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Rakuten Travel Recommends: The Best 38 Sightseeing Destinations in Hiroshima

2022-03-20

Hiroshima — full of a charm all its own!

Hiroshima Prefecture has two World Cultural Heritage sites: Miyajima Itsukushima-jinja Shrine and the Atomic Bomb Dome. Hiroshima is full of attractions, blessed with nature, and packed with gourmet food such as oysters, Seto Inland seafood, okonomiyaki, and Japan’s most famous lemon; you can also enjoy spectacular views of the Seto Inland Sea and the unique islands. Whether you’ve been before or not, this article will help make sure your next journey to Hiroshima is fantastic!

 

 

Miyajima

宮島

Miyajima is one of the three most scenic spots in Japan. It’s home to Itsukushima-jinja Shrine and the Misen Primeval Forest, which are registered as World Cultural Heritage sites.

Many wild animals live in the nature-rich Miyajima, including sika deer, raccoon dogs, and wild birds. You also don’t want to miss the area’s gourmet, such as the Miyajima specialty Momiji Manju cakes, oysters, and conger eels.

宮島
Address
Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 10 minutes from Miyajimaguchi by ferry.
To reach Miyajimaguchi, it’s about one minute on foot from Hiroden Miyajimaguchi Station on the Hiroshima Electric Railway, or about five minutes on foot from Miyajimaguchi Station on JR Sanyo Main Line.

 

Hatsukaichi City

Itsukushima-jinja Shrine

厳島神社

Itsukushima-jinja Shrine is a mystical sight that stands in the sea, with the shrine itself floating in the waters at high tide. Founded by Saeki no Kuramoto at the end of the 6th century during the reign of Empress Suiko, the Shinden-zukuri main hall that you see today was established by the military commander Taira no Kiyomori. It was registered as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1996.

厳島神社 大鳥居

It’s no exaggeration to say that this is the symbol of Miyajima. The Great Torii Gate stands about 656 feet off the main hall of worship and is made of natural camphor wood. It’s about 53 feet tall, and the circumference of the central pillar is about 33 feet. It’s lit up every night, offering you the chance to witness some mystical night views quite different than what you’ll see during the daytime.
*The Great Torii Gate has been covered by a sheet for preservation work since June 17th, 2019. The completion of the construction period is as yet undecided.

Address
1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 15 minutes from Miyajima pier.
Fees
Shrine: adults, 300 JPY; high school students, 200 JPY; elementary and junior high school students, 100 JPY
Shrine and Treasure House: adults, 500 JPY; high school students, 300 JPY; elementary and junior high school students, 150 JPY
Shrine hours
6:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. from January through February and October 15 through November (excluding the New Year’s holiday)
6:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m. from March to October 14
6:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. in December

 

Hatsukaichi City

Miyajima Public Aquarium

宮島水族館 スナメリ
宮島水族館

Miyajima Public Aquarium is one of the biggest and most exhibit-rich aquariums in west Japan. They breed more than 13,000 aquatic animals of 350 species, such as the symbolic finless porpoise and Humboldt penguin. The main building has 10 zones that introduce the mysterious world of the Seto Inland Sea for guests to observe the ecology up close, and there are also areas where you can directly interact with the animals.

There are plenty of popular events, such as the sea lion concert that’s held three to four times a day. You can also watch the animals during feeding time and even try feeding them yourself! 
*As of June 2020, some events are indefinitely canceled to prevent the spread of Covid-19

Address
10-3 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 10 minutes by Miyajima Maple Liner from Miyajima Pier. Get off at the Miyajima Aquarium bus stop.
Fees
Adults, 1,420 JPY; elementary and junior high school students, 710 JPY; preschool children, 400 JPY; children under 4 years old, free 
Visiting hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.(entry allowed until 4:00 p.m.)

 

Hatsukaichi City

Mount Misen

弥山

Mount Misen reaches an altitude of about 1,700 feet, and it’s been worshiped as a sacred mountain body since ancient times. After following the trail with the massive Kuguriiwa rock arch and Makuiwa monolith up to the summit observatory, you can see all the floating islands of the Seto Inland Sea. If it’s sunny, you’ll even be able to see the mountains of Shikoku!

You can reach Shishiiwa by ropeway, and it takes about 30 minutes on foot to the summit from Shishiiwa. We also recommend trying a little amateur mountain climbing without the ropeway if you want. Momijidani Park at the foot of the mountain is famous for its autumn foliage; come at the right time to see over 200 Japanese maple trees painting the scene crimson.

Since Mount Misen is still considered quite the spiritual location, pay a visit to Reikado (Hall of the Spiritual Flame) in front of the Misen Main Hall. The flame there has been burning for roughly 1,200 years; it’s come to be a metaphor for the “flame of undying love”, earning it recognition as a lovers’ sanctuary.

