Welcome to Hiroshima!
This city may have an unfortunate dark past, but many years have passed since then and now, Hiroshima, Japan, is proudly one of the most visited cities in the country. Every day, tourists arrive from all over the world. Locals are very proud of what their city has become since the days of WWII, and now, as a worldwide local, you can experience the newly revived culture for yourself.
Hiroshima’s Complex Past
Hiroshima is an old city, with shrines and temples occupying the area in and around the city. Since the 1500s, Hiroshima was ruled by a powerful warlord who established the Hiroshima castle. Now, Hiroshima is a popular destination for worldwide travelers and home to over a million locals.
Start your visit by visiting one of its most important landmarks. The Hiroshima Memorial Museum is a must-see place of interest that sees tourists and locals alike. Here is the only building left standing after the infamous Hiroshima bomb was dropped. It’s common for schoolchildren to visit, and although the subject matter is heavy, it is a place that is not only important to locals, but to Japan as a whole. Any worldwide local knows that showing respect to a city and its culture is paramount. Access to the site only costs 50 Yen (about 50 cents USD) and services are offered in English. It’s an emotional experience, but it’s one of the most important things to do in Hiroshima.
Worldwide Local Tip: Perhaps one of the most iconic sites, of the city, is the Atomic Bomb Dome. Located near the epicenter where the bomb fell, a building was left, mostly still standing and serves as a memorial. For those who are short on time, visiting this site won’t set you back too much, and as an added bonus: it’s free.
Eat Like a Hiroshima Local
As a worldwide local, you must try the local cuisine. Japan is full of amazing dishes containing variations from different regions of the country, all perfecting their recipes and techniques. In Hiroshima, Okonomiyaki is the local delicacy and they take it very seriously. For the uninitiated, it is a savory pancake-like dish that comes with a variety of ingredients, such as cabbage, pork, egg, squid, noodles, and is served with your choice of sauces.
Worldwide Local Tip: For some of the absolutely best Okonomiyaki in the city, head to Okonomimura. The area is basically a huge hot spot where you can find an assortment of amazing Japanese and Hiroshima delicacies. There are over 20 different stalls serving Okonomiyaki, so you can hop around and try them all.
Dive Deeper into History
Despite its destructive past, the locals of Hiroshima are proud of their city and its cultural landmarks. Take a step back in time to the Sengoku period of Japan, and visit the beautiful Hiroshima castle. Originally built in the 1590s, the castle was unfortunately destroyed during WWII, but was promptly rebuilt a decade later. The castle is now home to a wonderful Hiroshima museum dedicated to the city’s pre-WWII history, and it is a great place to see cherry and plum blossoms.
Worldwide Local Tip: Just east of the castle is the Shukkeien Garden. Roughly translating to “shrunken-scenery garden,” the garden is exactly that. With small valleys and hills, as well as lakes and forests, this mini scenery has been around since the 1600s and is not a common spot on most tourists’ radar. It’s a perfect spot to explore and enjoy the Hiroshima weather.
Relax with a Convenient Day Trip
Hiroshima is great but one of the things that makes it so great is the great connections to other parts of Japan. If you’re looking to get out of the city for a bit, Miyajima Island is just a small short ferry trip away. The island is sparsely populated, rural, and is a protected place, meaning the trees cannot be cut down and the animals that inhabit the island are considered friends of the gods. One of the most striking features of Miyajima is the huge torii gate. Known as the “floating shrine,” the red gate is over 500 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re looking for something a little different from old shrines, visit Okunoshima for a really unique experience. Known as rabbit island, it’s about an hour train ride from the city, and the name is exactly what it promises. As the story goes, that the island was home to a government facility for testing poison gas and after it closed, all the healthy rabbits were released into the wild. Hundreds of friendly little rabbits inhabit the island now, running free and being adorable.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Hiroshima is home to many things that make the city memorable. With an interesting past, remarkable, ancient castles and temples, beautiful scenery and delicious local food that is unlike anything anywhere else, this is why Hiroshima is such a popular destination, and any worldwide local can see why.