Out of all the places we visited during our last trip to Japan, Hiroshima was my most anticipated. I have been here once before and absolutely fell in love with this city. It was Liam’s first time here and I was so excited to show him around. But first, we needed to jump on a Shinkansen! I have to say, travelling by Shinkansen is by far the best way to travel. I never get tired of it. The seats are fairly roomy, the views are spectacular and it feels like you’re zooming along in a plane, but on the ground. It’s so cool! I wish Australia would adopt this awesome mode of transportation.
All about that Shinkansen travel life!
It only takes about 2.5 hours from Ōsaka to Hiroshima and we arrived around midday. Our first stop was Miyajima island, located in the Seto Inland Sea and home to World Heritage listed site, Itsukushima Shrine. You can get to Miyajima by train or tram, we choose the latter, which in hindsight was a terrible idea. It takes so long and stops at every station! Trust me, take the train, or at least take the train one way and tram the other. We used the tram both times. Never again.
At the end of the line is a ferry terminal and if you have a JR Pass you can catch the JR ferry for free. A quick boat ride later and we had arrived at Miyajima. Because I had booked our return Shinkansen tickets too early, we only had a short amount of time on the island. Definitely give yourself a lot of time here, because there is so much to do! There’s an aquarium, heaps of shrines and temples, walking trails and loads more! But the most famous area of this island is the Itsukushima Shrine, which is exactly where we were headed.
The coastline walk to the Itsukushima Shrine is so beautiful and like Nara, it is filled with deer.(I personally think these deer are more well mannered than the Nara ones). There are also a ton of souvenir shops along the way, but the best ones are behind the shrine.
Miyajima Island is so beautiful.
The striking orange and white Itsukushima Shrine is built over the sand so when the tide comes in, it appears to be floating on water. For this reason, make sure you check the tide times before visiting, because it looks best at high tide. The main point of interest at the Itsukushima Shrine is the impressive orange Torii gate ‘floating’ out at sea.
Huge floating Torii gate!
Itsukushima Shrine appears to float on water.
Sake barrels inside the shrine.
After racing through the shrine (because of our time dilemma), we hurried into the back streets to find my favourite sweet OF ALL TIME, momiji manjū! This delicious maple leaf-shaped sweet is a delicacy found only in Hiroshima. I prefer the original sweet red bean flavour, but it also comes in chocolate, custard and matcha flavours. Do not leave Hiroshima without trying one (and buying some for me).
Making momiji manjū.
The finished product!
Miyajima is also home to the world’s biggest rice scoop!
Our next and final stop in Hiroshima was the Peace Memorial Museum and Park. This meant jumping back on the ferry and catching the tram back to the centre of town. I can’t stress this enough, if you have limited time here, don’t catch the tram! It took so long, Liam literally fell asleep! We made it with about an hour or so to spare before our Shinkansen was due to depart.
Both the Peace Memorial Museum and Park are very informative and very humbling. The museum obviously is quite full on, but I personally think everyone should visit once in their lifetime. It really takes you on an emotional roller coaster and I left feeling like I was viewing the world in a new light. The park is very beautiful and peaceful yet also sad, especially around the Genbaku Dōmu or A-Bomb Dome.
Inspiring message inside the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Genbaku Dōmu covered in scaffolding.
Cenotaph that holds the names of all the A-Bomb victims.
The centre point of Hiroshima.
Beautiful gardens of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
We both would’ve loved to stay longer as there is so much more to see and do in Hiroshima, but thanks to yours truly, we had a very fast train to catch.
How to get here:
From JR Shin-Ōsaka take a Sanyo Shinkansen bound for Hiroshima and get off at JR Hiroshima. Take the Sanyo Line bound for Miyajimaguchi and get off at JR Miyajimaguchi. Follow the signs to the ferry terminal (about a 5 minute walk).
Date of visit: Sunday 28 December 2014