A city such as Hiroshima needs no introduction—its name has been immortalized since 6 August 1945. Yet from the ruins of the atomic bomb, the city has reinvented itself and grown into a thriving metropolis. While perhaps quieter than its counterparts, the city is nonetheless lively. Not far to its south lies Miyajima, famous for its torii gate and exceptionally beautiful autumn leaves.

Places to visit in Hiroshima

Hiroshima Peace Museum

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum hold the collective memory of the events of the sixth of August. Collections of survivor accounts, possessions scarred by the intense heat of the blast, and reconstructions of the aftermath help to illuminate the terror and panic that followed the bombing. Though a somber place, a visit here should not be missed.

Hiroshima Peace Park and A-Bomb Dome

Once the city center of Hiroshima, Hiroshima Peace Park was established to serve as a memory to the events surrounding the atomic bombing. The museum located within the park offers an unsettling reminder of human suffering inflicted by the use of atomic weapons. Of the park’s many poignant displays, the Atomic Bomb Dome, stands out. Designed by a Western architect, this building was one of the few left standing after the initial blast.

Miyajima (Itsukushima Shrine + Mt. Misen)

Miyajima, a small island to Hiroshima’s southwest. After a fifteen minute ferry ride across the water, disembark and begin exploring. Stop at one of the island’s great landmarks and one of the best views in Japan: the red torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine. When the tide is in, the gate seems to float out on the water. As the tide goes out, the beach becomes evident. Stop and take a few photos here before moving on to the shrine itself.

For a great view of the ocean and town, take a ride up the Miyajima ropeway, a set of cable cars that spirit travelers to the island’s top. For those with a more intrepid spirit, a trail ascends from the ropeway’s terminus to the summit over one kilometer, which offers an incredible view of the city. The way is quite steep, however, and should only be attempted by those in good physical condition.