About Hiroshima

The Attractions
of Hiroshima

Hiroshima is full of beautiful sights and delicious food, and is a popular area that many visitors to Japan go out of their way to come visit.

World Heritage Sites such as Miyajima (Itsukushima Shrine) and the Atomic Bomb Dome are just a few of the famous attractions in Hiroshima. There, you can experience the traditional beauty and rich history that Japan is so proud of. Recently, unusual tourist attractions such as Okunojima (where you can interact with dozens of wild rabbits!) have been attracting a lot of attention as well.

Hiroshima is also a great place to enjoy the beauty of all four seasons. Whether it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter, you can enjoy all the sites and their unique and changing beauty in any season of the year.

The prefecture is also known for its convenient transportation options and its accessibility from both overseas and domestic locations. Hiroshima itself can be reached by plane from Tokyo in about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The Geography
of Hiroshima

Hiroshima is a prefecture in the Chugoku region of Japan. It is located in the western part of the Japanese archipelago and is conveniently located within a two-hour flight or bullet train ride to major tourist destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

Hiroshima is surrounded by the sea and mountains, with the Seto Inland Sea in the south and the Chugoku Mountains in the north.

Along the Seto Inland Sea there are tourist destinations facing the sea, such as Miyajima (Itsukushima Shrine) and Onomichi, where you can enjoy many resort locations. There are more than 140 habitable islands of varying sizes doting the Seto Inland Sea, making it a popular place to tour the islands by bicycle.

On the other hand, the Chugoku Mountains in the northern part of Japan have dozens of beautiful ski resorts, hiking trails, and other natural attractions. Famous “Power Spots” such as the Sandankyo Gorge and the Taishaku Gorge are revitalizing, and have a charm that cannot be found in the city.

History of Hiroshima

The Origin of the Name “Hiroshima”

“The origin of the name “Hiroshima” dates back to the Sengoku Period about 430 years ago. It was named in 1591 to coincide with the construction of Hiroshima Castle by the samurai Terumoto Mori.

When the Hiroshima Castle was completed, many samurai (vassals) came to live at the castle with Terumoto. Terumoto invited craftsmen and merchants from all over Hiroshima to live close to the castle in order to develop the area around it. Terumoto built upon the designs of other castles including Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Osaka Castle, and built a thriving castle-town where many of the townspeople lived.
Even today, the downtown area around Hiroshima Castle is a thriving business district and is the economic center of Hiroshima.

Prehistoric Hiroshima (B.C.-593)

It is believed that people have lived in the area that is now Hiroshima for thousands of years. Many housing sites, shell mounds (garbage dumps for ancient people), and burial mounds (tombs of people of high status) that were built about 27,000 years ago have been discovered. In Miyoshi City, in particular, more than 4,000 kofun mounds (burial mounds), or one-third of all the existing kofun mounds in Hiroshima, have been discovered, and the city is known as one of the most densely packed areas of kofun mounds in the Chugoku region. You can see the most historic of the sites at “Miyoshi Fudoki-no-oka Park”.

Hiroshima in the Asuka-Nara Period (593-794)

In the year 593, the World Heritage Site of Itsukushima Shrine was built on the island of Miyajima. At the time of its construction, Itsukushima Shrine was smaller then it is today, and the shrine was not built over the water either.
Originally, Miyajima was called Itsu-KI-shima. The word “ITSUKI” means “to purify oneself and serve the gods”. In other words, Miyajima is a “holy island where god is enshrined”. In fact, there are various customs in Miyajima for religious reasons, some of which (such as the prohibition of cultivating fields) are still deeply rooted in the island today.

Over the course of more than 1,500 years since the founding of the Itsukushima Shrine, the name “Itsu-KI-shima” has come to be pronounced “Itsu-KU-shima”.

Hiroshima in the Heian Period (794-1192)

During the Heian Period, when aristocratic culture flourished, the samurai Taira-no-Kiyomori became the Governor of Aki.
Taira-no-Kiyomori renovated Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima and introduced the “Shinden-zukuri” style of shrine buildings, which was the trend at the time. The new portions of the Itsukushima Shrine had a mysterious appearance as if they were floating on the sea, and is said to represent “Heavenly Paradise”.

