Since its devastation from the fateful atomic bombings at the end of World War II, Hiroshima has since risen from the ashes of its past and is now a flourishing modern city. Both a prefecture and a major city, Hiroshima is connected by many flowing waterways. It’s a great destination in the south of Japan, and quite a sight to see and a testament to the resilience and drive of its people.
From regional food to temples and cultural institutions, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Hiroshima, Japan. This peaceful city of water overlooking the Seto Inland Sea continues to thrive today but still with hints of traditional culture shining through. So is Hiroshima worth seeing? Yes! Keep reading for the best of what to do in Hiroshima on your next trip.
Don't miss these foods during your trip! Check out our list of the Must Eat Food in Hiroshima!
30 Best Things to Do in Hiroshima
- Explore the grounds of the Peace Memorial Park
- Uncover more about the city’s past at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
- Eat Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki
- Pay your respects at the Atomic Bomb Dome
- Discover pre-World War II history at Hiroshima Castle
- Join a food tour in Hiroshima
- Stroll around the gardens of Shukkeien
- Ride a ferry to spend a day trip on Miyajima Island
- Make the pilgrimage Itsukushima Jinja, the famous floating shrine
- Hike Mount Misen on Miyajima Island
- Explore Daishoin Temple
- Try a local cooking class
- Sample some local sake at Saijo
- Marvel at Hiroshima Toshogu Shrine
- Cruise on the Seto Inland Sea
- Check out Senkoji Temple and wander through Senkoji Park
- Embrace the 360-degree view of the city from Hiroshima Orizuru Tower
- Hit up Hiroshima Downtown on a night out
- Soak up some beautiful art at the Hiroshima Museum of Art
- Ride the Hiroden street car trams
- Take a day trip to Onomichi and slurp some Onomichi Ramen
- Cross the Shimanami Kaido Expressway
- Learn all about cars at the Mazda Museum
- Find out the secrets of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Kure Museum
- Shop ‘til you drop in at the Outlets Hiroshima
- Wander through Hijiyama Park (and check out the cherry blossoms in spring!)
- Tour the Wood Egg Okonomiyaki Museum
- Enjoy the scenic beauty of Mitakidera Temple
- Watch the twinkling nightscape from Mount Haigamine
- Roam around Hiroshima Botanical Gardens
1. Explore the grounds of the Peace Memorial Park
A large park precinct fully dedicated to the lives lost in the devastating Hiroshima bombings, the Peace Memorial Park commemorates both for victims who were directly and indirectly affected. Planned and designed by the Japanese Architect Kenzo Tange, the park is located in an area which was once the busy downtown area of Hiroshima. The grounds were built over an open field created by a crater created by the almighty explosion. Emotionally charged and powerfully somber, strolling through Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park offers an opportunity for reflection. Within the park you’ll find many monuments including the arched Hiroshima Victims Memorial Cenotaph, the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall, the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Children’s Peace Monument, and the Flame of Peace.
2. Uncover more about the city’s past at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
A confronting yet iconic museum, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum documents the events of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War II in harrowing detail. Established in 1955, it’s still one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Hiroshima (both local and international) with over a million visitors per year. With many collected articles and stories preserved in time, this museum is a must-visit in Hiroshima for its powerful messaging. The museum aims to seek peace and act as a reminder of Hiroshima’s traumatic war-torn past.
3. Eat Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki
On a lighter note, one of the best things to do in Hiroshima is eating delicious local cuisine! Different from the more commonly known slabs of okonomiyaki in Osaka style, Hiroshima is famous for its own locally-loved layered style of okonomiyaki, which is absolutely delicious! Using unique ingredients like noodles, pork and local produce, Hiroshima okonomiyaki is a dish you should definitely try on a visit to Hiroshima Prefecture.
You can explore the best local okonomiyaki restaurants in the multi-story food theme park complex dedicated to okonomiyaki, better known as Okonomimura (meaning “okonomiyaki village”). Hiroshima is also famous for local lemons and oysters! You can also learn more about the history of local okonomiyaki at the Wood Egg Okonomiyaki Museum (see #27).
4. Pay your respects at the Atomic Bomb Dome
Commonly known today as the Genbaku Dome, Atomic Bomb Dome or A-Bomb Dome, this historic monument is a remnant of the devastation of the Hiroshima bombings. Once the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, it is now one of the main sights as part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park residing alongside one of the city’s main waterways. The Atomic Bomb Dome was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site in 1996, forever a memorial to the more than 140,000 people killed in the atomic bombing of World War II.
