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Hiroshima is the capital city of Hiroshima Prefecture and the largest city in western Honshu, the main island of Japan. Most people know Hiroshima because of its dark past.
But Hiroshima is more than that. The city is lively, has fantastic local cuisine and friendly people. It is a wonderful city to visit while you are in Japan.
However, I will admit that the mood felt a bit sombre as I toured around the Peace Memorial Park. It is a little sad to see buildings that are half-destroyed and seeing photos of Hiroshima after the Second World War.
But I was also reminded of how great Japanese people are. No matter where I travelled to in Japan, I am always in contact with someone friendly, gentle and open. The hospitality in Japan is one of the best in the world. Even though there was a dark past, but yet they bounced back, rebuilt their city and their country. And they do it with such grace and courage. It is nothing I’ve ever seen before. If you are travelling solo in Japan, I highly recommend visiting Hiroshima!
Why Hiroshima is great for a solo female traveller
You will have nothing to worry about in Hiroshima as a solo female traveller! Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. I’ve wandered the city day and night and did not feel uncomfortable at any moment.
One of the benefits of travelling in a big city in Japan, like Hiroshima, is the language. From signs to menus and everything else, there is English everywhere. And a lot more people speak English in Hiroshima.
And Hiroshima is very easy to navigate even with a bit of language barrier. There is no need to join any tour packages (unless you want to). A self-guided tour is the best way to see Hiroshima! Especially if you are a budget solo traveller like me. See my recommended 1-day and 2-day itineraries at the bottom of the post.
Before you go to Hiroshima
Before you go to Hiroshima, take a look at my post on everything you need to know before going to Japan. I included a lot of information including how to get around Japan and other travel tips.
And if you want to be prepared for your trip to Japan, take a look at some of these resources:
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How to get to Hiroshima
Hiroshima Airport is located 50km east of Hiroshima. Many domestic and international flights (Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai) fly into Hiroshima Airport.
From Hiroshima Airport to Hiroshima Bus Terminal
- Limousine Bus Service
- Time: 55 minutes
- Cost: about ¥1,340 (you can use IC card)
- Check bus schedule here
If you are taking Japan Railway, you may be coming from cities east of Hiroshima like Osaka, Okayama, etc. or cities west of Hiroshima like Fukuoka.
Depending on the distance, it might be best to take the Shinkansen (bullet train), so you can spend less time in transit and enjoy Hiroshima a bit more. Check Hyperdia for schedules and fares. Here are a few sample routes:
From Osaka to Hiroshima
- JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen
- Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station
- Time: 90 minutes
- Cost: ¥10,240 (covered by Japan Rail Pass except for Nozomi and Mizuho trains)
From Fukuoka to Hiroshima
- JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen
- Hakata Station to Hiroshima Station
- Time: 66 minutes
- Cost: from ¥18,950(covered by Japan Rail Pass except for Nozomi and Mizuho trains)
How to get around Hiroshima
My method of transportation is always walking. But Hiroshima is quite a big city which is why there is a streetcar system that can bring you from one end of the city to another. The streetcar costs flat rate of ¥180 within the inner city and ¥280 beyond the city. And it is possible to take the streetcar to Miyajima for ¥280.
Once you are in Hiroshima, grab a streetcar map from any of the tourist information sites. It will show you all the stops.
And if you don’t already have an IC card, get one at any of the JR Station or airport.
PASPY is the rechargeable IC card for public transportation in Hiroshima Prefecture, but you can only use it in Hiroshima Prefecture. The alternative is to get the ICOCA IC card, which is suitable for public transportation for all of Japan.
And if you already have a Pasmo or Suica card from Tokyo or other IC cards from different regions in Japan, top up your card and use it in Hiroshima. The IC card comes in handy for taking the train and streetcar.
Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan
When someone mentions the city, Hiroshima, you immediately think of the atomic bomb, World War II, etc. And yes, many tourists visit Hiroshima want to see how the devastating day has shaped the city and how the beautiful city of Hiroshima rebuilt itself. Besides all the Peace Memorial related sites, there are plenty of other things to see in Hiroshima so make sure you check them out during your time in Hiroshima.
