There’s no shortage of things to do in Hiroshima. For years, the city was mostly known as one of the sites of the atomic bombings of World War II.
It’s now known as a vibrant metropolis with something for everyone. Whether you have one day in Hiroshima or a few, you can experience history at Hiroshima Castle, go shopping in local markets, or even catch a baseball game in a stadium filled with 30,000 ardent Japanese fans.
With so much to see and do, it’s hard not to miss out on some of the top places to visit in Hiroshima.
Don’t where to start exploring one of the coolest cities in Japan? Begin planning your trip with this guide to the best Hiroshima attractions.
Table of Contents
- What to do in Hiroshima: The top attractions & best places to visit
- Taste test local delicacies at Okonomimura
- View the sobering reminder of WWII at the Atomic Bomb Dome
- Ride a ferry to view the floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine
- Learn more about the history of ancient Hiroshima at Carp Castle
- Catch a baseball game at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima
- Breathe fresh air and enjoy nature as you stroll Shukkeien Garden
- See more of Hiroshima as you ride the Moving Streetcar Museum
- Where to stay: The best hotels for sightseeing in Hiroshima
What to do in Hiroshima: The top attractions & best places to visit
Taste test local delicacies at Okonomimura
Okonomiyaki is a dish that you can find just about anywhere in Japan. When you talk to a resident of Hiroshima, they’ll quickly tell you that their city has the best version of this popular meal.
If you’ve never tried it before, okonomiyaki is basically a savoury pancake filled with a mixture of cabbage, meat, and veggies. In most regions of Japan, they serve okonomiyaki with the ingredients scrambled together and then thrown on top of the bottom pancake.
In Hiroshima, the ingredients are layered. While cabbage is a standard ingredient, you can also find noodles, egg, meat and various other veggies that can be added to your taste.
There are many great spots for okonomiyaki throughout Hiroshima, but Okonomimura provides the most options. It’s a sprawling building containing over 20 restaurants that specialize specifically in okonomiyaki – or hiroshimayaki as it’s sometimes called.
View the sobering reminder of WWII at the Atomic Bomb Dome
On August 6th, 1945, a five-ton atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, instantly destroying much of the city and killing tens of thousands of people. In the years since the city has built a large memorial and peace park to memorialize the human toll.
The park is a lovely area with several monuments dedicated to peace. In the middle of this reconstruction is a lasting reminder of the devastation. The Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall partially survived the bombing, and the skeleton of the building remains.
The top of the building featured a large dome, and the metal framework is still in place. It’s become known as the Atomic Bomb Dome.
The dome, the surrounding park, and the museums are necessary Hiroshima attractions to visit. You can learn more about the history of the city and how it rebuilt after the war.
Ride a ferry to view the floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine
The nearby Miyajima Island is one of the top places to visit in Hiroshima. It’s just across the harbour and only takes about 40 minutes to reach from Hiroshima Station.
The island is commonly called the Shrine Island, as it houses Itsukushima Shrine and its enormous torii gate. The shrine, its surrounding buildings, and the large torii gate were constructed above pier-like structures so that they’d appear to float on the water.
If you happen to visit during high tide, the shrine and the gate still look like they’re floating on the water. When riding in on the ferry in the early morning during a light fog, the gate magically appears out of nowhere.
Learn more about the history of ancient Hiroshima at Carp Castle
Another historic site and top Hiroshima attraction is Hiroshima Castle. It’s a massive five-story structure surrounded by a moat.
The castle, which is also sometimes called Carp Castle, was destroyed during the atomic blast. It was rebuilt in the late 1950s and now offers a window into the ancient history of the city as a museum dedicated to Japanese life before World War II.
You can walk the reconstructed castle grounds and imagine what life may have been like in feudal Japan. You can also get a little help picturing ancient times by visiting the castle museum.
Visit the three tree (a willow, a eucalyptus and a holly) that survived the bombing and continue to thrive on the castle grounds.
Catch a baseball game at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima
Hiroshima contains more than historic sites and ancient temples. You can also catch a baseball game.
Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima is the home of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. They play in the Nippon Professional Baseball Central League, which is the highest level of baseball in Japan.
For the past couple of decades, the team hasn’t performed their best. Luckily, they’re on a bit of a streak, winning the Central League pennants for the past three years.
You can get in on the excitement by catching a game during the regular season, along with 30,000 fans.
It’s a truly memorable experience with a lot more crowd participation compared to a typical MLB game. Get ready for dueling team brass bands, sing-alongs, dancing, and plenty of screaming.
Breathe fresh air and enjoy nature as you stroll Shukkeien Garden
Many major cities in Japan maintain their historic gardens, giving you a chance to walk the exact same landscapes that people walked hundreds of years ago. In Hiroshima, Shukkeien Garden is one of the best examples of a carefully preserved Japanese garden.
Shukkeien Garden is just a short walk from Hiroshima Castle, which makes it a convenient stop during your trip.
The garden was originally constructed in 1620. Like much of the city, the garden was mostly destroyed by the atomic bombing. The garden was later reconstructed and reopened to the public in 1951.
You can now enjoy a leisurely stroll through a landscape filled with native plant life, lakes, and teahouses. Above the cluster of trees that surround the garden, you can see mountains and the top of the cityscape of Hiroshima.
See more of Hiroshima as you ride the Moving Streetcar Museum
One of the top attractions in Hiroshima is found throughout the city. The streetcars that you see travelling up and down every major street are a notable feature of Hiroshima.
In the first half of the 20th century, streetcars were a primary mode of transportation in major Japanese cities. While they’re mostly disappearing throughout the country, Hiroshima proudly maintains over 300 streetcars.
These streetcars are called Hiroden and come from all over Japan, as the city buys discontinued streetcars from other cities. This growing collection is commonly called the Moving Streetcar Museum.
You’ve got an eclectic mix of trolleys that you can use to travel the streets of Hiroshima. It’s also one of the best ways to explore the city.
Where to stay: The best hotels for sightseeing in Hiroshima
Unlike other large Japanese cities, figuring out where to stay in Hiroshima isn’t so difficult. Many of the top points of interest in Hiroshima lie in & around the compact and walkable city centre.
Get your accommodations search started with these top Hiroshima hotels:
- Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hiroshima: A budget-friendly 3-star hotel located in the city’s main commercial district. Rooms are spacious and modern.
- Hotel Granvia Hiroshima: Another pick that won’t break the bank, this 3-star hotel is conveniently connected to Hiroshima Station to make your arrival and departure an absolute cinch. The contemporary rooms and far more spacious than the usual Japanese standards would predict. As an added bonus, the hotel is home to six restaurants and offers extras like a massage service that are well beyond what’s normally offered at this price point in Japan.
- Rihga Royal Hotel Hiroshima: One of the top mid-range picks in Hiroshima, this hotel features massive modern rooms. Most of the best attractions in Hiroshima lie within 5 to 10 minutes of the property by foot.
- Candeo Hotels Hiroshima Hatchobori: There isn’t much in the way of top-end luxury in Hiroshima, but this 4-star hotel certainly won’t disappoint most. The rooms are surprisingly large, but the real treat here is the relaxing on-site onsen where you can float all your cares away.