Japan – Getting to know Hiroshima & Miyajima

Unless you’ve had no exposure to 20th century world history, it’s hard to see the word ‘Hiroshima’ without a jolt of emotion, and the calamity of August 1945 continues to shape Hiroshiman culture – its people speak up loudly against nuclear proliferation, and strive to promote international peace and the arts.

Japan Hiroshima & Miyajima Travel Guide

Hiroshima, situated on the southwest shoreline of Japan’s largest island, has been a significant city since the 16th century, when one of Japan’s most legendary warlords built a castle here, turning a cluster of villages into a military powerbase that remained strategic until WW2.

Because the nuclear warhead was detonated half a kilometre above ground, the city avoided a legacy of ongoing radiation, and its inhabitants rebuilt quite quickly. Now, the gentle modern metropolis is known for its innovative architecture and many museums and art galleries.

What to do in Hiroshima

The Peace Memorial Museum is a must-visit on most lists; the Peace Memorial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, containing the museum, cenotaphs, peace bells, and ruined buildings that survived the blast.

Alongside the Peace Park sits the 16th century castle that served as army HQ during WW2, with several people surviving the blast in its cellars, despite being less than half a mile from ground zero. The castle has been reconstructed, and houses an exhibition of regional life in the Edo era. There’s a good view across the city from its keep.

Art lovers are drawn to the City Museum of Contemporary Art to see important pieces by international artists like Moore, Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Francis Bacon and Donald Judd, as well as acclaimed homegrown talent like Saito Yoshishige and Yukinori Yanagi, and to the Museum of Art’s significant collection of 19th and 20th century masterpieces from Europe and Japan.

The Mazda Museum is perhaps a little more specialist, although the brand has played a respectable role in Hiroshima’s economy.

Off the trail – Miyajima

An hour from Hiroshima’s centre, in Hiroshima Bay, sits Itsukushima Island, known colloquially as Miyajima or ‘shrine island’ because of its 1,500 year old Shinto shrine. Embedded in the sand, the shrine’s huge red torii gate appears to float on the water at high tide, and the Japanese consider them one of Japan’s three most scenic places.

Miyajima is beautiful – mountainous and wooded, famous for its cherry blossom, fiery autumn maple leaves, and sacred peak, Mount Misen, which was worshipped long before the shrine was built. It makes for an excellent hike or cable car ride.

Deer and increasingly rare monkeys roam freely, and human development is low key. It is possible to stay overnight here, though, in traditional ryokan guesthouses, with the island becoming tremendously peaceful once the day visitors have gone.

Miyajima speciality foods include conger eel and locally farmed oysters (the farms can be seen from the ferry across) and the leaf-shaped momiji-manju bean paste buns that are Hiroshima’s most popular souvenir.

Atomic bombings over Hiroshima & Nagasaki

In August 1945, the USA and UK jointly detonated two atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The second explosion effectively ended the Second World War, and the bombings are still seen as a ‘necessary evil’ by some, but up to 245,000 lives were lost, and those who survived endured a lengthy legacy of trauma.

There was no ongoing contamination because the warheads detonated in the atmosphere instead of on the ground, meaning the citizens could rebuild fairly quickly after the catastrophe. Now, both cities have become vocal proponents of peace – Hiroshima is especially solid in its stance against nuclear proliferation, and pours a great deal of energy into promoting the arts. Each city has its own Peace Park and countless memorials, as well as bomb museums, although these are frequented more by visitors than locals.

Speak to someone who's been there

meet
Start planning your tailor-made trip by contacting one of our travel experts

MAP VIEW
LIST VIEW

Kanazawa

Perhentian Islands

Redang Island

Kuala Terengganu

Malacca

Kuala Lumpur

Pangkor Islands

Cameron Highlands

Penang

Langkawi

Photos of Hiroshima & Miyajima


Discover Asia with our multi-day cycling adventures, suitable for riders of any skill level. Count on our quality bikes, knowledgeable guides, and excellent support for an incredible experience.

Tailor-made design

Create cherished memories that will last a lifetime through our exceptional and inspiring travel experiences.

True experiences

Embark on an enriching journey to explore the world, where every sight, sound, and encounter offers valuable insights and learning opportunities.

Connect people

Reconnect with nature, engage with diverse cultures, and rejuvenate your senses through immersive travel experiences.

Connect with a certified specialist to begin planning your trip.

Feel free to call one of our experts or schedule a video appointment for personalized ideas and advice.

  • Give us a call: +1 (315 ) 998 1998
  • Send an email: info@amazingbiketours.com

Make an Inquiry

    • Matt
    • Asia Specialist
    • Laura
    • Asia Specialist and New Zealand Specialist
    • Emily
    • Thailand and Asia Specialist

Get the latest from Amazing Bike Tours: Sign up to our newsletter

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Give us a call: +1 (315 ) 998 1998

Send an email: info@amazingbiketours.com

Or fill in the form below and we’ll be in touch

Selected Value: 0

Add Text and Images to Your Form With Ease

To get started, replace this text with your own.