All the top things to do in Hiroshima are pinned in the interactive map. You can find more information about each attraction by clicking on the individual pin.
Must-see attractions in Hiroshima
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima is the first city to be attacked by the atomic bomb. And today, Hiroshima has emerged as a “City of Peace.”
In the centre of the city is a large park built to dedicate to Hiroshima’s legacy in surviving the atomic bomb, to commemorate to those who were affected and to remember peace. Within the park, numerous monuments, memorials and museums attract millions of visitors each year.
Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
The Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall is dedicated to all atomic bomb victims, and it is a place to think about peace. Photographs and names of 140,000 people who died on August 6, 1945, are displayed and are part of the database. Admission is free.
Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims
The Memorial Cenotaph is an arch-shaped structure where the opening of the arch is designed in a way that when you stand at the west side of the structure, you can see both Flame of Peace and Atomic Bomb Dome at the same time. Kenzo Tange, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect, designed the beautiful cenotaph.
Furthermore, the centre of the arch is a tombstone that has the names of all the atomic bomb victims. Whenever new names are discovered, they will be added to the central stone vault.
Flame of Peace
The structure resembles two hands spreading towards the sky where the wrists are put together. And in the middle is the eternal flame. The flame was first lit on August 1, 1964, and continues to burn. The idea is that the flame will continue to burn until all the nuclear bombs have disappeared from humanity.
Children’s Peace Monument
The Children’s Peace Monument is dedicated to Sadako Sasaki, who was a little girl exposed to atomic bomb radiation at the age of two and later developed leukemia. With the help of students from 3,100 schools in Japan and various countries, the statue was created.
Today, thousands of paper cranes have been donated to the memorial. Hence, the Children’s Peace Monument is nicknamed the Tower of a Thousand Cranes.
You can also send paper cranes to the Children Peace Monument too. If you are not able to visit the Peace Memorial Park yourself, you can send them to the address here.
Atomic Bomb Dome
On August 6, 1945, the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima destroyed almost everything within the two-km radius of the Hypocentre. A building very close to the centre of the blast was severely damaged, but for some unexplainable reasons, the majority of the structure of the building remained. Today, the famous building is called the Atomic Bomb Dome and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hiroshima Orizuru Tower
Named after the folded paper crane, the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower offers a different view of Hiroshima. The observatory level is a modern wood deck, also known as “Hiroshima Hill.” For ¥1,700, you can enjoy the contemporary observatory space and take in the panoramic view of Hiroshima including the entire Peace Memorial Park and Mount Misen of Miyajima.
Other attractions in Hiroshima
Hiroshima Castle was first constructed in 1589. But the central tower was severely destroyed during the bombing of Hiroshima. However, the castle has been restored and is designated as National Treasure in 1931. Today, the castle is a history museum featuring the culture of Samurai.
Built around the same time as Hiroshima Castle, the garden served as a villa during the Meiji Period and suffered extensive damage by the atomic bomb. Since 1940, the garden has been reconstructed and is open to the public.
For ¥260, visit the Japanese garden and follow the path as it takes you to various spots around the garden including different miniature gardens. The beautiful Koko-kyo Bridge is worth seeing. It is placed in the centre of the pond with a picturesque background.
While you are at Shukkeien Garden, visit one of the teahouses to see traditional Japanese tea room and have green tea.
And if you are in Hiroshima in spring, you must visit Shukkeien Garden because it is one of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing.
Hondori Shopping Street
I’m not a huge fan of shopping, but the Hondori Shopping Street is worth visiting. Part of downtown Hiroshima, you will find all the retail stores lining both sides of the covered pedestrian arcade. And if you venture off the side streets, you will find department stores, cute cafes, and local restaurants serving ramen and okonomiyaki. Hondori Shopping Street has many souvenir shops as well.