In 1174, the former emperor of Japan, Emperor Shirakawa, visited Miyajima and went to Itsukushima Shrine. The pine tree planted by Emperor Shirakawa during his visit can still be seen in Miyajima today.

Hiroshima in the Kamakura,
Muromachi, and Sengoku Periods (1192-1600)

Famous warlords such as Motonari Mori and others were active in Hiroshima during the Kamakura, Muromachi, and Sengoku Periods, when the samurai era began.

The Mori family was originally a family of samurai who controlled only part of Hiroshima. However, Motonari was an intelligent warrior with an excellent political sense, and he rose to become a warlord who ruled the entire Chugoku region.

Motonari was also known as a man who was very passionate about education. The “Teachings of the Three Arrows” is a good example of Motonari’s dedication to education.
Motonari gave each of his three sons an arrow and ordered them to “break the arrow”. Of course, a thin arrow is easy to break. Next, Motonari gave his sons three arrows and told them to “break all three arrows at once”.
Motonari taught the three brothers that if they worked together, they could overcome any challenge.

Hiroshima in the Edo Period (1603-1867)

During the Edo Period, when the Tokugawa family ruled Japan for generations as shoguns, Hiroshima was home to many industries that continue to thrive even today. The most famous of these industries are oyster farming and brush production.

Natural oysters have been eaten for thousands of years, but it is said that full-scale production of oysters did not begin until the Edo Period. Even today, oyster farming is an important industry in Hiroshima. In Hiroshima, you can eat a variety of fresh raw oysters and grilled oysters.

It is said that brush production began in the late Edo Period (1700-1867). Three craftsmen who were trained in the Arima region of Hyogo Prefecture introduced their brush-making techniques to Hiroshima, and the city became famous for its brush production. Among them, Kumano brushes are recognized as a traditional craft, and many of these brushes are still being produced today.

Hiroshima in the Meiji and Taisho Eras (1867-1926).

During the Meiji and Taisho Periods, when Hiroshima was undergoing modernization, various changes took place in terms of industry and culture. The abolition of the feudal system of government led to the establishment of present-day Hiroshima Prefecture, with the election of prefectural councillors including other changes.

Immigration to Hawaii also began in the Meiji and Taisho Periods. About 10,000 people from Hiroshima emigrated to Hawaii. A total of 650,000 Japanese immigrants to Brazil began to live there by the end of the Meiji Period. Today, about 300,000 people of Japanese descent live in Hawaii and 350,000 people of Japanese descent live in Brazil.

In 1888, the Naval Academy was moved to Etajima in Hiroshima. Today, the Maritime Self-Defense Force School is still located on Etajima. The Maritime Self-Defense Force School also has a restaurant where you can eat their famous “Navy Curry” and is a popular tourist attraction (reservation required).

The Port of Ujina was established in Hiroshima in 1889. The Port of Ujina (Hiroshima Port) is still popular with the people of the prefecture, as ships sail to and from Etajima and Matsuyama (Ehime Prefecture).

Hiroshima in the Showa Period (1926-1945)

Soon after the beginning of the Showa Era, World War II began. The war cast a dark shadow over Hiroshima as well.

In 1941, one of the largest battleships ever built, the Yamato, was built at the naval factory in Kure. Hiroshima was a modern city with a thriving munitions industry.

On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The heat and radiation from the bomb turned Hiroshima into a sea of fire in an instant. Seventy percent of the people within a one kilometer radius of the hypocenter were either killed immediately or died on the day of the bombing, and almost all the buildings within a two kilometer radius were reduced to rubble. In addition, after the bombing, “black rain” containing toxic substances fell, and the area affected by the radiation spread beyond the city of Hiroshima.
In 1945 alone, 140,000 citizens of Hiroshima died as a result of these A-bomb damages. The Atomic Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum are visited by many people from Japan and abroad as places to learn about the devastation of the atomic bombing. The Atomic Bomb Dome is registered as a World Heritage Site.

Hiroshima in the Postwar Era (1945- )

After the war ended, Hiroshima recovered at an astonishingly rapid pace and grew to become a major city.

The automobile manufacturer Mazda grew rapidly after the war and became the fourth-largest company in Japan in terms of market share. Various other companies, such as Daiso, a famous 100-yen shop, were established in Hiroshima as well.

