Join us on the Hiroshima Japan Guide as we visit Hiroshima Castle and Peace Memorial Park.
Last summer, our family took a trip to visit Kyushu (九州), the third largest and most southern of the four main islands of Japan. On the way there, we stopped by Hiroshima (広島) and nearby Miyajima (宮島).
It was the first time for our family to visit Hiroshima because, for a long time, we were not sure if our children would be mature enough to understand the history and implication of WWII. Many of you may know, Hiroshima was the first city to be dropped by an atomic bomb.
As my children learned more about world history and social sciences in school, we knew they were more ready to visit Hiroshima and the Peace Memorial Museum.
Get a Japan Rail Pass
For our visit to Hiroshima and Kyushu, we utilized the 7 days Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) for the trip. The JR pass allows visitors to ride on all JR trains for 7, 14, or 21 days depending on the pass.
Travel tip: We usually start our week-long trip immediately after arriving in Japan from the US. Why? Traveling from the west coast of the US, we’re usually very jet-lagged and the entire family tends wakes up early (3 AM). The good part is we can take the early morning trains and make the most of our days!
Hiroshima & Kyushu Travel Itinerary
Our original plan for 2017 summer was to travel the entire Kyushu prefecture, but it’s too large and not easily accomplished within a 1 week period. We decided to modify our plan to visit some of the cities and finish the rest of the prefecture in 2018.
For our 1 week trip, here is the travel itinerary and we’ll be sharing the posts once a week over the next 6 weeks.
- Hiroshima (広島)
- Miyajima/Itsukushima (宮島/厳島)
- Beppu (別府)
- Yufuin (由布院/湯布院)
- Kurokawa (黒川)
- Kumamoto (熊本市)
- Fukuoka (福岡)
Along the trip, we’ll also share the regional food and a recipe from each location.
Travel post format change alert: We making changes to how we share our travel posts. We want to share as much information as possible so our posts can be helpful when you decide to go visit. We also want to share as many images but it takes too long to load if they are all on one page. Instead, we’ve created individual pages for each location we visited. Please let us know if you like the new format.
Ready to go to Hiroshima and Kyushu? Let’s go!
Hiroshima Japan Guide
5:37 AM at the Shinkansen station and children are smiling! Let’s see how long they can keep the smile on for.
6 AM train to Hiroshima. Depending on the train, it takes about roughly 4 hours to get to Hiroshima from Tokyo.
Fast forward 4 hours, we arrived! It’s always interesting to see the different city trains when traveling around Japan.
There are many transportation options in Hiroshima to get around.
If you have a JR Pass, you can actually ride the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus for free. The bus will get you to most scenic spots in the city. If you don’t have a pass, you can buy a 1-day ticket for ¥400 or 1 ride for ¥200. Children are half price.
This is what a Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus route stop looks like.
City view of Hiroshima. We love cities with streetcars (路面電車). There’s a nostalgic feeling about them.
Hiroshima Castle & Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima Food – Okonomiyaki & Oysters
When you’re in Hiroshima, one of the food you have to try is Mitchan’s Okonomiyaki (spelled as both ‘Mitchan’ and ‘Micchan’). The current main store in Hatchobori (みっちゃん総本店) has been there since 1968, and it started originally as a food stall in 1950. Mitchan’s claim to fame is it invented Okonomiyaki sauce, by adding potato starch to Worcester sauce.
Hiroshima’s signature style Okonomiyaki is the 2 thin crepe sandwiching a thick pile of fresh cabbage vs. the thicker Osaka Okonomiyaki batter that already has cabbage mixed in. According to Mitchan’s website, the mix of cabbage and bean sprout came about when the price of the cabbage soared and it was cheaper to use bean sprout as a substitute. It is now part of their identity and flavor.
The other difference compared to Osaka-style is the addition of yakisoba noodles.
Sign explaining the invention of Okonomiyaki in the restaurant.
The second layer of crepe is now on top, ready to eat!
Of the famous food ingredients in the Hiroshima area, oysters (牡蠣, かき – kaki in Japanese) are by far the most well known. There’s even an annual Oyster festival around the area from late January through mid-February. At Mitchan’s we tried the grilled oyster that cooked on top of teppan (steel grill). Even though Nami is not an oyster fan, she still enjoyed it a tiny bit.
We hope you enjoyed the Hiroshima Japan Guide so far. For the next travel post, we’ll travel by ferry to Miyajima. Something dramatic happened while we were on our way to the island. Stay tuned and don’t forget to subscribe our FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox!
If you are are interested in our Travel Blogs, you can view them here.