30 Things to Do in Hiroshima, Japan’s Western Prefecture of History and Culture

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  • Hiroshima Prefecture is in western Honshu, Japan’s main island. It is home to the beautiful Miyajima Island, one of the Nihon-Sankei, or three most scenic spots of Japan. The prefecture’s capital, also called Hiroshima, is a vibrant and modern city, home to the Peace Memorial Park and the Genbaku Dome, the only surviving building in the area of the 1945 atomic bombing.

    The prefecture holds many lovely activities and days out and is a favourite of those travelling to Japan. Here are 30 exciting things to do in Hiroshima.

    For more things to do in other areas, check this list out!

    Would you like to stay in Hiroshima? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

    1. Wear a Kimono, Join a Private Tea Ceremony, and Cook Hiroshima Food in One Day

    What better way to experience Hiroshima than by participating in some cultural activities and chowing down on local food? With this activity, you can wear a Japanese kimono, attend an elegant tea ceremony where you can try making your own green tea, and cook some okonomiyaki, a delicious Japanese pancake-like dish. The host of this activity is very flexible, so if you’d like to try some other activities such as origami, exploring the Itsukaichi area, or even shopping, it’s perfectly possible upon request!

    This activity is available for groups of up to three people to ensure a personal experience. Head over to Itsukaichi and experience some exciting cultural activities!

    Booking details: Private Tea Ceremony in Kimono & Cooking Class, Hiroshima

    2. Explore Local Hiroshima on a Bicycle Tour

    How about exploring Hiroshima by electric bicycle? Faster than walking but more refreshing than public transport, cycling is a great way to see the city. The staff will help you with the route and any language issues and show you many places that are not on most people’s itineraries. You’ll learn a little about the history of the area and there is an option to cook and eat some delicious okonomiyaki. Book now for a fun day of cycling around this lovely city.

    Booking details: Explore local Hiroshima on a bicycle tour!

    3. Visit Sake Breweries

    Fans of Japanese sake won’t want to miss the many sake breweries in Saijo, about 40 minutes by train from Hiroshima Station. Spend the day visiting the seven breweries to sample the different brands of sake and decide which flavours you like best. After that, you can learn what food and snacks go well with certain brands of this interesting rice wine. To learn about the brewing process, get free tasting samples, and find out more about Japanese drinking culture, click the link below for more details!

    Booking details: Join an interesting sake brewery tour near Hiroshima

    4. Explore Miyajima Island and Hiroshima City on a Full Day Tour

    Miyajima, one of the most well-loved scenic spots in Japan, is a beautiful island off the coast of Hiroshima and easily accessible from the city. Make the most of your trip by seeing both Hiroshima city and the charming Miyajima all in one day!

    Book this tour to be picked up from your hotel or the station to visit the great “floating” torii gate and the famous Itsukushima Shrine. After having lunch on the island, you’ll see the Peace Memorial Park and museum and the Atomic Bomb Dome. The host is quite flexible, so feel free to change and adjust the itinerary as you please.

    Booking details: Explore Miyajima & Hiroshima in a Full Day Tour

    5. Sail to Oyster Rafts and Eat a Seafood Barbeque

    In this fun activity, you can ride on a fishing boat to see the oyster rafts off the coast of Hiroshima and Miyajima before enjoying a delicious seafood barbeque for lunch! You’ll get to see the gorgeous “floating” shrine gate, a rare view from the water, and experience a day out Hiroshima-style!

    This tour is available between July and September and at least four people must participate. Have a delicious seafood meal and see some rare views from a fishing boat!

    Booking details: Sail to oyster rafts and eat seafood BBQ near Miyajima

    6. Make Your Own Bonsai Tree Art

    Bonsai art is a world-famous culture that you can experience in the heart of Hiroshima. A professional bonsai master will teach you a little about bonsai culture and you can even take a small piece of art to take home with you. He will even tell you how to take care of the bonsai to keep it in good shape for years to come! Experience this charming Japanese culture during your stay in Hiroshima.