Address
Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 25 minutes on foot from Miyajima Pier to Momijidani Station on the Miyajima Ropeway (free shuttle bus available from the Momijidani Park entrance).
About 14 minutes by ropeway to Shishiiwa Station from Momijidani Station.
Miyajima Ropeway fees (round trip) 
Adults, 1,840 JPY; elementary school children, 920 JPY
Miyajima Ropeway hours of operation
March to November: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
December to February: 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

 

Hatsukaichi City

Arinoura, Mikasanohama, and the Great Torii Gate

宮島有之浦~御笠浜~大鳥居付近

At low tide, a beach appears from Arinoura through Mikasanohama and all the way to the Great Torii Gate. You can even pass under the gate during this time. It’s known as a premier sunset-viewing spot; you’ll be floored by the superb scenery of the sun setting behind the vermilion gate. You can also enjoy the illuminations at night.

The beach is home to no shortage of wild clams, and from early April through May the area is crowded with happy clammers.
*The Great Torii Gate has been covered by a sheet for preservation work since June 17th, 2019. The completion of the construction period is as yet undecided.

Address
Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 15 minutes on foot from Miyajima Pier.

 

Hatsukaichi City

Miyahama Onsen

宮浜温泉

Photo provided by: Miyahama Onsen Miyahama Grand Hotel

Miyahama Onsen is part of a hot spring locale on the opposite shore of Miyajima.  There are accommodations with outdoor baths offering panoramic views of Miyajima and the Seto Inland Sea. Recommended that good base for Miyajima sightseeing.

The radon-infused waters help keep you warm even after the bath, and it’s said to be able to treat a wide range of chronic health issues such as neuralgia, chronic dermatitis, and fatigue.

Address
Miyahama Onsen, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About five minutes by car from Onoura Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line, or about 15 minutes by car from Miyajimaguchi Station. (Free shuttle service is available depending on the accommodation.)

 

Hiroshima City

Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

Atomic Bomb Dome

原爆ドーム

At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb in human history was dropped on Hiroshima, and the Atomic Bomb Dome tells the tragedy. The dome stands along the Motoyasu River, a tributary of the Ota River, almost as it was at the time of the atomic bombing. To this day, it conveys the misery of war and the terrible power of nuclear weapons. It was registered as a World Heritage site in 1996.

The original building was constructed in 1915 as the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall. You can’t enter the interior, but the exterior is free to tour, and the building is illuminated from sunset to sunrise.

Address
1-10 Otemachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Horoshima
Access
Close to Atomic Bomb Dome Station on Hiroshima Electric Railway.
Visiting hours
Free to visit any time (exterior only)

 

Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

Orizuru Tower

おりづるタワー

Orizuru Tower is located beside the Atomic Bomb Dome; its exterior design is based off of origami paper cranes, or orizuru. It was designed by the noted architect, Hiroshi Sambuichi. The rooftop observatory Hiroshima no Oka is a calm and open space with a wooden deck, and from there you can see the Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima’s cityscape, and Miyajima.

おりづるタワー

On the 12th floor is the Orizuru Wall, where you can fold a crane with special origami paper and offer it for 100 JPY. The wall acts as a symbol of the tower, with the piles of orizuru representing a gathering of prayers for peace. The tower also has a cafe, hands-on activity floor, and produce store.

Adress
1-2-1 Otemachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Horoshima
Access
Close to Atomic Bomb Dome Station on the Hiroshima Electric Railway.
Fees
Adults, 1,700 JPY; junior high and high school students, 900 JPY; elementary school students, 700 JPY; preschool children ages 4 and up, 500 JPY
Visiting hours
October to June: 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
July to September: 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. (entry to observation deck allowed until one hour before closing time)
Closures
December 31

 

Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

広島平和記念資料館

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum opened in 1955 to tell the world about the tragedy of the atomic bombing, as well as to contribute to efforts to abolish nuclear weapons as a means of realizing lasting world peace. Renovations started in 2014 and completed in 2019, and you can now inspect all permanent exhibits of the main and east buildings.

The main building displays the belongings of the atomic bomb victims, as well as images and materials that depict the horrible reality of radiation exposure. In the east building, you can learn about the history of Hiroshima before and after the bombing and the dangers of nuclear weapons. The museum also regularly hosts lectures by atomic bomb survivors and lends out materials for teaching about peace. 

Address
1-2 Nakajimacho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
Access
Close to the Peace Memorial Museum bus stop on the Hiroshima Bus.
Also close to the Memorial Museum bus stop on the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus Meipuru-pu.
Fees
Adults, 200 JPY; high school students, 100 JPY; junior high school students and younger, free
Visiting hours
March–July and September–November: 8:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
August: 8:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m. (open until 8:00 p.m. on August 5 and 6)
December–February: 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
*Entry allowed until 30 minutes before closing time.
Closures
December 30–31

 

Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

Okonomimura

お好み村

Okonomimura is jam-packed with 20 shops selling the local specialty, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. This gathering of eateries began after the war, when about 50 food stalls set up shop in Shintenchi Hiroba in the center of Hiroshima City; they later transitioned to this two-story prefab, resulting in the building you see today.

