With an absolute craze for trying local food, my first dinner in the City of Hiroshima was to try Hiroshima’s soul food – okonomiyaki and oysters which Hiroshima is famous for. Here’s a quick guide to this famous mouth-watering dish and where you can experience an authentic okonomiyaki and oysters.
Okonomiyaki – Hiroshima’s Soul Food
Okonomiyaki is a popular Japanese savoury pancake filled with a variety of ingredients such as cabbage, noodles, thinly sliced meat (usually pork) and eggs. You can add optional ingredients such as oysters, scallops, squids, shrimps or cheese. Topped generously with okonomiyaki sauce. Toppings and batter vary according to region, such as in Kansai region. Okonomiyaki is thought to have originated in Osaka, Kansai region.
In Hiroshima, the okonomiyaki is made with layered ingredients instead of mixed – batter, cabbage, beansprouts, pork, followed by optional ingredients of seafood such as oysters, egg and a generous topping of okonomiyaki sauce.
Best place for Hiroshima’s soul food
The best place to try Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima is at any-one of the restaurants on the 2nd floor of the Hiroshima Station ASSE restaurant building.
This place is popular amongst the locals just as much as it is with tourists. It is packed with small, authentic okonomiyaki restaurants where there is at least one staff who speaks English. They are very welcoming, and they have menu in English as well. So, go with your instincts, choose a restaurant that looks good, grab a seat around the teppanyaki griddle and place your order. The chef creates the okonomiyaki in front of you, on the teppanyaki griddle.
Hiroshima Station Building ASSE,
Minami, Hiroshima 732-0822
Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Opening hours: 11:00 – 23:00
Have you tried Hiroshima’s soul food? If so, do share your experience in comments below. If you are yet to, then I wish that this post is valuable to you in experiencing one of Hiroshima’s popular local dish.
The Best Ways to Get to Hiroshima City by public transport will depend on where you are travelling from in the country. Hiroshima City is a modern city and a popular tourist attraction. It is easily accessible by trains, the Shinkansen and by bus as well as by air. Here, you will find an easy guide when travelling from the major cities on Honshu Island – Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.
Best Ways to Get to Hiroshima City from:
1 | Shinkansen – Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station
Mizuho or Nozomi (not covered by Japan Rail Pass)
Journey Time – 1hr 25 minutes
With Japan Rail Pass
Sakura – 1 hour 32 minutes
Hikari – 2 hours 13 minutes
2 | Bus Transportation – Daytime and Overnight service
All buses depart from Osaka Station’s JR Express Bus Terminal
Daytime journey is about 5 hours
Overnight journey: 2 services:
i | Depart at 23:00 arriving Hiroshima at 06:21
ii | Depart at 23:30 arriving Hiroshima at 05:55
For up-to-date information and fares and to make bookings directly at Japan Expressway Bus Net go to their official website here.
1 | Shinkansen – Shin-Kyoto to Hiroshima
JR Tokaido and Sanyo lines (Not covered by Japan Railway Pass)
(Tokaido and Sanyo are regular, quicker and direct service)
For unreserved seats, fare is 10,570 Yen
Reserved seats, fare is 11,500 Yen
Journey time is 1 hour 35 minutes
With Japan Rail Pass
Hikari and Kodama trains but you need to transfer onto a Sakura train at Shin- Osaka or Shin-Kobe, adding 10 to 15 minutes to your journey.
Unreserved seats: 10,570 Yen
Reserved seats: 11,000 Yen
Journey time is 2 hours
2 | Bus transportation – Kyoto to Hiroshima: Daytime and Overnight Service
Provided by JR Bus and Willer Express
Daytime journey is 6 hours 20 minutes
Overnight journey is 8 hours 40 minutes (6,100 Yen)
For up-to-date information and fares plus to make bookings directly at Japan Expressway Bus Net go to their official website here.
1 | Shinkansen – Tokyo to Hiroshima
JR Tokaido and Sanyo lines (Not covered by Japan Rail Pass)
19,000 Yen for a reserved seat
With Japan Railway Pass
Hikari and Sakura Lines
5 hours with transfer at Shin-Osaka station
Unreserved seats: 18,040 Yen
Reserved seats: 18,500 Yen
2 | Bus Transportation: Tokyo to Hiroshima-Overnight service
Journey time is 12 hours and fares are usually 11,900 Yen
Discounted fares are available on Willer Express and Japan Bus. You can make online bookings directly.
3 | By Air: Tokyo to Hiroshima
i | There are several flights a day between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Hiroshima by JAL and ANA
ii | Flight duration is 90 minutes
iii | One way fare is 35,000 Yen
4 | Hiroshima Airport to Hiroshima City Centre
Hiroshima Airport is 50 minutes away from City Centre
Bus fare from Hiroshima Airport City Bus Terminal is 1,340 Yen
Japan Rail Pass
Japan Rail Pass is an excellent value for money provided your stay in Japan is for 7, 14 or 21 days. I would personally recommend it for the following benefits:
The JR Pass offers unlimited travel around Japan on all JR Trains and bullet trains (except the Mizuho and Nozomi) for the duration of the ticket you choose to purchase.