    Booking details: Make your own Bonsai art in Hiroshima

    7. Have a Private Tea Ceremony in a Kimono

    Wear a Japanese traditional kimono and enjoy a tea ceremony! You will learn a bit about this tradition and try two types of tea with “wagashi”, a kind of Japanese confectionery. This activity takes place between the Peace Memorial Park and Miyajima, in an excellent location to go sightseeing afterwards.

    There is also a special morning tea ceremony conducted early on so you still have the rest of the day to explore the city.

    Booking details: Have a private tea ceremony in kimono, Hiroshima

    8. Take a Shimanami Cycling Tour from Onomichi

    If you’d like a day of cycling but are unsure about riding a bicycle in the city, try this tour that departs from Onomichi and ends in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture. It has one of the best cycling roads in Japan and is known for the fantastic Shimanami Highway.

    See Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, take in the beautiful views of Innoshima Suigun Pirates Castle and Innoshima Flower Centre. The itinerary is pretty flexible and can be changed according to your time frame. Click the link below to find out more about this fun tour!

    Booking details: Enjoy a one-day Shimanami cycling tour from Onomichi

    9. Try Easy Japanese Cooking with Locals in Fukuyama

    Fukuyama is 30 minutes by train from Hiroshima Station and if you decide to visit, why not meet up with a local family and learn to cook Japanese food? Learn some easy and healthy dishes and take the recipes home to cook back in your home country! You can also learn a bit about Japanese eating culture and enjoy the delicious food you make with the family. Spend a pleasant afternoon with local people and learn about cooking in Hiroshima.

    Booking details: Try easy Japanese cooking with locals in Fukuyama

    10. Join the Miyajima Momijigari Autumn Walking Tour

    Autumn is a beautiful season in Japan; it is the time of red “momiji” leaves and is traditionally the season of harvests and delicious food. Miyajima, the beautiful island near Hiroshima city, is famous for its breathtaking momiji views. If you’re going to be in Hiroshima in autumn, consider taking this special tour to see the best foliage spots, including Itsukushima Shrine and places in Hiroshima city, too. Book this tour and get some excellent photographs.

    Booking details: Join the Miyajima momijigari Autumn Walking Tour (Hiroshima)

    11. See the Atomic Bomb Dome

    No visit to Hiroshima is complete without a visit to the atomic bomb dome, a symbol of the terrible event in 1945 when over 100,000 people were killed by the atomic bomb. The nearby Peace Park features several landmarks in memory of those who died and the dome still stands as a hope for peace. After you have visited the park, your host will take you to visit the best spots of Miyajima. Book this tour to see the highlights of these two areas.

    Booking details: See the A-bomb Dome in Hiroshima and Miyajima

    12. See the Rabbit Island and Try Sake

    On this tour, you can catch a boat to Okunojima Island, nicknamed Rabbit Island for its large population of rabbits! Walk around the island and feed some of the cute rabbits that live there. If you like hiking, you can also visit the observatory. In the afternoon, you’ll head to Saijo to visit the brewery and try some local sake. Join this tour to experience an unusual Japanese island and more!

    Booking details: See the Rabbit Island and taste sake near Hiroshima!

    13. Tour a Sake Brewery and Make Soba

    Soba is a delicious buckwheat noodle dish that can be served hot or cold. In this day out, you can tour a popular brewery and sample different types of sake, learn how soba is made and eat it for lunch, and have some Japanese green tea and sweets. Play the koto, a traditional Japanese stringed instrument, before heading back to Hiroshima city and choosing from a few options on what you would like to do next. Book this tour for a delightful day of culture, food, and sake!

