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Things to Do in Hiroshima | Must-sees & sightseeing tips

Most people visit Hiroshima to learn about the atomic bomb dropped here in the 2nd world. The monument to the victims is very moving, it is of course also an unprecedented sad event in history. An event in which an estimated 146.000 people died. We are now more than 75 years later and Hiroshima is a city that is rich in modern buildings and activities.

I really enjoyed my time visiting and exploring the city. There was a lot to do here. You can visit one of the many museums, attend one of their festivals (don't miss the oyster festival in February!) and eat out at one of their 4.000 bars and restaurants. It's a beautiful city that has recovered greatly from its bomb-ravaged past. So it's high time for a complete travel guide to Hiroshima!

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Top 5 | Must sees in Hiroshima

1. Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum Peace Park

Quite a mouth full, but an absolute must see and therefore number 1 in this travel guide for Hiroshima. The museumFounded in 1955, it depicts the city's history before and after the atomic bomb in 1945. The museum has photos, artifacts, videos, and information about the effect the radiation had on people. It is a very bleak and sobering experience, but one not to be missed. Admission is JPY 200 (2 euros).

Also read: Japan Travel Guide | Complete guide with travel tips, budget, transportation and more

Atomic Bomb Memorial MuseumPeace Park

2. Miyajima Island

Miyajima is an island just outside Hiroshima. If you plan to climb the mountain, it will take at least an hour, depending on your fitness. There is also a cable car to the top that you can take for 1.800 JPY (16 euros) round trip. A one-way ferry to the island takes 10 minutes and costs JPY 180 (it's free for JR Pass holders).

3. Hiroshima Castle

Although the original was destroyed by the atomic bomb, the reconstructed castle a great opportunity to learn the history of Hiroshima. The gardens surrounding this castle are most beautiful when the cherry blossoms bloom in April. The entrance to the castle is free, while the entrance to the main tower is 370 JPY (over 3 euros).

Hiroshima Castle

4. Shukkei-en Garden

This compact and beautifully landscaped Japanese garden is an ideal place to decompress the atomic bomb sites. Established in 1620, the garden was once a private retreat for the emperor. It was opened to the public in 1940 and was used to receive refugees after the war. Admission is 260 JPY (2,5 euros).

5. Visit Onomichi

Onomichi is a beautiful green region that makes for a relaxing day trip from Hiroshima. Located about 90 km from the city, you will find beaches, hot springs, temples, castles and lots of greenery here. There is also a small mountain nearby (Mount Senkoji) which offers a wide view of the city.

Other Things to See and Do in Hiroshima

1. Relax in Chuo Park

Located in the middle of the city, this green oasis is home to Hiroshima Castle. The castle is called the Gokoku Shrine and there are a few museums and great walking and running trails in the park. You can often see people playing football or frisbee, it is also a great place for a picnic when the weather is nice! In the spring, you'll also find some of the city's famous cherry blossoms here. Bring a book, grab lunch and spend some time with locals here. Enjoy people watching and take in the city.

2. Attend the Oyster Festival

If you are traveling through Hiroshima in the winter months, be sure to visit this fun event. During the festival you can enjoy oysters with a significant discount. There are tons of different varieties to try, all freshly caught. It's basically a festival that celebrates how amazing an oyster is, so if you like oysters you must attend! The festival is free to attend. Expect to pay between 100-200 JPY (1-2 euros) per dish.

3. Enjoy the Hiroshima Museum of Art

Founded in 1978, this museum is home to eight different galleries. Half of the collection is by famous western artists such as Monet, Degas and Renoir, while the other half is by Japanese artists. There is also a small garden here and a cafe (the cafe also has free wifi). Admission is 600 JPY (5,5 euros).

4. Visit Bitchu Matsuyama's Castle

Not only is this Japan's tallest castle, but it's also one of Japan's only remaining original castles. The castle was originally built on a nearby mountain in AD 1240 by Akiba Shigenobu. Restoration work on the castle began in 1929 and it is now a popular tourist attraction. Fun fact: the official "lord" of the castle is a local stray cat who turned out to live there. Admission is 300 JPY (2,5 euros) for the castle and 900 JPY (8 euros) for the castle, museum and nearby samurai houses.

5. Attend the Flower Festival

Another major annual event in Hiroshima, this festival takes place on the first weekend in May. There is a range of performances ranging from Japanese pop bands and jazz combos to Okinawan comedians and traditional musicians. There is a huge carnival, food vendors and stalls selling new crafts, as well as a large display and vigil in Peace Park. The festival has a very lively carnival atmosphere. Admission is free.

6. Hiroshima City Manga Library

If you like manga, this is the place to be. While the vast majority of the manga is in Japanese, they also have a selection in English. Home to over 130.000 manga, you'll also find all kinds of rare and vintage manga here. Opened in 1998, the library also hosts regular events such as presentations, lectures, and temporary displays. Admission is free.

7. Visit Fudoin

The origins of a temple at this location date back to the 8th century, although the current temple dates from the 14th century. The temple is actually one of the few buildings in the area that survived the atomic blast. The temple has the standard red lacquered pagoda, but there are some interesting statues and shrines at the back, including the red tori gate and the fox sanctuary. The serene temple grounds are also nice to walk through, but be respectful and give worshipers their space.

8. Attend the Sake Festival

The Saijo suburb is famous for its sake breweries (it's one of the most famous brewing districts in the country), and in October they have an annual drunken booze. For the entrance fee, visitors can drink sake from the local breweries. Sake brewery tours are also available outside the festival site, with wooden sake cups as souvenirs for your visit. There are also traditional performances, live music, presentations and lectures, and lots of partying. Tickets cost 2.100 JPY ($19,25 USD).

9. Climb Haigamine Mountain

This mountain overlooks Hiroshima and is a popular place to enjoy the view at night. You'll get beautiful panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside, making it a great place to take photos and relax after a day of exploring. The climb takes about 90 minutes, so make sure to climb while the sun is still shining. There is also a small parking lot if you want to drive.

Also read: Tokyo Travel Guide | Complete guide with must sees, travel tips, transport & budget

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