Hiroshima is located in the western Honshu region of Japan and is today known as the Peace Capital of the World. The cities history is universally known for its association with dropping the first atomic bomb in 1945 but the people of Hiroshima are resilient, and they are always ready to welcome (Yōkoso) visitors travelling around Japan on private guided and sightseeing tours.
The cities main attractions are the prestigious Hiroshima Peace Institute, art galleries, magnificent museums and gorgeous gardens. The annual Hiroshima Flower Festival attracts millions of tourists and garden enthusiasts every year on custom regional tours and is one of the most visited Flower Festivals in the world.
On walking or cycling tours of Hiroshima, you will inevitably visit the ruins left behind from the tragic 1945 explosion. Many tourists feel it be a very sobering moment to see the decimation of the buildings. However, as private tour guides fill you in on the history, they take great pride in letting everyone know this once inhabitable city had doubled its population by 1974 and has gone from strength to strength. Read More...
See the Amazing Island Shrine of Itsukushima on a Sightseeing Tour
There are so many great places to visit and attractions to see on custom guided tours or sightseeing tours of Hiroshima and the Island Shrine of Itsukushima is one of them.
This stunning Shrine Island is one of the most visited and important coastal sites in Japan with the Itsukushima Shrine being the main reason it is so famous.
Apart from the excellent sights and attractions, Hiroshima offers a wealth of activities to do. These include trekking tours in the Miyajima Island, relaxing on the many beaches in the summer watching amazing sunsets or kayaking on the Seto Inland Sea.
At night enjoy the taste of Okonomiyaki and oysters which are great examples of Hiroshima style foods.
Top 10 Things to Do in Hiroshima
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
A highly recommended place to visit on a sightseeing tour is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The main reason for the creation of this park is to symbolize the necessity for everlasting peace. It is a commemoration park for the victims of the first nuclear attack in the world in August 1945 and it was purposely established at the epicenter of the blast. There are many other monuments to see while enjoying the beauty of the park.
The Island Shrine of Itsukushima
A stunning sight to see on a custom tour is the Island Shrine of Itsukushima. The Shrine Island is called Miyajima and its most famous shrine is the Itsukushima which is dedicated to Susanoo, the Shinto wind god, daughters. The shrines are built on support piles in the waters of the bay and look, especially when the tide is high, like they are floating on the water surface. Their vibrant color and artistic design are breathtaking.
The Hiroshima Castle or The Castle of Carp which it is also known was built in 1593. This castle was built as the home of Fukushima Masanori, a local nobleman and then passed on to the Asano Nagaakira, the famous samurai, in 1619. The castle is spectacular to look at and as you climb the five stories on a guided tour, the views get better and better of the city and harbour. There is a very informative museum to explore too.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
When visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on a sightseeing tour, you need to make sure you visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. There are chilling displays to do the atomic bombing of the city and exhibits on issues to do with world peace. The museum is made up of two sharp and stark buildings. One building has exhibits of before and after the bombing while the other is to do with the bombing.
The Mitaki-dera Temple
Possibly the most attractive of the fine historic temples in Hiroshima is the Mitaki-dera. It was first built in AD 809 and then after the war was reconstructed. It is also known as the Three Falls Temple due to where it is situated at the foot of Mount Mitaka. The temple is stunning but so too are the grounds. Ideally, visit during the Autumn when the grounds are an array of vibrant colors such as red and gold as the maples change.
The stunning Shukkei-en Garden is situated on the banks of the Ota River. Designed by Asano Nagaakira from Kyoto in 1620, influenced by the garden on the Hangzhou Western Lake, it is an oasis of tranquility and peace. These Gardens of Emperor Meiji’s home were opened to the public in 1940 after being donated to the city. It was badly damaged by the 1945 nuclear attack but quickly reopened in 1951 looking as good as ever.
Memorial Cathedral for World Peace
Take a guided tour of the Memorial Cathedral for World Peace which is among the largest Roman Catholic churches found in Asia. Hugo Lasalle, a German Jesuit priest, witnessed the atomic bomb and afterward initiated the building of the Cathedral which was completed in 1954. The money funded for the building work came from contributions by many countries and stands a testament that nations can work together.
Hiroshima Museum of Art
The Hiroshima Museum of Art is not just one art gallery but eight and a world class place to visit on a guided tour. There are collections of artwork from European masters representing Romanticism and Impressionism such as Picasso, Degas, Monet and Maillol. There are also works of art by leading Japanese artists such as Yuzo Saeki and Ryohei Koiso. Everything about this museum from layout to artwork is superb.
Hiroshima City Asa Zoological Park
For some heart lifting entertainment, visit the animals in the Hiroshima City Asa Zoological Park. There over 170 species of animals spread over 124 acres that call this zoo home. The native species which include pandas and the Japanese giant salamanders are a highlight to see as you wander around on a guided tour. There are also special nighttime safaris held in the zoo during the summer months for added enjoyment.
The Momijidani Park or Maple Valley Park which is located along Momijidani River and at the foot of Mt. Risen is possibly the most famous maple leaves valley parks in all of Japan. Scattered all around the park there are approximately 700 Japanese maple trees. This park is also listed as a National Natural Monument and a stunning place to visit when on a sightseeing tour to the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima.
Travel Tips for Hiroshima
Best Time To Visit
The best time for most people to visit the Hiroshima is March to June, September and October. The temperatures are warm, there is less rain and in March to April the cherry blossoms turn the city colorful. The cheaper time to visit is during the winter months, there are less crowds and the majority of guided tours are more enjoyable when it is not hot out. July and August are not popular months due to the rain and high humidity.
The prices in Hiroshima are very reasonable for a city that's so well known and visited a lot by tourists. One night's accommodation in a budget hotel starts from US$50 and of course, there are many more expensive and luxurious hotels if you prefer that start from US$400 a night. A delicious meal for two people with 3 courses will cost on average US$30. The prices of sightseeing tours and activities will vary on the season.
Know Before Visiting
It is a good idea to plan what sightseeing tours you want to do in advance of traveling and booking them in advance especially if you are traveling during the busy season. When visiting temples, you are expected to dress respectfully and appropriately as you are entering sacred places. Be aware that there are pickpockets in every city of the world and be more alert in crowded areas. Do not walk alone at night.
The climate in Hiroshima is temperate humid, mild winter and hot, moist and rainy summers. The average warmest months of the year are July and August with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius on average. The rainy season is from March to October. January is on average the coldest month with temperatures averaging 10 degrees Celsius. June sees the most rain in the year and December is generally the driest.