You have the flexibility to choose either standard class or first class nearer to or the day of your travel;
The JR Pass gives you full access (with some exceptions – it does not cover express service) to public transport networks throughout the four main northern islands of Japan – Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. However, the Pass does not cover Okinawa
The JR Pass covers Tokyo Monorail journey between Haneda Airport and Tokyo;
The JR Pass covers JR-West ferry service between Miyajima and Miyajimaguchi (near Hiroshima)
A visit to Hiroshima inevitably includes a trip to the spiritual island of Miyajima. Here is a little background to Hiroshima and the Island as well.
About Hiroshima City on a 2-day itinerary
Hiroshima is a vibrant modern city, having risen from its ashes of the past. It is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, located in the southwest of Japan’s Honshu Island. The City’s natural beauty can be seen in its impressive Chugoku Mountains to the north and the clear waters of the Seto Inland Sea in the south. GPS for Hiroshima is as follows:
Latitude: 34° 23′ 60.00″ N Longitude: 132° 26′ 60.00″ E
Hiroshima is a tourist destination
You can Hiroshima like a Local in a city where, every year, thousands of tourists make their way to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The Memorial Park stands as a grim reminder of war and a focus for prayers for world peace. Whilst this should be a “must do” itinerary for any visitor, a carefully planned itinerary will allow you to experience not just the historic sites but also the City’s culture, food and nightlife.
About Miyajima Island
Miyajima Island is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima and is easily accessible (see below on accessibility). The island is regarded sacred where the locals regard the people and the gods live together. Home to the popular floating Torii gate and the infamous Mount Misen which is associated with a legend of miracle. According to the legend, a fire lit by a Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi. have been burning for almost 1200 years.
Home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Hiroshima. One is the Atomic Bomb Dome in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the other is the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima Island. The Atomic Bomb Dome is an iconic structure as it was only a few meters away from the atomic bomb blast. It is symbolic as the beacon for world peace and an end to nuclear weapons.
The Ultimate 2-day itinerary on the best of Hiroshima & Miyajima Island
I spent 2 days at Hiroshima and wished that I had spent more. This beautiful city has so much to offer every visitor right from food, sake and sights. If you have the time, try and spend 3 to 4 days. I assure you, you will have plenty to do! My ultimate 2-day itinerary to the best of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island is listed below. I had so little time and so much to see and do! Come along with me and see what I got up to.
Day 1 of 2-day itinerary on Hiroshima & Miyajima Island/Itsukushima
Start your day as early as you can on Day 1. Make your way to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. There are more than one way to get to Hiroshima City.
The first atomic bomb in human history was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15 on the morning of August 6th 1945. The building shows the ferocity of the explosion. The skeletal remains of what used to be the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall stands as a grim reminder of that fateful day. There is a sense of sadness here but the City of Hiroshima has come a long way away from the destruction. Today, the Dome stands as a symbol of Hiroshima and as a focus for world peace.
2 | Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims
The large concrete in the shape of a saddle holds 290,000 names of all those who lost their lives when the bomb fell on Hiroshima. New names are added each year as they are discovered.
3 | Flame of Peace in Hiroshima City
The pedestal that houses the Flame of Peace is designed in the image of two hands pressed together with the palms facing the sky.The Flame was lit on 1st August 1964, for a world without nuclear weapons, and will continue to burn until all nuclear weapons are abolished worldwide.
4 | Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima City
The Children’s Peace Monument was constructed in memory of Sadako Sasaki, who was exposed to the radiation of the bomb at the age of 2. She died of leukaemia about ten years later.
5 | Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The Museum was built in pursuit of world peace and a world without nuclear weapons. It was opened in 1955 and conveys the realities of the atomic bomb. The exhibits here will truly touch your soul to say the least – clothing, watches, pictures – all tell the stories of the sufferings of ordinary human lives.
6 | Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall
. It is a building dedicated to mourning, the victims of the atomic bomb and to focus on prayers for world peace. It’s structure is designed to reflect 8:15 a.m., the time when the atomic bomb was dropped.
7 | Aioi Bridge in Hiroshima City
The Aioi Bridge was a unique structure in the shape of T and became the target point for the atomic bomb in 1945. The current bridge was built in 1983 and the old pillars bearing the marks of the bombing still preserved at the foot of the bridge.
8 | Explore the City of Hiroshima
Walk along the City’s shops to get a feel of the town and its people. Hiroshima Hondori is a covered area with all sorts of shops, fashion, restaurants and souvenir shops.
9 | Food and drink experiences in Hiroshima City
There is no better way to get to know a culture than through its food. Hiroshima is popular for its Sake and Okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is regarded as Hiroshima’s Soul Food and it is really something that you ought to try. Its soft pancake is filled with a choice of seafood or meat and its cooked right in front of you. For a soulful experience of Hiroshima food culture, you could do a Foodie Tour and/or a Bar Hopping Food tour. Both experiences gives you a flavour of Hiroshima’s food and drink culture.
Getting to Miyajima Island from Hiroshima could not be easier. There are two ways to get to Miyajima Island from Hiroshima via ferry rides.
Firstly, there is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima. The journey takes ten-minutes from Miyajimaguchi Pier (see below for information on How to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima). Secondly, there is also the longer route which takes about forty-five-minutes – World Heritage Sea Route by Aqua Net ferry. The World Heritage Sea Route takes off from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima.