お好み村

Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is made by grilling ingredients such as cabbage, bean sprouts, and pork belly on a bed of thinly stretched dough before turning it over and mixing it with stir-fried noodles. Watching it get grilled up right in front of you on the flat-iron grill is definitely one of the highlights of this area.

Address
5-13 Shintenchi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About three minutes on foot from Hatchobori Station on Hiroshima Electric Railway.
Hours of operation
Depends on the restaurant.

 

Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

Hiroshima Castle

広島城

Hiroshima Castle was constructed in 1589 by Mori Terumoto, grandson of the great daimyo Mori Motonari. It was completely destroyed by the atomic bomb, but the main keep of the castle was rebuilt in 1958. The Hirayagura turret, Tamonyagura turret, and Taikoyagura turret of outer citadel were also rebuilt in 1994 to the same grandeur they held during the Edo period (1603–1867).

Hiroshima Castle is also known as Rijo — “ri” meaning carp and “jo” meaning castle. It was actually because of this nickname that Hiroshima City’s official baseball team became the Toyo Carp.

Address
21-1 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 15 minutes on foot from Kamiya-cho Higashi Station on the Hiroshima Electric Railway.
About six minutes on foot from the Hiroshima Castle (Gokoku Jinja-mae) bus stop on the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus Meipuru-pu.
Fees
Adults, 370 JPY; high school students, 180 JPY; junior high school students and younger, free; seniors ages 65 and up, 180 JPY
Visiting hours
March–November: 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
December–February: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
*Entry allowed until 30 minutes before closing time.
Closures
December 29–31
*Occasionally closes for unscheduled reasons.

 

Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

Shukkei-en Garden

縮景園

Asano Naga’akira, a daimyo of the Hiroshima clan, built Shukkei-en in the early Edo period as villa garden. It’s believed that Shukkei-en was designed in imitation of West Lake in China, which itself is a World Heritage site.

This is what’s known as a pond-strolling garden, which features wide-open greenery, small islands, undulating walkways, bridges, and tea rooms all around a central pond. We recommend taking a long and pensive walk as you appreciate the seasonal views, including cherry blossoms in spring, water lilies in summer, and crimson leaves in autumn.

Address
2-11 Kaminoboricho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
Access
Close to Shukkeien-mae Station on the Hiroshima Electric Railway Hakushima Line.
Close to the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (Shukkeien) bus stop on the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus Meipuru-pu.
Fees
Adults, 260 JPY; high school and university students, 150 JPY; elementary and junior high school students, 100 JPY
Visiting hours
April–September: 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
October–March: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
*Entry allowed until 30 minutes before closing time.
Closures
December 29–31

 

Minami Ward, Hiroshima City

Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima

MAZDA Zoom-Zoom スタジアム広島

Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima is home plate for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. It’s been in use since 2009 as the city’s second official baseball stadium due to the deteriorating state of the former Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium that was built in 1957.

It can seat up to 33,000 people, and its seats are a spacious 19.7 inches wide and 33.5 inches deep, putting it on a level of comfort equal to the Major Leagues. There are plenty of unique seats available as well, including sand-covered seats near the ground (perfect for catching sight of dynamic plays), terrace seats with tables and chairs, tatami-mat seats, and even sleeper seats you can lie down in.

Stadium tours are held for a fee where guests can see the bullpen, dugout, and player’s cafeteria on days when there are no games. The Toyo Carp won the Central League championships for three consecutive seasons from 2016 to 2018, ending a 25-year dry spell. Since then, the team has been gaining enthusiastic support, and you’ll definitely feel that enthusiasm with a visit to the stadium. 
*As of June 2020, stadium tours have stopped in order to prevent infection of Covid-19. Resumption of tours is as yet undecided.

Address
2-3-1 Minamikaniya, Minami-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 10 minutes on foot from JR Hiroshima Station.

 

Fuchu Town, Aki District

Mazda Museum

マツダミュージアム

Mazda is a Japanese automotive company headquartered in Hiroshima; Mazda Museum is located in the same complex and offers tours of their products. Here, you can learn about the history of Mazda automobiles, Mazda racecars that have won the Le Mans Championship, general engine technology, and the process of manufacturing cars.

You can even observe the U1 Assembly Line, where the cars are assembled right in front of you. The museum also has an observation deck overlooking a shipping port open exclusively to Mazda. The tour takes about an hour and a half.

Be on the lookout for Mazda-original merchandise on sale at the shop, along with products of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team and Sanfrecce Hiroshima soccer team. We recommend picking some up for some good memories and souvenirs. The tour is available by reservation only, so be sure to make a reservation in advance.

