mostly focuses on the atomic bomb attack, it also shows Japan’s part in the violent WWII history, especially its attack on Pearl Harbour and its aggression against other countries in Asia, like Singapore and Korea. So the museum strives to paint a nuanced picture of the war.

The eastern part of the museum focuses on how Hiroshima was rebuilt and shows the development and destructive power of nuclear weapons globally. The museum clearly states that the only way to secure a safe world is to ban all nuclear weapons worldwide, where all nations must contribute.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum has a strong message of peace.

Before leaving the museum, make sure to see the video guestbook of world leaders who have visited the museum. I really enjoyed the speech of Barack Obama, who visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in 2016. It was the first visit by a sitting US president, and Obama gifted origami cranes, a symbol of peace. We were actually gifted an origami paper crane by a Japanese woman when we walked around the peace park. A very nice gesture and it made our visit to Hiroshima extra memorable.

Read More: Our Guide To Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (including the ultimate walking route through the Peace Park)

  • Opening hours Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum:
    08:30 – 19:00 (August), until 20:00 on the 5. and 6. August, until 18:00 March – July & September – November, until 17:00 December – February.
  • Ticket price Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum: 200 JPY = US$ 1,8 (adult), 100 JPY = US$ 0,9 (high school students), free (younger children)
  • How to get there: From Hiroshima Station, take the city tram line no. 2 or 6 to Genbaku-Domu-mae or Chuden-mae stop (a 15-min tram ride). Or take the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus (Meipuru-pu) to bus stop no. 7 – Peace Memorial Park/ Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. All four sightseeing loop bus lines (orange, green, yellow, and blue) goes to the museum.
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum’s Official Webpage

B. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

  • Estimated visiting time: 1 hour

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is surrounded by the beautiful green and vast park – Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Japan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is surrounded by a big and beautiful park – Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Two rivers on both sides hug the park, and you can walk through the park on a crisscross of walking paths. It is a great place to go for a stroll and look at all the memorials and tranquil spaces for reflection scattered all around the park.

Children's Peace Monument Hiroshima Peace Park
The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

The central feature of the park is the tree-lined Pond of Peace which leads to the cenotaph. The cenotaph is a curved stone monument that keeps the names of all the victims of the atomic bomb. In line with the pond and the cenotaph is also the Flame of Peace, a burning flame that will burn on until all of the world’s nuclear weapons are gone.

Hiroshima Peace Park
The Atomic Bomb Dome, Pond of Peace, Flame of Peace, cenotaph, and Peace Memorial Museum are all lined up.

Read More: Our Guide To Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (including the ultimate walking route through the Peace Park)

Peace Memorial Ceremony – 6. August

Every 6th of August, on the anniversary of the atomic bombing, a memorial service is held in Peace Memorial Park.

Lantern Peace Memorial Ceremony Hiroshima Japan
Lantern at the Peace Memorial Ceremony.

We were lucky enough to attend this ceremony a few years back and the real highlight for us was the thousands of colorful paper lanterns that float down the Kyuota-gawa River in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome.

The lanterns represent the souls of the dead killed by the atomic bomb. It is a breathtaking sight and something I will never forget. All the school children in Hiroshima gather in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome and put up their hand-made lanterns.

If you happen to be in Hiroshima on this day, I strongly recommend that you head down to the river in the afternoon.

Read more about the Peace Memorial Ceremony. 

  • Opening hours Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park: Always open, 24/7
  • Ticket price Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park: Free
  • How to get there: From Hiroshima Station, take the city tram line no. 2 or 6 to Genbaku-Domu-mae or Chuden-mae stop (a 15-min tram ride). Or take the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus (Meipuru-pu) to bus stop no. 7 – Peace Memorial Park/ Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. All four sightseeing loop bus lines (orange, green, yellow, and blue) goes to the museum.

From Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (B), just walk across the Motoyasu Bridge, and you will get to Nagataya Restaurant (C), the perfect place for lunch. Walking time: 3 min. 

C. Lunch – Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki

  • Estimated visiting time: 30 min – 1 hour

By now, you are probably starving, and it is time to sit down and refill your energy levels.

Nagataya Restaurant

Just across the road from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, you will find Nagataya Restaurant.

