- 4 min read

Peace Pagoda Hike

Forest shrines, great views and pizza!

Many visitors to Hiroshima are intrigued by the shining silver Peace Pagoda they see on top of Mt Futaba-yama when they pull into town on the bullet train. The 1.5km hike up to the pagoda is well worth the effort as there's plenty of interest along the forest trail, and great views over the city and Hiroshima Bay await you at the top.

Route Outline: Hiroshima Station > Tōshō-gū Shrine > Kinkō Inari Shrine > Peace Pagoda (139m)

Distance: Approx 2km

Time: 40m-60min


1. We start at the north exit of Hiroshima Station (the mountainside - if you can see streetcars you are on the south side and should take the underpass through to the other side!). With the station building at your back, head west (left) along the concourse in front of the station, and follow the path around to the right alongside the Hotel Granvia Hiroshima. At the corner, turn left and walk along busy Futaba-dori. If you look to your right and up, you should be able to see the silver Peace Pagoda on top of Futaba-yama. That's where we will end up.

2. Just before you come to a busy intersection with some vending machines on your left, there is a road sign with directions to Yokogawa (straight ahead), Kamiya-cho and Hiroshima Castle (to the left) and Futaba-no-sato-rekishi-no-sanpo-michi (to the right) written in English. It is the latter that we want, so we cross Futaba-dori here, and walk straight towards the mountain.

At time of writing, the steps up to Tōshō-gū Shrine are visible. However, the major construction going on in the area may change that. Incidentally, until destroyed by the A-bomb, this stretch used to be lined with cherry trees. A citizen's group is campaigning to have the sakura avenue restored.

3. Cross a small road at the very end of this stretch and enter the grounds of Tōshō-gū Shrine just to the right. Pass under the large stone torii gate and make your way up the steep stone steps. If you would prefer, there is a small road which takes up around the side and behind the shrine.

4. At the top of the stairs, pass through the decorated gate. The main shrine is directly in front of you. Make your way to the right and exit the shrine through the gate out on to the road. Take an immediate left and walk up the steep road. As it bends to the left, just up ahead you will see the steps up to Kinkō Inari Shrine on the right.

5. Make your way up the stone steps and you will see the start of the mountain trail to the right of the brightly colored main shrine building; you can't miss the tunnel of vermilion torii gates, about 100 of which meander their way up the hill. Along the path there are many small shrines containing ceramic foxes, the animal closely associated with the Inari, stone jizo and even plain rocks.

6. After the torii gates peter out you will see a white sign with blue Japanese characters which points to a side trail that shoots off to the right. This leads to a kami-mizu sacred water source.

7. Continuing on up the hill, you will soon see some large rocks and stone steps heading off to the left. These lead up to the inner shrine buildings. It is worth taking a detour here, as there are more little shrines dotted among the rocks and reasonably nice views from a vantage point on the rocks just above the shrine building.

8. Returning to the main trail, after picking your way over some more large rocks and exposed tree roots you come out at a fairly flat trail. Head to the right along the broad path and you should soon see the silver metal of the pagoda glistening through the trees. A quick hop up the final steps and you are at the pagoda.

To get back, you can either retrace your steps over the mountain, or return more directly. Make your way through the open space (a popular picnic spot during the cherry blossom season) behind the pagoda and down the steep steps, at the bottom of which are some rather rudimentary porta-potties. From here you head down the very steep road. As it bends sharply to the right, look for another trail shooting off to the left. Take this trail (you'll see a small nondescript shrine on the right which seems to be a favorite spot for feeding stray cats) and follow it down for about 100m where you come to some steep steps that go down to a small residential area. From here it's about a 5-minute cab ride back to Hiroshima Station.

More info

Find out more about Hiroshima Peace Pagoda.

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