Japan is renowned as an expansive country of cherry blossoms, sashimi, sake and warm and kind people. It’s on most adventurous travelers’ bucket lists! Hiroshima doesn’t have quite the same shiny reputation. It’s a place with a tragic history of being the first city to be destroyed by an atomic bomb in the history of mankind. But what if I told you it was one of the greatest rebirths and one of the most fascinating cities to explore?
Hiroshima’s tragedy in 1945 left the city abandoned and uninhabitable. It was a traumatic event of mass proportion. The atomic bomb decimated the city, causing significant loss of life, destroyed infrastructure and caused immense radiation throughout the city. The city has since recovered from the trauma, and has flourished into a vibrant modern city with unimaginable regrowth and a focus on peace.
There are now many things to do in the regenerated city, with amazing nature, temples and shrines just waiting to be discovered. Here are some of the best things to see in Hiroshima and Hiroshima attractions that will leave you filled with the utmost peace and harmony.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Hiroshima!
Choosing a place to stay in Hiroshima can be tricky. Each neighborhood in the city offers something unique to travelers, and there’s a great variety of Hiroshima tourist attractions throughout the city waiting to be discovered.
Here are our top picks of places to stay in Hiroshima.
The Coolest Hostel in Hiroshima
- Free WiFi!
- Map of Hiroshima
This accessible hostel is conveniently located in the heart of the city, and offers a comfortable stay close to the best Hiroshima sightseeing locations. You’ll have a common lounge and kitchen, plus a rooftop terrace for the best views of the city!
A Great Budget Hotel in Hiroshima
- Air-conditioned accommodation with a bar
- Close to popular points of interest
The Share Hotels offers guests comfortable rooms equipped with a TV, kettle and hairdryer. You’ll get free WiFi throughout the property, and have easy access to some of the best Hiroshima attractions.
Our Favorite Splurge Hotel in Hiroshima
- Michelin 3-star rated hotel
- Modern luxury accommodation
This elegant hotel includes 6 on-site restaurants, massage services and free WiFi throughout the property. The rooms are fully equipped and elegantly designed, and you’ll get some of the best views of the city from the Skybar!
• The 31 Best Things to Do in Hiroshima •
#1 – Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome
One of the best free things to do in Hiroshima
- The most associated symbol of Hiroshima, Japan
- Where the atomic bomb went off
- Symbol of peace
Visiting the Atomic Bomb Dome is a must-do in Hiroshima. It’s become a place that signifies peace and is one of the most important Hiroshima attractions.
You’ll see what’s left from the destruction of the atomic bomb and the commemoration of the people who died in the tragedy.
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- Discover UNESCO listed monuments
- See magnificent landmarks
- Explore Hiroshima and Miyajima
Take a trip through the history of Hiroshima as you discover the most important UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites in the city.
You’ll get to see the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Itsukushima Shrine on the island of Miyajima.
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- Discover the scenic island
- Witness the spiritual space
- See shrines and caves
Miyajima island is one of the most incredible places to visit from Hiroshima. It’s considered as ancient spiritual grounds and houses the Itsukushima Shrine.
You’ll get to cross to the island by ferry and spend the day exploring the amazing Hiroshima tourist attractions on the island.
#4 – Enjoy a Tea Ceremony
- See how they make tea
- Participate in a tea ceremony
- Experience traditional Japanese culture
A tea ceremony is a great way to really feel what life is like in the Japanese culture and experience the calming atmosphere.
You’ll get to choose a kimono to participate in the tea ceremony, taste matcha tea and learn about Japanese calligraphy too!
#5 – Walk With Locals
- See the city through the eyes of a local
- Experience the best attractions
- Learn about the culture
Walking through the city with a local will give you a whole new perspective on the city. You’ll get to see the cities best-kept secrets and Hiroshima points of interest along the way.
Get familiar with the neighborhoods surrounding you as you head off on a tour around the area with a local guide.
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#6 – Go Bar Hopping!
- Experience Hiroshima nightlife
- Go to three local bars
- See the Nagarekawa district
Experience one of the best nightlife districts in Hiroshima on a bar-hopping tour, plus get to enjoy the amazing local foods!
You’ll get to know the district with a local who knows all the best bars around the area, and experience what the nightlife is like in Hiroshima.
- Explore downtown Hiroshima
- Discover the food scene
- Find all the hidden gems
A foodie walking tour of the city is the best way to experience the local cuisine in Hiroshima and find all the best hidden gems in the city.
You’ll get to stop at four local restaurants and sample different kinds of cuisine, while making friends with the locals!