Their specialty is Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, called Hiroshima-yaki. It is kind of like a pancake made of fried noodles, topped with different sorts of meat, fish, and vegetables. They have vegan and vegetarian options as well.

Their okonomiyaki is delicious and well worth a try! The waiter makes the okonomiyaki on a hot plate by your table, which is great fun to watch. And if you don’t know which okonomiyaki to order, don’t worry, they have menus in English with pictures.

  • Address Nagataya Restaurant: Naka-Ku Otemachi 1-7-19, Hiroshima
  • Opening hours Nagataya Restaurant: 11:00 – 20:30. Closed every Tuesday. Check their webpage for updated info.
  • Price standard okonomiyaki: 680 JPY = US$ 6
  • How to get there: From Hiroshima Station, take the city tram line no. 2 or 6 to Genbaku-Domu-mae or Chuden-mae stop (a 15-min tram ride). Or take the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus (Meipuru-pu) to bus stop no. 7 – Peace Memorial Park/ Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. All four sightseeing loop bus lines (orange, green, yellow, and blue) goes to the museum.
  • Nagataya’s official webpage

Nagataya is quite popular, and there was a long line of hungry guests waiting in line outside for a table. The queue went rather quickly as they have a lot of tables, but if the wait is too long for your liking, head over to Okonomi-mura, which literally means “Okonomiyaki Village.” It takes about 10 min to walk from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Okonomimura.

Nagataya Restaurant Hiroshima
The waiting queue outside Nagataya can be a long one. But if you don’t want to wait for a table, head over to Okonomimura instead (a 10-min walk).

Okonomi-mura is a Hiroshima institution with 23 different okonomiyaki stalls spread over three floors. Each has its own variant of the Hiroshima-yaki pancake. The restaurants use a special okonomiyaki sauce created especially for Okonomi-mura by Sun Foods.

Grab a seat and order your okonomiyaki at the one that looks most appealing to you.

The entrance to Okonomi-mura is some stairs off Chuo-Dori street, on the opposite side of the square to the white Parco shopping center.

  • Address Okonomi-mura: 5-13 Shintenchi (2nd to 4th floor), Hiroshima
  • Opening hours Okonomi-mura: 11:00 – 02:00 am
  • Price standard okonomiyaki: 800 JPY = US$ 7 – 1300 JPY = US$ 12 depending on your choice of toppings
  • How to get there: From Hiroshima Station, take the city tram line no. 2 or 6 to Ebisu-cho stop (a 15-min tram ride).
  • Okonomimura’s official webpage

From Nagataya Restaurant (C), walk north along the Motoyasu River’s shore to the Atomic Bomb Dome (D). Walking time: 3 min. 

D. Atomic Bomb Dome

  • Estimated visiting time: 15 min

The Atomic Bomb Dome is a landmark in Hiroshima and a strong reminder and symbol of the destruction the city faced from the bombing.

Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima
The Atomic Bomb Dome is a landmark in Hiroshima.

The building was originally built in 1915, designed by a Czech architect, and was used as an Industrial Promotion Hall until the fatal day of the 6th of August. The atomic bomb exploded almost directly above the building, and it immediately killed everyone inside. After the blast, however, the building was the only one left standing near the epicenter.

When clearing up the city ruins, a decision was made to preserve the building’s remaining shell as a memorial. The dome is beautifully lit in the evenings, which makes it even more atmospheric. You can, however, not walk inside the dome, only see it and take pictures of it from the outside.

The Atomic Bomb Dome was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1996.

Hiroshima Orizuru Tower

If you have time, you should pop into the neighboring Hiroshima Orizuru Tower and head up to its cool top-floor open-air observation deck. Orizuru Tower is located just next to the Atomic Bomb Dome. You get a fantastic 360-degree view of the Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, and Hiroshima city from the observation deck. See the section “Other Things To See In Hiroshima” further down in this article for more info.

From Atomic Bomb Dome (D), walk north to Hiroshima Castle (E). Walking time: 16 min. Or take the orange or lemon sightseeing bus route from bus stop no. 6 Atomic Bomb Dome to bus stop no. 12 Hiroshima-jo Castle (Gokoku Shrine). 

