Hiroshima is a shining example of resilience. This prefecture bounced back soon after the heinous atomic bombing and amazed the world with its rapid growth and development. Known now for its museums, Okonomiyaki pancakes, gardens, hot springs and castles, this City of Peace attracts millions of visitors from across the world.
If you want to experience the cultural and historical side of Japan, Hiroshima definitely needs to be on your bucket list.
Reasons to visit Hiroshima
Hiroshima is infamous for the atomic bombing it was subjected to by America in 1945. But since then, Hiroshima is known to be the peace capital of the world. It is a place that denotes endurance, pliability, and a never-say-die attitude. It has put its dreadful past behind and transformed into a place that inspires the world. Today, the Hiroshima Prefecture is a magnet attracting tourists throughout the year. These tourists go back not only with their hearts filled with an empathetic emotion but also with a positive experience that will stay with them forever.
Things to do in Hiroshima
1.Miyajima Island, Hatsukaichi
Regarded as the Island of Gods, Miyajima has the potential to be the highlight of your trip to Hiroshima Prefecture. This picture-perfect island on the Seto Inland Sea is known for its contagious vibrancy and spectacular natural beauty.
It houses the world-famous symbol of Hiroshima – The Great Torii – the giant floating gate. It is said to be one of the three best views in Japan. Visit the calming Itsukushima Shrine that is also built over water. With pretty walking trails and serene landscapes, Miyajima oozes romance.
If you are yearning something adventurous too, you won’t be disappointed. Put on your hiking shoes and head to Mount Misen. On your way up, you are sure to encounter deer, wild monkeys, Buddhist structures, temples, and some amazing flowers. Alternatively, you can take a ropeway. Miyajima is easily accessible through bus, tram, and ferry from Hiroshima City, the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture.
2. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Transport back in time by stepping into this significant building. The museum shows the effects of the atomic bombing in a very visual manner with 3D technology and solid structures. Some of the before and after photos and structures along with the images of the adults and children who died will surely leave you teary eyed.
The exhibits are disturbing but not bitter and convey that the whole world suffers when atomic bombs are used. While there is an audio guide available, you can opt out since most places have descriptions written in English.
3. Atomic Bomb Dome
This building is not just a symbol of the atomic bombing on Hiroshima – it is a lot more. It is the symbol of survival, resilience, and peace. The whole purpose of keeping this building untouched after the war was to remind people of the horrifying effects of wars.
The stark dome, right in the middle of a busy area, will incite some gloomy emotions in you and remind you of how much damage a war can cause. It promotes peace and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you are in Hiroshima, this is a ‘must see’.
4. Shukkei-en Garden
If you are looking for some calm and colour in the middle of the busy city, head to Shukkei-en Garden. Built in 1620, this garden is one of the best ones in Japan. With various shades of green covering its area, it is a sight to behold.
While the garden is beautiful throughout the year, the spring brings out the best in it – thanks to the marvelous cherry blossoms that bloom there. It is the perfect place if you are yearning some ‘me’ time.
5. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
This centrally located park is a symbol of Hiroshima’s survival after the atomic bombing and is dedicated to the people who suffered. The park houses, along with Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, many other monuments and structures that attract visitors from around the world.
The park has the Children’s Peace Monument, a figure of a girl Sadako Sasaki who was a victim of the radiation and thought that making 1,000 paper cranes will cure her. Today, the structure symbolises all the children who died due to the atomic bombing.
The park is also home to the Memorial Cenotaph, an arch shaped monument that has the names of all the victims of the bombing. Don’t forget to check out the vibrant Hiroshima Flower Festival, held from May 3-5 every year along the park.
Interesting facts about Hiroshima
- The only structure left erect after the atrocious atomic bombing on 6 August 1945 was the Genbaku Dome (Hiroshima Peace Memorial).
- The Peace Flame, at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, was lit in 1964 and since then has been burning constantly. It is said that it will burn until the world is free of all nuclear bombs.
- The famous fictitious monster Godzilla was created in Japan as a metaphor for nuclear war after World War II.
- The official flower of Hiroshima is oleander as it was the first to bloom after the atomic bombing.
Staying in Hiroshima
Hiroshima offers varied accommodation options. However, those looking for memorable stay options must select a house that has a unique feel to it. To make that happen, HomeAway has partnered with the Destination Management Organization (DMO) to refurnish old historic houses and convert them to holiday homes, which can be rented on HomeAway. Check out these three options:
1.Island cottage, Hiroshima Ken
If you fancy waking up to beautiful sea views, book this gorgeous house. Facing Seto Inland Sea, this three-bedroom apartment is perfect for a family reunion or a gateway with friends. Set on a tiny island, living in this cottage is like watching a beautiful poem on nature come alive.
Sip your favourite drink while watching the sunset or have a gala time with a barbeque party. This HomeAway has all the luxurious amenities, thus assuring you have nothing to complain about. Enjoy the outdoor Jacuzzi after a hectic day out.
Average price per night: SGD 281
2. Whole house tatami, Hiroshima Ken
If you are in Japan, living like the Japanese do is the perfect way to know their culture and philosophy. What better option than this traditional house that will make sure you have a genuine Japanese experience without compromising on the comforts.
With the Hiroshima station being just a 10-minute-walk away, you will be able to reach major sightseeing spots such as Miyajima and Peace Park without any hassles. With two Japanese-style tatami rooms, a western kitchen, and a living/dining area spread across two floors, you will not face any space constraints. Sleeping options include traditional Japanese futons or double sofa beds. For those wanting to be in touch with the outer world while vacationing, there is a workspace too. Pick from a variety of entertainment options – Netflix or the music/CD player.
Average price per night: SGD 121
3. Temple-style house, Hiroshima Ken
If you are fascinated by the beautiful architecture and Zen-type feeling of Japanese temples, here is your chance to actually live in one and check it out closely. This unique HomeAway is built just like a temple and assures a calming stay.
Reinforcing the Japanese philosophy of minimalism, the spacious house with two-bedrooms is perfect for eight people. Let your kids enjoy the garden while you have a beautiful evening by the barbeque. When you seek comfort after a long and satisfying day of sightseeing, the huge bathtub will welcome you with open arms.
Average price per night: SGD 152
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