12 Things to Do in Hiroshima and Nearby Miyajima


Great Torii Gate - Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima - Top Things To Do Hiroshima

Things To Do in Hiroshima and Miyajima

Top Things to Do in Hiroshima

Itsukushima

Great Torii Gate - Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima - Top Things To Do Hiroshima

View the iconic Floating Torii Gate and explore the island full of wild deer

Itsukushima, more commonly known as Miyajima, is a small island located in the beautiful Hiroshima Bay – about one hour away from Hiroshima City.

Miyajima is most famous for its shrine, Itsukushima Jinja, and its giant orange Torii Gate. Both are built over water and seem to float in the ocean during high tide. The scenic sights are considered one of Japan’s three best views and I promise you they are worth the visit. When the tide is low, on the other hand, you can walk up close to the giant Torii Gate.

Besides the ancient shrine, Itsukushima Island is also famous for its mountain, Mt. Misen, and the spectacular views from its mountaintop. Near the summit, there are a few interesting temple buildings like the Reikado (Eternal Fire Hall) that protects the “Eternal Flame” lit by Kobo Daishi.

In order to reach the top, you can either take the Miyajima Ropeway or climb up the mountain on foot. A roundtrip by ropeway costs ~¥2,000 while climbing takes about 1.5 ~ 2 hour.

Other attractions on the island include a Daisho-In Temple at the foot of Mt. Misen, a 5-Storied Pagoda and a Shopping Street where you can snack on local foods and sweets like the famous Momiji Manju.

There are also a lot of wild deer on the island that roam around freely through the streets and parks. Even though they are wild they are not afraid of humans and will try to get some food from you.

Itsukushima is worth a visit all year round. However, it’s especially beautiful in early April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom or in mid-November when Mt. Misen and the popular Momijidani Park are covered in red and yellow autumn leaves.

There’s also a spectacular fireworks display, the Miyajima Water Fireworks Festival, in August, attracting over 300,000 visitors every year.

Even though it’s a bit outside of Hiroshima don’t worry! With a Japan Rail Pass, you can access Miyajima and ride the ferries without paying any extra money.

What: Shrine & Nature
When: Cherry blossoms early April, autumn leaves Mid-November
Where: ~1h southwest of Hiroshima station
Costs: ~¥1,500 (round-trip)

Itsukushima (Miyajima) to Hiroshima - How to Get to Itsukushima Map
See Photos
Official Website

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Garden - Cenotaph and A-Bomb Dome - Top Things to Do Hiroshima

Experience Hiroshima’s past strolling around the Parks’s and Museums’s grounds and see the A-Bomb Dome

Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park has five major sights. The Atomic Bomb Dome, the Children’s Peace Monument, the Hiroshima Victims Memorial Cenotaph, the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

The first thing most of you will encounter are the shocking ruins of the Atomic Bomb Dome, or A-Bomb Dome, next to Aioi Bridge. The symbol of peace and registered UNESCO World Heritage Site is probably Hiroshima’s most prominent memorial of its past. I get goosebumps every time I see it and I’m sure so will you…

In the center of the park, you can find the Children’s Peace Monument with a figure of Sadako Sasaki, the Memorial Cenotaph which frames the Peace Flame and the A-Bomb Dome as well as the Peace Memorial Hall. Paper cranes can be seen all over the park, but especially around the Children’s Peace Monument, there are thousands of colorful origami cranes.

The park’s main facility, the Peace Memorial Museum, is located at the south of the park. It has been renovated over the past few years and just fully reopened on April 25, 2019. It’s well worthwhile a visit to learn about Hiroshima’s tragic history, but please be warned that the photographs and exhibits are quite graphic and extremely shocking. It actually made me tear up, but still or especially because of that I think you should go and see it with your own eyes. Let’s always remember the importance of peace.

The park is huge and you can explore most of it for free day and night. Only the Peace Museum and the Peace Memorial Hall have opening hours from 8:30 until at least 17:00 and are closed on December 30 and 31. To enter the museum you have to pay an admission, however, it’s only ¥200.

Near the peace park to the right, there are a few other interesting spots you might want to check-out. You can see the Atomic struck Jizoson statue, the landmark of the Atomic Bomb Hypocenter and visit Hiroshima Orizuru Tower. The tower has an observation deck and a rooftop bar offering beautiful night views of the city. However, admission is a little bit steep (¥1,000 ~ ¥2,000).

In early April the 300 cherry blossoms of the Peace Park start blooming and turn the park in one Hiroshima’s most popular Hanami spots.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
What: Cherry Blossoms & Park
When: All year round, also beautiful at night
Where: 15min (2.5km) from Hiroshima Station
Admission: Free

Peace Memorial Museum
What: Museum
Hours: 8:00 ~ 18:00
Closed: Dec 30 and 31
Where: 20min (2.9km) from Hiroshima Station, near Memorial Park
Admission: ¥200

Itsukushima (Miyajima) to Hiroshima - How to Get to Itsukushima Map
See Photos
Museum’s Website
Memorial Hall’s Website

Okonomi-mura Village

Okonomi-mura - Eat Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki - Top Things to Do Hiroshima

Enjoy Hiroshima’s soul food topped with the village’s exclusive okonomiyaki sauce

Okonomi-mura is a 3-floor building with more than 24 restaurants. All of the shops offer Hiroshima’s delicious soul food Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki, but each with their own style and set of ingredients.

Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake containing cabbage, seafood, and other ingredients. It’s really famous in Kansai, however, Hiroshima has its own original version layering batter, cabbage, pork and seafood or cheese and topping it with noodles, fried egg and okonomiyaki sauce.

