Things to Do in Hiroshima
- Hiroshima is a must-see for history buffs, especially those into WWII history.
- Visit the city on a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka, or as part of a multi-day tour through Japan from Tokyo.
- Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes; central Hiroshima is very walkable.
- Day trips to Hiroshima from other areas of Japan can last upwards of 12 hours.
The Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima commemorates the atomic bombing of the city at the end of World War II, in August of 1945. The park sits just below the site of the bomb’s mid-air explosion and includes the UNESCO-listed Atomic Bomb Dome, the Peace Memorial Museum, and many smaller memorials dedicated to affected groups of people.
Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Museum is part of the larger Peace Memorial Park, which commemorates the events of August 6, 1945. On this day, the USA dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima—leading to the end of World War II—but at the cost of around 80,000 lives in what was the world’s first nuclear bombing.
Itsukushima Shrine provides one of Japan’s most famous picture-perfect views: a red torii (shrine gate with an elegantly curved top seemingly floats on water. Itsukushima Shrine is on Itsukushima Island—commonly referred to as Miyajima Island, meaning ‘shrine island’—which is a short distance from Hiroshima. It’s a popular and worthwhile day-trip destination from that famous city.
Miyajima Island (officially named Itsukushima) has been a Shinto holy place for centuries and is home to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Itsukushima Shrine, a red gate (torii) rising from the water just off Miyajima’s shores. Other ancient shrines and temples speckle the island, nestled among a thick forest of maple and cherry trees.