Named after the three waterfalls in Mount Mitaki, the Mitaki-dera dates back to 809 and is a true hidden gem. The temple used to be in Wakayama until it was moved to Hiroshima. It is said that the temple is used to comfort the souls of those affected by the atomic bomb. Luckily because the temple is buried in the valley, it was not damaged by the atomic bomb.
While you are there, look for the beautiful pagoda, numerous stone guardian status, a couple of hiking trails up the mountain, and waterfalls. And if you are visiting during the fall, the temple is especially pretty because of the bright red autumn leaves. The entire place has a peaceful atmosphere and a great place to get away from the city.
The easiest way to get there is by taking the train from Hiroshima Station to Mitaki Station on the JR Kabe Line (8 minutes,¥190). And the journey takes about 15 minutes.
Art & culture in Hiroshima
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was built to document the bombing of Hiroshima, to stop the use of nuclear weapons and to promote world peace. For a small fee of ¥200, you can tour through the East Building and see photographs and displays on Hiroshima, Second World War and everything related to the fateful day. Also, you can learn about atomic bombs through interactive exhibits, the effect of radiation on people’s lives, and see displays of the artifacts that were left behind.
Hiroshima Museum of Art
Hiroshima Museum of Art is a beautiful museum is built in Central Park, in the heart of Hiroshima, where the main gallery spaces contain modern European artwork (Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Modigliani, etc.) and the Annex gallery showcases contemporary Japanese artwork from the Meiji Period to the present day.
Once you are in the museum, you can log into the museum guidance on your smartphone where it has explanations on most of the artwork. First, you have to log into the museum’s wifi; then the museum guidance will display automatically. The entrance fee is ¥1,400, and the museum guidance is free.
Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
As Japan’s first public museum dedicated to modern art, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art first opened its doors in 1989. The museum has grown and has over 1,400 pieces of artwork showing the history of modern art after the Second World War. The permanent collection also showcases artwork about Hiroshima and promote young artists as well. Visit the museum for ¥300 only or free on Culture Day (November 3).
Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum
For an entrance fee of ¥510, you can see over 4,000 pieces in the permanent collection of Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum. The collection includes any artwork associated with Hiroshima, Japanese and Asian art. The museum also holds special exhibits throughout the year, which includes Western art as well. Check their website for the latest exhibitions.
If you want to see Hiroshima with a tour, check out some of these tour ideas:
Day trips from Hiroshima
Itsukushima, or better known as Miyajima, is a small island just less than an hour away from Hiroshima. It is famous for Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate that appears to be floating on water and the Itsukushima Shrine surrounding the torii gate. The tide level changes quite a bit, and if you are lucky, you walk up to the torii gate during low tide.
Moreover, you can follow the hiking trails or take the ropeway up Mount Misen and enjoy the view from up top at the Shishi-iwa Observatory. On your way down, visit Daishoin Temple to see the numerous Buddha statues. Some of them are quite whimsical.
While browsing through the main street, you will find many restaurants serving the local delicacy, oyster, in many different ways. Also, friendly deer will roam along the street as well.
The quickest way is to take the train on JR San-yo Line from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station (28 minutes,¥410). Walk a few minutes towards the harbour, and you will see two ferries for Miyajima. One way ferry ticket is ¥180 and is the same for both ferries.
A fantastic day trip to Iwakuni includes a visit to the picturesque Kintai-kyo Bridge over the Nishiki River. The wooden five-arch bridge was damaged by the typhoon and was not maintained well. However, extensive renovation in the early 2000s has re-establish the bridge’s beauty.
After crossing the bridge, take your time and wander through Kikko Park. It is an excellent spot for cherry blossom viewing in the spring. And visit Iwakuni Art Museum, which is not very far from Kikko Park. And before you leave Iwakuni, visit Iwakuni Castle to see the reconstructed castle, the view of the city along with the display of samurai swords and armour.
To see the attractions in Iwakuni, you have to take the train on the JR San-yo Line from Hiroshima Station to Iwakuni Station. From Iwakuni Station, change trains and hop on the train on JR Gantoku Line to Kawanishi Station. The one-way journey cost ¥950 and takes about 70 minutes.
