5 Things to Do When Visiting Hiroshima
Widely known for the atomic bombing during World War II, Hiroshima is a city rich with culture and history that offers so much more beyond stories about the tragedy. Beautiful sceneries, mouthwatering cuisine and historical sites are only a few things the city holds for the perfect tourist destination. Here is a quick guide to help you get the most out of your trip in Hiroshima.
5. Visit Miyajima, the Island of God
The floating torii gate at the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima Island -- Photo by Daderot on Wikimedia Commons
If you haven’t been to Miyajima Island, you haven’t been to Hiroshima. Offering breath-taking views and fascinating historical sights, Miyajima has been one of the top tourist sites in Japan. The island is officially named Itsukushima but has been widely referred to as Miyajima which is Japanese for “shrine island” as the island holds the renowned Itsukushima Shrine. It is a one-of-a-kind shrine that floats above the sea and has been established as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Miyajima is located about an hour outside the city of Hiroshima and can be enjoyed either as a fun-filled day trip or as a romantic overnight trip.
How to get there:
You can cross to Miyajima by catching a ferry in the port near the Miyajimaguchi Station. Ferries in the pier depart every hour for ¥180 for a one-way ride which only takes around 30 minutes.
4. Stop by the Peace Memorial Dome
The only structure that survived the atomic bomb
A visit to Hiroshima won’t be complete without stopping by the dome that survived the devastating atomic bomb 71 years ago. The Peace Memorial Dome, or more commonly known as the Atomic Bomb Dome, is the building that reflects a thousand words and stories, reminding visitors of the city’s past destruction on the day that changed the world forever. Formerly functioned as the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, the dome is the only structure that survived the blast and has since been regarded as a symbol of peace and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rubble and ruins surrounding the building have been left unchanged since the tragedy. The dome itself is located in the Memorial Park which surrounds the site with beautiful and peaceful green and watery scenery for you to enjoy during your visit here.
How to get there:
If you are travelling from Hiroshima Station, you can catch the Hiroshima Electric Railway streetcar to the Atomic Bomb Dome Station where the dome is just a minute walk from here.
3. Get a Bite of Authentic Hiroshimayaki
Who doesn’t love the savory Japanese pancake, okonomiyaki? If you are looking for a special take on this dish, you definitely cannot miss Hiroshimayaki, one of the many scrumptious culinary adventures in Hiroshima. It is the city’s own-style of okonomiyaki which differs from any other pancake by having its ingredients on different layers rather than mixing them together into one. Its first thin layer of batter is topped by yakisoba noodles and a generous amount of cabbage and then layered with assorted tasty toppings such as cheese, pork, and seafood.
Where to Dine:
Looking where to get this original Hiroshima dish? Popular places for this dish are the Hiroshima Station or Okonomimura where diners are seated in front of sizzling griddles while the chef cooks the batter.
2. Reserve a Tour at the Mazda Museum
If you love automobiles, then you will love the Mazda Museum. Mazda, one of the leading automotive brands, is headquartered in Hiroshima and has a museum of its own that has become a modern popular tourist attraction. It should be noted that visiting the museum is by reservation and appointment only as the Mazda Museums and Car Factory facilities can only be seen through a guided tour, and both English and Japanese tours for individual visitors are offered once a day. The 90-minute tour consists of everything Mazda, from viewing its classic cars collection, learning about its future development, and -the best part- getting to see directly the production of a Mazda car. The museum and car factory will keep you occupied and fascinated throughout the tour, and a great bonus is that it is completely free of charge.
How to Get Reservations:
Appointments for the museum tour can be made both through phone or online reservations. Appointments through phone can be made in the following number (082-252-5050) between Monday and Friday starting from 8:30 AM to noon, and 12:45 PM to 5 PM.
1. Experience the Miyajima Oyster Festival in February
Grilled oysters in Miyajima -- Photo by GetHiroshima.com on Flickr
Being one of the biggest oyster producers in Japan, Hiroshima is surely a proud host of many grand annual oyster festivals. Held on the Miyajima Island, the Miyajima Oyster Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Hiroshima where seafood lovers can find oysters cooked in all sorts of manners, from the sizzling grilled oysters to raw ones dipped in various tangy sauces. All these dishes are sold in cheap price sales at the festival stand which are placed right in front of the Miyajima Pier, guaranteeing visitors satisfied taste buds upon arrival on the island.
When to Go:
Unluckily, the festival is only held once a year just as the winter season is about to end, around early February. If you are planning a visit to Hiroshima during that time, then a taste on the Miyajima Oyster Festival should be on top of your list.