5. Discover pre-World War II history at Hiroshima Castle
Sometimes referred to as “Carp Castle”, Hiroshima Castle is a remake of the first Hiroshima Castle which was originally built in the late 1500s and then destroyed in the atomic bombing. The new castle was reconstructed in 1958 as a replica to showcase the history and culture of Hiroshima, pre-World War II. The castle is still a beautiful sight of 5 stories surrounded by traditional stone walls, impeccable gardens, and a grand moat. As one of the best things to do in Hiroshima for history lovers, this castle features a great collection of traditional armor, weapons, and other historical items on display within the museum. Marked by a signature stone torii gate, Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine is a large Shinto shrine located close to Hiroshima Castle within its grounds. It’s a great place to visit, especially if there is a festival with plenty of people in traditional clothing paying their respects to the Gods enshrined there.
6. Join a food tour in Hiroshima
Make the most of your Hiroshima trip and get well acquainted with its regional cuisine by joining a Hiroshima food tour. With the help of an English speaking guide, you can learn about Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, tsukemen, and lots of other local snacks, produce and dishes. A food tour in Hiroshima is the perfect opportunity to see the city in a new light as you visit cozy local restaurants and stroll through shopping arcades.
You’ll definitely discover what is cool about Hiroshima, its heart! Especially if you have a dietary requirement like being vegetarian or vegan in Hiroshima, it can be great to get Japanese food tips from a local guide.
7. Stroll around the gardens of Shukkeien
What to do in Hiroshima if you need a bit of a breather? Shukkeien Gardens is one of the city's most popular and historical Japanese landscape gardens. Shukkeien is a stunning garden featuring beautifully manicured trees and lawns, tranquil ponds and rock formations, traditional architecture, and interesting design techniques. It's a beautiful sight to see at any time of year, especially during transitional seasons and is great to stroll around for a moment of peace. Additionally, the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum is located nearby and makes for a nice stop if you want to check out some local artists’ work.
8. Ride a ferry to spend a day trip on Miyajima Island
Visiting Miyajima Island is one of the most popular Hiroshima day trip options. Just a short ferry ride away from the city, you can enter another world as you step onto the picturesque island of Miyajima. Enjoy exploring the tea houses, local shops, temples and walking tracks of this scenic island (mind the crowds though), and check out the central Miyajima Omotesando Arcade for souvenir shopping.
The island’s main attraction is Miyajima’s famous Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, which is a must-visit for any visitor to the island. Representing the beautiful rich colors of the autumn leaves, you should also eat an autumn-leaf-shaped sweet steamed bun known as “Momiji Manju”. It’s a famous snack on Miyajima Island, which you can also take home as an omiyage snack souvenir, but best freshly cooked while you’re there.
9. Make the pilgrimage Itsukushima Jinja, the famous floating shrine
Partially built over water more than 1400 years ago, Itsukushima Jinja Shrine reflects itself in the glistening waters of the Seto Inland Sea. Famous for its grand architecture, rich history, and stunning views, many people from Japan come here to worship throughout the year. Marking where local Shinto deities reside, this shrine is considered one of the top 3 most scenic places in Japan.
As a main feature of the World Heritage listed Itsukushima Shrine area, you’ll be in awe of the grand red torii gate rising from the ocean. When you’re thinking of things to do in Hiroshima, this is one of the top attractions you should definitely hit. Majestic and glorious, this famous Itsukushima Jinja Otorii looks to be “floating” in the ocean at high tide. If it’s low tide, you can walk over to the torii gate on foot.
10. Hike Mount Misen on Miyajima Island
With plenty of picturesque paths to explore and beautiful views from the summit of Miyajima Island, Mount Misen is a great itinerary addition for anyone who loves nature or hiking. This sacred mountain is 535 meters. Located within Setonaikai National Park, it’s worth a visit throughout the year with three different routes to hike to the peak or you can catch the cable car to the top.
11. Explore Daishoin Temple
Located at the foot of Mount Misen on Miyajima Island, you can spend some time slowly walking through Daishoin Temple. There are many statues on the premises, and an impressive cave filled with Buddhist icons. Not as popular as Itukushima Shrine, but it was once home to the head priest during the Meiji era during the separation of Shintoism and Buddhism.
12. Try a local cooking class
Are you considering what to do in Hiroshima and also love cooking? Even if you don’t, make one of your meals in Hiroshima unforgettable by joining a fun and hands-on experience! Adding a cooking class to your trip itinerary is a great idea to learn more about Japanese food and culture as well as Hiroshima’s local produce and regional cuisine. From sushi to okonomiyaki to wagashi sweets and more, browse our cooking classes in Hiroshima to try and make your own Japanese food in Hiroshima. It’s a great activity and meal option for families, couples, individuals and groups of friends!