Day 2 of 2-day itinerary on Hiroshima and Miyajima Island
The following are my recommended unmissable experiences.
1 | The Itsukushima Shrine and the floating torii gate at Miyajima Island
The Itsukushima Shrine is an iconic shrine and is regarded as one of the “Three Views of Japan” along with Matsushimo Island and Amanohashidate, chosen by a 15th century scholar, Nihon Sankei. It is the only shrine in the world that is built on water and attracts visitors from all over the world.
The floating torii gate is one to be seen to be believed. An amazing craftmanship of six pillars which are not buried in the seabed. It is 16 meters tall and weighs 60 tons. The thickness of the giant legs is astounding as is the remarkable craftmanship and engineering involved to ensure the structure stays balanced in water. The two huge legs or pillars is made from 600-year-old Camphor trees. The pillars are weighted down by their own weight and tons of stones inscribed with Buddhist sutras are inserted into the loop of the cross beams that form the roof of the gate.
3 | Mount Misen in Miyajima Island
Mount Misen sits in the centre of Miyajima Island at 535m above sea level and is the highest peak in Miyajima. Mount Misen is a Must visit destination when you are in Miyajima. The mountains have a powerful effect on people and is a popular hotspot of spiritual energy. It offers amazing scenery which makes it a place hard to forget. I can assure you, you will speak of your experiences here for many times with friends and family.
4 | Reikado Hall in Mount Misen, Miyajima Island
About 1200 years ago, the fire in the Reikado Hall was lit by Kobo Daishi, a Buddhist monk as part of his religious training. It has been burning ever since. Nothing short of a miracle, one would say! This legend of miracle goes further – a pot of water is placed above the fire and legend has it that if you drink the boiled water, you will be cured of your illnesses. The very same fire that has been burning for 1200 years was used to light the flame at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
5 | Misen Hondo Hall
This is a holy hall built on the former training site used by Kobo Daishi. You will find this on Mount Misen, near to Reikado Hall.
6 | Main Street in Miyajima Island and foodie experience
The main street in Miyajima Island is a market street like many others in Japan. It is 350-meter long and is dedicated to restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. It is the busiest place in the Island.
The main street offers so many choices for you – try the island’s specialities:
i | Momiji Manju
The Momiji-manju are cakes shaped like maple leaf and is filled with red sweet bean (anko). There are also other varieties such as custard fillings. These Momiji-manju are found all over the island and in the shops along the main street. These cakes are made fresh and you could try them while they are warm and delicious.
ii | Yaki gaki
Yaki-gaki is a signature dish of Miyajima Island. You can feel the smoky air of the grilled oysters as you walk along the main street. The oysters are grilled to perfection within minutes for you. Yaki gaki is a staple dish for the local fisherman and popular amongst tourists.
7 | Five stories Pagoda – Gojunoto
Renowned for its incredible architecture, this five storied pagoda is remarkable from every angle. Originally constructed in 1407, it was restored in 1533. The pagoda reflects Japanese style with Chinese influence.
8 | Sunset over Itsukushima shrine
No matter how busy a schedule you have, i strongly recommend setting aside some time to watch the sunset and just enjoy the island before the last ferry leaves the island.
Practical information for ultimate 2-day itinerary on the best of Hiroshima & Miyajima Island
1 | Getting to Miyajima from Hiroshima
There are 2 options to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima.
1 | Aqua Net ferry from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima-World Heritage Sea Route (45 minutes)
2 | Railway Route: Miyajima Pier to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Atomic Bomb Dome) or vice versa
The experiences listed above are my recommendations for an Ultimate 2-Day itinerary on the best of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. You can fit in more activities or less to suit your schedule and to maximise your experiences to the historic city of Hiroshima. As I mentioned in the introduction, there are more than one way to experience the city and the island, and this guide is more of a DIY itinerary for mature adventurers to explore the main landmarks at their own pace, combining it with cultural activities to suit for a memorable visit that will last a lifetime.
Now it’s your turn 🙂 Was this post valuable to you as an aid towards planning your trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima Island? If so, let me know in comments below or via the Contact Form – I would love to hear from you. Contact me also if I could help you with your itinerary for Hiroshima or Japan generally.
Have a splendid time exploring, discovering and experiencing this historic city and magical island.
Miyajima Island – 10 Ultimate Experiences not to be missed
Miyajima Island is regarded sacred. From ancient times, every tree, rock and sand in the island was worshipped as god. It is an island often regarded by the locals as where the people and the gods live together. It is home to the only floating Torii gate in the world, and the infamous Mount Misen. Mount Misen is associated with a legend of miracle – that a fire lit by a Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi. have been burning for almost 1200 years.
The Island is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima. The journey takes ten-minutes from Miyajimaguchi Pier (see below for information on How to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima). However, I took the forty-five-minute World Heritage Sea Route by Aqua Net ferry from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima. I preferred this route as I wanted to experience the ride overlooking Hiroshima Bay.
Georgina: I visited Miyajima Island over two occassions. The first evening after exploring Hiroshima City and then the following day to explore Mount Misen. In this guide, I have combined the experiences into one for ease of planning. The ten experiences listed here is certainly doable in a day.
From a distance I could see the iconic bright orange Torii gate in the blue waters of the sea against the backdrop of green mountains-it is almost a mythical beauty and quite simply divine!
