Hiroshima is a city that has undoubtedly left a huge mark in world history, but what many people may not know is that Hiroshima is actually a large prefectural region, and Hiroshima City is its capital. This important prefecture has a reputation for being more reserved and the people more cautious than in any other Japanese region, but they’re very welcoming to tourists and eager to share the wonders of the area.
Hiroshima is the capital prefecture of the Chugoku area, the most western portion of Japan’s main island of Honshu. It is a hub of industry, with a fascinating history that goes back much farther than the 20th century.
1. Visit Miyajima
The most famous sight to see on the island is Itsukushima shrine, also known as the floating Tori gate. This shrine is very significant to the Shinto faith, and is on most Japanese people's bucket lists. The gate is built on a sandbar, meaning that at high tide the water washes around the base of the gate, giving it the appearance of floating. At low tide you can go out and touch the gate for good luck.
But this isn’t the only sight to see on Miyajima. The island is packed full of classical Japanese architecture, shrines and an impressive five-tiered Pagoda. The island is also overrun with exceptionally cute deer. These little guys are always looking for a snack and are quite happy to be petted or to pose for a picture, but try not to feed them as the local government thinks they are getting a bit chubby.
2. Go to Rabbit Island
the cat islands in Japan, well Okunoshima is the rabbit island. Full of furry little bunnies who are ready and waiting to eat treats right out of your hands. A popular way to get the rabbits to interact with you is to lay down, put some rabbit friendly food on your chest and have the critters climb all over you.
It’s a very fun place to visit, but it wasn’t always that way. The reason the rabbits now own the island is that it used to house a chemical weapons factory in World War 2. The rabbits are descended from test subjects that were set free at the end of the war. You can visit the ruins of the factory and see how an island, whose economy was once fuelled by violence, is now empowered by cuteness.
3. Walk Around Peace Memorial Park
Pictured: President Obama and Prime Minister Abe. Photo by Pete Souza on Wikimedia.You can’t talk about Hiroshima without mentioning the atomic bombing. Being the first sight of an atomic bomb in war-time has really shaped Hiroshima City’s identity. The city now believes very passionately in nuclear disarmament and peace between all nations after seeing the horrors of war. In the centre of the city is a park filled with artistic depictions of peace from all around the world. The most famous sights are the bell that can be rang to evoke peace, and the children’s monument dedicated to Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who died of radiation poisoning. She believed that folding 1000 paper cranes would make her wish come true, she wished to get better. Children from all over Japan still fold cranes for her and bring them to the monument.
4. Visit The Memorial Museum
5. Have A Sake in Saijo
Every Autumn the city has a festival showcasing all of the different sake breweries in the area and visitors are encouraged to sample as many kinds as they are physically able to. Known to be some of the best sake in Japan, this is a must visit for sake fans.
6. Go to Yamato Museum
At The Yamato Museum in Kure city, you can see impressive models of all the ships ever built there. There is fascinating information about the development of the Japanese Naval forces and Japanese military history. The crown jewel of the museum is the recreation of the Yamato, known as the Japanese flag ship in WW2. The sight is a good place to visit if you want to learn more about modern Japanese history or see a side of the country not usually represented.
7. See Hiroshima Castle
You can climb the rather cumbersome stairs to the top and view a different wonder on each level. The castle houses historical artifacts and art, and from the top you can see the splendid sky line and castle grounds. In the ground you can visit a Shinto temple officially connected with the castle, and explore the castle keep.
8. Visit Fukuyama
Fukuyama is considered to be such a beautiful place that the Japanese government used to take Korean delegates here in order to impress them and improve relations in the pre-industrial age. They would show them the castle, parks, and most of all Tomonoura.
9. Explore Tomo no ura
10. Eat at Okonomi-mura
Okonomi-mura is not actually a theme park but a large department store that specialises in Okonomiyaki dishes, there are over 20 restaurants to choose from, all adding their own signature flare to the dish.
11. Walk Around Mitaki Temple
12. See A Game at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium
To truly experience the city you should try to see a game at the Mazda Zoom Zoom stadium. Named after the company that provides the city with most of its industry, the stadium is a reflection of how passionate the Hiroshima people are about their prefecture.
13. Sightsee at Hiroshima Orizuru Tower
The tower has a whole floor dedicated to viewing Peace park and the centre of Hiroshima. Shutterbugs can’t afford to miss this photo opportunity.
14. Look Around Onomichi
15. Relax at Shukkei-en Garden
Hiroshima is a great prefecture to explore, and whilst the atomic bomb is an important part of its history there is a much richer culture and history to be found here.
Why Not See Hiroshima Yourself?
See the Rabbit Island and Taste Sake Near Hiroshima!
Catch a train and boat to get to Okunojima Island which is well known in Japan and abroad as Rabbit island. Enjoy feeding rabbits and walking around the small island. Then taste exquisite Japanese sake in an old sake town. Book it - Voyagin
Sail to Oyster Rafts and Eat Seafood BBQ near Miyajima
In this activity you will ride on a fishing boat to explore the oyster rafts in the sea just across Miyajima Island in Hiroshima. After that you will eat a delicious seafood BBQ lunch. This is a great way to experience Hiroshima's local lifestyle! Book it - Voyagin