Where to eat in Hiroshima
The food in Hiroshima is absolutely fantastic! You will find some of the best food in Japan right in Hiroshima, and it will not cost you an arm and a leg!
From comfort food like ramen and Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki to gourmet cuisine that features seafood from the Seto Inland Sea, you will find everything you want to satisfy your taste buds!
While you are dining solo in Hiroshima, try some of these local specialties:
- Hiroshima okonomiyaki – similar to Osaka’s okonomiyaki, the one in Hiroshima starts with a thin crepe base, then add cabbage, bean sprouts, few slices of pork, soba noodles, fried egg, okonomiyaki sauce, and topped with dried seaweed flakes.
- Hiroshima-style ramen – shoyu-tonkotsu ramen features thin, straight noodles and served in a milky pork bone and soy sauce-based broth.
- Hiroshima Tsukemen – ramen noodles dipped in a concentrated soup is popular in Hiroshima. Also known locally as reimen, the bowl of ramen noodles is topped with cooked cabbage and charsiu pork and served with an extra-spicy dipping sauce.
- Shiru-Nashi Tantanmen – another Hiroshima style ramen but this one is very spicy. The ramen comes with minced meat, spring onions, onsen egg and cabbage where you mix all the ingredients in the thick spicy broth at the bottom of the bowl.
- Oysters – the Hiroshima region produces two-thirds of oysters in Japan! The big and juicy oysters can be eaten raw, in the hot pot and may be added to okonomiyaki as well.
- Anago – grilled conger eel smoked over a charcoal grill served over rice called angao-meshi is a favourite in Hiroshima!
- Lemon – a lot of desserts and treats are infused with locally grown lemon
- Momiji Manju – a small cake shaped in a Japanese maple leaf with akuzi (red bean paste) inside
- Sake – Hiroshima is a sake region where there are clear streams along with great fertile soil. The local rice is excellent for making sake!
Below are some budget and mid-range restaurant suggestions. Food is relatively cheap in Hiroshima, and a lot of local specialties are in budget restaurants. You can find more information about each location in the attached google map by clicking on the individual pin (see interactive map above).
- Okonomiyaki Yocchan – the second floor at Hiroshima Station has the best okonomiyaki restaurants. Locals love coming here, and the price is low. I had one of the best okonomiyaki with udon noodles for ¥760 only!
- Hassei – another great place for Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. The cozy little restaurant serves inexpensive okonomiyaki.
- Okonomimura – the entire building is dedicated to Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki! The selection is quite good and not too expensive. Some restaurants have English menus.
- Bakudanya – try their Hiroshima Tsukemen (ramen with dipping sauce) for just ¥700. Pick between cold or warm noodles and choose your level of spiciness. There are other branches in Hiroshima like the popular location near Shinkansen exit of JR Hiroshima Station.
- Okkundou Mazemen – get a bowl of cold or warm ramen noodles in this tiny restaurant. Add any additional charsiu pork or cheese and choose your level of spiciness!
- Kunimatsu – try their spicy soupless tantanmen for less than ¥600! This restaurant is very popular!
- Ekohiki – a restaurant that specializes in Hiroshima favourites including oysters. I had grilled oysters, fried gansu (Hiroshima deep fried fish paste), rice made with tea and topped with eel and tempura oysters. And I washed them all down with a local Kirei sake. This restaurant is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Hiroshima!
- Akushu Cafe – the cafe serves original menu including okonomiyaki stick, okonomiyaki donburi, and Hiroshima burger. Try their Setouchi lemon sorbet!
Other food options
- 7-Eleven / Family Mart / Lawson – Japanese convenience stores are great options for picking up a quick snack or an entire meal. And great for getting cash from an ATM!
Where to stay in Hiroshima
Accommodations in Hiroshima are concentrated around the city centre, train station and along the streetcar lines.
Budget options are just outside of the city centre and along the streetcar lines whereas mid-range options are abundant and centrally located. However, there aren’t too many high-end options available in Hiroshima. But if you want to splurge, there are some high-end, authentic ryokans in Miyajima.
