When you think of Hiroshima attractions your first thought will be its Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome, second will be Miyajima Island with the World Heritage Itsukushima Shrine.
On my most recent trip to Hiroshima I did revisit these sites. However, there are many other excellent places to see and experience.
Arriving at Hiroshima station in the early morning I met my friend Julius and we set about exploring attractions within easy walking distance.
Just 900 meters from Hiroshima station is Shukkeien Garden, constructed in 1620. It is unique in that the central focus of the garden is a large pond with 10 inlets and several bridges that crisscross a meandering pathway, making the garden appear larger than it really is. Even with a crowd, it is a nice peaceful walk with some beautiful scenery around every bend. I was able to visit it twice during this trip and both times were very enjoyable.
A short walk from the garden brings you to Hiroshima Castle. Make sure you take a tour inside and learn about the castle’s history as well as climbing the stairs to the observation platform for a panoramic view of the city and surrounding area. Once back outside, walk the grounds around the castle for some historic ruins, plus some trees that survived the atomic bombing.
Not far from the castle is Peace Park; the Atomic Dome is currently under repairs. We did manage to visit the Hall of Remembrance. This is a very sobering experience as there are pictures and names of almost all of the 140,000 victims from the atomic bomb.
Head back to the station and walk north a few blocks to the Futabanosato Walking Trail. Within 10 kilometers there are 16 historic Shrines and Temples, some dating back 1000 years. If you can’t walk that long of a distance, fear not, as the Seven Gods of Good Fortune are all close to Hiroshima station. Many were damaged during the war, but have been rebuilt and are worth the effort to visit.
Hiroshima has an excellent street car system that can take you to each one of these sites for only 180 yen per stop.
This is a great city that needs to be added to your must visit list. The people are some of the friendliest in Japan. Hiroshima is bright, attractive, and forward thinking. Not to mention that there are English language brochures and markers at all the sites I visited.