Exiting the pier and out of the station, you will find signage to the Itsukushima Shrine and surrounding areas. You can easily walk to everywhere here.
There is much you can do but I list the 10 experiences on my visit which I highly recommend that you do for an unforgettable memory of this island.
1 | The Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima Island, Hiroshima
The Itsukushima Shrine is an iconic shrine and is regarded as one of the “Three Views of Japan” along with Matsushimo Island and Amanohashidate. The “Three Views of Japan” were chosen by a 15th century scholar, Nihon Sankei. It is the only shrine in the world that is built on water and attracts visitors from all over the world.
1.1 | A little history on Itsukushima shrine
The Itsukushima Shrine was originally built in 593, by Saeki no Kuramoto, but the unique shrine that we see today, the one on water, was erected by Taira no Kiyomon, the first samurai who became the Daijo-Daijin, (the head of the imperial government), from the late Heian period. It is said that in 1571, the Main Hall of the Shrine was renovated, and the Torii gate was reconstructed by the Mori clan in 1875.
People from all over Japan come to the Itsukushima Shrine to pray for safety of the Seto Inland Sea because of its importance to the local economy. This is a practice that had existed since the late Heian period when Taira no Kiyomori came to worship at the Shrine and pay homage. It was and still is especially popular amongst fisherman and tradesmen who sail the Seto Inland Sea.
The Main Shrine is connected by beautiful, well-crafted architecture of corridors to the Marodo Shrine, Tenjin Shrine and the Noh Theatre Stage. It is worth taking your time to observe and admire the incredible architecture of this Shrine. The high stage in front of the Main Shrine is considered as one of Japan’s “Three Big Stages” along with the “Stone Stage” at Shitenno-ji Temple and Sumiyoshi “Grand Shrine” in Osaka.
1.2 | What does “Itsukushima” mean
The name “Itsukushima” means “island of worship”. From ancient times, every tree, rock and sand in the island was worshipped as god. It is an island often regarded by the locals as where the people and the gods live together. It is home to one of the two of Hiroshima’s World Heritage Site, the Itsukushima Shrine since 1996.
2 | The Floating Torii Gate at Miyajima Island
2.1 | The first sight of the floating Torii gate at Miyajima Island
The first sight of the the floating torii gate is a magnificent view with the backdrop of the mountains. The iconic image of the huge vermilion gate, at high tide, partly in water, somewhat floating, full of elegance and style, where the tide sweeps beneath it and retreats in the distance.
This Torii gate is situated about 200 meters offshore from the Main Shrine. Seeing it from the distance, somewhat feels that the floating Shrine is perfectly balanced with its surrounding nature. There is something soothing about the waters that surrounds it.
2.2 | The floating torii gate at low tide in Miyajima Island
At low tide, you can get an up-close and personal experience with the Torii gate. You can walk up to the foot of the huge legs that seems to stand freely on the seabed.
2.3 | The floating torii gate – an amazing craftmanship
I was amazed to discover that the six pillars are also not buried in the seabed. It is 16 meters tall and weighs 60 tons. The thickness of the giant legs is astounding as is the remarkable craftmanship and engineering involved to ensure the structure stays balanced in water. The two huge legs or pillars is made from 600-year-old Camphor trees and are weighted down by their own weight and tons of stones inscribed with Buddhist sutras are inserted into the loop of the cross beams that form the roof of the gate. This is truly an amazing and remarkable structure, one that has to be seen to appreciate!
2.4 | Don’t miss the best views of the floating torii gate in Miyajima Island
The Itsukushima Shrine is a popular tourist attraction. It is also popular with locals and school teenagers. Most arrive at high tide to view the Shrine in “floating” state which is great. They start making their way back to their hotel later in the afternoon.
Georgina suggests: Stay on a little longer for the tide to lower, so you can walk up to the Torii gate to take a close look at the incredible engineering that it presents. As well, do not forget to get some pictures when you are out here at low tide 😊 and ensure you are using appropriate footwear when walking out to the Torii gate.
3 | Mount Misen (弥山) in Miyajima Island
Mount Misen is a Must visit destination when you are in Miyajima. The mountains have a powerful effect on people and is a popular hotspot of spiritual energy. It offers amazing scenery which makes it a place hard to forget. I can assure you, you will speak of your experiences here for many times with friends and family.
3.1 | A Sacred Mountain and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mount Misen sits in the centre of Miyajima Island at 535m above sea level and is the highest peak in Miyajima. A Buddhist monk, Kukai (空海), also famously known as Kobo Daishi (弘法大師) who founded the Sangaku-Shinko faith, opened the mountain as an ascetic holy mountain site along with its temple in 806. Since then, Mount Misen has been regarded as a sacred mountain, by the followers of the Sangaku-Shinko faith which basically refers to “mountain worship”. Along with Itsukushima Shrine, Mount Misen is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. There are many historical landmarks in this untouched virgin forest which beckons a visit.
3.2 | Options to reach the summit of Mount Misen in Miyajima Island
3.2.1 | Momijidani Station
To access the summit of Mount Misen, there is Momijidani Station, where you can take a ropeway and then walk to the summit, but this requires a transfer (see below: Access). It is said that the ropeway gondola gives you 360 degree panoramic view, coastal and sea view from every direction, islands dotting the Seto Inland Sea and mountain ranges fading into the distance. I can only imagine the amazing scenery this ride will project.