    Booking details: Tour a sake brewery and make soba during Hiroshima Day Trip

    14. Discover Hidden Local Spots

    Although they are great spots to visit, there is more to Hiroshima than the Memorial Peace Park and Miyajima Island! Join this tour to discover little-known spots such as the Kumano Brush Craft Centre which is famous for its high-quality brushes and paint, a hot spring spa with views of the Seto Inland Sea, and places to get the freshest seafood from local fishermen. Book this marvellous day out and discover another side of Hiroshima.

    Booking details: Discover hidden local spots during a Hiroshima Day Trip

    15. Have the Ultimate Brewery Tour

    Sake fans would love this brewery tour near Saijo Station! Visit seven breweries and sample the unique rice wine of each one. You can also learn a little about the area of Saijo, a charming town of historic streets and houses famous for its sake-related food and sweets. Book this activity for the ultimate sake tour!

    Booking details: Take a Japanese Sake brewery guided tour at Saijo, Hiroshima

    16. Go Shopping in Hiroshima’s Downtown Area

    Hiroshima is a great city because it not only has natural and historic sites, but plenty of shops so you can get retail therapy as well! The downtown area of Hiroshima has high-street shops and a charming street selling clothes, souvenirs, and local goodies.

    17. Eat Momiji Manju

    You can’t visit a new place without checking out some of the local food! Momiji manji is a type of cake that’s shaped like “momiji” leaves, something the area is famous for. These sweet treats come in a variety of flavors such as red bean, vanilla, chocolate, and matcha green tea, and make perfect souvenirs as well. You can even get freshly-baked ones on Miyajima Island.

    18. Go Deer Spotting

    Nara in Kansai is possibly the most famous place for deer in Japan, but Miyajima Island has its own share of wild deer that are fun to spot! They’re fairly tame, but the rules are not to feed them. Looking and taking photographs is fine, though. It’s fun to see them relaxing among the hotels and trees! Just take care that they don’t go sniffing around your belongings.

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    19. Go Up Mt. Misen

    Mount Misen is considered a sacred mountain on the island of Miyajima. It is 535 meters above sea level and with the ropeway and following hike, it takes a couple of hours to get to the top. It isn’t too challenging, but it’s recommended you wear appropriate footwear.

    You can see some excellent views from the ropeway of the sea and surrounding nature. It’s a lovely place to escape the city and get a little exercise along the way.

    Mt. Misen website
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    20. See Itsukushima Shrine

    Although some tours include Itsukushima Shrine, it’s also worth going by yourself during your trip to Miyajima. This gorgeous shrine has a good view of the “floating” torii gate and when the tide is in, it seems like the shrine, too, is floating on water. With the well-kept traditional architecture, you’ll feel like you’re starring in a samurai movie.

    Itsukushima Shrine website
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    21. Stroll around the Peace Memorial Park

    Hiroshima is famous, of course, for the atomic bomb attack by the United States in August 1945. The Peace Memorial Park, close to the ruins of the atomic bomb dome, is dedicated to peace and the abstinence of using atomic bombs and other nuclear weapons.

    If you are in Hiroshima on a clear day, be sure to stroll the Peace Memorial Park and see various landmarks such as the peace flame, the children’s memorial area, and the large bell that you can ring to wish for world peace.

    Peace Memorial Park website
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    22. Visit the Memorial Peace Museum

    For those interested in finding out more about the atomic bomb attack in which it was carried out should also check out the museum, which is in the park. It is sure to have an emotional impact even on the younger generation with no experience in war, as victims’ belongings and explanations of the attack and its results are featured here.

    Hiroshima Memorial Peace Museum website
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    23. Eat Hiroshima-yaki

    Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake with a variety of ingredients and very popular in Japan and among visitors. Most people associate this delicious dish with Osaka, but Hiroshima has its own version! In Hiroshima-yaki, you’ll find that the ingredients are layered and the dish itself is often served with noodles inside.

    Be sure to try it while you are in Hiroshima or Miyajima. Just be sure to avoid calling it “Hiroshima-yaki” as the locals consider their version the “real” version! Just call it okonomiyaki and ask for it to be served Hiroshima style.