Hiroshima has also gained international importance as the first “City of Peace” in human history, since it was the first city to have been attacked using the atomic bomb. For this reason, former U.S. President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima in 2016 and Pope Francis in 2019.

In addition, Hiroshima has become famous for its sports. A number of professional sports teams have sprung up, including the Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team and the Sanfrecce Hiroshima soccer team, and the success of their players has encouraged the people of Hiroshima. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp has won nine league championships and three Japan championships, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima has won three championships. Also, the Hiroshima Dragonflies (a professional basketball team founded in 2013) was promoted to the B1 division in 2019, only six years after the team was founded. More success is expected.

Hiroshima is also known as the birthplace of many celebrities. People from Hiroshima are active in a variety of fields, including fashion designer Issey Miyake (ISSAY MIYAKE INC.), Tite Kubo (the author of the manga “Bleach”), and SU-METAL of BABYMETAL.

The World Heritage Sites of Hiroshima

Miyajima Island


Miyajima is a small island located in Hatsukaichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture. It is also known as Miyajima or Aki-no-Miyajima, and has been revered as an island of the gods since ancient times. It is also very popular with foreign tourists and was ranked No. 1 in TripAdvisor’s “Japan’s Most Popular Tourist Spots for Foreigners 2011”. It’s close to Hiroshima City and can be reached in as little as 45 minutes from Hiroshima Station, so it’s always crowded with tourists.

The appeal of Miyajima is its historical temples, shrines, its lively streets, and it’s delicious cuisine. You can still see the historical Japanese architecture on Machiya Street, which was once the main street of Miyajima. You can also enjoy various kinds of gourmet food such as oysters and conger eels that are bred in Miyajima, and fried sponge pancakes with red bean paste known as Momiji Sweet Cakes. Traditional handicrafts are also popular, and you can buy many souvenirs such as Osunayaki, which is pottery made by kneading in sand from Itsukushima Shrine.

Since Miyajima has been worshipped as a divine island since ancient times, the island has retained much of its traditional natural scenery and ecosystem. Miyajima’s tallest mountain, Mt. Misen, is home to an unspoiled virgin forest and many wild animals such as deer and Japanese monkeys. The Miyajima dragonfly (an endangered species) is an endemic species that can only be found on Miyajima.

Main Attraction

Itsukushima Shrine is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Miyajima and cannot be missed. The most distinctive feature of Itsukushima Shrine, also known as a World Heritage Site, is the gorgeous maritime shrine pavilion that has stood in the sea for about 900 years. The vermilion-lacquered shrine buildings and the stage are connected by 108 corridors, and their overwhelming beauty is said to “change your view of life”. The shrine is loved as a place where visitors can feel the aristocratic culture of Japan.

The famous “Power Spot”, where you can feel the power of the gods and Buddha, is Daisho-in Temple, located at the foot of Mt. Misen. Among the various Buddhist statues you can visit at Daisho-in, the most popular is called Ichigan-daishi. It has the good fortune to make one’s wish come true, and it is crowded with people praying for success in school and for good luck.

Mt. Misen and Momijidani Park are popular destinations for those who want to enjoy the rich nature of Miyajima. As it takes only an hour to reach the top of Mt. Misen, it is also recommended for those who want to do a day trip to the top of the mountain. At the top of the mountain, there is a torch that has been burning for more than 1,200 years, and is famous as a sacred place for lovers. Momijidani Park is a place where you can enjoy the beauty of autumn leaves. Especially in late autumn, the whole area of the park is dyed with red and yellow leaves. If you are lucky, you may be able to see up close deer and monkeys living in the park.

A-bomb Dome


The Atomic Bomb Dome is an historic structure located in the center of Hiroshima City, and has been declared a World Heritage Site as a monument to the horrific damage caused by the atomic bomb that was dropped on the city on August 6, 1945.

Prior to the bombing, the Atomic Bomb Dome was the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, which displayed a variety of Hiroshima products. It was designed by the Czech architect Jan Letzel, and its European appearance, which was unusual in Japan at the time, became a hot topic of conversation. The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall has records of various product fairs, and was famous for being the first place in Japan to produce and sell baumkuchen cakes.
However, due to the damage caused by the atomic bomb, the outer walls of the building collapsed in an instant and the dome was reduced to a miserable state, with only the glass windows remaining in their frames.

