Nestled between lush green mountains and the tranquil Seto Inland Sea with six rivers flowing through its centre, this capital city of Hiroshima Prefecture is a beautiful city blessed with a rich natural environment. On August 6, 1945, the city was reduced to ashes by the first atomic bombing in human history. Nevertheless, thanks to the unflagging efforts of its people, and support from inside and outside of Japan, Hiroshima achieved a remarkable recovery and has since sought to spread the ideal of perpetual peace. Hiroshima is now best-known across the country for its historical heritage, like Hiroshima Castle, Shukkeien Garden, and Peace Memorial Park.
Nicknamed "Carp Castle," this towering fortress was built between 1589 and 1599. as opposed to hilltop and mountaintop castles, Hiroshima Castle was built on a plain in the centre of a city. This castle was an important seat of power in Western Japan, and become the physical and economical centre of the city. Like the rest, Hiroshima Castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. In 1958, the castle tower was reconstructed in concrete and is now a museum displaying mainly pre-modern artefacts and offering hands-on activities such as the chance to try on samurai armour. The sweeping view from the top of the tower is one of Hiroshima's finest. Activities: Photo stop or Castle visit Fee: JPY 370 (main keep) Time required: 45 minutes
Atomic Bomb Dome (A-Bomb Dome)
Also known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the A-Bomb Dome was listed as a World Heritage site. When the bomb exploded in 1945, it was one of the few buildings to remain standing and remains so today. Presently as a remaining landmark of the devastation caused at the time of the bombing, it is a symbol for the motto "No More Hiroshimas." Spanning the generations it has become a symbol for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the importance of lasting peace throughout the world.
Activities: Photo stop Fee: None Time required: 20-30 minutes
Peace Memorial Museum
One of Hiroshima’s highlights, the Peace Memorial Museum surveys the history of Hiroshima and the advent of the nuclear bomb. Its main focus though is on the events of August 6: the dropping of the bomb and its outcome in human suffering. The main hall houses an extensive collection of artefacts from the time of the bombing, while the east building is focused on peace education through a variety of media. The personal details displayed are quite upsetting, powerful and moving. (Image via Visit Hiroshima)
Activities: Museum visit Fee: JPY 200 Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour
Shukkeien's name can be translated into English as "shrunken-scenery garden", which is also a good description of the garden itself, encapsulating mountain and river views in a space about the size of Hiroshima's present-day baseball stadium. The garden displays many features of the traditional aesthetics of Japanese gardens such as valleys, bridges, teahouses, arbours, and other sights for visitors to enjoy. Around the garden's main pond several tea houses offer visitors ideal views of the surrounding scenery. Additional highlights of a circuit around Shukkeien include a small bamboo grove and an orchard of ume plum trees. Activities: Photo stop Fee: JPY 260 Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour
Close to the A-Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park is Hondori Street Hondori is a pedestrian arcade that is closed to traffic and lined with shops and restaurants. There are shops for clothes, jewellery, games, accessories and souvenirs accompanied by a couple of cafes, bars and restaurants to rest those tired feet. (Image via Japan Travel)
Running parallel to Hondori is Aioidori (Aioi Street), the main street used by cars and trams. Along Aioi Street stand a few large department stores where more shopping can be found.
Usually translated as Okonomiyaki Village, Okonomimura is a small area just south of the eastern end of Hondori. As its name implies, it is devoted to okonomiyaki. Okonomimura has many different restaurants to choose from and is a convenient place in the downtown area to take a break and grab a bite. (Image via Visit Hiroshima)