Address
3-1 Shinchi, Fuchu-cho, Aki-gun, Hiroshima
Access
About five minutes on foot from Mukainada Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line.
Fees
Free of charge (reservations required)
Tour starting times
Japanese-language tour: 1:30 p.m.
English-language tour: 10:00 a.m.
Closures
Saturdays, Sundays, Golden Week, Obon, New Year’s holidays, and Mazda corporate holidays

 

Asaminami Ward, Hiroshima City

Edion Stadium Hiroshima

エディオンスタジアム広島

Edion Stadium Hiroshima is home to a local professional soccer team, Sanfrecce Hiroshima; it’s also used for track and field events as part of Hiroshima Koiki Park. It served as the main venue for the Asian Games held in 1994.

You may hear of it by its nickname, the “Big Arch”, thanks to its sizable arched roof covering the main stands. Its food and beverage booths are highly rated for their okonomiyaki, Hiroshima oysters, and collaborative menu items produced by the athletes.

エディオンスタジアム広島
Address
5-1-1 Otsukanishi, Asaminami-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 10 minutes on foot from Koiki-koen-mae Station on the Astram Line.

 

Saeki Ward, Hiroshima City

Yuki Onsen

湯来温泉

Yuki Onsen is located in a hot spring locale about one hour by car from central Hiroshima. It’s surrounded by rich nature and colloquially referred to as the back door to Hiroshima. Boasting some of the most radium-rich waters in the world, it was designated as a National Health Onsen Resort by the Japan Spa Association in 1955. 

At Yuki Lodge, you can savor the directly sourced hot spring water in both the grand bath and the open-air bath, all the while appreciating stunning views of the clear waters of the Minochi River. Visitors can use the baths even if they’re not staying overnight, so we recommend paying a visit when you have a spare bit of time.

オオサンショウウオこんにゃく

While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to make some giant salamanders out of konjac at the neighboring hands-on shop; they’re a little bit creepy and a little bit cute, but it’s a unique experience to have all the same!

Address
Yukicho Tada, Saeki-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
Access
From Itsukaichi Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line, take the Hiroshima Dentetsu Bus bound for Yuki Onsen and get off at the Yuki Onsen bus stop after about an hour and nine minutes.

 

Kure, Higashihiroshima, Takehara, and Mihara

Kure City

Yamato Museum

大和ミュージアム

At Yamato Museum, you can get in touch with the history of Kure, which built the battleship Yamato and prospered as Japan’s No.1 naval arsenal town.
Within the four-story building are actual artifacts that tell the tragedy of war, such as a Mitsubishi Zero Fighter Type 62 and a Kaiten human torpedo; there’s also a 1/10th scale model of the battleship Yamato, which has since become the symbol of the museum.

The third floor has an experiential program recommended for families with children, in which you can learn about naval structure and how boats are built. The museum is also equipped with a library that has materials on naval history, a museum shop, and an observation terrace overlooking Kure Port.

Address
5-20Takaramachi, Kure-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About five minutes on foot from Kure Station on the JR Kure Line.
Fees
Adults, 500 JPY; high school students, 300 JPY; elementary and junior high school students, 200 JPY
Additional fees required for special exhibitions and planned exhibitions.
Opening hours
9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (last entry at 5:30 p.m.)
Closures
Tuesdays (or the following day if Tuesday is a national holiday) 
*No closures for the following periods: April 29–May 5, July 21–August 31, and December 29–January 3.

 

Higashihiroshima City

Saijo Sakagura-dori Street

西条酒蔵通り

The Saijo area of Higashihiroshima City is regarded as one of the best three sake-brewing region in Japan, along with Fushimi of Kyoto and Nada of Kobe.
There are nine sake breweries situated around Saijo Sakagura-dori Street — leading up to JR Saijo Station — all working around the clock to make high-quality sake.

No corporate signboards are needed here; you’ll know you’ve reached the sake-brewing neighborhood when you see the characteristic red brick chimneys, red tile roofs, and beautifully contrastive white stucco walls paired with black namako latticework.

Have a tour, do a tasting, read the displays on how to make sake, visit the galleries and shops — there’s much to do! And at the nearby shops, you can try Saijo sake-inspired gourmet items such as amazake toast, amazake milk, and desserts made with sake lees.

Address
Saijo Honmachi, Higashihiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
Access
Close to Saijo Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line.

 

Mihara City

Kajitsu no Mori Park

果実の森公園
果実の森公園
果実の森公園
果実の森公園

Come here to pick seasonal fruits throughout the year: strawberry picking from winter to spring, peach and Asian pear picking in summer, and grape and apple picking in autumn. And beside the fruit picking, the Park offers a full array of excellent desserts such as fruit-rich gelato and seasonally limited apple pie.

