Just the name Hiroshima brings with it inescapable associations with the unimaginable catastrophe that befell it at the end of World War II when the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Which is why present day Hiroshima frequently comes as such a counter-intuitive treat to all those who do visit - a modern cosmopolitan city proud of its professional and semi-professional baseball and soccer teams Hiroshima boasts fabulous cuisinelively nightlife and a warm welcome perhaps only possible in a city where pacifism is understandably now woven into its very fabric.
Areas & Neighborhoods in Hiroshima
Peace Memorial Park — The political and commercial quarter of the city once stood here and this made it the target of the bomb. Today you will find a defiant space dedicated to the pursuit of peace. 120 000 square metres of lawns trees and paths set against the backdrop of Hiroshima’s bustling downtown area the park offers a uniquely free-ranging and contemplative space for all those that choose to visit.
Hiroshima Downtown — Home to the famous Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki cuisine Hiroshima Downtown is a must for more than just food-lovers. The pedestrianised Hondori Street is a positive bonanza of shops and restaurants and second heaven if you’re after some serious retail therapy. And on the nearby Aioi Street as well as a few larger department stores you’ll also be able to jump on a tram and venture further into the city.
Shukkeien Garden — This park whose name can be loosely translated to mean "shrunken-scenery garden" was originally conceived and built to complement the grandeur of Hiroshima Castle. Just as its name suggests the garden is an expertly crafted miniature of valley mountain and forest landscapes that employs traditional Japanese gardening techniques to create its magical effect. Make sure you follow the path through the garden to experience its full effect and why not stop off at one of the many tea houses you discover along the way?
Hiroshima Castle — Dating back to the 1500s Hiroshima Castle also known as Carp Castle formed the very epicentre of the town and the city grew around it over the subsequent centuries. Destroyed by the bomb blast in 1945 and since redeveloped it is not only a striking example of a castle built on a plain and surrounded by grounds and a moat but also a testament to the city’s spirit of steadfast perseverance. A rare treat for all history lovers.
Things to See in Hiroshima
At the heart of the Peace Memorial Park is the Peace Memorial Museum. A sobering document of the events of August 6 1945 the museum is a permanent reminder of the devastating consequences of war. On a lighter note the Mazda museum is the perfect destination for petrol-heads to look under the bonnet of this renowned car maker and with concept cars on display as well the museum even offers a window into the future.
Things to Do in Hiroshima
Blessed as it is with an abundance of parkland and open space Hiroshima is a great place to simply throw on your trainers and head out for a run. Families might however prefer to cool off in the huge Family Pool whilst more hardened swim enthusiasts might want to really challenge themselves in the Olympic swimming pool which in the wintertime becomes an ice rink for those of you that want to get their skates on.