I had heard from several sources that I shouldn’t take more than two days to see Hiroshima as it was a boring city once you’d seen the Peace Museum. At the time that disappointed me as I had booked for 5 days and felt trapped. My realisation of course was that these people were wrong. I had a fantastic time in Hiroshima and while you may have to leave the city to truly find beauty in the place at times, it’s an amazing experience nonetheless.
I stayed in the Hana Hostel in Hiroshima for 5 nights and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t any spectacular but it was a good place to call home while in town. It was in a convenient location, the staff were helpful, and the rooms comfortable. I guess all that detracts from it being a properly great hostel was the lack of socialising, a decently working washing system and how few showers and toilets there were for five floors of rooms.
Getting there: You simply arrive at Hiroshima Station, exit and head left up adjacent to the tracks for 400 metres and you’re there. It’s very easy to find.
Cost: $24 USD a night (2800 yen)
Like most Japanese cities Hiroshima is easily accessible by public transport. But in addition to the busses and trains that cover a lot of ground Hiroshima has a tram system. Unbeknown to this traveller at the start of my journey there you can purchase a pretty handy 3 day tram and ferry pass for 1,000 yen which is a great deal if you’re going to be actively sight seeing.
Hiroshima Peace Museum
This is obviously the main thing to go see while in Hiroshima. For 300 yen you can rent out an audio tape and make your way around the exhibit. I found it to be sad and extremely shocking and I would warn you if you haven’t been to something like this before that it can and probably will ruin the rest of your day. Once you’ve made it through the museum you should definitely check out the peace park as it is truly beautiful and a fine remembrance that we should be striving for peace.
Getting there: It’s fairly simple to get to the peace museum by tram – you simply hop on the tram at Hiroshima Station and get off at either Hondori Station or Fukuromachi. Then it’s a short walk over the bridge. You can also get there by bus, but the tram is a cheaper and funner way to go.
Cost: 200 yen entry to the museum, plus 300 yen for the audio guide if you wish it
This one wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed but that is because I am not much of a shopper and not one for crowds. Having said that I did purchase new jeans and a new down jacket here for $40 so even I found it useful. This is a long street of shopping malls, cafes, and restaurants. It is extremely busy but that’s a testament to how good the experience can be, I guess. This was where I found my absolute favourite ramen place in all of Japan, so it wasn’t all bad.
Getting there: From Hiroshima station you simply take the tram and get off at Hondori Station. You’re literally smack bang in the middle of it as you exit.
Cost: Window shopping is free, everything else will cost you. A bowl of ramen will be 780 yen, my new jeans were 3,000 yen and so on.
Now this was more my cup of tea. Miyajima was one of, if not the most beautiful natural experience of my time in Japan. It is simply stunning and the more you explore and the deeper into the island you go the more you’re blown away. There are deer running about but these ones prefer to be a little more aggressive than the ones at Nara and will eat your maps and clothes if you let them. I can’t recommend Miyajima enough to be honest. If you’re going to climb Mount Misen you better have prepared your calves.
Getting There: Very simple to do you just hop on a Train (can take tram but thats slow and why bother?) from Hiroshima Station via the JR Sanyo line and hop off at Miyajimaguchi station. Then it’s a quick walk over to the ferry station to board.
Once you’re there you can head up into Miyajima a number of ways but I chose by foot until we took the Cable Car up the mountain which is highly recommended, warning though that only gets you half way, the rest of the trek needs to be done by foot if you wish to reach the peak.
Cost: If you have a JR PASS then everything excluding the cable car is totally free. That includes the ferry, train from Hiroshima, any busses etc. All in all my day cost me 1,000 yen for the cable car and what a great and cheap way to do it. If you do not have a JR pass then the train will set you back 410 yen, and the ferry 180. Don’t hold me to it, but I believe the 3 day 1,000 yen pass I mentioned earlier MAY cover your ferry over.
This was another favourite day trip of my time in Japan. This time not for the islands beauty but for the gorgeousness of the residents who live there. Okunoshima is better known by most as BUNNY ISLAND and it’s just one giant ball of cute from start to finish. It’s a bit of a pain to get to, but trust me when I say it’s worth every second. If you like cute animals, and being swarmed by those cute animals, then this place is your kind of destination.
Getting there: Like I said it’s a bit of a pain, but very doable. You need to get to Hiroshima station and head on the Kodama 732 (Bullet train) to Mihara Station. There you need to transfer to the local train bound for Hiro and get off at Tadanoumi Station. You then walk to the port which is about 5-10 minutes walk and hop on the ferry which leaves every hour.
Cost: The Ferry will set you back 620 yen round trip. The train will be around 1,500 yen and the bunny food should be around 200 yen (bring fresh groceries like celery not the pellets)