Hiroshima: A Balancing Act


8:15 AM. At this time on August 6th, 1945, the city of Hiroshima became the first to be devastated by a nuclear weapon. The ones who were instantly vaporized were lucky in that they did not have to suffer the effects of radiation poisoning. After Japan surrendered, reconstruction began. Now, the only visible remnant of Little Boy’s devastation is the Genbaku Dome in the Peace Park. Otherwise, you’d be hard-pressed to find evidence. Chugoku’s largest city is quite pleasant, even upon a third visit.


Getting There and Around

There are several options for travel to Hiroshima. On this most recent trip, we took the shinkansen. Though expensive, it is far more convenient than flying (take 年休 to travel two hours the opposite direction? No thanks) and both more convenient and more comfortable than night buses (which also deposit you into the city well before anything interesting is open).

Once in Hiroshima, you can get around using the trams and buses. There are day and two-day passes available which offer unlimited travel. There is also a ferry which takes you to Miyajima (a must-see) included. Another ferry is available from the Peace Park, but it’s absurdly expensive in comparison, and doesn’t appear to save a lot of time.


Where to Stay

On the cheaper and more distant front, there is K’s House Hiroshima (just make sure you get your own key, or don’t separate from your travel buddies if they only give you one). Otherwise, there are several Toyoko Inns around the city, including one on Heiwa Dori, which is quite close to the Peace Memorial Museum and Park.

What to Do

The Peace Memorial Museum and Park are the primary attractions in Hiroshima City. Currently, the museum is undergoing renovations until 2018, but it is still well worth the visit. Careful not to blow your budget, though. Admission comes at the exorbitant price of 50円. On the park grounds is the A-Bomb Dome, which was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, and is a haunting reminder of the destructive power of nuclear weapons. Another one of my favorites is the statue of Sadako. She folded 1000 paper cranes in an attempt to cure her cancer. The exhibits are very moving and are an important piece of history to encounter.

On the less depressing front, Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is wonderful and you’ll surely find a stall worthy of your patronage in Okonomimura. A bit farther from the central area is Ren Ren Okonomiyaki, which has a cheeseburger version. The highest rated restaurant, Gattsuri-An, is a bit of trek (not recommendable in heavy rain sans umbrella and waterproof shoes), but the seafood is delicious and the staff accommodating despite how busy it seems to always be. Be mindful that if you order the cook-it-yourself shrimp, it comes out still alive. I found this quite heart-wrenching, so buyer beware.

For bars, I’d recommend Koba, Mac, and Dumb! Records. Mac has tons of CDs lining the walls and if you ask nicely, they’ll play a song for you. People also tend to dance while there, so if that’s your thing, it’s more fun and less nausea inducing than your standard dance club. Dumb! Records and Koba are located quite close to each other. The former is also a record label, CD store, and has a pop punk theme, whereas the latter is a metal bar. A good time can be had at and by all (or at least many).

Any good trip to Hiroshima includes a ferry ride to Miyajima. There, you can see deer outside of Nara (no senbei, though, so they won’t surround you to steal your soul and snacks), the floating torii, Itsukushima (one of Japan’s top three sights!), and use a ropeway and your legs to reach the peak of Mt. Misen. If you’re into oysters, Miyajima is well known for them. Kakiya is heralded as the best restaurant on the island. You can even order their secret kaki teishoku if you want to feel special. The momiji manju are always delicious. I’m partial to the chocolate filled ones.



Last Minute Points

-       The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art is worth a look.

-       Don’t you dare speak of Osaka-style okonomiyaki. Don’t even think of it.

-       Hiroshima Castle isn’t very exciting, especially if you’ve already visited Himeji Castle.

-       People love the Carps, Hiroshima’s baseball team. There are many goods plastered with their mascot.


Hiroshima makes for a fun weekend trip. It can be slightly longer and more expensive using the shinkansen, or rather affordable with the night bus. While the Peace Museum is heavy, there are plenty of fun things to balance out your trip.


Brittany Teodorski


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