13. Sample some local sake at Saijo
Did you know that Hiroshima is famous for producing high-caliber Japanese sake? If you’re a sake buff or fancy a tipple on occasion, make sure you make time for a sake tour in Hiroshima! Saijo is Hiroshima’s resident “Sake Town” which is famous for being among the top three sake brewing areas in Japan. During a sake-tasting tour, you can sample a range of some of Japan’s best sakes with the help of a guide. As you sip you can discover more information on the history of sake, tasting notes, local ingredients, brewing techniques, and more!
14. Marvel at Hiroshima Toshogu Shrine
Another grand religious site, Hiroshima Toshogu Shrine, lies east of Hiroshima city. This Shinto Shrine was established in 1648 to enshrine the famous Tokugawa Ieyasu, the very first Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is one of the 45 odd that were built for the same purpose to enshrine this ancient leader, and it’s a magnificent sight when lit up at night. It’s positioned at the foot of Mount Futabayama, northeast of Hiroshima Castle.
15. Cruise on the Seto Inland Sea
Jump into a boat and get out onto the beautiful waters of the Seto Inland Sea. A leisure cruise in Hiroshima makes for a unique and relaxing way to literally see Hiroshima from another viewpoint, looking back onto the city and exploring the waters surrounding Miyajima Island. Not only scenic sweeping views as you cruise around neighboring islands, but you can also enjoy the best of Hiroshima’s local seafood, such as eel and oysters, when back on land.
16. Check out Senkoji Temple and wander through Senkoji Park
Located to the west of the city limits, Senkoji Temple within Senkoji Park is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Hiroshima. The temple offers a breathtaking view of the city and the sea. Make time to take in the beauty of the scenery in awe, and when you’re done you can learn more about the area’s religious history at the museum there. In terms of amenities, there is an observation deck and cafe facilities for you to enjoy the elevated views from the park.
17. Embrace the 360-degree view of the city from Hiroshima Orizuru Tower
For another great viewpoint, taking in Hiroshima from a 360 degree view is amazing for seeing where the city meets the sea. Right beside the A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Orizuru Tower offers stunning views from its rooftop observation deck overlooking Hiroshima and the greater prefectural region, especially dramatic if you time it right to see a pink and orange sunset. The first floor also has a cafe if you are hungry!
18. Hit up Hiroshima Downtown on a night out
Ready for a big night? Not just a sleepy city, Hiroshima has a thriving nightlife scene with plenty of places to party from karaoke clubs and cocktail bars to traditional izakayas. Hiroshima’s busy Downtown district is the best place for a night out, although you never know what kind of secret bars and local restaurants you might stumble upon in the city’s backstreets! If you’re not sure where to start, book a night time food tour in Hiroshima to explore the best of Hiroshima Downtown after dark. You’ll definitely discover what is cool about Hiroshima as you discover Hon Dori’s delicious local offerings and other delights in the center of the city.
19. Soak up some beautiful art at the Hiroshima Museum of Art
With a great range of both European art and traditional Japanese works, the Hiroshima Museum of Art is perfect for art lovers or anyone who needs a kick of culture on a rainy day. Including famous works from Picasso, Van Gogh, and other traditional works from Japanese artists, this compact art museum is located in the relaxing setting of Hiroshima Central Park. The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art is also well rated as an art lover’s attraction.
20. Ride the Hiroden street car trams
Reminiscent of Hiroshima’s past, the modern-day city is connected by a network of light rail trams. These street cars or trolleys called the Hiroden can take you wherever you need to go across the city, trundling along. Riding the Hiroden also makes for a relaxing way to see Hiroshima from a slow-paced perspective as you roll around past waterways and side streets on one of the city’s 300 operating cars.
21. Take a day trip to Onomichi and slurp some Onomichi Ramen
A picturesque port town just a short train ride from Hiroshima, Onomichi is famous for its plethora of temples, delicious local ramen, onsen hot springs, and nostalgic vibe overlooking the aesthetic Onomichi Channel. A film shooting location for a famous period drama, its characteristic slopes are a part of the town’s charm where you can follow different paths that lead to the 25 temples which make up Onomichi’s famous Temple Walk. You can enjoy the view looking out onto the Seto Inland Sea, and make sure to slurp up a bowl of Onomichi Ramen while you’re there. The town has also got a ropeway to save your legs!
22. Cross the Shimanami Kaido Bridge
Another local attraction in the Onomichi area is the Shimanami Kaido Bridge. This enormous bridge connects Honshu with Shikoku over a scenic 70-kilometer-long expressway. It offers a lovely view out onto the different islands in between, and it’s a lot of fun to cross as a pedestrian on foot or via bicycle!