    24. See Shukkei-en Garden

    Hiroshima wouldn’t be a Japanese city without a beautiful garden! Shukkei-en was constructed in a Japanese style, with koi carp, small bridges, and even an art museum. There is also a ginko tree in the garden that survived the atomic bomb. This serene garden is the perfect escape from the city center and a great place to relax on a pleasant day or warm evening.

    Shukkei-en Garden website
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    25. Visit the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art

    This museum was established in 1989 and showcases contemporary art, exclusively. It also has an open-air exhibition area. Entry for adults is only 370 yen and elementary, junior high, and non-Japanese students can get in for free.

    Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art website

    26. Go to Daisho-in Temple

    At the foot of Mt. Misen on Miyajima Island is a lesser-known temple, one of the main temple in the Shingon Buddhist school of Omuro. Walk among the hundreds of charming stone statues up to the steps of the temple. Those who enjoy discovering places off the beaten path should definitely visit Daisho-in perhaps before climbing Mt. Misen.

    Daisho-in Temple website *Japanese only
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    27. Visit Hiroshima Castle

    Many of Japan’s cities have beautiful castles and Hiroshima is no exception. Hiroshima Castle was reconstructed after the atomic bomb attack and visitors can enjoy the lovely architecture. This replica now serves as a museum of Hiroshima’s history before World War II.

    The original castle was controlled by several clans over the years and it has an interesting history. Be sure to visit during your stay in the city.

    Hiroshima Castle website *Japanese only
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    Hiroshima Tours for Those Who Also Want to Go to Other Areas

    There are plenty of opportunities to see Hiroshima even if you are not planning on staying there. Some tours also offer trips to Hiroshima as well as other places. Check out the tours below for visits to Hiroshima from other cities and tours including other areas.

    27. Take a 2-Day Hiroshima and Kurashiki Trip from Kyoto

    This two-day trip starts in Kyoto and takes you to visit famous spots such as Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island and the Memorial Peace Park in Hiroshima City. On the second day, you will visit Kurashiki, where you can stroll the Bikan Historical Quarter and visit the Ohara Museum of Art.

    The price includes accommodation for the night, lunch on the second day, admission fees, transportation fees, an English-speaking guide, and a pick-up and drop-off service at designated hotels. For this two-day package deal to easily see some great sights in Hiroshima and beyond, click the link below for further details!

    To start the tour from Osaka and to also visit Okayama Korakuen, one of Japan’s top three gardens, check out this tour.

    Booking details: Enjoy a 2-Days Hiroshima & Kurashiki Tour from Kyoto!

    28. Explore Hiroshima and Miyajima by Bullet Train from Kyoto

    Hiroshima is easily reachable from Kyoto. If you’re staying in Kyoto and you’re interested in seeing the highlights of Hiroshima for a day, consider booking this tour. The price includes bullet train tickets and a tour of Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island, the Peace Memorial Park, and the atomic bomb dome. These three top spots in Hiroshima can be seen in one day and the tour gets you back to Kyoto in time for dinner!

    Booking details: Explore Hiroshima & Miyajima by Shinkansen from Kyoto!

    30. Take a Day Trip to Hiroshima from Osaka by Bullet Train

    This tour is similar to the one from Kyoto, except you also get to see Hiroshima Castle on your day out. If you’re staying in Osaka and you’re interested in seeing Hiroshima’s highlights for the day, consider booking this tour where bullet train tickets are included and an experienced guide will show you around.

    Booking details: Day trip to Hiroshima from Osaka by Shinkansen (guided tour)

    Hiroshima is a prefecture brimming with history, culture, and a love for sake and food! No one heading to western Japan can miss this vibrant area. With these things to do, you’ll never be bored in Hiroshima. Book a day out today and make the most of your exciting journey!

    Would you like to stay in Hiroshima? Check out all the hotels in the area here!