Hiroshima, a city located in western Japan, is known for its tragic past as the first city in history to suffer an atomic bombing. However, the city also holds a rich history and cultural heritage that can be seen through its historical sites. These sites not only showcase the city’s rich history but also serve as a reminder of the resilience and strength of its people.
The most iconic historical site in Hiroshima is undoubtedly the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which serves as a poignant reminder of the devastating impact of nuclear warfare. The park is home to several monuments and memorials, including the A-Bomb Dome, which was the only building left standing after the atomic bomb was dropped on the city in 1945.
Another must-visit historical site in Hiroshima is the Hiroshima Castle, also known as the Carp Castle, which was built in the late 16th century. The castle was destroyed during the atomic bombing but was reconstructed in 1958. Visitors can explore the castle’s interior, which now serves as a museum showcasing the castle’s history and the city’s cultural heritage.
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No vacation itinerary to Hiroshima would be complete without a leisurely day at Peace Memorial Park. Visited by over a million people each year, this is the city’s most popular destination. Dedicated to the memory of the tragic WWII nuclear bomb attack in 1945 and its 140,000 victims, the sprawling park is both humbling and educational. Built on the grounds of the explosion, one could easily spend all day here seeing everything it has to offer. Here you can:
– Visit the ruins of the A-Bomb Dome
– See the paper cranes of the Children’s Peace Monument
– Visit the Peace Memorial Museum
– Enter the somber memorial hall
– Ring the Peace Bell
– See the Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound
– Find the various saddle-shaped cenotaph monuments
– Witness the Peace Flame, burning continuously since the bomb first fell
Of course, there are tons of other notable monuments that are scattered throughout the park that will have you learning something at every turn. There’s a reason why it’s on our list of top things to do in Hiroshima, and is worthy of a spot on your Japan travel bucket list.
Also known as Carp Castle, this historic 5-story castle is a popular attraction in Hiroshima for how pristinely it was recreated after the atomic bomb destroyed it. Originally built in 1589, the keep is surrounded by ruins, a shrine, reconstructed buildings, and a moat filled with colorful carp. Inside is a museum where you can learn about the city and Japanese castles in general before heading to the top floor to get an aerial view of the city. It’s especially gorgeous to go in the height of cherry blossom season, which is best viewed from the end of March to mid-April.
In the historic seaside port town of Onomichi, you’ll find various ethereal temples climbing the hillside that have their own designated walking path. There were once 81 shrines and temples that surrounded this path, now only 25 remain. Depending on your pace and determination to explore, you could spend a whole day’s adventure making your way around these beautiful religious sites, some of which are small and some more well-known, such as the Senko-ji temple.
You’ll be able to follow the 1.5-mile-long path easily with the colored markers and plenty of helpful signs, and towards the start of the path you can grab a map at Onomichi Station’s Tourist Information Center. Jodo-ji temple is the final stop on the Temple Walk, with its many registered National Treasures and towering 2-story pagoda.
This museum is dedicated to the eradication of nuclear weapons and details the tragedy of August 6, 1945 when the city was destroyed by the world’s first atomic bomb. It is both educational and heartbreaking, but a very necessary visit if you are keen on having a full understanding of Hiroshima’s history. Some parts of the museum are labeled with warnings due to the graphic information and shocking images presented. It’s an emotionally moving experience that renders most visitors speechless, so much so that it is always almost completely silent in the museum. Paying a visit to this museum is a must for those who want to travel here.
If you want to learn more in-depth information about Hiroshima instead of wandering through the Peace Museum on your own, this fun tour group adventure is for you. Hop on an electric bike and zoom through the less touristy parts of the city, then visit Peace Memorial Park, bike along the scenic Kyobashi River, and travel to several important heritage sites and monuments.
The local guides are very knowledgeable about the bombing event and will be sharing thought-provoking information all throughout the tour. It’s a great way to enrich your experience here and get to know the city like the locals do, while also getting a healthy dose of exercise during your vacation. Add it to your Tripio custom top 10 if you’re a biking enthusiast! Cycling happens to be one of the best things to do in Hiroshima because of how cyclist-friendly it is.
On Wednesdays from April to December, the Hiroshima Culture Center features two hour-long traditional Japanese Kagura performances. Once performed as a ceremonial show of thanks to the gods, Kagura is characterized by colorful, decorated costumes, lively dancing, quick costume changes, and rhythmic music. After watching their story-telling, you can dress in a Kagura costume yourself to interact with and take photos with the performers. It’s an exciting part of the local culture that is sure to be a memorable and unique experience for all. You can find it in the Tripio app to add to your custom top 10 if cultural gems are your jam!
If there’s one dish you can’t miss out on while you’re on vacation here, it would have to be a dish that was first created right in Hiroshima. This large, multi-story food hall has several Okonomiyaki restaurants to choose from, all serving the city’s traditional and most well-known savory ramen pancakes. Think of it as a place where all the best street food vendors have combined under one roof. It’s a great stop for hungry travelers who would like to fill up on this famous dish (vegetarian options available) before continuing on their Hiroshima adventure.
Even though there are tons of Okonomiyaki restaurants to choose from here, there are still more gems around the city that are even better! Tripio has researched the absolute best ones for you, which you can include in your custom itinerary and check them off your foodie bucket list.
If you’re exploring Peace Memorial Park, be sure to add the Memorial Hall as a stop on your itinerary in the Tripio app for a moment of quiet reflection. Inside you’ll find a respectful and somber atmosphere with the names, photos, and details of the bomb victims, hear family testimonies, and view information about the blast’s size and impact. This hall of remembrance really puts everything into perspective that you’ll be seeing in the park, while also inspiring visitors to support the end of nuclear warfare.
This ruined, now skeletal structure was burned to the ground the day the bomb fell on Hiroshima, but its dome-shaped frame still stands as a somber reminder of the pain of such a devastating event and the need for world peace. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 and sits right by a serene river. You can’t go inside, but you can walk right up to it to see it in detail and learn more. Since this is the city’s most iconic location, be sure to not to miss it by adding it to your custom itinerary within the Tripio app.
You won’t find this on many other Hiroshima top 10 lists, but we think it’s a gem. At this odd, egg-shaped structure, you can learn all about okonomiyaki and will even get to make it yourself! Your visit starts off with a tour of the small museum, detailing how the dish was developed after the war and how its unique sauce is made.
Next, you’ll travel to the nearby factory to see how that sauce is made and will receive your very own bottle to take home with you. Lastly, you’ll make your way to the stovetops where you’ll learn and follow along with the lead chef to make your own veggie-topped okonomiyaki noodle pancake before digging in. Unlike a food tour, this experience is much more hands-on, making it one of the best things to do in Hiroshima if you’re looking to explore its rich food culture. This is quite the unique cultural experience that’s perfect for groups or families to try together, and you’ll learn a lot about the city’s culinary staple along the way.
Interested in more of Japan, check out: Tokyo: Top 10 Weird & Wonderful Attractions
– Rachael Grow, Tripio Guru
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