E. Hiroshima Castle

  • Estimated visiting time: 30 min

Hiroshima Castle, or Hiroshima-jo as it is called in Japanese, also goes under the nickname “Carp Castle” or Rijo. The castle was originally constructed in 1589 by the daimyo/ feudal lord of Hiroshima, Mori Terumoto. The castle was later used by the Fukushima clan and the Asano clan during the Edo period.

Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle was originally constructed in 1589, but what you see here today is a replica.

The original castle was destroyed by the atomic bombing in 1945. The castle building that you see here today is a replicate of the original castle, constructed in 1958. Hiroshima is not one of the twelve original castles left in Japan, like Himeji Castle. Hiroshima Castle is built on a plain in the center of Hiroshima city, which is rare as most Japanese castles were built on a hilltop like Osaka Castle.

Hiroshima Castle is five stories tall, surrounded by a moat and a huge park. Inside the castle, you will find a museum where you can learn about the history of Hiroshima and the castle. The highlight, in my opinion, is, however, the views from the top floor.

You can also enter the Ninomaru, a reconstruction of the castle’s second circle of defense. Here you will also find a reconstruction of the castle’s main gate and two turrets connected by a long storehouse.

Aki Hiroshima Busho-Tai Samurai Show

On the weekends, a performing group called Aki Hiroshima Busho-Tai gives a samurai show wearing Mori-clan samurai outfits. The small show takes part inside the south entrance of Hiroshima Castle. Here you can enjoy samurai swordplay and songs—great fun for both kids and grown-ups.

The show is every Sunday at 13:30/ 1:30 pm and 15:00/ 3 pm and on Saturdays and holidays at 13:00/ 1 pm and 15:00/ 3 pm. Grab your camera or phone and make sure to be ready for a snapshot or two.

  • Opening hours Hiroshima Castle: 09:00 – 18:00 in spring, summer, and autumn (March – November), until 17:00 in winter (December – February).
  • Ticket Price Hiroshima Castle: 370 JPY = US$ 3. It is free to enter the castle grounds and see the castle from the outside.
  • How to get there: From Hiroshima Station, take the city tram line no. 1, 2, or 6 to Kamiyacho-nishi or Kamiyacho-Higashi tram stop (a 12-min tram ride). Or you can take the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus – Orange or Lemon Route to bus stop no. 12 Hiroshima-jo Castle (Gokoku Shrine) (a 6-min bus ride from Hiroshima Station).
    Or you can walk here in 15-min from Peace Park, and in 10 min from Shukkeien Garden.
  • Hiroshima Castle’s Official Webpage

From Hiroshima Castle (E), walk east to Shukkeien Garden (F). Walking time: 8 min. Or take the sightseeing loop bus orange or lemon route from bus stop no. 12 Hiroshima-jo Castle (Gokoku Shrine) to bus stop no. 2 Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (Shukkeien). 

F. Shukkeien Garden

  • Estimated visiting time: 1 hour

The fantastic Shukkeien Garden was constructed in 1620, modeled after West Lake Garden in Hangzhou in China. It was the private garden belonging to the daimyo/ feudal lord and samurai of Hiroshima, Asano Nagaakira (1586 – 1632), who lived in Hiroshima Castle.

Autumn leaves in Shukkeien Garden Hiroshima
Shukkeien Garden is especially stunning during autumn (November)

Shukkeien is a typical Japanese strolling garden, perfect for walking around while admiring the green and lush surroundings. Shukkeien means “contracted view” and contains several miniatures, landscapes, and views around a central island-dotted pond with beautiful bridges and a tea house.

The atomic bomb destroyed the 400 years old park in 1945. But miraculously, many of the plants and flowers bloomed in the ashes the following year. Today, the garden is completely reconstructed and is absolutely stunning.

We visited Shukkeien in the last week of November, and the garden was a beautiful sea of autumn colors. The garden was illuminated in the evening, making the autumn colors pop even more.

Read our guide to visiting Shukkeien Garden here. 

