A prefecture that refuses to be defined by tragedy
Discover tranquil shrines, quaint port towns, and welcoming, friendly people.
In the center of the Chugoku region on Japan’s main island of Honshu, Hiroshima Prefecture offers a wealth of different things to see and do. From its sobering monuments located in its prefectural capital of Hiroshima City to stunning shrines and islands running wild with friendly deer and cute rabbits. While we should never forget it as a symbol of peace for its part in WWII, there ‘s also just so much more to Hiroshima.
A time for peace
Hiroshima city makes a great base for exploring the region. Spend a decent amount of time seeing the city’s main sights, including the Peace Memorial Park and UNESCO World Heritage A-Bomb Dome, as well as the reconstructed Hiroshima Castle. Stuff yourself with Hiroshima-yaki at Okonomimura, a kind of okonomiyaki theme park with lots of restaurants serving up the local version of this savory pancake.
A 40-minute train ride will take you to Saijo, Hiroshima’s sake (rice wine) town. Here you can attempt not to fall over at the end of a walking tour of the district’s numerous breweries.
Sacred island, furry friends
The Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima is one of Japan’s most iconic scenes. The island is also an easy day trip from Hiroshima City. Lunch and dinner ferry cruises operate between Hiroshima and Miyajima, or you can take the train from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station and a ferry from there. There are traditional shops and inns on the island, and it’s worth staying overnight. Like Nara, deer live on the island and will boldly approach visitors for food.
Another day trip can be had on Okunoshima, an island overrun with thousands of adorable rabbits. Once a hidden stronghold of the Imperial Japanese Army, Okunoshima is an absolute must for bunny lovers, or just those looking for a unique experience. The entire island can be circled in a couple of hours on foot or by bicycle. Just make sure you bring lots of food for the hungry critters.
Explore the countryside
In the prefecture’s south side lies Tomonoura, a picturesque fishing town that’s part of the Setonaikai National Park. Another quaint port nearby, Onomichi has a well-signposted temple walk that takes in 25 of the town’s 48 temples dotted among its slopes. Onomichi is also the starting point of the Shimanami Kaido, a 60-kilometer highway of nine individual bridges connecting Honshu and Shikoku that makes for a spectacular cycling route.
Are you feeling even more adventurous? Just two hours from Hiroshima City, Sandankyo Gorge is a gorgeous place for trekking, especially in autumn with the changing of the leaves, and you can take a riverboat through the ravine passing through the waterfalls. The rivers’ clear, clean flowing water and aqua blue pools are breathtaking.
Want to see more? Start planning your trip to Hiroshima with the locations below.