Hiroshima wasn’t in the initial plan of this trip, as usually I avoid war related places in my travels. But I realize that I need to make a stopover somewhere to break the long trip from Fuji until Kagoshima, in the south of Japan main land. So Hiroshima pop up in the map as a good place to spend one day and also a good opportunity to feel a bit more the urban vibe after a long time focusing in nature and landscapes.
And it end up being a good choice, as the city offer a more warm weather, with a relax atmosphere and laidback people, almost making us forget that we are in a city with more than one million of inhabitants.
We can say that the city is strongly connected with the atomic bomb drop in 1945, with many sites and memorials evoking this sad event. Nowadays the life runs as usual in a modern Japanese city but still the memorial to the bomb victims is visited daily not only by tourist as also by locals that come here to pay there respects.
And in fact, the Atomic Bomb Dome, a kind of iconic image of Hiroshima and a subject impossible to overcome, produce a certain impact and it’s difficult to be affected by the energy of the place, that despite being surrounded by a beautiful park nearby a rive, still carry a negative memory.
Not far from this memorial, we can reach the Hiroshima Castle, a replica of the one destroyed during the war.
And walking a bit more we reach the Shukkeien Garden, a traditional Japanese garden constructed in XVII century, and rebuild after the war. The design of the garden allow you to observe different perspective while you walk around the pond, which is the center of this type of Japanese gardens, where the trees are placed and were chosen according a tradition the miniaturized natural landscapes.
It’s a very calm place where you can easily spend one hour walking along the narrow paths and go up and down the small artificial hills, where small shrines can be spotted in the middle of the vegetation.
The Hondori-Dori is the center of the commercial life in Hiroshima, and a good place for a first approach to this city to feel the local vibe. Along this street and also the nearby alley you have a wide choice of restaurants, where is possible to find good udon with a reasonable price, at Chikara restaurant, for example.
There’s not much to see in Hiroshima in terms of sightseeing, but the city offer a chill vibe, very relax and with the highest concentration of bicycles that I saw until now in this country… and people here cycle fast, crossing streets and sidewalks, away from the usual formal Japanese style!!!
Where to sleep in Hiroshima:
As far I am concerned, when I plan to stay in a place for a short period (like one or two nights) I prefer to stay close by the train station, as like that I don’t need to walk much with the backpack. Then, after drop my luggage I can easily move around by walking or taking local public transportation.
So my choice was to Hiroshima Hana Hostel. It’s located 600 meters from the Hiroshima train station. From here you can in 205minutes reach the Hondori-Dori, the main commercial street. The Hiroshima Hana Hostel is simple, not very modern but has a very good atmosphere and a super friendly and helpful staff.