Overall, hotels in Hiroshima are not exciting, but I was able to find a few fantastic places that are excellent for solo travellers.
- Cost: up to ¥5,000 per day
- 36 Hostel
- Get a comfortable bunk bed in the dormitory room in this small hostel. The hostel is spotless and has a great common area on the ground floor. Located along the streetcar line and major attractions are only 15 minutes by foot.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Guesthouse Hiroshima Mange Tak
- For the price of a dorm bed, you can have access to laundry facilities, a shared kitchen and a few public areas to hang out. Connected by the streetcar or walk to major attractions within 10 minutes.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Hotel Via Inn Hiroshima
- Get a single or double room with your own bathroom. Located right at Hiroshima Station.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Cost: from ¥5,000 – 10,000 per day
- Candeo Hotels Hiroshima Hatchobori
- A brand new hotel with clean, and modern interiors. The centrally-located hotel has indoor and outdoor Japanese hot spring and laundry facilities. The single room is spacious, and it even has a desk for those of you who work on the road.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Hiroshima Tokyu REI Hotel
- The 3-star hotel has comfortable modern rooms. There are laundry facilities in this centrally-located hotel.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Hiroshima Washington Hotel
- The 3.5-star hotel has clean, standard rooms. Close to the city centre and the shopping street.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- There is a good selection of Airbnb apartments, and private rooms in Hiroshima and the average price is around ¥4,000 per day.
- If you are slow travelling through Japan, Hiroshima is an excellent option as the selection and value are both excellent.
- And Airbnb accommodation ranges from traditional Japanese homes to modern western homes.
- Before you book, read over the reviews and look through the photos.
- And if you are not part of Airbnb yet, please use this code to claim your $35 Airbnb discount.
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Visiting Hiroshima was definitely an eye-opening experience! It felt a bit sombre as I walked through the Peace Memorial Park and also the museum. Seeing photographs and artifacts left behind, it was all very…sad. 🙁 But then I am reminded of the wonderful people I met in Japan, how open and generous they are and open-minded and always greet you with a warm smile. Even though there was a dark past, but yet they bounced back, rebuilt their city and their country. And they do it with such grace and courage. ❤️ Hiroshima is a must-see! My solo traveller's guide to Hiroshima, Japan is online! The link is in bio!
Hiroshima 1 day and 2 day itineraries
Hiroshima attracts millions of visitors every year. With proper planning, you can see almost all the best attractions in one day! And if you have an extra day, make sure you visit Miyajima!
What to do in Hiroshima in 1 day
If you only have one day in Hiroshima, follow my one-day itinerary in Hiroshima, and you will have a full day of seeing the best site in the city.
In the morning:
- Start your day early with some coffee and light snack from 7-Eleven, Lawson or Family Mart.
- Walk over to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to visit the Children’s Peace Monument, the Flame of Peace and the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims.
- Then visit Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to learn everything about the atomic bomb and how it affected Hiroshima.
- Walkthrough the park and make your way to the Atomic Bomb Dome. It is quite miraculous that most of the building still exists even though it is only 160 metres away from the Hypocentre.
- Hop on a streetcar (¥180 per ride) and take a short ride to Hiroshima Station. The second floor of the train station has many okonomiyaki restaurants. Locals prefer these restaurants, and they are cheaper than the ones downtown. Look for Okonomiyaki Yocchan and order Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki!
In the afternoon:
- After a delicious lunch, walk over to Shukkeien Garden and marvel at the miniature gardens.
- If you are in the mood for some art and culture, the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum is next door to the garden.
- Walk towards Hiroshima Castle and visit the castle or simply enjoy the park.
- Next up is the Hiroshima Museum of Art, which is just south of Hiroshima Castle. If you like French Impressionism art, you might want to check out this museum.
- Even though the lunch portion is quite generous, you might be hungry right about now! Walk over to the downtown shopping area and find Bakudanya. The restaurant is quite small, but it has two floors. They have an English menu. One of the best Hiroshima Tsukemen in town!
