Inextricably linked with the dropping of the atomic bomb, Hiroshima in Japan is an ancient city with a broken heart. But it’s not time to break out the waterworks just yet. Yes, you’ll be moved by the sad history on display at the Peace Memorial Park and the Children’s Peace Monument, but you should take your interest with you, not your pity.
Hiroshima is a busy, bustling and attractive city with a fascinating history and all eyes on the future. There are progressive art displays to be discovered in the Hiroshima Museum of Art and the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, as well as castles, gardens and great eating out in the city centre.
Hiroshima is as honest as its culinary specialty, okonomiyaki. So stand back from the hotplate, open your gob and catch whatever is offered by this great city.
Hiroshima’s Top 10
10. Miyajima: See the Itsukushima Shrine and the Gate of Itsukushima Shrine (Torii) in this beautiful section of the city.
5. Hiroshima-jō or Carp Caslte Twice destroyed and rebuilt, this culturally significant site is a must-see.
9. Asa Zoo Allow at least four hours. Baboons!
4. Shukkei-en A beautiful artistic garden that’s worth an afternoon’s stroll.
8. The Cenotaph Spiritually and culturally significant, this is both relaxing and enlightening.
3. A-Bomb Dome A World Heritage site, this marks the exact location that the bomb hit.
7. Hiroshima Museum of Art French masters, including Degas, Renoir and Monet share the stage (or walls, actually) with Japanese artists.
2. Children’s Peace Monument Inspired by Sadako Sasaki who, after being diagnosed with leukaemia at age 10, decided to fold 1,000 paper cranes.
6. Okonomi-mura A grouping of 27 eateries, this is a never-seen-before experience.
1. Peace Memorial Park Pay your respects by reading the names of all the known victims of the bomb.
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park - Should be the first stop for any visitor to Hiroshima.
- Peace Memorial Museum - A moving account of the effects of the catastrophic event of1945.
- Memorial Cenotaph - The city's monument to honour the victims of the atomic bomb.
- A-Bomb Memorial Mound - Contains the ashes of tens of thousands of unidentified victims.
- A-Bomb Dome - Has become a conspicuous landmark of the city.
Hiroshima Art & Culture
- Children's Peace Monument - A touching tribute to a young girl's brave struggle against the effects of radiation.
- Peace Bell - Something all visitors to Hiroshima will hear regularly and are encouraged to toll freely.
- Hiroshima Castle - The beautifully restored castle houses a museum containing wonderful relics from the past.
- Museum of Art - Some of the world's finest impressionist art work.
- Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students - Two very large plaques at either side.
- Diamond City - The main mall with pretty much everything you could need under one roof.
- Main Street - The heart of Hiroshima shopping with dozens of stores of varying sizes.
- Marina Hop - The striking art deco design is the city's style capital.
- Tokyu Hands - The shopping area ideal for the under-30s.
- Yale - A huge building that houses the Fukuya Department Store.
Gay & Lesbian Hiroshima
- Zap is recognized as the best gay bar in Hiroshima with something different every day.
- Bam is the lesbian hangout place for a terrific night out.
- Peace Clock Tower - Near Aioi Bridge, is the meeting place for gays and lesbians in the early evening.
- A special gay event takes place at Gou-Temps, usually on the first and third Sundays of the month.
- L Party is a lesbian gathering at a bar with a welcoming atmosphere.
- Mazda Zoom Zoom Ballpark Stadium - Worth a visit even if there is no game on.
- Asa Zoo - A terrific day out for all the family with a relatively cheap admission.
- Shukkei-en - A picturesque miniature landscape garden containing islets, bridges, ponds and streams.
- Setoda - A town just 1.5 miles from Hiroshima with many temples and museums.
- Botanical Park - Rich in colour and a really enjoyable experience for any visitor.
- Hiroshima Toyo Carp is the most famous professional baseball team in the city.
- Sanfrecce Hiroshima is the other major professional sports team in the city. Football!
- Hiking is a favourite pastime in and around the city, with many challenging paths.
- The Big Arch is a multipurpose sport stadium with a seating capacity of 50,000.
- The Forest Hills Golf Course and Resort is the finest in Hiroshima.
April sees to the Cherry Blossom Festival and, like all of Japan, Hiroshima hosts special events such as Cherry Blossom Viewing Parties.
August 6 is the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb. Although not strictly a festival, this is the most significant date in the city and thousands come together to pay their respects.
Mid-October brings the annual Sake Festival in Saijo (just outside Hiroshima City). Tents selling food and local produce line the streets.
November brings Culture Day.A series of special events celebrate Japanese culture.
The Emperor’s Birthday on 23 December is a national holiday.
When To Go
- June to October is the warmest time to visit, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 32°C (77-90°F).
- December and January can be quite cool and often very windy.
- Autumn is very beautiful and often less crowded than the more popular summer months.
Hiroshima’s tram service is fantastic. For a flat rate of ¥150, you can get pretty much everywhere you’ll need to go.
If you want to get up close and personal with the city, hire a bike. They cost around ¥263 for two hours or ¥735 for a day.
Many of Hiroshima’s top sites are within walking distance, so if you’ve got a bit of time, it’s a good city to see on foot.
The most destructive single event in human history took place on August 6, 1945 when the U.S. atomic bomb “Little Boy” fell from the Enola Gay on the city of Hiroshima. Close to 70,000 people died in the wake of the nuclear explosion. By the end of the year, that number had doubled. A second atomic attack on Nagasaki three days later precipitated the end of World War Two. For better or for worse, this is what most people think of when they see the word Hiroshima today.
Today of course, Hiroshima is a vibrant city whose restoration after the atomic strike and wrath of Typhoon Ida (which hit Hiroshima a month later) is one of the miracles of the 20th century. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and wonderful point of interest. Other attractions in the city include Hiroshima Castle, the cherry blossoms of Mitaki-dera temple and the Hiroshima Museum of Art.
Attractions & Activities
- Peace Memorial Park
- Hiroshima Castle
- Hiroshima Museum of Art
- Hiroshima Toyo Carp Baseball
- Flower Festival
- Sake Festival
- Food Festival
- Sanfrecce Hiroshima Soccer
Restaurant & Nightlife
- No-no Budou
- Shabuchin Shabu Shabu
- Club Quattro
- The Shack
- Fukuya Beer Garden
Hiroshima has a humid climate, with muggy, rainy summers and mild winters.
- Winter (November to February) 2-17°C
- Spring (March to May) 5-24°C
- Summer (June to August) 20-32°C
- Fall (September to October) 8-23°C
Hiroshima on Wikipedia
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