  • Opening hours: 09:00 am – 18:00/ 6 pm April – September, until 17:00/ 5 pm October – March
  • Ticket price: 260 JPY = US$ 5 (adult), children free
  • How to get there: Shukkeien Garden is a 15 min (900 m) walk from JR Hiroshima Station. From Hiroshima Station, head north over Enko Bridge to the Kaminoboricho neighborhood. Follow the signposts. You can take the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus to Shukkeien Garden, a four-minute bus ride from Hiroshima Station. Get off the bus at bus stop no. 2 (Orange or Lemon bus route) or bus stop no. 3 (Green route). You can take tram line 9 and get off at Shukkeien-Mae Stop.
  • Shukkeien Garden’s Official Webpage
Hiroshima Prefectural Museum

If you have the time, you can pop into Hiroshima Prefectural Museum, located right next to Shukkeien Garden. See the section “Other Things To See In Hiroshima” further down in this article for more info.

That’s it, our ultimate day-trip Hiroshima itinerary where you will explore and learn about the rich and colorful history of Hiroshima. This itinerary takes you to Hiroshima’s best attractions with all the best things to do and see in Hiroshima.

Hiroshima took us by surprise with all its fantastic sights and attraction. If you have more than one day in Hiroshima, check out our sections “Other Things To Do In Hiroshima” and “Day Trips From Hiroshima” below.

Hiroshima And Miyajima Island

I recommend that you head on to Miyajima Island from Hiroshima and spend the afternoon at this sacred Unesco World Heritage island to see the famous floating torii gate and Itsukushima-jinja Shrine.

Read our guide to Miyajima here (and how to get there from Hiroshima). 

Torii Gate at Miyajima Island Japan
The famous floating gate at Miyajima is one of Japan’s biggest attractions.

Ideally, you should spend the night in Hiroshima and/ or Miyajima to fully explore these two places. It is doable to do both Hiroshima and Miyajima in one day, but you will not get to see all the highlights and attractions at both places and will have to cut something out.

If you, however, plan on seeing both Hiroshima and Miyajima in only one day, I recommend that you cut the last two stops on this itinerary and only do A-D. That means visiting Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum + Park, and the Atomic Bomb Dome, before heading over to Miyajima. And not visit Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Garden.

It takes about 45 min to get from Hiroshima to Miyajima Island (one way). Notice that most attractions on Miyajima Island close around 17:00 – 18:00. Itsukushima-jinja Shrine on Miyajima closes at 18:00/ 6 pm (1. March – 14. October), and at 17:30 (4. January – end-February, and 15. October – 30. November) and 17:00 (December) during winter. The last ferry back from Miyajima Island to the mainland of Hiroshima departs at 22:00/ 10 pm (the ferry departs every 20 min or so). But most cafes, restaurants, and shops close at the same time as the temples, around 18:00.

Also, make sure to check out what else you should not miss when going to Japan in our recommended 2-weeks Japan itinerary.

Other Things To Do In Hiroshima

Hiroshima Orizuru Tower

Hiroshima Orizuru Tower, which opened to the public in 2016, is located right beside the Atomic Bomb Dome in central Hiroshima. The tower is 50 meters tall and gives you a fantastic panoramic view of the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and Hiroshima city. Well worth a visit!

You will find a nice cafe and souvenir shop on the street level. However, the main jewel of Orizuru Tower is the open-air top floor observation deck (on the 13th floor) and the interactive multimedia zone on the 12th floor. Here you can see a timelapse video showing Hiroshima city from after the atomic bomb until today, and into the future what the city might look like in hundred years from now. The rest of the floors are offices.

Hiroshima Prefectural Museum

Located right next to Shukkeien Garden, Hiroshima Prefectural Museum has over 4500 different art pieces. You can see pottery, porcelain, weaving art, metal artwork, and old Japanese folding screens. Through the large windows of the museum building, you can see the beautiful Shukkeien Garden.

Hiroshima River Park Cruise

Why not see Hiroshima city from the waterside? Small cruise boats run river cruises along the rivers the go through the city. They depart from Motoyasu-Bashi Pier near the Atomic Bomb Dome every 40 min, from 10:00 to 16:20. The river cruise takes about 25 min. Closed every Wednesday.

High Speed Ferry between Hiroshima Peace Park to Miyajima Island
The river cruise is a great way to see Hiroshima.

Mitaki-Dera Temple

Just north of Hiroshima, Mitaki is a wooden temple with a fantastic pagoda beautifully tucked away in the forest on the foot of Mount Mitaki. The pagoda was moved here from Wakayama in 1951 to comfort the souls of the people killed by the atomic bomb. The temple is especially stunning in autumn when surrounded by vivid autumn colors and in spring when the cherry trees are in bloom. The road leading up to the temple is lined with cherry trees which make a pinkish corridor during cherry blossoms.

