Hiroshima, the city of water and peace, is a modern and culture-rich city. Over 1.1 million people live in the city.
The city is built on the Ota River delta in one of the most sheltered harbors on the Seto Inland Sea. The city enjoys the mild climate provided by its position in the Seto Inland Climate Zone. It is sheltered by the Chugoku Mountains in the north and the Shikoku Mountains in the west from the worst of late summer and winter storms. The average temperature for January is 5.9C and August is 28.1C.
Oysters from the Hiroshima region have been renowned for their flavor through out Japan for over 400 years. Miyajima is host to an oyster festival on the second Saturday and Sunday in February. Hiroshima is also famous for its style of Okinomiyaki.
This historic city is much more than its Peace Memorial Park and a stepping stone to Miyajima. It has much to offer year-round for any kind of tourist. World-class museums, gardens, temples, professional baseball, shopping and more are all to be found in Hiroshima City.
See Also: Hiroshima's History
The city zoo is a popular attraction, but its location in the northern suburbs of the city makes it hard to visit to without a car. Around 160 different species (1,500 animals - fish not included) of mainly African and Asian animals are on display at the zoo. The zoo is closed during the New Year and every Thursday. The bus going to the zoo can be boarded at Hiroshima Station.
The Hiroshima Botanical Garden opened in 1976 and they have played in important role in preserving rare native plant species from around the world through seed exchange programs with other gardens in over 30 countries. The garden is most popular during the spring time but its large greenhouses and temperature controlled buildings make it interesting to visit anytime during the year. The garden is located in Itsukaichi west of the city.
Hondori Street is Hiroshima's main covered shopping avenue. The busiest and most stylish shopping area in the city starts from just east of the Peace Memorial Park and runs two blocks south of Aiodori Avenue until it reaches the Parco Shopping Mall.
Hijiyama Park (Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art)
The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art is located in Hijiyama Park which has always served as a cool and refreshing area in the city. The museum contains a wide-ranging collection of notable contemporary artists from Japan and all over the world. There is also a library which contains only manga (Japanese comic books) in the park.
Mitaki is northwest of Yokogawa Station. Mitaki Temple, a relaxing forest retreat, is located there. Mount Mitaki, which you walk partly up to get to the temple, is one of the best locations to look out over the city. The temple grounds are popular for leaf viewing in late November.
Hiroshima's largest company, Mazda, controls a large section of land east of the city. Many models of Mazda cars are made at the factories including the MX-5/Miata and Mazda RX-7. Mazda has even built their own bridges across the rivers into the factories.
Website: Mazda Museum (English)
This park and Miyajima are the two places everyone will want to see when they visit Hiroshima. The park is built on land surrounding the epicenter of the blast. There are two museums: one a peaceful dedication to victims and the other a powerful message about the human cost of the terrible weapons unleashed on the city.
Memorial Cathedral of World Peace
Memorial Cathedral of World Peace, one of the largest Roman Catholic cathedrals in Asia, was built in 1954. Father Hugo Lassalle's appeal for a place to pray for peace were answered with world-wide support. Its main tower is 46 meters tall.
The castle was originally constructed in 1589 by Terumoto Mori who ruled most of western Honshu. He built this representative flatland castle on an area called Koi-no-ura (Carp Inlet) which gave it the nickname "Carp Castle" or Rijo in Japanese. The current castle was rebuilt in 1958 after the war and houses artifacts from Hiroshima's past.
Strolling through the castle grounds is a relaxing break from the city bustle.
Baseball - Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Hiroshima's professional baseball team is called the Carp after the nickname for Hiroshima Castle. They were a fairly successful team which won their Central League division six times (1975, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1991) and three championships, but, they haven't been a contender for either in well over 10 years. They play at the new MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima.
Website: Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Japanese)
While not in the city, Miyajima makes a great day trip from Hiroshima City. The view of the Itsukushima Shrine with its vermillion gate in front and Mt. Misen towering behind is considered one of Japan's three best views.
The Astram Line is a local rapid transit commuter train line which terminates in Hiroshima's underground Shareo shopping mall and in Hiroshima's north-west suburbs. It was built to help relieve traffic from Hiroshima's suburbs into the city and opened August 20th, 1994. For the most part, it uses an elevated track that resembles a monorail but the first three stations at Hondori (Shareo) and the city offices are underground. The Asa Zoo, Hiroshima Regional Park, Big Arch Stadium (J-League Soccer) and several universities are located close to this train line. Trains run every few minutes from 6 am to midnight.
The streetcars (Hiroden - Japanese) are a popular and cheap way to get around Hiroshima City. It costs a flat fare of 160 yen in the city to ride and day passes can be bought. PASPY cards can be used in the streetcars as well as on buses and the Astram Line. The #2 streetcar line extends all the way to Miyajimaguchi from the station (260 yen).
Hiroshima Bus Center
The Hiroshima Bus Center (HBC - Japanese) is located on 3rd floor of the Sogo Department store near Kamiya-cho which is east of the peace park on Aoidori. This station serves as the hub for all bus traffic coming and going from Hiroshima. Many highway buses also stop at Hiroshima Station's Shinkansen entrance as well.
The easiest way to move between the bus center and JR Hiroshima Station is by streetcar.
JR Hiroshima Station (JR West - Japanese) is the located east of the city center. It is the largest and busiest station in Hiroshima Prefecture. Local and Shinkansen (Bullet trains) leave and arrive constantly as over 73,000 passengers use the station per day. A brisk 15 minute walk or 5 minute city streetcar ride will get you into the heart of the city.
Hiroshima Station is a hub for both local and Shinkansen (Bullet) trains. Hiroshima Airport (Ext. Link) is a lengthy 50 minute bus ride away from the city in the east.
Posted: April 4, 2011 Updated: March 2, 2015