The Atomic Bomb Dome is about a two-minute walk from the Hiroshima Electric Railway Atomic Bomb Dome tram stop. It’s also within a 10-minute walk of Hiroshima Castle and Nagarekawa (the most popular entertainment district in the Chugoku region), and other tourist attractions in central Hiroshima.

Main Attraction

The area around the Atomic Bomb Dome has been developed as the Peace Memorial Park, with more than 50 facilities and memorials related to the atomic bombing. The Peace Memorial Park covers an area of approximately 122,100 square meters. Approximately 1.7 million tourists from Japan and abroad visit the park every year, which is full of lush greenery and nature.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is one of the most important facilities in the park. In order to convey the horror of the atomic bombing to the present day, the museum displays a variety of materials, including the belongings of A-bomb survivors and a diorama that recreates the scene immediately after the bombing.

The Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims is located in the center of the park. The monument houses a list of approximately 320,000 names of the A-bomb victims, both domestic and foreign, who were killed in the bombing.
There are also various other cenotaphs, including the Aogiri tree, which survived the bombing without burning, and the Children’s Peace Monument, a monument for child survivors of the atomic bombing.
The Peace Memorial Ceremony is held every year on August 6 in Peace Memorial Park, which is attended by dignitaries from Japan and abroad.

The former Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium, home of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp professional baseball team (now relocated to MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima), is located near the Hiroshima Electric Railway tram stop in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome, and a monument to a national championship still stands.
In addition, the Orizuru Tower commercial complex opened in 2016. There are various facilities such as cafes, souvenir shops, and an observation deck, and the area is crowded with many tourists.

Seasonal Attractions

  • 3 March
  • 4 April
  • 5 May

Spring to early summer

Hiroshima has a pleasant, mild climate from spring to early summer. The average temperature is between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius and rainfall is minimal, so you can enjoy a comfortable trip.
Hiroshima is a place to see many colorful flowers in the spring. The city is also a great place to see cherry blossoms, tulips, and other flowers of all kinds. The more than 300 cherry blossom trees along the river in Peace Memorial Park are particularly recommended. It’s a great place to catch a glimpse of hydrangeas and other flowers that can only be seen at this time of year in early summer.

  • 6 June
  • 7 July
  • 8 August


Summer in Hiroshima is characterized by a humid and muggy climate, with average temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is common in June and July, so depending on the day, you may need to bring rain gear.
A variety of events are held in Hiroshima in the summer. Such events include the Underwater Fireworks Festival on Miyajima, and the 1.1 million sunflowers that can be seen at Serakogen Farm.
The Peace Memorial Ceremony is also held in summer (August 6). Many events take place there, including a lantern floating ceremony for the memorial.

  • 9 September
  • 10 October


Hiroshima in the fall is characterized by a mild climate that is just as pleasant as the spring. The average temperature ranges between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius. You’ll need to bring rain gear on some days due to the typhoon season.
In the fall, you may see the local professional baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, win a league championship in Hiroshima. Past championships have been festive, with fans in their uniforms gathering downtown.

  • 11 November

Late Autumn

Late autumn in Hiroshima is characterized by the same mild climate as the fall. The average temperature is around 15 degrees Celsius, and the lack of rainfall makes for a comfortable trip.
Late autumn in Hiroshima is a great time to see the vibrant colors of fall leaves. The mountains are beautifully colored, with maple trees and ginkgo trees turning red and yellow. Especially at Momiji-dani Park in Miyajima, more than 700 maple trees change color all at once. The scene is very Japanese and beautiful, and many tourists from near and far visit the park every year.

  • 12 December
  • 1 January
  • 2 February


Hiroshima in winter is characterized by low humidity and chilly weather. The average temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius, with snowfall on rare days.
In winter, Hiroshima’s specialty foods come into season one after another. Oysters have a plump, creamy taste, and we recommend eating them raw, grilled, or in a stew. The fatty and juicy taste of roasted conger eel on top of rice (Anago Rice) is also a delicacy.