23. Learn all about cars at the Mazda Museum
For auto enthusiasts wondering what to do in Hiroshima, why not make a stop to check out the Mazda Museum during your Hiroshima trip? Now a major car retailer and manufacturer of course with global status, Mazda originally opened in humble Hiroshima at the start of the 1920s. Combined with Mazda’s corporate headquarters, factories, and research labs nearby, a trip to the Mazda Museum makes for an interesting 90-minute tour to learn about the company’s history, car production process, and latest technologies (be sure to book ahead).
24. Find out the secrets of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Kure Museum
The port city of Kure is close to Hiroshima’s main city and is home to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Kure for its detailed exhibits related to minesweeping, submarine operations, and other ocean-based military activities. It’s also known as the "Iron Whale Museum" after its main exhibit, which is JMSDF's diesel-electric submarine called Akishio which you definitely can’t miss.
25. Shop ‘til you drop in at the Outlets Hiroshima
Need a shopping fix (and a break from sightseeing)? Take a trip to bag a bargain or five at an impressive outlet mall just outside of the main city precinct called the Outlets Hiroshima. Located on the west, this huge shopping complex offers great deals at over 100 outlet stores selling just about everything! There's an arcade, ice skating rink, movie cinema and a bowling center for whole family entertainment as well.
26. Wander through Hijiyama Park (and check out the cherry blossoms in spring!)
Located on a small hill looking over Hiroshima City, Hijiyama Park has beautiful views of the Seto Inland Sea. It’s a popular place for a tranquil moment away from the buzzing city and for cherry blossom viewing parties in the springtime with over 1300 sakura trees within the park precinct. The park is also home to the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art and the Hiroshima City Manga Library if you want to explore some cultural institutions.
27. Tour the Wood Egg Okonomiyaki Museum
Quite the architectural anomaly in Hiroshima, the Wood Egg Museum is a humongous brown structure that is dedicated to the very important local food of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. You can tour this specialty museum to learn more about the history and culture of okonomiyaki in the local region as well as its ingredients and cooking techniques. You can taste okonomiyaki here or even learn to make your own!
28. Enjoy the scenic beauty of Mitaki-dera Temple
Built by Buddhists of the Shingon sect, Mitaki-dera Temple was erected in 809 and still sits within the downtown Hiroshima district today. The name of the temple translates to mean “Three Waterfalls Temple” for its Buddhist statues and many waterfalls within the groups. It’s a tranquil place to chill out, and is especially beautiful during the autumn season with radiant red leaves around the temple grounds.
29. Watch the twinkling nightscape from Mount Haigamine
You’ll be in awe once you reach the summit of Mount Haigamine at night with all its glittering lights sparkling from the city below. The peak of this picturesque mountain is supposed to be one of the top 3 nightscape views in the whole country that provides a panoramic bird's eye view of the city and the islands around Hiroshima. Ideal for a romantic stop or a perfect photo moment.
30. Roam around Hiroshima Botanical Gardens
To get away from the business of the reborn city, explore the range of exotic and local indigenous plants growing in Hiroshima Botanical Gardens. Located to the west of the city, you can lose yourself for an afternoon in the different stunning landscapes of its conservatory, begonia display house, rock garden, Japanese garden, greenhouses and more.
Author’s Choice: Enjoy a day out watching baseball at Mazda Stadium Hiroshima
Even if you’re not the biggest sports fan, catching a baseball game in Japan is certainly a unique cultural experience. If you’re looking for things to do in Hiroshima that are off the beaten path, I’d recommend supporting the local Hiroshima baseball team on an awesome day out at one of the coolest baseball stadiums in Japan!
Also known as Hiroshima Municipal Stadium, Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima is home to the Hiroshima Carps and is designed in its very hip and signature retro-classic ballpark style. With a capacity of 32,000 people, you can join the lively atmosphere at a live baseball game or make the most of people-watching opportunities (think cheer squads and chants of hard-core fans).
There are plenty of food vendors for a mid-game snack as well as souvenir and merch shops inside the venue for a full baseball experience. The Bikkuri Terrace is the place to go to enjoy Japanese barbeque yakiniku as you watch a game, and there are plenty of bars to buy drinks from if that suits your taste!
For a first port of call for what to do in Hiroshima, there are plenty of delicious local dishes and locally grown products to enjoy in Hiroshima City and its greater countryside region. Connected by waterways through its port, Hiroshima is often known as the city of water in Japan. It’s more famously known as the site of the 1945 bombings of World War II, but there is much more to the city than that.
If you’re wondering how many days do you need in Hiroshima, you can enjoy the sights of the city in about three days, including time to spend at the Peace Park, Miyajima, and even another day trip to a nearby town.
Whether you want to discover its harrowing history or you’re looking for a city experience that’s more laid back with access to the ocean, Hiroshima is a beautiful city and prefecture with lots to explore. Add a trip to Hiroshima to your itinerary and ride the Shinkansen from one of the major cities to this more subdued but thriving prefecture!