The route that first-time visitors to Japan usually take is from Tokyo – Osaka (and surrounding areas) – Tokyo. Of course, there are trips in between and often the chance to venture further into Japan. As one of the most popular add-ons and frequently visited cities in Japan, is Hiroshima worth visiting?
Hiroshima is absolutely worth visiting. In fact, I’d suggest it’s a must-visit if you have the time. From its well-known history to its world-class food, and mountainous backdrop, this city has it all. Whatever you’re looking for more of on your holiday to Japan, Hiroshima can offer it in bucketloads.
After visiting Hiroshima twice so far, I’ve come to know a fair bit about this area and I’m very excited to share my findings with you. While Japan often suffers from content creators being hyped up about every destination (resulting in nonhelpful reviews), Hiroshima is somewhere that deserves the praise it gets!
How to get to Hiroshima
One of the best ways to figure out if Hiroshima is worth visiting (and any place in Japan for that matter) is to first look at how to get there. Some of you might be considering adding a stop in Hiroshima to your itinerary, and others may just consider a day trip.
Osaka – Hiroshima
First up, let’s take a look at your journey from Osaka, something I’ve done twice now.
The only feasible way to get from Osaka (or surrounding areas) to Hiroshima is by Shinkansen. It takes just 1 hour 30 minutes on the fastest train, and is a really pleasant trip.
This short journey would allow you to visit Hiroshima on a day trip and come back in the evening. I’m not saying I’d recommend a trip that’s so short (even though Hiroshima is by far one of my favorite places in Japan), but if it’s your only chance of visiting the city, then, by all means, go for it!
Tokyo – Hiroshima
If you’re coming to Hiroshima straight from Tokyo, it’s going to take you just shy of 4 hours. I understand if that seems like a long time (long enough to not make it a day trip), but the Japanese shinkansen makes that journey an absolute breeze.
Technically you can fly from Tokyo to Hiroshima, but when it comes down to Shinkansen vs plane, my choice is always the former.
Where to stay in Hiroshima
When choosing to stay over in Hiroshima, you’ll have plenty of options both in and out of the city. That means that no matter who you’re with or what kind of experience you want, you’ll be able to find it.
When I first stayed in Hiroshima for 2-days, we chose an Airbnb out of the city in a town called Fuchu. It took us around 15 minutes on the bus but was otherwise incredibly easy to get to.
As you can see it was completely traditional with tatami mats, futons, and zabuton, and it had the nicest host I’ve ever come across.
The second time I stayed in Hiroshima, we chose a property on booking.com which was about 5-minute walk from the dome. To be honest, the proximity to pretty much everything made this place a winner and one that I would choose again.
My point is, that you’ll be able to find a property to suit your tastes, so it’s worth visiting Hiroshima if this is something you’re concerned about. There’s no reason not to!
Things to do in Hiroshima
There are lots of things to do in Hiroshima, and I still feel like I haven’t done them all despite spending a total of about 1 week here. Of course, the first and most important thing I would suggest doing in Hiroshima would be to visit the memorial, museum, and dome.
Yes, it’s a very heavy experience, but you’ll come away from it with a much better understanding of what happened and how deeply it affected the lives of thousands of people.
Is it Hiroshima worth visiting for this reason alone? That’s something that only you can answer. For me, the answer was a definitive yes.
Aside from the memorial, I also did the following:
I’ve already written a separate article about Miyajima (definitely worth a visit, at least once), it’s a great day trip from Hiroshima. It’s very
If you haven’t managed to visit Nara to see the deers, this is your next chance. While you aren’t supposed to touch them, they’re still far more docile than those in Nara, and really cool to see on the island.
Attraction in Japan can get crowded, and Miyajima is a typical example of this. Unfortunately, the crowds that descend on the island frequently leave rubbish all over the place which makes it rather dirty.
Japan is a clean country, so it’s never a good thing to see. So, make sure to take your rubbish with you until you find a bin!
Went shopping at Hondori Shopping Street
I’m not much of a shopper (normally it’s because I have no money as it all goes on traveling…), but even I have to admit that this was a great experience. Remember cramped, cave-like conditions in Nakano Broadway which we talked about a while ago? Imagine the complete opposite and you’ll be close to Hondori Shopping Street in Hiroshima.
