One day Hiroshima itinerary: explore Hiroshima’s shadows and history

Hiroshima is a must-visit on any trip to Japan, offering a touching glimpse into the country’s history and a remarkable story of resilience. Spending a day here allows you to explore the significant sites that tell the story of its past and celebrate its present. In this one day Hiroshima itinerary, we’ll guide you through the best things to do in Hiroshima.

Short on time? Here are our top picks for the best hotels in Hiroshima:

Start your day with a trip to Miyajima Island

Miyajima Island

If you have just one day in Hiroshima, we recommend beginning at Miyajima Island. It gets busy during the day, so arriving early is key! To get there from Hiroshima, head to Miyajimaguchi Station first. From there, catch the JR Miyajima Ferry to Miyajima Island, a quick 10-minute ride.

The JR Pass covers this whole trip, by the way. If you want to know whether the JR Pass is worth it for you, we recommend checking out our JR Pass guide.

As soon as you step onto Miyajima Island, you are greeted by cute deer. Make sure to keep your distance though, especially if you are carrying food. Must-see attractions include Itsukushima Shrine with its iconic floating torii gate, Daisho-in Temple, and the five-storied pagoda.

Good to know
There’s a visitor tax of 100 (about € 0,60) yen to visit Miyajima Island. This fee has to be paid by everyone, including people who have a JR Pass.

Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

After your visit to Miyajima Island, take the ferry back to Hiroshima and head straight to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Here, you’ll dive deep into Hiroshima’s history, especially the events of August 6, 1945. Among the many harrowing exhibits, what stands out most are the human shadows etched in stone. These haunting imprints capture the moment a person was instantly vaporized by the atomic bomb, leaving only their shadow on the steps where they once stood. The museum offers a sobering experience through personal stories, powerful images, and personal belongings.

Plan for about (or at least) 2 hours to explore the museum thoroughly. We recommend getting your Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum tickets in advance through Klook to skip the entrance line. Also, you should know that the whole visit is extremely moving. We found ourselves deeply affected as we left the museum. It’s a poignant reminder of the impact of the atomic bomb and Hiroshima’s history.

Wander the Peace Memorial Park

Peace Memorial Park

After visiting the museum, take a walk through the adjacent Peace Memorial Park to reflect. The park honors the victims of the nuclear attack, with several moving monuments like the Memorial Cenotaph. The Children’s Peace Monument stands out, dedicated to Sadako Sasaki and the many children who died because of the bombing. But our favorite is the Peace Flame, which has been burning since 1964 and will continue until all nuclear weapons are gone. It’s one of the most touching sights we’ve ever seen, and the message behind it is so powerful.

Reflect at the A-Bomb Dome

One day Hiroshima itinerary: A-Bomb Dome

Just a short walk from Peace Park, you’ll find the A-Bomb Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s the only building that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and has been preserved exactly as it was right after the explosion. Seeing this building gave us chills. It’s really heartbreaking that human decisions led to the destruction of an entire city.

The Dome sparked a lot of debate among the locals. Some wanted to tear it down, feeling it was a painful reminder of the past. Others believed it should be preserved as a memorial to honor the victims and stand as a symbol of peace. In the end, when Hiroshima started rebuilding, they chose to keep the skeletal remains of the building intact.

Step into history at Hiroshima Castle

Next on this one day Hiroshima itinerary is Hiroshima Castle, just a 15-minute walk from the A-Bomb Dome. The original castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb, but it has been rebuilt and now serves as a museum showcasing Hiroshima’s history before the bombing. The castle grounds are lovely to walk through, especially during blossom season!

Dinner at 葉亜葉

The perfect way to end your day is with Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. For a truly authentic experience, head to 葉亜葉. There’s no English name, and it’s mostly filled with locals. Just how we like it! A friendly lady cooks okonomiyaki right in front of you – a savory Japanese pancake layered with noodles, cabbage, meat, and a tasty sauce. Since there’s no menu available, the owner simply asked us, “Okonomiyaki?”, and that’s about it. We also used Google Translate to request a vegetarian option for Thysia, which worked well enough. The lovely lady cooked our meal right there, gave us free water, and we paid only € 8 for two dishes. The food was delicious, we can’t recommend this place enough!

Here are some other things to consider adding to your Hiroshima itinerary:

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