- Wander through Hondori Shopping Streets and also all the side streets as well. You can find all your shopping needs in this area.
- Walk over to Hiroshima Orizuru Tower to see the Hiroshima from above. At the observatory level, you can see all of the Peace Memorial Park. It is rather beautiful at sunset.
- Hopefully, by now you have an appetite to have another meal. Try oysters prepared in various ways at Ekohiiki. And some Hiroshima sake too!
- Stay overnight at 36 Hostel
What to do in Hiroshima in 2 days
If you have two days in Hiroshima, including a day trip to Miyajima to your travel itinerary.
On the first day, follow the one-day itinerary. And spend the second day on the beautiful island of Miyajima and explore temples, see wild deers and climb a mountain and see a panoramic view of the Seto Inland Sea.
Day 1 (blue pins)
- Follow the one-day itinerary for Hiroshima (above)
Day 2 (purple pins)
In the morning:
- Wake up bright and early for your full day in Miyajima! Either walk 10 minutes or take the streetcar to Yokogawa Station from 36 Hostel. Take the train on JR San-yo Line for Miyajimaguchi Station (23 minutes, ¥320).
- Once you arrived, walk towards the pier for either ferry to Miyajima. You can use your JR Pass if you hop on the JR Ferry. One way ferry ticket is ¥180 and is the same for both ferries. You can use your IC card to pay as well.
- Once you arrived in Miyajima, head straight for Omotesando Shopping Street. It is the main shopping street, but it also has lots of food! For breakfast, you can try fried fishcake shaped in a Japanese maple leaf, fried Momiji Manju at Momijido or anything you find along the way! Part of experiencing Miyajima is street food! And if you are not quite awake yet, walk further down the street and find Miyajima Coffee.
- On the way to Itsukushima Shrine, you will see Five-Storied Pagoda and Senjokaku (Toyokuni Shrine)
- Follow the path in Itsukushima Shrine and all the areas of the shrine. The best photo spot for the Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate is at the middle of the shrine. But you can get amazing photos of the torii gate from almost every angle.
- Walk around and visit other smaller temples before an early lunch.
- Walk to Shibaisaryo Mizhua for a traditional Miyajima lunch. Try their eel cooked in a traditional pot. An English menu is available.
In the afternoon:
- Make sure you bring some water for the afternoon hike. Start by walking through Momijidani Park.
- Follow the signs walk up the Momijidani Route of the Mount Misen Climbing Course. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the top. If you don’t want to climb up, you can take the Miyajima Ropeway.
- Whether you climbed Mount Misen or took the ropeway, you will still have to hike a bit from the Shishi-iwa Observation Deck to the top.
- At the top of Mount Misen, visit Misenhondo Hall and Reikado Hall. Also, don’t miss Kuguriiwa Rock.
- Make your way back down Mount Misen but take the Daishoin Route towards Daishoin Temple.
- On the way down, you will see other temples and waterfalls.
- Then spend some time wandering Daishoin Temple. The temple premise is quite big and has a lot of whimsical Buddhist statues.
- If you have the time and energy, visit Miyajima History and Folk Museum.
- Before you end your day in Miyajima, get a coffee soft-serve ice cream at Itsuki Coffee. You won’t regret it!
- On your way back to the pier, take a last peek at the floating torii gate. The tide should be low, and you can walk directly up to the torii gate. And it is beautiful with the sun setting behind the mountains.
- Take the same ferry back to Miyajimaguchi Station.
- At Miyajimaguchi, take the streetcar instead of JR Train. It will take longer, but it is cheaper (¥280), and it will take you directly to Kunimatsu where you can have a spicy bowl of Tantanmen for dinner.
- Stay overnight at 36 Hostel
I hope you find all the information helpful in planning your trip to Hiroshima. Japan is a wonderful country and has so much to see! Hiroshima is not to be missed! If you only have 1 day in Hiroshima, you can still see all the famous sites. And if you have 2 days in Hiroshima, make sure to add Miyajima to your trip itinerary!
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last update: April 16, 2019