Alternatively, there are several hiking routes up Mount Misen which you could consider.
Georgina: You need to be reasonably fit as it is a long steep hike. If you have a knee issue, then I would recommend that you take the ropeway.
I had time to explore and opted to hike as I wanted to experience the energy which this mountain is known for and the opportunity to view the amazing beauty, observe the landmarks and the unique rocks along the way.
There are three hiking routes.
3.2.2 | Hiking routes:
1 | The Momiji Dani route
It’s a hike along the Momiji River
90 minutes to 2 hours
2 | The Daishoin route
Has long paved path, often referred to as the “Stone pavement of Prostitutes”, of about 2000 stone steps to visit Misen.
90 minutes to 2 hours
3 | The Omoto route
It’s a hike through Omoto Park. It is said that this hike takes you through Komaga Forest, the second largest forest in Misen, where there are 100 year old large fir trees grow.
3.3 | The Daishoin Route
The Daishoin Route is one of the more popular routes. It was a steep hike of around 90 minutes, but the trails are beautiful. The stone steps certainly made it easier but it gets really steep towards the end. It offers amazing panoramic views and one can take many breaks, just to capture the surrounding awesomeness.
During the hike, there is always someone else you pass, either they are quicker than you or are making their way back, and you do not feel alone here even if you are travelling solo. There is serenity and freshness in the air even when it was a hot day. People you pass, are friendly and we greet each other with a cheerie “konnichi-wa”. Some stop to ask if their photos be taken and some just try to keep up with you as you walk up.
4 | Summit of Mount Misen, Miyajima Island
The summit of Mount Misen itself is home to uniquely shaped rocks which are mysterious in themselves. My main attraction was the Reikado Hall, which you will find just before the summit. The summit itself is about 10 minutes climb from here, but steep.
5 | Reikado Hall in Mount Misen, Miyajima Island
The Reikado Hall is associated with a Legend of Miracle – that a fire originally lit by Kobo Daishi himself as part of his religious training have been burning ever since, now for almost 1200 years.
The very same fire that has been burning for 1200 years was used to light the flame at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The water in the large kettle heated above the fire is believed to cure diseases.
5.1 | To drink or not to drink?
There are plastic cups made available for you if you wish to try some. I did. The water is not clear as that of normal boiled water, but appeared and tasted more like tea. I am not sure if it has cured any of my illnesses, only time will tell 😊 You can also light a candle in respect of your wish or wishes. There are candles in various writings on them – for good health, prosperity, success or relationship. You choose the one that you want to wish for and light them.
6 | Misen hondo Hall
Misen hondo Hall is a holy hall built on the former training site used by Kobo Daishi. You will find this on Mount Misen, near to Reikado Hall.
There were a number of climbers who did not continue on to the summit but used their time here to relax, enjoy the views and the unspoilt nature around them. I did not spend too much time here, perhaps just about half-an-hour, then the summit and off down to sea level to catch the low-tide beauty of the Itsukushima Shrine and the Torii gates and some “yaki-gaki”.
Travel tips and practical information when considering Mount Misen
Suitable footwear, such as good hiking boots and clothing are important. Dress for the weather.
The hike can take anything up to 2 hours, so take water or other fluids with you to keep you hydrated. Drink frequently but in small amounts.
Take time to rest frequently, not just to build up your stamina but also to wander in the picturesque scenery which you will come to.
The trail is bathroom free, so a visit to the bathroom before the hike is recommended.
Beware of snakes, after-all, this is a virgin forest!
The ropeway station is a ten-minute walk from Itsukushima Shrine or a 20-minute walk from the Miyajima ferry pier. The ride up the mountain takes 15 minutes and requires a transfer of ropeways along the way.
The Momijidani Line ride up is 10 minutes with 1-minute intervals.
The Shishiiwa Line ride up is 4 minutes with 5 to 15 minutes intervals.
From the upper station at Shishi-iwa, it is a 30 minute walk up to the summit along a steep hiking trail. The Misen Hondo and Reikado buildings are located along the trail, about 10 minutes before the summit.
Ropeway times: Going up – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. | Down – 8:20 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The next experience while on the Island is the Main Street. An experience of an island life which is totally different to Hiroshima City.
7 | Main Street in Miyajima Island
7.1 | Omotesando Shopping Street
This 350-meter long main street in Miyajima Island is a market street like many others in Japan, and is dedicated to restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. It is the busiest place in the Island.
There are stalls selling food to enjoy as you walk along. Miyajima is also famous for its rice spatulas made of wood, called shakushi. You will see the largest Shakushi in the world, 5 meters long here.
7.2 | Food in Miyajima Island
Miyajima is popular for its Momiji-manju cakes and its oysters, the yaki-gaki (grilled oysters).
The Momiji-manju cakes are shaped like maple leaf and is filled with red sweet bean (anko). There are also other varieties such as custard fillings. These Momiji-manju are found all over the island and in the shops along the Omotesando Street, it is made fresh. You can buy some to take back with you or just try them when they are warm and delicious.
It is quite acceptable here to eat your way around Miyajima as store fronts serve you with choices of meat and other delights on sticks and wrapped in paper.