Not only savoring the dish but also watching the chef preparing and frying the pancake is a real highlight! It’s like a little show or performance.

You can actually find delicious Okonomiyaki restaurants all over Hiroshima, however, the chefs of Okonomi-mura use a specialty okonomiyaki sauce that was created exclusively for the village. You can also buy it as a souvenir if you want.

In 2004 the food theme park was the top destination for families in Japan.

What: Food
Hours: 11:00 ~ 3:00
Where: 15min (1.8km) from Hiroshima Station
Costs: from ~¥800

Itsukushima (Miyajima) to Hiroshima - How to Get to Itsukushima Map
Official Website

Mazda Museum

Mazda Museum Hiroshima - Top Things To Do Hiroshima

Join a guided tour to see the company museum and one of the assembly lines

If you’re into cars there’s one more place you shouldn’t miss – the Mazda Museum. The museum is located in Mazda Motor Corporations’s head office and can only been visited by registering for a guided tour beforehand, but the tour is free of charge and you can easily make a reservation online or by phone.

There are only two tours a day and they only take place on weekdays. Furthermore, one tour is in Japanese and the other one in English. The English tour is from 10:00 – 11:30 and you can make reservations up to one year in advance.

During the tour, you can learn about Mazda’s history, take a look at their technology and will be introduced to future developments. You will also visit a part of their factory and can see an actual vehicle assembly line. Last but not least you can buy some merchandise at the MAZDA Museum Shop.

What: Museum
When: Weekdays, except holidays from 10:00 ~ 11:30
Where: 35min (5.2km) from Hiroshima Station
Admission: Free

Itsukushima (Miyajima) to Hiroshima - How to Get to Itsukushima Map
Official Website
For Online Reservations

This is my recommended list of things to do in Hiroshima and you can easily visit all of the sights in 1.5 – 2 days. If you go to the museum or if you want to take your time exploring Miyajima, I’d recommend you to plan in 2 full days.

While I personally think that these are all of the must-see attractions in Hiroshima, there are actually a lot more nice places and things to do in Hiroshima.

So keep on reading!

Other Sights in Hiroshima

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle is actually really beautiful. The five stories tall main keep has a nice wooden exterior and is surrounded by a moat. The castle ground is admission free and a popular cherry blossom spot in early April.

What: Castle & Cherry Blossoms
Where: 15min walk from Peace Park
Hours: 9:00 to at least 17:00
Closed: Dec 29 – 31
Admission: Free, ¥370 (main keep)

Shukkeien

Shukkeien Japanese Garden Hiroshima

Shukkeien is a typical Japanese garden depicting a miniature landscape of valleys, mountains, and forests. However, this garden has a long history dating back to 1620. In early April the 200 cherry blossoms are in full bloom and some areas are available for Hanami parties.

What: Japanese Garden
Where: Near Hiroshima Castle
Hours: 9:00 to at least 17:00
Closed: Dec 29 – 31
Admission: ¥260

Mitaki-Dera

Mitaki-Dera Hiroshima

Mitaki-Dera is a cute temple with a two-story pagoda and three waterfalls within its grounds. The name literally means “Three Waterfalls Temple”. It’s a popular spot for seeing cherry blossoms as well as autumn leaves.

What: Temple
Where: 25min from Hiroshima Station

JMSDF Kure Museum

JMSDF Kure Museum - Hiroshima

The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force Kure Museum is a submarine museum run by the JMSDF. The most interesting thing is the building itself – a real submarine.

What: Museum
Where: 50min from Hiroshima Station
Hours: 9:00 to at least 17:00
Closed: Dec 29 – Jan 01
Admission: Free

Hijiyama Park

Hijiyama Park - Hiroshima

Hijiyama Park is a large park located on a hill with nice cherry blossoms. The views are nice.

What: Park & Cherry Blossoms
Where: 20min from Hiroshima Station
Hours: 5:00 to at least 23:00

Yamato Museum

Yamamoto Museum Hiroshima

Yamato Museum is the nickname of the Kure Maritime Museum. It’s a navel-themed museum featuring large ships models including the famous battleship Yamato, and large torpedos.

What: Museum
Where: Next to JMSDF Kure Museum
Hours: 9:00 to at least 18:00
Closed: Tuesdays
Admission: ¥500

Ninoshima

Ninoshima Hiroshima

Ninoshima is a small island just 4km or a 30min ferry ride away from Hiroshima City. There is a small mountain called “Aki no Kofuji” with nice hiking trails and views. Its shape is similar to that of Mount Fuji. The island is also famous for its oyster beds.

What: Nature & Hiking
Where: 90min from Hiroshima Station

Etajima

Etajima Island - Hiroshima City

Etjaima is another island just a short 30-40 ferry ride away. It’s bigger than Ninoshima and there are quite a few things to do. Watching the sunset from the top of Hodaiyama is especially spectacular.

What: Nature & Hiking
Where: 90min from Hiroshima Station

Alex (RockinJapan)

Hey. I'm Alex. I've been living in Japan since 2015. Before moving to Tokyo, I traveled through Japan for 7 months to visit all 47 prefectures. Traveling and staying in Japan has been so much fun and such an incredible experience that I decided to write about it. I noticed there isn't a lot of information about hot springs and onsen towns in Japan, so I'm focusing on this topic. Hopefully, my articles will help you to get the most out of your trip and to fully enjoy your time in Japan! Alex

Recent Posts