There’s also a 1.7-acre grassy field that children can play in. Kids can take a sheet of cardboard as a makeshift sled and slide down the slopes; or, they can head to the south side to see Hiroshima Airport’s runway with views of the planes taking off and landing.

Address
75-28 Daiwacho Ogusa, Mihara-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 15 minutes by car from the Kochi interchange on the Sanyo Expressway.
Fees
Free admission.
Fruit picking fees depend on the fruit.
Hours of operation
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (last entry at 4:00 p.m.)
Closures
December 31–January 3 (may be closed depending on fruit crops)

 

Takehara City

Okuno Island

大久野島

Okuno Island is also known as Rabbit Island. About 1,000 wild rabbits live here, and you can interact with them pretty much everywhere on the island. You may even see them immediately after getting off the boat. This area is great for families with children, especially since no standard automobiles are allowed.

大久野島 砲台跡

While it may be cute for its rabbits, it’s also known as the “island that was erased from the map”, because it was used for producing poisonous gas in secret from 1929 until the end of the Pacific War in 1945.

Visitors to the island can tour the Poison Gas Museum that displays materials from that era, as wells the ruins of the poison gas storage facilities and factories. You can even see the remains of Geiyo Fortress, erected during the Russo‐Japanese War and still in decent condition after all this time.

Address
Okunoshima, Tadanoumicho, Takehara-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 15 minutes by boat from Tadanoumi Port.
To reach Tadanoumi Port, it’s about about minutes on foot from Tadanoumi Station on the JR Kure Line.

 

Takehara City

Aohata Jam Deck

アヲハタ ジャムデッキ

Aohata is a well-known jam producer headquartered in Takehara City. The old factory — which was still in operation until recently — has been renovated into Aohata Jam Deck, and visitors can take a factory tour to learn about the process of making jam. There’s also a cafe, an observation deck overlooking the Seto Inland Sea, and a shop with products that you can only buy here.

Highly popular are their instructor-led jam-making lessons. You get to pick one of three flavors: strawberry, blueberry, or orange marmalade. Reservations are required for both the jam-making lesson and the factory tour, so be sure to make one in advance.
*As of June 2020, the facility is closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Address
1-2-43 Tadanoumi Nakamachi, Takehara-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About five minutes on foot from Tadanoumi Station on the JR Kure Line.
Fees
Factory tour: free of charge
Jam-making lesson and factory tour (set): 800 JPY
*Reservations required one week in advance.
Hours of operation
Tuesday–Saturday: 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Closures
Sundays, Mondays, national holidays, the New Year’s holiday, and other designated holidays

 

Takehara City

Takehara Townscape Conservation Area

竹原町並み保存地区
竹原町並み保存地区

Takehara developed in the Edo period (1603–1867) as a salt-making locale; it’s full of well-preserved stately houses from that era.

The Takehara Townscape Conservation Area has been selected as an “important preservation district of historic buildings”, and as such it’s earned the nickname of “Aki’s Little Kyoto”. As you walk along the street, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to the Edo period. Be sure to take note of the stylish latticework and various decor.

Address
Honmachi, Takehara-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 15 minutes on foot from Takehara Station on the JR Kure Line.

 

Fukuyama, Onomichi, and Shimanami Kaido 

Onomichi City

Senko-ji Temple

千光寺

Senko-ji Temple is halfway up Mount Taiho with views overlooking Onomichi City and Onomichi Port from the temple precinct. You can access the temple by ropeway from the foot of the mountain, and once you reach the Akado vermilion-painted main hall, you’ll be greeted with views of the Onomichi cityscape and curiously shaped rock formations known as Tamanoiwa.

The temple’s long history began in 806 when it was founded by the Buddhist monk Kukai (posthumous name: Kobo Daishi), and it is believed that the temple can bestow a variety of benefactions upon its worshippers: success in exams, good marriage, safe childbirth, traffic safety, family safety, and more.

Address
15-1 Higashi Tsuchidocho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About five minutes on foot from Sancho Station on the Mt. Senkoji Ropeway.
To reach Sancho Station, it’s about 15 minutes by bus from JR Onomichi Station. Get off at the Senkoji Koen bus stop and walk about 10 minutes.
To reach Sanroku Station, it’s about 15 minutes on foot from JR Onomichi station, or close to the Nagaeguchi bus stop.
Fees
Free of charge
Visiting hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

 

Onomichi City

Saikoku-ji Temple

西國寺

This is a famous temple of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, the name of which means “the best temple in the west”. It is believed to have been founded by the Buddhist priest, Gyoki. The massive, six-foot-long straw sandals hung on the Niomon Gate are one of the symbolic aspects of this temple. Taking after the strong legs of the two Nio guardian statues, many worshippers and sporting athletes alike come here to pray for good leg health.

There’s a variety of seasonal festivals held here, such as the New Year’s firewalking ritual and Setsubun (division of seasons). In spring, the cherry blossoms planted on either side of the 108 stone steps leading from the Niomon Gate bloom all at once, and many people gather to see the superb view of the cherry blossom path.