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#8 – Watch a Kagura Show
- Experience a local dance and music
- Enjoy the performance
- Listen to the soul of Hiroshima
A Kagura Show can only be seen in Hiroshima and is an ancient form of dance and music that celebrates the Gods of Shinto.
Experience the vibrant atmosphere of the lively bar district as you enjoy an evening of dance and music as one of the best Hiroshima things to do.
#9 – Enjoy Some Sake
- Discover eight breweries
- Stroll through historic streets
- Taste the local Sake
Head out to the district of Saijo, where you’ll get to taste Sake at many of the best hidden gems of the city and see where it’s made.
Stroll through the streets going from brewery to brewery and tasting the local liquor of the Japanese people while enjoying the ambiance.
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- Experience blacksmith cutlery production
- Tatara Iron & Steel Forging Workshop
- See how steel changes
Experience Shimanto’s wilderness as you learn about the ancient forging techniques in Japan, seeing the process of making original cutlery.
You’ll see how they make kitchen knives, cutting knives and scissors from steel. Experience how they do this using fire and special techniques.
#11 – Hop on a Rickshaw
- Enjoy a rickshaw ride
- Visit the ‘island of the Gods’
- Learn about the island
Take a rickshaw ride down Miyajima’s historical and charming streets to the center of town to see the Itsukushima Shrine.
You’ll get to see the local townhouses and the old-fashioned shopping arcade, as well as learning interesting facts about the island along the way.
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- Go on a Peace cycling tour
- Visit the Peace Memorial Park
- Ride on the old streets
Take a cycling tour to some of the best Hiroshima sites, discovering the Peace Memorial Park and the Children’s Peace Museum and Peace Bell.
Discover different city viewpoints off the beaten track and learn about the bomb’s impact on Hiroshima’s inhabitants.
#13 – Explore Rabbit Island
- Explore the small island of Okunoshima
- See wild rabbits roaming freely
- Learn about the island’s history
Okunoshima has gained the nickname of “Rabbit Island” due to all the rabbits that roam around freely, and has many Hiroshima tourist attractions to explore.
If you’re wondering what to do in Hiroshima – head to the visitor’s center, learn about the history of the island, head to the Poison Gas Museum and enjoy plenty of time with the rabbits on the island.
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- Explore the beautiful Japanese gardens
- See the castle in Okayama
- Experience the old Japanese Street
Visit one of the beautiful Japanese gardens from Hiroshima that has a castle in Okayama and old Japanese street with a stunning canal in Kurashiki.
Spend some time enjoying three beautiful Japanese castles and the serene atmosphere of the old Japanese city with the canal running through.
- Learn Hiroshima’s culture and history
- Make the Japanese signature dish
- Choose fillings of your choice
Attend an Okonomiyaki cooking class to learn the importance of this Japanese style signature pancake and choose your own ingredients.
You’ll use a traditional teppan griddle to make the dish and get to choose your own ingredients and then enjoy your selection with a wide range of condiments.
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#16 – Go on a Kayak Adventure
- See some of the most beautiful spots in Japan
- Enjoy the port town scenery
- Have fun on a sea kayak
Enjoy the scenery from a sea kayak that takes you to explore some of the most amazing scenery you’ll find in Japan and Tomonoura.
See the Buddhist goddess of mercy from the sea and head towards desolated beaches that you can only get to with a sea kayak.
#17 – Try Your Hand at Archery
- Try a Japanese martial art
- Reach a complete focus of body and mind
- Shoot the arrow
Learn about the Kyudo art of shooting an arrow from a Japanese bow to a target in order to harmonize the body and mind.
You’ll get to dress in traditional Kyudo wear, including the dogi and hakama, and follow a traditional routine that pays respect to the equipment and the authentic movements.
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- Cruise to the UNESCO World Heritage Site
- See one of Miyajima’s favorite landmarks
- Enjoy a cruise to the island
Take a scenic cruise to the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island to discover one of the most loved landmarks and get an incredible view of the island.
See the floating “torii” gate from the water as you head towards the shrine, being offered some of the most incredible photo opportunities of your trip!
- Learn the art of calligraphy
- Write kanji with a brush
- Take home a souvenir
Learn the ancient Japanese art of calligraphy as you find out how to write kanji with a brush. You’ll also get to take the brush and folding fan home with you.
You’ll leave with a new skill, a souvenir to keep and a traditional visual art skill that’s filled with beauty and style.
