Located on the west part of the Honshu mainland, Hiroshima Prefecture has its southern part facing the Seto Inland Sea and its northern part surrounded by the Chugoku mountain ranges. The prefectural capital is Hiroshima City, which was left in ashes in a moment by the first atomic bombing in human history in WWII, but achieved a remarkable recovery after the war. Now, this beautiful international cultural city attracts many people from all over the world, serving as a hub of developing cultural and international friendships. Hiroshima Peace Memorial, more commonly known as Atomic Bomb Dome, one of the most famous World Heritage sites in Japan and dedicated to the memory of the victims, and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which aims to remind future generations of the horrors of war and appeal for lasting peace, are located in the city.
Another peculiar aspect of the city is as many as six rivers flow through the city center. Enjoy going through the city on a pleasure cruiser. From Motoyasu Sambashi (pier), you can take a cruiser to the other World Heritage site in Hiroshima, Itsukushima Shrine. You can also take a nice walk on the walking paths along the Motoyasu River, and relax and have a cup of coffee at one of the stylish open cafes near Hiroshima Station.
Founded by a member of the council of five elders, the five most powerful daimyo (territorial lords) chosen by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to serve his son, Mori Terumoto (1553-1625), Hiroshima-jo Castle is also known as Rijo (literally meaning “carp castle”). Shukkei-en garden is a beautiful circuit-style garden created around a pond, where you can enjoy seasonal nature. You can enjoy shopping at department stores, electronics retail stores, and shopping malls in Kamiyacho and Hacchobori, the city’s central business district, and Hiroshima nightlife at izakaya and bars lining the streets of the Nagarekawa and Yagembori district.
Streetcars help you get around the city. Check out the Hiroshima Omotenashi Pass, a set of a streetcar day-trip pass and special offer coupons for tourist facilities and restaurants.
The most famous Hiroshima food item is oyster. You can enjoy not only various dishes with fresh oysters but also the freshest seafood from the Seto Inland Sea. Okonomiyaki is also one of the best known Hiroshima foods along with oyster. Unlike the famous Osaka okonomiyaki, Hiroshima okonomiyaki has layers of a crepe-like base, a huge amount of shredded cabbage, meat, noodles, and lots of sauce. Anago-meshi (conger eel fillets cooked in sweet and salty soy-sauce-based sauce on rice) is another popular dish, which is also a popular ekiben (bento box lunch sold at stations and in the train). Hiroshima’s most popular souvenir, momiji manju, a small maple-leaf-shaped cake filled with sweet red bean paste, will satisfy your sweet tooth. Also, check out Hiroshima’s other newly-emerging original dishes, such as gekikara tsukemen (noodles served with an extremely spicy dipping sauce) and shirunashi tantanmen (literally means tantan noodles with no soup: Chinese noodles topped with a spicy sauce with ground meat and vegetables).
Kagura and Sake
Located in the northern part of Hiroshima Prefecture, Sandankyo Ravine is a famous spot for spectacular autumn leaves. There is a beautiful waterfall surrounded by a deep virgin forest. The northern part of the prefecture is also famous for kagura. Kagura, which means “god’s entertainment,” is a type of Shinto theatrical music and dance, and the style in this region is characterized by dynamic yet elegant dancing, colorful costumes, and boisterous music rhythms. You can see it at Kagura Monzen Toji Mura, where you can also enjoy hot springs.
About a 30-minute train ride from Hiroshima City to the east will take you to Saijo in Higashi-Hiroshima City. Saijo is nationally famous for sake brewing, along with Fushimi in Kyoto. There are eight sake brewers around JR Saijo Station. You can sample each brewer’s original sake, as well as look for souvenirs. After walking around the area, you can rest and relax at cafes and restaurants in buildings that used to be sake storehouses. There is an annual festival, called Sake Matsuri, held on a Saturday and Sunday in mid-October, where about 900 brands of sake from all over Japan are offered for tasting.
There will be a Destination Campaign by the JR Group from July to September, 2013, which is a national tourism promotion campaign. Go on a trip to discover new aspects of Hiroshima!
If you want to go to other places around Hiroshima, get “the Next 10 Spots” brochure when arriving at Hiroshima.
Access to Hiroshima
Tokyo → Hiroshima: fastest 3 hours and 48 minutes by JR Shinkansen (Nozomi)
Haneda Airport (Tokyo) → Hiroshima Airport: 1 hour and 20 minutes by airplane