The temple dates back to 809, and its name means “Three Waterfalls Temple,” which totally makes sense as there are three waterfalls at the temple grounds. Water from these waterfalls is used at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park every 6th of August.

Mitaki-Dera Temple is dedicated to Kannon – the Goddess of mercy. To get here, ta the JR Kabe Line from Hiroshima Station to Mitaki Station (a 10-min train trip). It takes about 20 min to walk from Mitaki Station to Mitaki-Dera Temple.

Hiroshima City Museum Of Contemporary Art – MOCA

Located in the beautiful Hijiyama Park, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is a modern museum where the exhibits change regularly. Here you can see everything from paintings, modern sculptures, and video installations. You will find a sculpture garden outside the museum.

The museum is, however, closed for renovation and is scheduled to reopen in March 2023.

Hiroshima Illumination Winter Festival – November & December

Every November and December, the streets of Hiroshima are beautifully illuminated by thousands of colorful light sculptures. The illumination festival is called Hiroshima Dreamination and is set up along the Peace Boulevard that runs through the city center.

We visited Hiroshima on the last week of November, and the illumination was fantastic.

Hiroshima Dreamination winter Illumination
Hiroshima is beautifully illuminated in November and December.
Hiroshima Dreamination winter Illumination
Fantastic light sculptures in Hiroshima

Hiroshima City Manga Library

If manga/Japanese comics are your thing, you should visit the Hiroshima City Manga Library. It is located in Hijiyama Park, close to Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art. The library has a small selection of English and foreign-language manga (2nd floor) and a rare vintage manga collection.

Mazda Museum

At the Mazda Museum, you get a chance to see the impressive 7 km long assembly line of the Mazda car. They run free English tours through the factory, usually every weekday at 10:00 (but check their webpage to make sure). You must make a reservation to visit this museum, online or by phone.

Where To Stay In Hiroshima

Top End

Sheraton Grand Hotel Hiroshima

Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel
Our fantastic room at Sheraton Grand Hotel Hiroshima

We stayed at Sheraton Grand Hotel in Hiroshima and had a fantastic stay. It is a modern high-end hotel situated in a great location just opposite Hiroshima train station with plenty of transport, shopping, and dining options nearby.
The rooms are large, bright, and well furnished with comfortable beds and all modern comforts. Breakfast has a good selection of both Japanese and Western food. The Wi-fi is free and fast. We would definitely stay here again.
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Mid Range

Rihga Royal Hotel Hiroshima
Rihga Royal hotel offers excellent value for money, and its location is fantastic for exploring Hiroshima. The Peace Memorial Park and the city’s buses are both within easy walking distance, and the views overlooking the beautiful Hiroshima Castle are spectacular. Rooms are spacious, well furnished, and comfortable with every modern amenities including free Wi-fi. Breakfast is excellent, and there is even a swimming pool!
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Candeo Hotels Hiroshima Hatchobori
Candeo Hotels is a new fresh hotel centrally located within walking distance of the Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, and public transportation. Rooms are relatively small but tidy, clean, and comfortable. The staff speaks English and there is a lovely Onsen/hot bath on the roof perfect after a long day sightseeing.
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K’s House
K’s House operates hostels in a few cities across Japan, and we’ve always found them to be quite excellent, with friendly and helpful staff and clean and comfortable rooms. This one is thankfully no exception. The JR train station and a tram station are just a short walk away making it a great base from which to explore the city. There are both dormitory-style rooms, as well as western-style private rooms with bathrooms available.
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Day Trips From Hiroshima

Miyajima Island

The sacred  Miyajima Island is a Unesco World Heritage site just a short ferry trip from Hiroshima. It has one of Japan’s most famous attractions – the bright red floating torii gate belonging to the centuries-old Itsukushima Shrine.

Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Island Japan
Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima.

Another highlight of Miyajima is the ropeway to the sacred Mount Misen and the tame and friendly deer that roam around the island.

Friendly deer eating map at Miyajima Island
You will meet a lot of friendly welcoming deer at Miyajima.