The yaki-gaki, oysters are a signature dish of the island, harvested daily from its shores. They have been cultivated in Hiroshima Bay for over 400 years. They are fresh, delicious and pretty much available at all the restaurants in Miyajima Island. They come in various choices-grilled, steamed or deep fried, topped in udon dishes and okonomiyaki.
More recently, Miyajima has become popular for its yaki-gaki, amongst tourists, although it is a staple dish for the fishermen and women who put in long hours on the water.
Walking along the Omotesando Street, you can feel the smoky air where the street vendors grill the oysters to perfection in a quick and easy fashion. The oysters here are small, a little sweet and has low liquid content. The low liquid content means that they do not shrink much upon cooking, therefore they need to be cooked fast, which makes them perfect for the grill on high heat. The high heat ensures that the oysters are grilled to perfection, charring the shells and giving the oysters a smoky finish. Absolutely perfect and goes well with some sake.
8 | The deer of Miyajima Island
As you may know, deer are deemed sacred in Japan. However, the island’s deer do seem a little more aggressive and authentically wild than the ones I have noted in Nara, probably because they can retreat to the mountains for natural food which requires them to use their natural instincts.
Though they are cute, be aware that they can sneak up behind you at the sight of paper or tissue. Yes, Miyajima’s deer eat paper! A deer ate the wrapper to my Momiji-manju cake when I was sitting on the bench watching the sunset!
9 | Sunset
As the day draws to late afternoon and the evening breeze sets in, you will note the crowds heading back and the place becomes quieter, especially after 5 pm.
As the sun sets into the evening, the sea-front becomes a mesmerising scene with stone lanterns lit and the Torii gate illuminated with floodlights.
The scene is one which you have seen in many photos. Unfortunately, I ran out of battery and I could not capture this image for you, but it has left me with a lasting memory of Miyajima Island.
10 | Quiet moments to appreciate the island vibes and the Pagoda
When you return from the mountains, have tasted some of the island’s specialities, when the crowd has dwindled down, you may want to:
10.1 | Just soak up the island vibes and watch the ferries come and go.
10.2 | A quick visit to the 5-storey pagoda
The five-storey pagoda on Miyajima Island is a masterpiece of Buddhist architecture. Built in 1407, and sitting atop a hill, the architecture is a prime example of Zen Buddhism and admirable from all angles.
Travel tips and practical information on Miyajima Island
For Itsukushima Shrine, please click here for pricing and opening times.
i | Getting to Miyajima from Hiroshima
I shall just list two options here as I think these were the easiest, quickest and gives you the opportunity to experience more of Hiroshima.
Aqua Net ferry from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima-World Heritage Sea Route (45 minutes)
This is the fastest and direct route to Miyajima without complicated connections.
The boat goes through the Motoyasu River and then into Hiroshima Bay.
The boat passes slowly when going through the river, giving you the opportunity to go on deck and enjoy the views of Hiroshima City
When the boat comes into the Bay, it picks up speed and no deck viewing is allowed.
Prices: One-way and Round-trip
One-way: Adult (12+) 2000 Yen
Child (6-11) 1000 Yen
Round-trip: Adult (12+) 3600 Yen
Child (6-12) 1800 Yen
Round-trip ticket is valid for 2 days
Railway Route: Miyajima Pier to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Atomic Bomb Dome)
Take the ferry at Miyajima Pier in Miyajima to Miyajimaguchi Pier in Hiroshima. The ferry ride is 10 minutes.
A short, 1-minute walk from Miyajimaguchi Pier, is the tram station. Board the tram and get off at Genbaku-Dome Mae stop (Atomic Bomb Dome). This journey is 50 minutes.
From here it is 1-minute walk to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
Ferry ride: Adults – 180 Yen / Child – 90 Yen
Read >> Best ways to get to Hiroshima City
Conclusion on Miyajima Island
I can conclude that my visit to Miyajima Island was one of the many memorable ones in Japan. This is a destination I would return, with a stay on the island instead of the mainland in Hiroshima City. It is difficult to narrow down from the 10 experiences I have listed above, but if you really do not have a whole day here, perhaps just do the hike up Mount Misen and watch the sunset with the torii gate. When you visit this island, I am certain that you will have an unforgettable experience too ☺️
Ultimate 1-Day Guide to the best of Hiroshima City Travel
Best of Hiroshima City Travel is a step-by-step guide to discover the best places that you could visit to maximise your experiences in this historical City.
Where is Hiroshima
Hiroshima Prefecture is located in the Chugoku region of the Honshu Island, Japan – highlighted below. You will find the GPS for Hiroshima City as:
34° 23′ 6.73″ N 132° 27′ 19.054″ E
Hiroshima City (広島市)
Hiroshima is a vibrant modern city, having risen from its ashes of the past. It is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, located in the southwest of Japan’s Honshu Island. Hiroshima’s natural beauty can be seen in its impressive Chugoku Mountains to the north and the clear waters of the Seto Inland Sea in the south.
Hiroshima City – A tourist destination
Every year, thousands of tourists make their way to Hiroshima mainly for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park which is a grim reminder of war and a focus for prayers for world peace. Whilst this should be a “must do” itinerary for any visitor, one should also make time to take in the natural beauty of historical Miyajima Island which is a short ferry ride away and is easily accessible.
