I have a soft spot for historical cities so it’s no surprise that when visiting the beautiful country of Japan, I insisted on spending some time in Hiroshima. After landing in Tokyo the night before, we did some quick planning only to realize that Hiroshima was at least, a five hour train ride away. Was it possible to visit Hiroshima in just one day? Yes! If you plan wisely, leave early and pick a few things to see.
Here’s exactly how to see Hiroshima in one day.
Hiroshima is situated in southwestern region of Honshu Island, Japan. This means that it’s going to take at least a few hours to get there, especially if you’re travelling from major cities like Tokyo or Osaka. Hiroshima can be reached by plane, bus, train or car. Flying is the quickest way (just one and half hours from Haneda Airport) but this isn’t covered by the JR Pass. The next best (and quickest) way would be by train.
Use a JR Pass
One of the cheapest ways to travel between cities in Japan, is by using a JR Pass. This is a travel pass that you can order and purchase before your trip in Japan begins. Ensure you collect it before you arrive in Japan as they are not sold in Japan. This will not only save you money, but it will also save you time as JR Pass holders use a separate gate and entrance that is often less busy.
Have breakfast on the train
Grab some coffee and a waffle or sandwich from the train station. You can eat this on the train ride there. Remember, you have five hours before you get there!
Use a map
Having a plan is one of the best ways to ensure you get more done on your day trips to other cities. Take some time out the night before (or if you’re like me, on the train ride there) and look at a more detailed map of Hiroshima. This way you’ll be able to see where attractions are within the city and plan your routes to each one.
Store excess luggage at the train station
One of the great things about Japanese train stations is the lockers that allow you store all kinds of bags. Whether you have a small backpack or a large suitcase because you’re passing through on route to another destination, you can store your bags at the train station, spend some time exploring before returning to collect your belongings as you make your way to the next destination.
Visit the important sites
Since this is just a day trip, you won’t have to see all the great things in Hiroshima. Pick a few things that you really want to see and do and which you know can fit in with the allocated time you have. Go back to your map and look at how close they are to each other and work a successive way through them. Important sites to see in one day include The Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park, the botanical gardens, Hiroshima Castle and a range of museums
Lunch on the go
Since time is limited, the best way to see more is by grabbing lunch on the go. Grab a small bento box or perhaps some savoury snacks to munch along the way as your travel to the next attraction on your list.
Okonomiyaki for dinner
One of the Hiroshima’s local specialities is okonomiyaki, which is made in front of you and tastes delicious! Try some of this for your dinner before heading out.
When you arrive in Hiroshima, spend a few minutes finding out exactly when (and where) the last two trains will leave. Take note of these train times and opt for catching the second last (or last) train out of the city. Be mindful if you have to catch connecting trains and plan your return journey with enough time. This way you won’t miss any connections in middle cities.