Miyajima Island is a must-see and well worth the trip from Hiroshima. It takes about 45 min to get from downtown Hiroshima to Miyajima.

Read our guide and itinerary for Miyajima Island here


Iwakuni is a small coastal city south of Hiroshima with 150 000 inhabitants. It is famous for its Kintai-Kyo Bridge, Japan’s most elegant wooden bridge with four arches. It crosses the Nishiki River, constructed in 1673, and is an architectural masterpiece. It is a pedestrian bridge and especially stunning during cherry blossom season (early April) when a pinkish sea of cherry blossoms surrounds it.

Iwakuni used to be a feudal domain in the Edo period and have lovely old samurai quarters. You can also find the reconstructed mountain top Iwakuni Castle and the beautiful Kikko Park, which used to be the feudal lord’s residence in Iwakuni.

You can get from Hiroshima to Iwakuni by the JR Sanyo Shinkansen to the Shin-Iwakuni Station (only Komada trains stop here), a 15-min train ride one way. Or you can take the local train on the JR Sanyo Main Line, which takes about 50 minutes one way.

Saijo Sake Brewery Town

Japanese Sake
Sake is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice.

Saijo is a small town just east of Hiroshima famous for some of Japan’s finest Sake breweries. Saijo has been making sake for around 300 years, and here you can find seven sake breweries clustered together and within easy walking distance from the Saijo Station.

So if Sake is your thing, you should head to Saijo and go for a sake tasting walk. When you are done with the sake drinking, you can have a look at the Matsuo-jinja Shrine, a short walk to the north of Saijo Station.



Onomichi, a small town east of Hiroshima, spans over several small islands connected by the bridges of the Shimanami Kaido. The Shimanami Kaido Route is quite famous and popular, where you walk or bicycle across the bridges and islands of the Seton Inland Sea. Along the way, you must visit the Hirayama Musem and the unique Kosanji Temple.

The town has a cozy small port town atmosphere and walking along its slopes and narrow lanes are great fun. You can, for instance, do Onomichi’s famous temple walk, where you walk up and down the slopes and visit 25 different temples along the way.

Onomichi has been used in many movies and tv dramas, and several respected Japanese authors and film directors come from this town. You can get from Hiroshima to Onomichi by train (a 50-min train ride one way).

Sandan Gorge

The Sandan Gorge, or Sandan-Kyo, is an 11 km long ravine located northwest of Hiroshima. It is a part of Nishi-Chugo-Ku-Sanchi Quasi-National Park.

Go for a lovely walk on the train that follows the Shibaki-Gawa Riverbank that runs through the ravine. Along the way, you will see waterfalls, forests and can go swimming in swimming holes. This hike is especially stunning in autumn when the forest in the ravine is a sea of bright autumn colors.

You can get to Sandan Gorge by bus, which departs from Hiroshima Bus Centre to Sandan-Kyo. There is only one express bus; it leaves at 08:00 am and takes 80 min (one way). The express bus returns to Hiroshima at 15:00/ 3 pm and departs at the gorge’s southern end.


Fukuyama is located east of Hiroshima and is the second biggest city in Hiroshima Prefecture after Hiroshima city. It is close to Onomichi town (a 20-min train ride).

Fukuyama’s main attractions are Fukuyama Castle, Shinshoji Temple, and Tomonoura fishing village. You can get to Fukuyama by train (a 23-min train ride one way).

How To Get To Hiroshima

You can easily get to Hiroshima by air, boat, bus, and train.


Hiroshimas main railway station, JR Hiroshima Station, has a central location in the center of town. Hiroshima is on the JR Sanyo Line, and it is a major stop on the Tokyo-Osaka-Hakata Shinkansen Line. If you are traveling to Hiroshima from Tokyo or Kyoto, you might have to change trains at Osaka Station or Okayama Station.

It takes about four hours to get from Tokyo to Hiroshima by train, 95 min from Kyoto to Hiroshima, and 1,5 hours from Osaka to Hiroshima.

Make sure to buy a JR Pass which will save you a lot of money traveling around Japan.


Hiroshima Airport has both domestic and international flights. Most domestic flights to Hiroshima Airport go to/ from Haneda Airport in Tokyo (JAL and ANA, a 90 min flight). International flights include Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and China.