From ancient times, every tree, rock and sand in the island was worshipped as god. It is an island often regarded by the locals as where the people and the gods live together. It is home to the only floating Torii gate in the world, and the infamous Mount Misen which is associated with a legend of miracle – that a fire lit by a Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi. have been burning for almost 1200 years.
I spent 2 days at Hiroshima and wished that I had spent more as this beautiful city has so much more to offer. If you have the time, try and spend 3 to 4 days. Enjoy travel on the slow side, watch the sunset over the floating torii and savour on the fresh oysters caught each day. With so many choices on accommodation, I assure you, you will have plenty to do.
For now, come with me and explore Hiroshima City for a day.
Ultimate 1 day guide to the best of Hiroshima City Travel
Hiroshima City and UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Hiroshima City Travel
Hiroshima City has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One is the Atomic Bomb Dome in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the other is the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima Island.The Atomic Bomb Dome is an iconic structure as it was only a few meters away from the epicentre of atomic bomb blast. It is symbolic as the beacon for world peace and an end to nuclear weapons.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is the ultimate destination for all visitors to this City. The Memorial Park is home to the various designated symbols of Hiroshima City and this is where I began my morning. I spent the afternoon exploring the City centre.
1 | The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima City
The Atomic Bomb Dome is a symbol of Hiroshima and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.
The skeletal remains of what used to be the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall stands in contrast to the surrounding beauty of River Aioi and the Peace Memorial Park. The building shows the ferocity of the explosion and heat that came almost directly from overhead when at 8:15 on the morning of August 6th 1945, the first atomic bomb in human history was dropped on Hiroshima.
1.1 | The Atomic Bomb Dome – A focus for World Peace
The interior of the building was destroyed by fire and all the people inside the building at the time died instantly. However, the steel dome and the thick outer walls withstood destruction, and this began to be referred to as the “Atomic Bomb Dome”. The building and the exposed steel dome had been preserved as a reminder of war and the untold suffering caused by the bomb, while it also symbolises the need to rid the world of nuclear weapons and a focus for world peace. The Dome is visible just as one exits the tram. Dedicate some time to read the plaque and to observe the structure from the perimeter.
This was my first stop before visiting any other sites on the Park. Nearing this structure, a sense of somber feeling overcame me and I began to appreciate the powerful explosion and the sufferings the people endured. I took some time to read the plaque and observed the structure.
From the Atomic Bomb Dome. walk along the River, to the Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims, the Children’s Peace Monument and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to get a deeper understanding of what this part of Hiroshima represents.
2 | Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims in Hiroshima City
The official name for the Cenotaph is the “Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace”. It is a large concrete in the shape of a saddle. The central stone vault holds about 290,000 names of those who lost their lives to the bomb regardless of nationality. New names are added to the list each year as they are discovered.
From the Cenotaph, a walk along the River leads to the Flame of Peace and the Children’s Peace Monument.
3 | Flame of Peace in Hiroshima City
The pedestal that houses the Flame of Peace is designed in the image of two hands pressed together with the palms facing the sky.
The Flame was lit on 1st August 1964, for a world without nuclear weapons, and will continue to burn until all nuclear weapons are abolished worldwide.
4 | Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima City
The Children’s Peace Monument was built and dedicated on Children’s Day, 1958. It was constructed in memory of Sadako Sasaki, who was exposed to the radiation of the bomb at the age of 2. She died of leukaemia about ten years later. This monument also serves as a memorial to the many thousands of young lives who died as a result of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.
4.1 | The meaning of the Children’s Peace Monument
Standing on the top of the three-legged dome pedestal of this nine-meter high bronze statue is the bronze figure of a girl holding up a gold-coloured folded paper crane. The pedestal is suspended by a boy and a girl figure, symbolising a bright future and hope. Underneath the pedestal, there is an inscription which reads: “This is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in this world”.
Inside the tower, a gold crane is hung, which rings like a wind chime, and a bell modelled after an ancient bronze bell. You can view the original bell and gold crane in the first floor lobby of the East Building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The monument was designed by Kazuo Kikuchi.
4.2 | Tower of a Thousand Cranes
Sadako Sasaki continued to fold paper cranes throughout her short life and paper cranes continues to symbolise the pursuit of peace. This Monument has often been referred as the “Tower of a Thousand Cranes” because the memorial used to be decorated with origami. However, these paper cranes have now been moved into little kiosks and placed nearby.
From the Children’s Peace Monument, the next destination is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall.
5 | Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The Museum was built in the pursuit of world peace and a world without nuclear weapons. It was opened in 1955 and conveys the realities of the atomic bomb.
5.1 | Exhibits at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The building is divided into two sections, the East Building and the Main Building. There are exhibits that illustrates the horrors of the atomic bomb such as possessions from the victims for example clothes worn by victims. There was a wrist watch that stopped at precisely 8:15. There were some children’s toys also such as a tricycle. There were accounts of people’s experiences, photographs and other pieces of documentation. There were information explaining the circumstances in Hiroshima and elsewhere that led to the bombing and detailed narrative of the bombing itself. The Museum also had an interactive board depicting what people did on the morning when the atomic bomb was dropped.
