In the morning of August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber named Enola Gay flew over Hiroshima. On board was one of the deadliest weapons mankind has ever produced: Little Boy. This nuclear bomb was unloaded just after 8am and exploded at 8.15am. As a result, more than 80,000 people were killed and Hiroshima was completely destroyed.
Tourists go to Hiroshima to find out more about the underlying story and especially the question: why? And of course the Atomic Bomb (see photo) is central to all the misery that has been caused here. Enough reasons to visit Hiroshima…
Hiroshima or Nagasaki? Most tourists choose Hiroshima as their westernmost point and slowly return to Kyoto and Tokyo. But if you have more time, don’t miss Nagasaki. Because this city has more to offer than the story of the atomic bomb.
Nagasaki Travel Guide | 10 historical sights
Hiroshima Travel Guide – Content
- History of Hiroshima – A journey through the past
- Accommodation – Where to stay in Hiroshima?
- Attractions – 5 historical sights in Hiroshima
- Transportation – How to get to Hiroshima?
History of Hiroshima – A journey through the past
More than 400 years of history is the result of this interesting city in western Japan. Of course the atomic bomb is the most important event and therefore a good reason to visit Hiroshima. But luckily there is more…
Hiroshima comes to life…
At the end of the 16th century, a castle was built on the spot where the current castle stands. There was no question of a town, at most an area called Gokamura and a number of small villages around it. Soon the name Hiroshima was chosen and 9 provinces were ruled from this castle.
Asano Family rules the ….. area
In 1619 Asano Nagaakira (1586-1632) becomes the new leader of Hiroshima castle. His family will rule this region for more than 200 years. Especially because this family is united with the rulers in Edo (Tokyo).
(Source Photo: Wikimedia)
An important port city
Hiroshima develops as an important port city when the city decides to build Ujina Harbor.
Railway to the west
From the city of Kobe a railway line will be constructed to Hiroshima. There will also be a railway line from the centre of the city to the harbour. This is mainly due to military transport during the First Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese government and Emperor Meiji will also stay in Hiroshima Castle for a short period of time. It was also this city where representatives of both countries talked to each other for solutions.
The First World War
In 1915, a commercial centre was established to be known as the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall (see photo). Later we will know it as the Atomic Bomb Dome.
During the First World War Japan decides to help the Allies. Hiroshima becomes an important military center.
A nuclear bomb falls on Hiroshima. Why?
Hiroshima was spared by the Allies during the Second World War. Remarkable, because the city is at that time an important military center for Japan. In order to avoid having to deploy American soldiers, it was decided to throw a nuclear bomb at the city. On August 6, 1945 at 8.15 am this bomb explodes. 80,000 people died immediately. Except for a few ruins, the city is one barren plain.
How to proceed now?
Hiroshima was proclaimed City of Peace by the Japanese government in 1949. The Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall is proclaimed the symbol of the city. It is now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome. Reconstruction could begin and in 1955 the Peace Memorial Museum opened its doors. The construction of the city in the 50’s is impressive. As if nothing had ever happened…
First American president on duty visits Hiroshima
Barack Obama is the first incumbent American president to visit the city. 2 self-folded cranes in the Atomic Bomb Museum are the result of this. But what is the story of these cranes?
The story of Sadako Sasaki: 1000 cranes for world peace
Young, athletic and a bright future were in store for her. Sadako Sasaki was 2 years old when she lived 1.5 kilometres from the epicentre and survived the atomic bomb. Until at the age of 11 she became unwell while running. The doctors diagnosed leukaemia.
According to a Japanese legend, anyone who makes 1000 cranes can make a wish. Sadako went to work in the hospital. She had the fervent wish that she would one day take part in running competitions again. And she prayed for world peace. But unfortunately! Sadako Sasaki died at the age of 12 on 25 October 1955 from leukaemia, eventually caused by the atomic bomb.
Accommodation – Where to stay in Hiroshima?
Hiroshima is a city of about 1 million inhabitants. Compared to Tokyo, Hiroshima is a fairly quiet city with of course a lot of tourists. And also a lot of good options for cheap accommodation and in the more expensive segment. Generally, most people stay near Hiroshima Station or near the Peace Memorial Park.
|Budget (up to 60 dollars)*|
|K’s House Hiroshima – Backpackers Hostel|
|Nest Hotel Hatchobori|
|The Share Hotels Kiro|
|Luxury (more than 100 dollars)*|
|Candeo Hotels Hatchobori|
*Based on 2 persons and evaluation
Tip Hostel: Santiago Guesthouse (budget) is within walking distance of Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome. Friendly staff, a cozy communal living room, good bedrooms and a roof terrace. A bunkbed from 20 euros per person.
Attractions – 5 historical sights in Hiroshima
To get a good look at Hiroshima, you need at least one whole day to get detailed information about the misery that the atomic bomb caused. But also the surroundings are quite interesting to visit. Below are a number of interesting places in and around this fascinating city.
1. Genbaku Dome: Atomic Bomb Dome
How amazing is it that in 1945 the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall was partially preserved? Quite unique indeed, but it is a symbol of the explosion that took place on the 6th of August. The name Atomic Bomb Dome is derived from the shape of the building. After all, doesn’t it look a bit like a bomb?
2. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
It is one of Japan’s most impressive museums, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It opened its doors in 1955 and has a number of striking objects in its collection, including a charred tricycle. A visit to the museum immediately leads you to the conclusion that such a bomb will never have to be used again. The museum is open every day from 08.30 to 17.00 hours.
3. Peace Memorial Park
The Peace Memorial Park is as impressive as the previous two places. In this park there is a Memorial Hall, a memorial for the Korean victims and a monument of a girl with a crane. This is a reference to Sadako Sasaki, the girl who had leukemia and died at the age of 12…
A few kilometres southwest of Hiroshima is the small island of Miyajima. It is a beautiful place with a number of old temples. There is a temple complex from 1168. And in the water is also an important torii. At low tide it is even possible to make a walk to this torii. Finally, a walk (45 minutes) to the top of Mount Misen should not be missed. From here you have a beautiful view over Hiroshima and the surrounding islands.
5. Hiroshima Castle
North of the Peace Memorial Park stands the Castle of Hiroshima. It is of course a replica (1958) of what it looked like before the explosion of the atomic bomb. The original dates from 1600 and was the heart of the city for centuries. Now it is a museum about the history of the city before the Second World War.
Transportation – How to get to Hiroshima?
Hiroshima has an airport, but it is located 50 kilometers east of the city. From Hiroshima Airport there are also flights to China, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore.
The best way to reach Hiroshima is via the Shinkansen. Hiroshima Station is located just northeast of the city center. The Sightseeing Loop bus takes you from the train station to the city centre and the main attractions. For people with a JR-pass this bus is free to use.
The Hiroshima Bus Center is the city’s bus station. Here you’ll find long-distance buses to all corners of Japan. This bus station is located 200 meters from the Atomic Bomb Dome.
And what did you think of Hiroshima and its surroundings? Feel free to leave a message below with ideas or other tips!