Although many sightseeing spots in Hiroshima are located within walking distance from each other, budget wise, it might be worth purchasing trip cards for Hiroden street cars. Hiroden offers a 1 day limitless ride trip card for 600 yen to use on Hiroden street cars. If you are also planning to visit Miyajima, a 1 day trip card for 840 yen, which includes a round trip on a ship, is highly recommended. There is also an option to buy a 2000 yen trip card for 2 days, which also includes a rope-way ride fee (the rope-way ride fee itself is 1800 yen for a round trip). Otherwise, a single ride on Hinoden costs 150 yen.
If you have a JR pass, you might consider using JR lines to commute from Hiroshima to Miyajima. For sightseeing you can hop on the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus called “Hiroshima meipuru-pu”, which is free with a JR pass, and 200 yen for one ride, 400 yen for a one-day ticket otherwise. We advise checking the timetable in advance, although buses set off every 30 minutes from Hiroshima station from 9 am to 5:30 pm.
When visiting Hiroshima, you will notice many memorials in memory of the date of August 6th, 1945, the day of atomic bomb attack.
There are two theories about the origin of the name “Hiroshima”. One says that it comes from the names of prominent figures from that period. The other one refers to translation “hiro”-“wide” and “shima”- “island”, thus the word originates from the large island located at the mouth of Otagawa River.
Atomic Bomb Dome
Very often, free guided tours are organized by Mito Kosei, a man, whose family also suffered as a result of the atomic bomb explosion. A short film called “That Day” was made about his family’s experience too (www.thatdayfilm.com).
Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students was constructed in the memory of students over 12 years old, who were victims of the war. Over 3 million students were mobilized and more than 10,000 were killed, including 7,000 killed by atomic bomb. The tower depicts the Goddess of Peace accompanied by 8 doves. If you push a button in front of the sculpture, a short explanation of the memorial tower is provided in English.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
This Museum is an extensive 3-story facility divided into the Main Building and the East Building. The main building exhibits artifacts and materials left over after the atomic bomb, so that visitors can visualize the extent of the damage and the condition of Hiroshima after the bombing. This museum is also an educational facility for those, who would like to find out more about nuclear power, its history and peace negotiations. The East Building exhibits models and photographs to present the current status of the peace talks and Hiroshima city’s efforts to rebuild itself.
The Peace Memorial Museum is open from 8:30 to 18:00 (17:00 from Dec.to Feb and 19:00 in August). The entrance fee is 50 yen for adults and 30 yen for students.
There are audio guides available for 300 yen. They provide information in 17 different languages. Audio guides are highly recommended for people who would like to hear additional and more detailed information.
International Conference Center Hiroshima.
The International Exchange Lounge is located on the first floor of this building. There is a library, meeting and information corners, and a daily life consultation service. This place provides volunteer translation and free internet service as well. Open from 9:00 to 18:00 or 19:00 depending on the season.
Located a 10 minute walk away from other tourist spots, Hiroshima Castle is a place worth visiting. It consists of a tower surrounded by a beautiful park. This castle was established in 1589 by the Terumoto family and was designated as a National Treasure in 1931. Unfortunately, the atomic bomb which caused severe damage to Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, destroyed the tower. However it was restored in 1958 and is currently used for exhibition purposes. Besides the exhibits there are two booths, offering visitors the chance to try on traditional Japanese clothing and have their picture taken.
In Japanese, Hiroshima castle has a nickname of “Carp Castle”, originating from the name of the era, when the castle was built. It consists of 5 floors, the highest being then observatory deck. The observatory deck offers a beautiful view over Hiroshima.
Open hours 9:00-18:00 and until 17:00 (from Dec. to Feb.). The admission fee is 360 yen for adults and 180 yen for seniors and children.
Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
Established in 2002 to mourn the death of the atomic bomb victims, the Peace Memorial Hall is a place, where you will find all the names of the victims with their photographs and memoirs of the survivors and victims’ families. There is the Hall of Remembrance, the Victim’s Information Area, the Special Exhibition Area and a Library in the facility. Inside the Hall of Remembrance, a 360 degree panorama wall re-creates the view of the whole city as seen from the hypocenter of explosion. 140,000 tiles in the panorama represent the memory of the 140,000 people, estimated to have died by the end of 1945. In the center, there is a fountain with a monument indicating the time of the bombing “8:15”.
Hiroshima Children’s Museum
Hiroshima Children’s Museum is located within walking distance between Hiroshima Dome and Hiroshima Castle. There are 2 exhibition halls.
Dr. Scitech’s Laboratory features several exhibitions such as a microscope, computer simulation, earthquake generating device, mechanisms used for animation, a solar car, holography, thermography, speech recognition, mechanisms of a microwave oven and much more.
Science Fantasy Land is a place, where your child can enjoy learning about science in a fun way! A variety of experimental equipment will help them understand everyday wonders, such as wind, echoes, thunder and lightning. Children can play, touch, do and just have fun. English translation is provided for many of the exhibitions.
Entrance is free. Open everyday except Mondays, from 9:00 to 17:00
There is also a planetarium which projects 4-5 times a day depending on the day of the week. Admission to the planetarium is 250 yen for children and 500 yen for adults.
If you are interested in the automotive industry and its history in Japan, you might want to visit the Mazda Museum, located a 5 minute walk from Mukainada station. This museum presents the past, present and future of Mazda cars and car making in general. The entrance and tours in English are free of charge, but prior reservation is required over the phone or via the web-site (http://www.mazda.com/about/museum/).
Shukkeien Garden is a place where you can enjoy the traditional aesthetics of Japanese gardens with scenic views. It is 15 minutes walk from Hiroshima station.