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- Discover the Shukkei-en gardens
- See Hiroshima Castle
- Learn the cities history
Take a walking tour of the city to go to some of the historic Hiroshima points of interest that made the city the peace memorial that it is today.
Discover what happened at the UNESCO listed Atomic Bomb Dome, the Hiroshima Castle and the stunning Shukkei-en gardens.
- See an oyster harvest up close
- Sail out on a workboat
- Watch how oysters are unloaded and shucked
Enjoy the rare experience of watching an oyster harvest with skilled fishermen from their workboat, where you’ll see oyster rafts at sea.
You’ll get to see how the oysters are unloaded and shucked at Shimada Suisan’s oyster factory too and get close to Itsukushima Shrine to access stunning photo opportunities from the sea.
#23 – Matcha Tea Ceremony
- An authentic Matcha tea ceremony
- Delivered by a dedicated tea master
- Discover a fascinating ritual
Wear a kimono while attending an authentic Matcha tea ceremony that will give you insight into the Japanese cultural roots.
The ceremony will be delivered by a dedicated tea master who show you the fascinating ritual from scratch.
#24 – Learn MANGA
- Enjoy a comic learning experience
- Learn how to draw manga
- Meet professional comic writers
If you’re interested in Japanese Manga and illustration, this experience will give you the opportunity to try your artistic abilities.
Instructors will explain the flow of the lesson and teach you how to draw manga, before letting you try your hand at the skill!
- Tour to the Sandankyo Valley
- Take a boat ride
- Hike through the gorge
Take a trip to the Sandankyo Valley to discover the beauty of the waterfalls, ancient rocks and plant life that surround the area of Hiroshima.
See the incredible seasonal fall colors and lush greenery as you take boat trips and hikes through the beautiful valley.
- Experience traditional music
- See the revering of the Gods
- Enjoy the rhythm of ancient music
Spend an evening enjoying the ancient sounds and rhythms of Kagura, a performing musical art, and enjoy a delicious dinner.
See the beautiful whirling colors on the stage and witness the sudden changes of costumes as you listen to a piece of millennium-old music.
- Get off the beaten track
- Explore the Akiyoshidai Qasi National Park
- See the biggest cave in Japan
Take a trip to Akiyoshidai Qasi National Park to discover Japan’s biggest cave and a series of over 400 different limestone caves.
Get insights into the caves that have special Natural Monument status in Japan and learn about the local geography in the natural area just outside Hiroshima.
- Discover a unique temple
- Learn about the ancient Yamabushi-pilgrims
- Enjoy the beautiful scenery
Travel 20 minutes from Hiroshima to see the incredible Yamabush Temple and enjoy a guided tour of the main temple hall and its intricate statues.
Learn more about the ancient Yamabushi pilgrims who worshipped the sacred mountains and see the spiritual training under the waterfalls.
#29 – Discover Hiroshima Castle
One of the most important sites in Hiroshima
- See the ancient castle
- Witness traditional Japanese construction
- Climb the castle stairs
Visit one of the most important Hiroshima sites as you explore the ancient castle and discover the great works of art from ancient times.
Enjoy a serene stroll through the grounds and see the amazing views from the castle stairs, before learning about the samurai culture from the museum.
- Hike to a panoramic summit
- Enjoy a scenic hike
- See loads of Buddhist caves
Take a guided hike up to the summit of Miyajima’s highest mountain, discovering ancient sacred sites and caves.
You’ll get to see some of the best views of the island and experience the beautiful nature with some of your own time to explore the scenery and take pictures.
#31 – Traverse the Shimanami Kaido Expressway
- Enjoy a scenic bike ride
- See one of Japan’s most stunning routes
- Stop for scenic photos
Rent a bike from one of the many rental shops along the Shimanami Kaido Expressway route to see some of the most scenic landscapes in Japan!
You’ll be surrounded by attractive sights and views over the ocean and get the chance to stop and take some incredible photos along the way.
Hiroshima is often quietly voted as one of the most livable cities in the country. It has made a complete regeneration from its grim past, and is now the most underappreciated spot on a traveling bucket list.
Visiting these Hiroshima attractions and spending time in the lively city will change anyone’s outlook on the city, and with so much to do and so many Hiroshima attractions to see, you’re guaranteed a good trip!
Today, Hiroshima is a city reborn. It’s filled with magical gardens and shrines, a cosmopolitan center with world-class cuisine. The vibrant streets with incredible landmarks are filled with unique architecture.
These are just some of the many things to do in Hiroshima, Japan. A visit to this amazing city promises an incredibly rich experience of diverse cultures with an exquisite natural environment waiting to be discovered.
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