A big open space, high ceilings, and shops on either side. Yes, it’s still fast-paced, but it’s definitely more relaxing than a lot of Japan’s other shopping streets.
Walked around Shukkeien Garden
Japan is photogenic, and this place shows that off perfectly. As my all-time favorite garden in Japan, I would 1000% recommend putting this on your itinerary if you’ve decided that visiting Hiroshima is worth visiting.
There’s something interesting to see around every corner, and the garden is small enough to get around quickly if you want to, or slower if you want to see everything.
It’s also very cheap, in a great location, and has a really interesting history to it. I don’t want to spoil it for you here!
Visited Hiroshima Castle
Practically next door to the garden above is Hiroshima Castle. I’ll sound like a broken record but as you know from Osaka Castle, these aren’t my favorite things to see in Japan.
When I say ‘see’, I mean to go inside of. Lots of them are beautiful from the outside, Osaka Castle and Hiroshima Castle included!
Ate way too much food
We like to eat, it’s as simple as that! Among other foods, Hiroshima is famous for its Okonomiyaki so definitely give that a go if you’ve decided Hiroshima is worth visiting.
We ended up eating ramen, okonomiyaki, Italian pizza (genuinely some of the nicest we’ve had), and plenty of Japanese snacks along the way.
Again, one of these reasons alone might make Hiroshima worth visiting for you. In which case, skip the rest of this article and just go!
For a complete list of what I did in Hiroshima, look at my 2-day itinerary.
Tours in Hiroshima
It’s definitely possible to visit Japan without a plan, but sometimes experiencing certain parts of it with a knowledgeable tour guide can make all the difference. This is especially true if you don’t have too much time to waste.
Here’s a selection of some of the most popular and highly-rated tours in Hiroshima. Take a look, do your own research, and figure out whether one of these might be the difference between you visiting Hiroshima and leaving it out of your itinerary.
How long should you spend in Hiroshima?
Figuring out how long you should spend in any part of Japan is always going to be tricky. Hiroshima, unfortunately, is no different.
If you’ve only got a day or two left on your itinerary, then figuring out how long to spend in Hiroshima won’t be too hard. If you haven’t started preparing for your trip to Japan yet and are just weighing up your options, things get a little more tricky.
1 day in Hiroshima
If you’ve decided to go for a day trip to Hiroshima from Osaka or somewhere further down south, you’ll of course only have one day in Hiroshima. It’s still worth it in my opinion, but you’ll have to prioritize what you want to do and see.
My personal suggestion would be to visit the Memorial. I wouldn’t have felt happy if I had left Hiroshima without visiting the memorial, despite the fact it’s a pretty heavy experience. Then grab a bite to eat, go shopping in Hondori Shopping Street or one of the department stores, or do something a little light-hearted. You’ll need it.
2 days + in Hiroshima
Spending 2 days or more in Hiroshima means you’ll be able to do a few more things during your stay. Once again it’s completely up to you, but I would reserve one of those days for the memorial, and perhaps some light shopping or chill-out time afterward.
Dedicate another full day to Miyajima just to make sure you’ll be able to explore the island as much as you want to. I’ve been twice but because I didn’t spend long enough on it, I’ve still yet to see everything!
Add in Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Garden at some point as well. Their central locations make them a perfect morning or evening activity.
Oh, and make sure to ride on the tram too. That was by far one of the top things we did!
When should you visit Hiroshima?
Knowing whether it’s worth it to visit Hiroshima might come down to the time of year you’re traveling. There’s no perfect time to visit Hiroshima, but the usual holidays and popular times of year are probably best avoided.
That’s only if you can avoid them, don’t let it put you off if you’ve got no other option. Looking at the graph below for the search term ‘Hiroshima’, Autumn seems to be less busy, though we can’t really consider this good enough data to act on.
This article about getting cheaper flights to Japan has a load of information on the best times to those really expensive flights and making sure your money is put to good use. Do your best to follow that advice, and you’ll be alright.
Is visiting Hiroshima worth it?
So with everything said and done and hopefully most of your questions answered, is Hiroshima worth visiting? My answer is a bit fat YES!
I’m hoping to buy a house in Japan over the next few years and I love Hiroshima so much that I’m seriously considering it over Tokyo. Of course, if you love history then Hiroshima is a no-brainer.
However, even if that’s not your main reason for traveling, it’s still highly worth the visit.