As a reminder, I spent 1 in South Korea last August, and I decided to complete my Eastern Asian trip by visiting the Land of the Rising Sun, known as Nihon, Nippon or… JAPAN (日本)! For some context, don’t hesitate to read my previous articles about my South Korean trip…
I was lucky enough to visit 6 Japanese cities in 2 weeks, and I chose to start my journey by exploring the famous city of Hiroshima. Now, it might sound weird as to why would I would want to visit this city, but you’ll get to understand the many reasons throughout the article, and agree with me.
This itinerary is intentionally starting on a Monday so make sure to check if monuments are open or not before your visit, as some monuments can be closed on certain days. Opening and closing hours can also vary from summertime to wintertime.
All the opening hours you will see throughout the article will be during summertime (June through August).
Because I want to save you some time, here are some currency exchanges just for you to have a little guidance on the worth of the Japanese Yen (¥ / JPY):
$10 = ¥1069.94
10€ = ¥1222.78
£10 = ¥1345.11
I hope you guys will enjoy this article and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have further questions or if something isn’t clear for you as always.
Hiroshima in 1 Day
To travel within Japan, I used the website rome2rio.com. I decided to go for an ecological (and not too expensive) way to travel to Japan, especially by taking a ferry for 3 hours from Busan to get to the harbour city of Fukuoka.
While booking your ferry, be aware that there is a “Busan’s port tax” worth ₩4,300 ($4 US), as well as an “oil surcharge” worth ₩12,000 ($10 US) that you may pay at check-in in the terminal or online.
First TIP of this journey: I would recommend using the ferry comparator website ferries.co.uk (available in 20 different languages) to find the best ferry according to your schedule needs.
I then took a taxi for 15 minutes to join Hakata’s train station and finally got on a train, the famous Shinkansen (bullet train) for an hour and a half to the beautiful city of Hiroshima.
The Japanese Railway System
This whole part is extremely important and will save you time and money if you’re travelling by train in Japan, so you better want to read it carefully (or else screw you). Because the Japanese are concerned about the well-being of their tourists, they created what is called a Japan Railway Pass (JR Pass) only available for tourists (non-japanese) in order to encourage travelling around Japan by train.
The JR pass gives you free access to the JR railway system. Because I was travelling for 2 weeks from Hiroshima to Tokyo, I decided to take the 14-day National JR Pass, allowing me to travel across 3 regions: Pass West, Pass Kansai and Pass East.
Second TIP of this journey: Know that the JR pass allows you to travel with any JR lines EXCEPT the NOZOMI and MIZUHO Shinkansen lines AND Private (non-JR) Railway. You can use the Hyperdia app (available in English) which can be used to precisely plan your trips station to station to help you book your journey!
You can also use your JR pass in the JR Miyajima ferry as well as the Tokyo Monorail or even local JR buses! It is always wise to ask if your pass is valid before taking any public transportation in any city you are travelling in!
For more information: Japan-rail-pass.com
By now, I think you know now that I LOVE history, therefore I could not organise a trip to Japan without going to Hiroshima. This city became tragically infamous because of the American atomic bomb that hit its inhabitants on 6th August 1945 and killed around 220,000 people. Hiroshima was famous beforehand as it was a strategic place hosting Japanese’s army headquarters for centuries, hence the attack.
It is now time for you to discover the city of Hiroshima, starting with…
Hiroshima-jō castle was first built in 1591, but the atomic explosion, during WWII, almost destroyed it. The dungeon was restored in 1958 using traditional craftsmanship materials and restoration techniques. Today, this monument hosts a museum, and you can see the whole city thanks to its observatory.
Adress: 21-1 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0011, Japan
Opening hours: 9 AM to 6 PM (last entry at 5:30 PM).
- Senior (65+): ¥180
- Adults: ¥370
- High school students: ¥180
- Junior High School Students or younger: free
You can then walk 17 minutes to…
Genbaku Dome (原爆ドーム)
Symbol of Hiroshima, this dome forces anyone to remember the tragic events that occurred within the city. Hiroshima’s survivors are called hibakusha (被爆者), meaning atomized people.
The exhibition hall for the promotion of industry in Hiroshima Prefecture, Genbaku Dome, was the only building that “survived” the explosion of the first atomic bomb against the city of Hiroshima in August 1945. Those ruins now serve as a UNESCO World Heritage Peace Memorial since 1996.
Adress: 1-10 Otemachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0051, Japan
Opening hours: The Dome is accessible all year round.
It’s time to dive in the atmosphere of Hiroshima: you’re only 7 minutes walking to…
Peace Memorial Park (平和記念公園)
You can find the Peace Memorial Museum in the city centre.
Inaugurated in 1955, this museum retraces the tragedy of the atomic bomb dropped on the city in 1945 and makes visitors aware of the nuclear threat in the world. The visit, very calm, inspires great humility and calls for the utmost respect.
This museum displays the atrocities the population has been through, with photos that may disturb delicate people.
Pro-tip: I would recommend allocating at least 1.5 hours to visit the museum. There is a pretty long line before entering the museum during summer, so do consider a waiting time.
Adress: 1-1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811, Japan
Opening hours: The park is open all year round. The Peace Memorial Museum is open everyday from 8:30 AM to 6 PM (closes at 7 PM in August).
Price: Access to the park is free, below are the entrance fees for the memorial museum:
- Adults: ¥200
- High school students: ¥100
- Junior High School Students or younger: free
IF you have time, you can make an hour trip to the South of the city by car with a ferry crossing and join an iconic floating Torii gate which is on the holy Myajima island…
Itsukushima-jinja is a UNESCO World Heritage Shinto shrine dedicated to the goddesses of nature. Its buildings have been preserved for over a thousand years, and are considered to be an authentic representation of old Japanese architecture.
Take a stroll up Machiya street, or take one of the three hiking trails for 1.5-2 hours to ascend Mount Misen. You will have a gorgeous view of Hiroshima while observing Buddhist structures while going up.
Fun fact: you may sometimes encounter deers along the trails or wild monkeys. It is more uncommon these days to see monkeys as their population grew too large and caused various problems, forcing local authorities to remove most of them from the island to a monkey park.
Adress: 1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588, Japan
Price (for Itsukushima Shrine only):
- Adults: ¥300
- High school students: ¥200
- Junior High School Students or younger: ¥100
You can find more information here: en.itsukushima-ninja.jp
I think you may be hungry after this very long day, therefore I would recommend for a wonderful diner in Hiroshima to go to…
Do you want to taste a good and authentic Japanese meal? Then Okonomi-mura is what you need and deserve my friends! This Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki dish (what you may call Japanese pancakes) is famous for its distinct style of vegetables and noodles grilled together. You’re in for a yummy moment!
Adress: 5-13 Shintenchi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0034, Japan
Opening hours: 5:30 PM to 11 PM (10:30 PM on Sundays)
This is the end of this short trip to Hiroshima, but just the beginning of my Japanese trip (and very soon I hope, yours). Being in Hiroshima was very different from what I expected and very humbling. In my opinion, you don’t need more than 1 day to spend in the city, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth the visit, as you’ll see more in 1 day than in any other city.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it, and don’t hesitate to comment and share it with your friends, family, lovers, pets…
My next article will be about the incredible city of Osaka, so stay tuned! If you enjoy the content of my blog, don’t forget to follow A Gourmet Vagabond on WordPress and my social media channels, to be updated about new upcoming articles and other fun stuff!
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