Hiroshima is the pride and joy of southwest Japan. While the city is synonymous with the events of WWII, these days its historical sites are equally matched by its bustling streets, boundless culture, and beautiful surroundings which all contribute to the city’s undeniable charm.
When compared with the heavily populated cities of Tokyo and Osaka, Hiroshima feels relatively less busy and more manageable with its 1.1 million inhabitants. While still holding the name as the largest city in the Chugoku region, the compact city centre is easy to navigate and offers relaxed, welcoming vibes that make the metropolis an effortless visit.
Of course, it is hard to forget that Hiroshima is a city shrouded in history following the atomic bomb attack on August 6, 1945. However, despite fears that the city and its people would never recover, it was gradually rebuilt and over 70 years on the city is thriving. A lot of the main sights of Hiroshima now revolve around the Peace Memorial Park which is built on a section of land straddled by two rivers.
On top of historical and cultural activities, Hiroshima offers the same modern side of Japan you can expect to find in cities all over the country. Bright neon lights, endless shopping opportunities, and romantic views of the city’s defining tramlines can be found down the main street through town, Aioi-dori. Heading south off the main drag will lead you to the pedestrianised shopping arcade Hondori which bustles with youth culture and a myriad of eating and drinking establishments.
While good food most certainly isn’t hard to come by in Japan, Hiroshima has its own catalogue of delicious local delicacies. These include, but are certainly not limited to, okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake), oysters, and momiji manju (sweet cakes filled with anything from bean paste to cream or chocolate). One of the most popular eating spots is Okonomi-mura, an area solely dedicated to the addictive okonomiyaki, while other eating and drinking areas are found nearby in downtown Hiroshima as well as around the station.
Hiroshima Prefecture boasts an abundance of nature including the Chugoku Mountains which can be seen from Hiroshima City. Follow the rivers that run through Hiroshima south and you will find the beautiful Inland Sea, which looks across one of Japan’s four main islands, Shikoku, as well as dozens of smaller islands. Amongst these lies Miyajima Island, a name often paired with Hiroshima thanks to its ease of access by train. The nature-filled Miyajima Island is most commonly visited for the much celebrated Itsukushima Shrine, an impressive red structure which sits in the sea just off the coast of the island.