Address
29-27 Nishikubocho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About five minutes on foot from the Saikokuji-shita bus stop via the Onomichi Bus departing from Onomichi Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line.
Fees
Worship inside the hall: 500 JPY (includes tea and small cakes)
Special worship: 1,000 JPY (includes matcha tea, small cakes, and garden worship)
Visiting hours
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Worship inside the hall: 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

 

Onomichi City

Onomichi U2

ONOMICHI U2
ONOMICHI U2

Onomichi U2 is a complex facility renovated from a shipping warehouse; it features restaurants, cafes, bars, specialty shops, and more. It’s quite remarkable for its stylish interior, which was designed by architect Makoto Tanijiri.

HOTEL CYCLE

It’s also a fantastic base point for cycling trips along the Shimanami Kaido. Cyclists can stay overnight at Hotel Cycle and bring their bicycles right into the guestroom, and there’s also a dedicated shop of the popular bicycle maker, Giant.

Address
5-11 Nishi Goshocho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About five minutes on foot from Onomichi Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line.
Hours of operation
Varies depending on the shop.

 

Onomichi City

Shimanami Kaido

しまなみ海道

The Shimanami Kaido is an expressway connecting Onomichi, Hiroshima, Imabari, and Ehime. It’s dotted with islands such as Innoshima, known for its history with pirates; Ikuchijima, famous for lemon production; and Hakatajima, known for its natural Hakata salt.

Shimanami Kaido is also famous as a haven for cyclists, so we recommend visiting it by bicycle.

 

Onomichi City (Ikuchijima)

Setoda

瀬戸田レモン畑

Hiroshima is the top producer of lemons in Japan. And out of the whole prefecture, about 30% of those lemons are from Setoda Town, which straddles Ikuchijima and Koneshima along the Shimanami Kaido. Lemon fields spread out around the town, and the contrasting views it provides of the Seto Inland Sea and Shimanami Kaido are superb.

Partake in a special kind of gourmet that can only be had on a lemon-heavy island, such as lemon hotpot and the popular Shimagokoro lemon cake — a hot seller for souvenir hunters and online shoppers!

瀬戸田サンセットビーチ

We also recommend a visit to Setoda Sunset Beach, where the pure-white sands stretch on to produce ever more beautiful scenery.

Address
Setodacho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 40 minutes by standard boat from Onomichi Port to Setoda Port.
About 25 minutes by high-speed boat from Mihara Port.

 

Onomichi City (Ikuchijima)

Kosan-ji temple

耕三寺

Kosan-ji temple is situated on Ikuchijima and belongs to the Honganji sect of True Pure Land Buddhism. It was founded by Kozo Kosanji, a former Osaka industrialist, as a form of gratitude for his mother. The strictly symmetrical arrangement of the monastery is quite rare in Japan — so much so that there is now such a thing as “Kosan-ji Temple-style arrangement” that’ become highly regarded in both architectural and Buddhist circles.

The main hall and two-storied pagoda are designated as nationally registered tangible cultural properties; the grounds also feature a museum displaying Kosanji family art collections together with important cultural properties and artwork, such as the Seated Amida Nyorai with a Jeweled Crown carved by the noted Buddhist carver, Kaikei.

耕三寺 未来心の丘

While you’re here, don’t miss the 1.2-acre white marble garden, Miraishin no Oka (the Hill of Hope). The stairs and plaza are made of marble, and the pure-white scenery they produce is making waves on social media.

Address
553-2 Setodacho Setoda, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
By boat: about 10 minutes from Setoda Port. To reach Setoda Port, it’s about 40 minutes by standard boat from Onomichi Port, or about 25 minutes by high-speed boat from Mihara Port.
By bus: from Onomichi Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line, take the Setoda Route of the Onomichi Bus for about an hour and 14 minutes, and get off at the Kosanji bus stop.
Fees
Adults, 1,400 JPY; university students, 1,000 JPY; high school students, 800 JPY; seniors ages 65 and over, 1,200 JPY; junior high school students and younger, free
Visiting hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (Choseikaku Villa hours are 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.)
Closures
Open year-round

 

Onomichi City (Ikuchijima through Omishima)

Tatara Ohashi Bridge

多々羅大橋

Tatara Ohashi Bridge spans the prefectural border between Hiroshima and Ehime, connecting Ikuchijima and Omishima islands. Its graceful white form provides stark contrast to the blue sky and ocean. There’s a footpath enabling visitors to cross it on foot. You can reach this footpath from Roadside Station Tatara Shimanami Park, which is just off the Omishima interchange or the Setoda Rest Stop.

Address
Between Setodacho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima, and Imabari-shi, Ehime
Access
About 18.6 miles from the Setoda Onomichi interchange on the Nishi-Seto Expressway.

