Population: 2,840 million
photo by themonnie
Hiroshima prefecture is in the western Chugoku region of the main Japanese island Honshu. The capital is the city of Hiroshima.
The whole prefecture is mountainous so main cities are located along the southern coastline.
Hiroshima is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites:
The Atomic Dome in Hiroshima, one of the few remnants of prewar Hiroshima following the atomic bombing in 1945 and the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, famed for filling with water and appearing to “float” during high tide.
- HIROSHIMA CITY
- With a population of over 1.1 million, Hiroshima is an industrial city of wide boulevards and criss-crossing rivers, located along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea.
Although many only know it for the horrific event on August 6, 1945, when it became the site of the world's first atomic bomb attack, it is now a modern cosmopolitan city with excellent cuisine and many attractions.
A visit to Hiroshima naturally brings people to the Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum and Peace Park to see the real affects of atomic warfare. Genbaku Dome is the famous symbol of Hiroshima, as it one of the few structures that remained standing after the bomb hit. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hiroshima Castle did not survive the atomic bomb but is was reconstructed in 1958. Only a picture was used in the reconstruction of the castle, so it is not exactly the same as the original castle.
Shukkeien Garden, originally constructed in 1620 by the daimyo Asano Nagaakira, suffered extensive damage in the atomic bombing in 1945 however, it was reconstructed and opened to the public in 1951.
Mitaki-dera Temple is a delightful mountainside temple that is unfortunately overlooked by most western tourists. It is located in the western part of the city, about 20 minutes on foot uphill from Mitaki Station.
The Mazda Museum headquartered in Hiroshima, offers a 90 minute tour of its factory assembly line as well as museum of cars going back several decades. Prior reservations are required.
- WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE
- Miyajima Island is a small island located less than an hour from the city of Hiroshima. Its walking trails that lead around town and up Mount Misen are freely roamed by deer and monkeys. Deer walk the streets of the city and are not afraid of the tourists.
Located on the island is Itsukushima Shrine. It is the most photographed shrine in Japan and one of the most beautiful Shinto Shrines in the nation. The floating torii is an icon of Japan and offers a wonderful sight both when the tide is in, as well as at low tide when you can walk out on the beach up to the giant torii itself. It is so large that it is still readily visible from the summit of Mount Misen.
Other attractions include: Daishoin Temple, one the three most famous Benzaiten Temples in Japan, Miyajima Public Aquarium, Innoshima Suigun Castle and Kosanji Temple - An astounding temple that unlike other temples in Japan, it has a very bright and colorful style.
The cherry blossoms come out in early April, and the parks around Hiroshima Castle turn into a mob scene with hanami parties. For sakura with a bit more solitude, go for a hike on Ushita-yama, overlooking the north exit of JR Hiroshima Station.
- GETTING THERE
- By plane
Hiroshima Airport has a fairly good selection of domestic flights as well as some international from Seoul, Bangkok and various points in China.
The flight time from Tokyo, the busiest route, is around 90 minutes.
The Sanyo Shinkansen from Osaka to Fukuoka (Hakata) runs down the coast of Hiroshima prefecture, stopping at all major cities including Hiroshima and Onomichi.
Direct Nozomi trains from Tokyo take about 4 hours to reach Hiroshima.
- CLIMATE/ TEMPERATURE
- Climate varies between places within the prefecture and between seasons; southern coastline areas are generally warm and don't get much rain throughout the year, while northern mountains can get heavy snow in winter. In summer, the temperature is around 26 °C on average, and can go beyond 35°C.
Unfortunately, most travelers experience Hiroshima during the worst weather of the year, in July and August, when days of heavy rain give way to brutal, muggy heat.
October and November are ideal, with less rain and cool, refreshing temperatures. The winter months are fine for a visit — the weather is dry, with very little rain or snow, and the temperatures are rarely cold enough to keep you indoors.
April and May also have excellent weather.
- WHAT TO WEAR
- During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket or a sweater should keep you warm.
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