A visit to Japan is not complete without stopping by Hiroshima to learn firsthand about the history of the country and what it went through during World War II. To understand the destruction that was done here and how the people of Japan have recovered from that time is quite extraordinary. There are many sites to see around the center of Hiroshima and they are all around the same general area so it is quite easy to walk around from one to the next. This guide will go over a 1 day in Hiroshima itinerary and hopefully help answer any questions you have along the way.
1) Introduction to Hiroshima
If you were not aware already, back in 1945, at the tail end of World War II, there were two atomic bombs dropped into Japan – one in Nagasaki and one in Hiroshima. It was a devastating time for those that lived there but sure enough, the city was rebuilt, and now you can see firsthand how far Hiroshima has come.
Spending 1 day in Hiroshima will give you a sense of the history of the city and how it has improved over time to what it is today.
There are memorials, museums and different structures throughout Hiroshima to visit, and 1 day there will cover most of the things to do and see around the area.
If you have the time during your visit to Japan, you should definitely try and make it down there to see this city for yourself.
2) Getting to Hiroshima
A day in Hiroshima can be done in a few different ways depending on your itinerary:
(1) Day trip from Kyoto / Osaka
(2) Day trip from Kyoto / Osaka + Miyajima
(3) Overnight in Hiroshima
No matter what option you choose, you will probably be arriving from Kyoto, Osaka or another nearby city and you will easily be able to hop on a train to get you there.
The train journey from Kyoto and Osaka should take about an hour and forty minutes.
Check out Hyperdia for the latest schedules (and if traveling with the JR Pass, be sure to uncheck the “Nozumi / Mizuho / Hayabusa (Shinkansen)” box as those are not included with the pass). Learn more about the JR Pass in the Japan Helpful Tips guide up on the site.
If you are doing a day trip (either with or without Miyajima added in), you will want to try to leave earlier in the morning from Kyoto / Osaka as a long day of traveling and sightseeing awaits.
Once at the Hiroshima train station you could either walk the 30 minute route or take the local 20 minute tram to the main downtown area. If you opt for the tram hop on either the 2 or 6 line at Hiroshima Station towards Genbaku Dome-mae for 160 JPY.
Looking for a guided tour of Hiroshima? Check out some top rated options:
3) Location / Map
Below is a map of the Hiroshima area along with the pinned attractions that you will be able to see as part of a 1 day in Hiroshima itinerary.
Many of the things to see are located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. I have pinned those locations in black as they are all pretty close to one another.
(1) Atomic Bomb Dome
(2) Shima Hospital
(3) Hiroshima Castle
(4) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
A) Peace Bell
B) Children Peace Monument
C) Flame of Peace
D) Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall
E) Cenotaph Memorial Monument
F) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
4) 1 Day in Hiroshima
Whether you are coming on a day trip straight from the train station or coming from your hotel in Hiroshima, you should have no problem taking part of this 1 day in Hiroshima itinerary.
Below are some of the main places that you should be sure to visit during your time there. As all of the places mentioned are pretty close to one another you will not need to worry about transportation to get from one spot to the next.
A) Atomic Bomb Dome
The first stop will be the Atomic Bomb Dome – the main focal point of the city that reminds its visitors of the destruction that was once put upon this city. The dome, which was originally the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall was near the epicenter of the atomic bomb.
Even so, the building was not destroyed and has been preserved over time. Right near by the dome you can also find Shima Hospital, which is known to be the exact location where the bomb exploded overhead.
B) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
A short walk across the river you will find the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which has several memorials to visit. First up is the Peace Bell – built to promote world peace, it can be rung by anyone who passes by.
Right nearby is the Children Peace Monument, built to remember the thousands of children who died during the bombing of Hiroshima.
As you continue to make your way south you will also pass by the Flame of Peace – a flame that will continue to ignite until nuclear weapons are eliminated in the world, the Peace Memorial Hall, and the Cenotaph Memorial Monument, whose stone has the names of all those killed.
C) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
You will then come to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The museum will take you through the history and a simulation of the atomic bomb, as well as the aftermath of the bombing.
It is a very powerful and moving place to be, as you read the stories and see some of the destruction first hand.
Hours are 8:30AM – 6:00PM; until 7:00PM in August; until 5:00PM December, January and February
Cost is 200 JPY
D) Hiroshima Castle
After making your way through the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, make the 20 or so minute walk north to Hiroshima Castle.
There is a small museum inside and if you would like to get a good view of Hiroshima from above this a great spot to do so.
Hours: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
Cost: 370 JPY
Once you are done with you day you can either make your way back to your hotel or head to the train station, where you can catch your train to Kyoto, Osaka or wherever else you might be coming from.
5) Where to Stay in Hiroshima
If you do opt for an overnight in Hiroshima, here is a list of some highly recommended hotel options around the area. Feel free to check out Booking.com for plenty more.
5) Sheraton Grand Hotel Hiroshima (farther out near train station)
That about wraps up a 1 day in Hiroshima itinerary. Take a look at some other Japan itineraries and guides to help out with any other trip planning. These include a 3 day Kyoto itinerary, a day trip to Nara, and things to do in Miyajima, among plenty others.
Hope you enjoy your time in Japan. If you have any questions about the trip please feel free to comment below!