The airport is located 50 km east of Hiroshima city. The airport bus takes you to/ from Hiroshima Station in 45 min and runs every 15-30 min.


You can get to/ from Hiroshima to all major cities in Japan by long-distance buses. The buses depart and arrive at Hiroshima Bus Centre in downtown Hiroshima, between the Sogo and AQ’A shopping malls. The bus center has a nice food court. There are, for instance, several bus companies that operate overnight buses between Tokyo and Hiroshima.


You can take the Setonaikai Kisen Ferry from Hiroshima Port to Matsuyama in Shikoku. The ferry trip takes almost three hours, and the ferry runs ten times per day. Hiroshima Port is the last stop on the city trams 1,3 and 5 (for Ujina).

There are also ferries from Hiroshima to Miyajima Island.

How To Get Around Hiroshima

Hiroshima City Tram

Hiroshima has the biggest tram network of all cities in Japan. Eight tram lines run through Hiroshima city, connecting JR Hiroshima Station with all the attractions and sights the city has to offer. The fare for a single tram ride within central Hiroshima is a flat rate of 190 JPY = US$ 1,7. The JR Pass is not valid on the trams, but you can pay by IC cards like Suica.

I highly recommend that you buy a Suica card to make traveling on public transport in Japan a lot easier. You can use a Suica card on all trams and buses in Hiroshima and ferries over to Miyajima Island.

Alternatively, if you plan on using the tram quite a bit, you should buy a hop-on-hop-off tourist pass (1, 2, or 3 days). This will give you unlimited access to public transportations in Hiroshima, including transport to Miyajima, plus discounted admission tickets to the main attractions and sights.  The one-day pass also gives you a discount on the Miyajima Ropeway.

Hiroshima has a fast and convenient electrical railway tram system
Hiroshima has a fast and convenient electrical railway tram system.

Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus/ Meipuru-pu

Hiroshima has a convenient sightseeing loop bus, also called Meipuru-pu (the name is a combination of Maple and Loop). The sightseeing loop bus takes you to all the main sightseeing attractions in Hiroshima.

There are four sightseeing loop bus routes in Hiroshima:

  1. Orange Route
  2. Green Route
  3. Lemon Route
  4. Blue Route

Each line has 1-3 buses leaving every hour, and they all start at Hiroshima Station (bus stop no 1). All four bus routes stop at Atomic Bomb Dome (bus stop no 6) and Peace Memorial Park & Museum (bus stop no 7).

The JR Pass gives you free access to these buses, which is super convenient. We used these buses a lot.

Or you should buy the 1-day Sightseeing Loop Bus/ Meipuru-pu ticket online here.

Hiroshima Docomo City Bikes

Since Hiroshima is a rather flat city, bicycling is an excellent way to explore the city.

You can rent Docomo city bikes all over Hiroshima. It is super easy and you can pay by credit card.

Hiroshima Docomo Bicycle Rental Citybikes
Bicycles are the perfect way to get around Hiroshima city

Read next, our other articles about Hiroshima: 

Where To Stay In Hiroshima – Our Favorite Hotels & Areas

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum & Park

Autumn Colors At The 400 Years Old Shukkeien Garden, Hiroshima

10 000 Lanterns At The Peace Memorial Ceremony – Hiroshima

I would also recommend that you do a trip to Miyajima from Hiroshima. Read our articles about Miyajima Island:

What To Do In Miyajima – A 1-Day Miyajima Itinerary

A Journey To The Sacred Mount Misen – Miyajima Ropeway

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What to do in Hiroshima, Japan      Hiroshima itinerary guide

Do you plan on adding Hiroshima to your Japan itinerary? Which attraction in Hiroshima do you look forward to seeing the most? We would love to hear from you in the comment area below. If you like this article and find it useful, please share it on social media. Thanks! 🙂

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About The Writer Maria Wulff Hauglann

Maria is a Norwegian travel nerd who has explored more than thirty countries on four continents. She holds a master's degree in Computer Science, as well as an MBA. In 2014 while on a year-long trip across South East- Asia, Maria co-founded the travel blog Nerd Nomads to help others get out and explore the world. In 2018 she left her day job permanently for a life of full-time travel. See our about page for more about Maria.

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