Thriving and cosmopolitan, the south-western Japanese city of Hiroshima is much more than the site of the world’s first atomic bomb attack. However, it’s no secret that history buffs in particular will find plenty of things to see and do here. Anyone with any interest in the city’s history inevitably finds themselves at the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, where hours can pass without you realising as you take an emotional trip through time to 1945.
Modern-day Hiroshima is hardly haunted by its past though; more than 1.1 million residents keep the streets busy, and the city is known for its vibrant nightlife and delicious cuisine – oysters are a local specialty that seafood lovers should certainly sample. As part of the Chugoku region, Hiroshima rests against the Seto Inland Sea, which is known for creating some of the world’s most stunning coastlines and islands. The nearby Miyajima Island, home to the incomparable Itsukushima Shrine and glorious Mt. Misen, is a perfect example.
A day or two spent in Hiroshima will easily become treasured holiday moments. Travellers can find itineraries featuring this city from cruise lines including Cunard, Oceania Cruises, Silversea Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises.
Hiroshima’s cruise terminal is situated in an industrial area a couple of kilometres away from the city centre. A 15 minute walk or brief taxi trip can take you to Kaigan Dori, the nearest tram station. From here you can venture to your preferred first stop in Hiroshima.
Due to its industrial location, the port has very few facilities for passengers aside from a tourist information stall. However, taxis are typically available to take you straight into the city or to the nearby Kaigan Dori streetcar station.
How to Get Around
Hiroshima has the most useful and extensive tram system of any Japanese cities. The streetcars are not the fastest way of getting around, but they are dependable and affordable. Taxis are also readily available – the fares are inexpensive and the drivers are reliably honest and friendly. You may wish to utilise a ferry for some journeys, particularly when visiting the famous Miyajima Island.
Sightseeing buses are a pleasant way to fill in time while also getting a rich insight into the city’s culture and history.
Travel times from Kaigan Dori streetcar station:
It is a 57 minute journey to the Hondori Shopping Arcade
It is a 59 minute journey to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
It is a 17 minute journey to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
It is an 18 minute journey to Shukkeien Garden
It is a 19 minute journey to the Hondori Shopping Arcade
It is a 20 minute journey to Hiroshima Castle.
It is a 31 minute journey to the Hondori Shopping Arcade
It is a 32 minute journey to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
It is a 38 minute journey to Shukkeien Garden.
Currency – Like the rest of Japan, the local currency in Hiroshima is the yen (¥). While credit cards are accepted in many situations, it is wise to keep some cash on hand as well. Tipping is considered rude and should not be attempted. Yen notes come in ¥1,000, ¥5,000, and ¥10,000 denominations, while the coins in circulation are the ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, and ¥500 coins.
Time Zone – Japan Standard Time (JST) is the time zone for Hiroshima. This puts the city 9 hours in front of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Hiroshima is mildly humid throughout the year and rainfall is also reasonably consistent from month to month (though June and July typically receive more millimetres than others). July and August are the hottest months, but temperatures rarely reach 30 degrees Celsius. Winter sees average temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park – Once the site of terrible destruction, Hiroshima is now a beacon of peace – and this fact is most obvious at the Peace Memorial Park. Plan to spend a decent amount of time exploring the museum, marvelling at the A-bomb Dome that somehow survived the blast, and wandering amongst the many monuments of the park. This makes for a somewhat sombre excursion, but many would consider it a must-do for any visitor to the city.
Itsukushima Shrine – The air is sacred and the sights are scenic on Miyajima Island, which is home to many shrines and temples. With many beautiful walking treks and monuments, it’s easy to lose yourself – both physically and spiritually – on this island. Just make sure you leave plenty of time for the site’s crowning gem: the World Heritage-listed Itsukushima Shrine and its iconic torii gate.
Shukkeien Garden – A visit to Japan just isn’t complete without at least one walk through a delightful garden, and Shukkeien in Hiroshima fits the bill perfectly. Feel like a peaceful giant as you make your way past shrunken versions of mountains, forests and valleys. Stop for a relaxing break in one of the several tea houses.