Hiroshima's vibrant capital has a complicated history, great food, and friendly locals
While it is probably most famous for being devastated by a nuclear attack at the close of World War II, the city is not morose or bitter about its past, and instead promotes peace and understanding.
Every year on August 6, a memorial service is held to commemorate the victims of the atomic bomb in 1945. Thousands write messages of peace on paper lanterns that are lit at sunset to float down the river past the iconic remains of the Atomic Bomb Dome . Anyone can join the lantern ceremony.
- The Peace Park, filled with memorials to those that died in the atomic bombing of 1945
- The Atomic Bomb Dome, a somber monument to the nuclear legacy
- Hiroshima's version of okonomiyaki
- An excursion to nearby Miyajima for the deer and much-photographed floating shrine
How to Get There
Hiroshima City is easy to reach by rail or air.
You can reach the city from Tokyo by shinkansen in around four hours, or about 90 minutes from Osaka. If you prefer to fly, Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport takes around 90 minutes.
More than memorials
Hiroshima City treats its tragic past with honor and respect, but it does not dwell on it. The city is full of plenty of lighthearted fun as well.
Hiroshima is known for its robust food culture. One local specialty is Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. The savory pancake is popular throughout Japan with different regional twists. Hiroshima's version is cooked on a base of noodles and stuffed full of pork and cabbage, so it goes down well with a cold beer or two.
Oysters are also a local delicacy, served both raw and cooked in a variety of ways, including battered and deep fried. The cultivation of oysters in Hiroshima is said to go back to the 16th century.
Take me out to the ball game
Baseball fans should try to catch a home game of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp at Mazda Stadium.
The Carp have been in the central league since 1950 and clinched the championship for the past two years. Their fans are known for their passion, and they have a large base of female fans, known as "Carp Joshi".
With a population of just over 1.1 million people spread out over a 900 square kilometer area, Hiroshima City sprawls out from the bustling city center. Getting around is easy, thanks to the modern tram service called Hiroden.
The streetcars have been a mainstay in Hiroshima since 1912, though the vehicles themselves have been updated to be more efficient and environmentally friendly. With around 300 trams in service, more than any other city in Japan, they make for a convenient and scenic way to see the city.
The bright lights of Ebisucho mark the best area for a lively drink or three. There are countless bars, clubs, cafes and eateries of all kinds. Between November 18 and 20, the Ebisu Festival is held to celebrate all the weird and wonderful things this area has to offer.