Replete with history and culture, Hiroshima also happens to be located near some beautiful natural attractions. Two days give you enough time to explore the city and get out to Miyajima, an island with hiking trails, views, and an iconic temple. Here’s how to make the most of 48 hours in Hiroshima.
Day 1: Tour the City
Morning: Hiroshima is synonymous with the atomic bombing of 1945. Start your first day at Peace Memorial Park to better understand World War II history. The most striking part of the park is the Atomic Bomb Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which partially withstood the bombing despite having been located almost directly beneath the bomb’s hypocenter. Most half-day Hiroshima walking and cycling tours include a visit to Peace Memorial Park.
Afternoon: After lunch, check out Hiroshima Castle. Built in the 1590s, the castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb and rebuilt in the 1950s. Inside is a history museum, and don’t miss the views of the city from the top floor.
Night: Time to sample some of Hiroshima’s food specialties. Hiroshima is famous for its oysters and okonomiyaki— fried pancakes with various savory toppings. Debate rages in Japan over whether Hiroshima or Kansai (Osaka) makes the best okonomiyaki. (Hiroshima’s version includes noodles.) Try for yourself and see which you prefer. For a fun way to discover the locals’ favorite spots, join a nighttime food tour.
Day 2: Visit Miyajima
Morning: On your second day in Hiroshima, hop on a ferry and head to the nearby island of Miyajima (formally called Itsukushima). Spend the morning exploring the Itsukushima Shrine. The red torii (gate) standing in the water just offshore is one of the most famous postcard views in Japan.
Afternoon: There’s more to Miyajima than just the shrine. Head up Mount Misen, the island’s highest peak. Active travelers can hike up along the forested trails. Alternatively, take the cable car up. On clear days, there are sweeping views of the Seto Inland Sea between Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Some tours of Miyajima include a guided trek to the summit.
Night: End your stay in Hiroshima with some good old-fashioned karaoke fun. Gather your travel companions and rent a private room in a karaoke bar for a few hours, where you can order in food and drinks—and nobody else has to hear how good (or bad) your singing is.