 

Fukuyama City

Tomonoura

鞆の浦

The port town of Tomonoura has prospered since ancient times — so much so that it’s even been mentioned in the Man’yoshu (the oldest anthology of Japanese poems). It was often used by ships waiting for the tide to turn, owing to the unique nature of the tides here. During the Edo period (1603–1867), it served as a port of call for Kitamae-bune, or ships running the western route along the Japan Sea from Hokkaido to Osaka. One of the highlights of the town is its plethora of old townhouses and historic temples.

鞆の浦

Another symbol of Tomonoura is its stone pillar night light standing in the harbor. Originally built in the Edo period, it’s now considered one of the largest existing night lights.

For Ghibli fans, it’s interesting to note that Tomonoura was used as the model town for the move “Ponyo”. It’s functioned as a filming location for several other films, as well.

Address
Tomocho, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima
Access
From Fukuyama Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line, take the Tomotetsu Bus bound for Tomo Port for about 30 minutes, and get off at either the Tomonoura bus stop or the Tomoko bus stop.

 

Fukuyama City

Sensuijima

仙酔島

Floating around the opposite shore of Tomonoura is a deserted island with a circumference of about 3.2 miles known as Sensuijima. The kanji of its name — “hermit” and “drunk” — were chosen because supposedly “even a man not bound by earthly desires would get drunk off its beauty”.

On the island, there are several observation decks with views of Tomonoura and the Seto Inland Sea, as well as a beautiful beach, BBQ facility, promenade, and several hot spring inns built right front of the ocean.

仙酔島

Don’t miss the Goshikiiwa rocks, which showcase five uniquely colored strata. This formation is quite rare in the world, and at present it can only be observed here in Japan.

Address
Tomocho Ushiroji, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About five minutes by ferryboat from Tomonoura.

 

Fukuyama City

Abuto Kannon

阿伏兎観音

Abuto Kannon stands at the tip of Cape Abuto. The rocky surface protruding into blue sea and the vermilion Kannon-do Hall are featured in numerous masterpieces, including an ukiyo-e painting by Hiroshige Ando and the novel “A Dark Night’s Passing” by Naoya Shiga.

The temple belongs to the Rinzai school of Buddhism, and it was built by the daimyo Terumoto Mori in the Genki period (1570–1573); it’s long been known as a place to pray for safe voyages, healthy children, and safe childbirth. It’s also a nationally designated important cultural property.

Address
Numakumacho Notohara, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About 15 minutes on foot after getting off at the Abuto Kannon-iriguchi bus stop on the Shinkawa Route of the Tomotetsu Bus departing from Fukuyama Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line.
Fees
Adults, 100 JPY; elementary school children, 50 JPY
Visiting hours
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Open year-round

 

Fukuyama City

Fukuyama Castle

福山城

Fukuyama Castle was built in 1662 by Katsunari Mizuno, first feudal lord of Fukuyama and cousin of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. You can see the castle up close from the platform of Fukuyama Station or while on the Shinkansen.

The castle tower was destroyed by air raids in 1945 but restored in 1966. Currently, the inside of the castle tower is a museum that displays calligraphy and armor related to Lord Mizuno and the Abe family. And in spring, the castle grounds throng with happy visitors looking to view the cherry blossoms.

Address
1-8 Marunouchi, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About five minutes on foot from Fukuyama Station on the JR Sanyo Main Line.
Fees
Adults, 200 JPY; high school students and younger, free
*Additional fees required for special exhibitions.
Visiting hours
April–August: 9:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
September–March: 9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.
*Entry allowed until 30 minutes before closing.
Closures
Mondays (or the next day if Monday is a national holiday)
December 28–31 

 

Northern Hiroshima

Sera Town, Sera District

Sera Highland Farm

世羅高原農場 チューリップ
世羅高原農場 ヒマワリ畑

Sera Highland Farm is a sightseeing farm full of seasonal flower fields. Spectacular sights await you, no matter the season: 750,000 tulips of about 300 species in spring, 30,000 salvias and 1.1 million sunflowers of about 50 species in summer, and 12,000 chrysanthemums and 7,500 dahlias of about 550 species in autumn.

Order some herbal tea as you gaze upon the flower fields at the on-site cafe; alternatively, have a BBQ or samples Japanese dishes made with local ingredients at the restaurant.

Address
1124-11 Bessako, Sera-cho, Sera-gun, Hiroshima
Access
About 15 minutes by car from the Sera interchange on the Onomichi Expressway.
About 30 minutes by car from the Kisa interchange on the Onomichi Expressway.
About 50 minutes by car from the Kouchi interchange on the Sanyo Expressway.
Fees
Adults, 1,000 JPY; children ages 4 to elementary school age, 500 JPY
Visiting hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

 

Sera Town, Sera District

Yumetsuri Bridge

夢吊橋

This is a pedestrian bridge crossing over Hattabara Dam (Lake Ashida) with a span of about 482 feet; it’s the longest trestle-less suspended floor slab bridge in the world.

