Travel Japan: Hiroshima Prefecture in a Day!

On a beautiful Saturday morning in November, I went with two of my close friends and boarded the Shinkansen heading for Hiroshima. We had quite an ambitious plan: visit Hiroshima Peace Park and Memorial Museum, roam around Miyajima and then finish off the day playing with bunnies on Okunoshima. I have to admit that we did not quite accomplish all this in one day, but it is certainly possible. We even made a shared Google Doc outlining a schedule, if you would like to attempt it.


IMG_3083We started our journey by boarding the Shinkansen in Aioi, heading to Hiroshima station. Once we arrived, we took a taxi to the Peace Park, although we later learned that you could take the streetcar straight there, it’s about a 15 minute ride. I would highly recommend visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It is sobering to see the effects of atomic warfare but it is very well curated and truly gives you a sense of what happened in the past and what is happening now in this resilient city. Midway through the museum there is a small shop area where you can buy souvenirs. I picked up some postcards made of recycled paper cranes children leave at the memorial and a commemorative coin, which you can engrave for free with a name and the date of your visit to Hiroshima. If you mail the postcard at the museum, they will place a special stamp on it. After the museum, we explored the Peace Park that, among other monuments, features the A-bomb dome in the exact state it was after the attack.


Next we took a train to Miyajima and had a delicious lunch at one of the restaurants near the ferry entrance. While dining at the family-owned restaurant, we witnessed an energetic “Kanpai!” from a very cute little boy. We were on the island during low tide, so you could walk right under the famous torii gate to take photos. You can also take the ropeway to the top of the island, where you can make momiji manju until mid-afternoon. This is where we fell off schedule. By the time we left Miyajima, returned to Hiroshima and caught the Shinkansen to Mihara, it was dusk. So we decided to grab a quick conbini dinner and found a hotel for the night in preparation for an early rise to visit Okunoshima (Bunny Island) on Sunday. This proved to be a great decision as the island had few tourists early in the morning and we had plenty of time to explore the beautiful . island in gorgeous weather. Before you board the ferry for the island, make sure to buy lettuce from a grocery store so you can feed the bunnies!


IMG_0892It was truly a very interesting place to visit. Okunoshima was home to a poison gas plant back in WWII but now only ruins remain in addition to a visitor’s centre, small museum, hotel and of course the bunnies. Okunoshima was even secretly removed from maps and records during the years the plant ran until American forces decommissioned it after the war ended in 1945. The bunnies there now are not related to any test subjects there may have been when the gas plant was operating many years ago.


I guess we were overly ambitious in trying to visit all three sites in one day, but taking the time to make it a 1.5 day trip was so worth it. I even have plans to go back in the spring to Miyajima during high tide to see the gate as it floats. So, if you think you are up to the challenge, go and visit Hiroshima in a day (ish)!


Jessica McSavage

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