5.2 | Visit to Hiroshima by for President Barack Obama
On the lower floor of the Museum is the theatre and a schedule is available for screening times. Here too, directly opposite to the entrance of the theatre, you will find, on display messages from the former President Barack Obama and former First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Some of the information and exhibits were difficult to look at. It was a moving experience for me, even now as I reflect upon the exhibits. I did not take any pictures of these exhibits because I did not feel right ‘violating’ the memories of these victims. The Museum is definitely an important place to visit and it is a time to slow down and reflect on a sad period in human history.
The final stop on this part of Hiroshima was the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall.
6 | Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall
This Memorial structure looks modest from the outside but has a strong presence. It is a building dedicated to mourning, the victims of the atomic bomb and to focus on prayers for world peace. It’s structure is designed to reflect 8:15 a.m., the time when the atomic bomb was dropped.
To enter this building, walk down the steps on the side and you will enter a big chamber of information filled with names of people who died, memoirs from survivors and portraits of the victims. This is a uniquely designed chamber that echo at the slightest sound! So, you got to be extremely quiet.
7 | Aioi Bridge in Hiroshima City
The Aioi Bridge was originally constructed in 1932. It is a 3-way bridge in an unusual T-shape. Because of its unique shape, the bridge was easily recognisable from the air and became the target point for the atomic bomb in 1945.
The Aioi Bridge stretches across the point where the Ota River and the Motoyasu River branch off, and it connects the Atomic Bomb Dome to the Peace Park. The Bridge was reconstructed after the War but deteriorated over time. A new bridge was built in 1983. There are old pillars bearing the marks of the bombing still preserved at the foot of the bridge.
8 | Exploring the city centre in Hiroshima
So, after spending most of the day visiting the Memorial Park, exploring downtown was the next activity to grab lunch. I was not getting any souvenirs, but it was good to walk along the City’s shops to get a feel of the town and its people. Hiroshima Hondori is a covered area with all sorts of shops, fashion, restaurants and souvenir shops.
I was more interested in making my way to Miyajima Island on a ferry across Hiroshima Bay, returning later in the evening to experience Hiroshima’s food and drink.
9 | Hiroshima’s Food and Drink in best of Hiroshima City travel
There is no better way to get to know a culture than through its food. Despite Hiroshima’s sad history, the region is popular for its sake and Okonomiyaki.
9.1 | Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki, regarded as Hiroshima’s Soul Food, is a savoury pancake filled with vegetables and seafood. Okonomiyaki is a must-try for any visitor to this City. What better than some sake to go with it!
Hiroshima’s border with the Inland Sea means that its coastline is home to many fishing villages. Oysters have been cultivated in Hiroshima Bay for over 400 years. It is estimated that about two-thirds of the oysters in Japan come from these waters. One of the best places to try freshly caught oysters, yaki-gaki is in Miyajima Island, which is a quick ten-minute ferry ride.
Hiroshima Prefecture is home to over fifty sake breweries and is one of the three sake brewing areas in Japan, along with Fushimi in Kyoto and Kobe’s Nada. Hiroshima is popularly known as “Sake Town”. It is said that Hiroshima’s sake is highly popular even among the Japanese because of its distinctive rich flavour crafted from the area’s natural surroundings.
I did not visit a sake brewery in Hiroshima as I had already visited the brewery in Fushimi, Kyoto but it is on my list for my next visit to Hiroshima. If you would like to visit a local sake brewer in Hiroshima and experience the world of sake, please find the official website here: Hiroshima Sake World
Go on one of the following tours for an authentic experience of Hiroshima food:
10 | Other places to visit in Best of Hiroshima City Travel
10.1 | Day trip to Sandankyo Gorge
If you are a nature lover, this is one place you should not miss! The beautiful gorge runs through the mountains in the northwest of Hiroshima City and it is only a 15-minute journey by public transport.
Access: Take the City train Nos: 1, or 2 or 5 (150 Yen). Exit at Kamiyacho Higashi stop and it is just 5 minutes walk from here.
Final say on 1 day guide to the Best of Hiroshima City Travel
After my visit to the National Peace Memorial Hall which was the final place in the Memorial Park, it was a good place to slow down and really reflect. The beauty of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park that is filled with memorial statues and flowers is in stark contrast to the remains of the Dome, but it somehow projected a sense of serene beauty and calmness. It was an extremely somber moment and I left feeling very humbled indeed.
A walk in the City gave me an idea of what the Hiroshima City was like – basically like any other cities in Japan, everyone went about their own chores and thoughts. The people here were welcoming of tourists and kind.
If you are yet to visit Japan, then I would strongly encourage you to add Hiroshima to your list.
Travel tips and practical information when visiting the best of Hiroshima city travel
1 | Getting to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park from Hiroshima City
From Hiroshima City Station, take the tram from the front of the South Exit. Take tram #2 or #6 and exit at Genbaku-dome-mae (Atomic Bomb Dome). Journey is about 13 minutes and cost 160 Yen.
2 | Ways to get to Hiroshima City | Best of Hiroshima City Travel
There are several ways to get to Hiroshima City and it depends on where you are travelling from and the mode of transportation you select.
You may find the following articles helpful in planning your travels to Hiroshima and wider Japan
I hope this post is valuable to you to support your travels to Hiroshima. If so, let me know in comments below or via the Contact Form – I would love to hear from you. Contact me also if I could help you with your itinerary for Hiroshima or Japan generally.