Exploring Japan: Hiroshima

An intriguing and dynamic city.

Hiroshima, the Chugoku Region’s cosmopolitan city, has transformed from a horrifying emblem of destruction to a thriving beacon of Japanese creativity, optimism and hope. Hiroshima’s residents exceeded predictions after the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945, rebuilding their city into what it is today: a vibrant, dynamic, and intriguing place to visit.

 

Peace Memorial Park is a beacon of hope at Hiroshima.

The enormous Peace Memorial Park in the city’s heart serves as a touching memorial to the events of WWII. The Peace Memorial Museum consists of two buildings that house exhibitions about the city’s history as well as the aftermath of the atomic bombing. The A-Bomb dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is nearby, as is the shell of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, which was directly beneath the bomb blast. The A-Bomb Victims Cenotaph is a memorial mausoleum for the 220,000 persons who perished as a result of the bombing.

 

Hiroshima-jo, or the ‘Carp Castle.’

Most visitors combine a visit to Hiroshima with a journey to Miyajima (less than an hour away) to see the Itsukushima shrine’s iconic floating crimson torii gate. If you have more time in the city, visit the picturesque reproduction of Hiroshima Castle, which holds an excellent museum about Western Japan’s history and has a beautiful perspective of the city from the top floor.

 

The antique ‘Hiroden’ streetcar will take you throughout the city.

In the summer, the ancient Shukkeien gardens are a lovely spot to walk around, or you may visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Hijiyama Park. The Mazda Museum, which houses the world’s longest production line and offers daily tours in English, is a must-see for anybody interested in cars or manufacturing in general.

Hiroshima is known for oysters and other shellfish, as well as Hiroshima-yaki, the local version of Japanese okonomiyaki (a savory egg pancake packed with veggies and other ingredients). At the official stadium just north of the Peace Memorial Park, you can work off all that food by joining in the chants and well-organized dancing at a Hiroshima Carps baseball game.

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