The contrast between the gentle arc of the bright-red balustrade, the verdant green background, the deep water of the lake, and the piercing blue sky is superb. If you’re in the mood for a little thrill, hop while standing at the center of the bridge and it should give you a little sway in return.

Address
Otani, Sera-cho, Sera-gu, Hiroshima
Access
About 25 minutes by car from the Sera interchange on the Onomichi Expressway.

 

Miyoshi City

Hiroshima Miyoshi Winery

広島三次ワイナリー

Hiroshima Miyoshi Winery produces wine using grapes harvested at its own farm and at locally contracted farms. Take a tour of the manufacturing line and barrel storehouse, after which there’s even a free tasting session.

Next, we recommend pairing your wine with some Hiroshima wagyu beef at the barbecue garden. Or take to the cafe to get some homemade Hamburg steak and curry made with Hiroshima beef — they’ve even got soft-serve grape ice cream!

Address
10445-3 Higashi Sakeyamachi, Miyoshi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
By car: about three minutes from the Miyoshi interchange on the Chugoku Expressway, or about 15 minutes from the Miyoshi Higashi junction.
By bus: get off at the Miyoshi Winery bus stop after traveling for about six minutes by regular bus from JR Miyoshi Station.
Fees
Free of charge
Visiting hours
9:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (depends on the facility)
Closures
The second Wednesday of the month from January to March
December 29–January 1

 

Miyoshi City

Kimita Onsen

君田温泉

Located in Miyoshi City, Kimita Onsen is a sodium bicarbonate spring said to have medicinal benefits for visitors suffering from neuralgia or sensitivity to cold, and it’s also known for its skin-beautifying properties.

Mori no Izumi, an overnight accommodation at Roadside Station Yasuragi no Sato Forest Kimita, allows visitors to use the bath even if they’re not staying overnight. It also features rental cottages with kitchens that can accommodate up to eight people. We recommend taking a trip here to frolic in the river and go hiking in the daytime, after which you can relax in the hot spring at night.

In northern Hiroshima, sharks are known as “wani” (which means “alligator” most everywhere else in Japan); this is one of the few places in the country where you can try rare “alligator” sashimi.

Address
311-3 Izumiyoshida, Kimita-cho, Miyoshi-shi, Hiroshima
Access
About three minutes by car from the Kuchiwa interchange on the Matsue Expressway.
About 25 minutes by car from the Miyoshi interchange on the Chugoku Expressway.
Fees
Day-use of the hot spring: adults, 700 JPY; elementary school students and younger, 350 JPY; children under 3 years of age, free
Hours of operation
Day-use of the hot spring: 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. (closes at 10:00 p.m.)
Closures
The third Tuesday of every month, and the fourth Tuesday of August and December (open if said Tuesday falls on a national holiday and closed the following day)

 

Shobara City

Taishaku Gorge

帝釈峡

Taishaku Gorge is an 11.2-mile-long national park located in the center of the Chugoku Mountains. Here, you can see magnificent nature-made scenery, such as: Onbashi, the largest natural bridge in Japan formed from years of erosion; Shirakumo Limestone Cave; and Dangyo Gorge, which formed about 300 million years ago and features beautiful rapids. Don’t miss the fresh green of spring, the crimson leaves of autumn, and the other beautiful scenery to be found throughout the four seasons.

帝釈峡

Boat cruises are also available at Lake Shinryu, where you can get close-up views of the surrounding curiously shaped boulders and cliff faces; you can also go kayaking, rent Segways, and more.

Address
Tojocho, Shobara-shi, Hiroshima,
Jinseki Kogencho, Jinseki-gun, Hiroshima
Access
About 7.5 miles to the Kamitaishakuten area, or 6.2 miles to Lake Shinryu from the Tojo interchange on Chugoku Expressway.

 

Akiota Town, Yamagata District

Sandankyo Gorge

三段峡
三段峡

Sandankyo Gorge is a nearly 10-mile-long canyon in Akiota Town of northwestern Hiroshima. It’s home to The Five Great Sceneries: Kurobuchi, Sarutobi, Nidan Falls, Sandan Falls, and Mitsudaki Falls. You can board a boat from either Kurobuchi or Sarutobi and enjoy the beauty of the gorge that looks almost like a landscape painting of Guilin, China.

The promenade is well maintained and there is a variety of walking courses available, from a 50-minute easy-going course ending at Kurobuchi to a five-hour course that covers all the main scenic spots.

Address
Akiota-cho, Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima
Access
By car: about 4.9 miles from the Togochi interchange on the Chugoku Expressway.
By bus: about an hour and 15 minutes by highway bus from the Hiroshima Bus Center in Hiroshima City.

 

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