Each year, I try to visit a new place over Thanksgiving break. You have to take advantage of those teacher privileges, right? Our trip to Hiroshima was a huge success. It was one of those trips where everything actually goes right. We got to see what we wanted to see and do what we wanted to do and we did it all in three days! Here are a few of the places we visited that I would definitely recommend.
Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Museum
Visiting these places was overwhelmingly sobering and I would not be exaggerating to say that it changed my life. It presents such a sincere, objective view of the events. The idea is, whether it was right or wrong, it’s our job as humans to make sure that it never happens again. It gives you a chance to see the way the dome looked right after the attack and to think on the ramifications of the atomic bomb. The museum itself is filled with artifacts that survived the attack and stories of the survivors as well as those who didn’t make it.
It’s only 200 yen ($2) to enter the museum and you even get a post card made from the paper cranes from the children’s memorial. It’s only a short walk from the bomb dome, surrounding by a beautiful park.
Peace Memorial Museum Address
1-2 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0811
We devoted the afternoon and evening to Miyajima Island and we were glad we did. We got there around lunch and ate at one of the small shops along the main road. Then we headed to see the famous Miyajima Gate with the tide in. We walked around the shrine, (which only costs 300 yen to enter) visited the shops along the shore, then we walked up Mt. Misen to the the observation deck.
It’s a pretty decent walk up-mountain, so if you plan to walk make sure you wear proper shoes and bring water. We actually only walked because the cable car was closed due to wind. Whether you walk up or not, I definitely recommend taking the cable car down. It’s an amazing view full of trees and ocean. It’s a little pricier at 1,000 yen ($10) on way or 1800 yen round trip, but it’s completely worth it.
When we went there, I had heard that it was popular to see the gate both at low-tide and high-tide, but I figured just seeing one would do. We went to see it at low-tide first, then went up the mountain and ended up coming back just in time to see it at low-tide. It was so worth seeing! At low-tide you can walk out to the gate and touch it, which I think is even more amazing when you had just seen it surrounded by water. It’s also much bigger than it looks from the shore!
Miyajima Shrine Address:
1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0588
Shimanami Kaido – Seto Inland Sea Bike Path
This was by far my favorite part of the trip. We biked over 30 km from island to island in the Seto Inland Sea. There is a bike path that goes across all seven islands and drops you back off where you started. It’s about 75 kilometers. Or you can stop and get a ride back at the ferry along the halfway point. We opted for the halfway point because we didn’t start until noon. We arrived at the ferry around 5 and took it back as soon as it set out.
There are loads of bike rental places around the area, with one big one right by the ferry from Onomichi to the first island. It wasn’t too expensive at 1,000 yen ($10) for the whole day, with a 1,000 yen deposit that you get back when you return it.
The view across the islands was breathtaking, with beautiful bridges, islands, parks, rice fields, and seaside towns. There are convenience stores and restaurants along the way if you get hungry or you need a break. It was pretty cool when we went, but it warmed up pretty fast when we got going.
The first leg of the path is in Onomichi. You can get to Onomichi from Hiroshima station in an hour and forty-five minutes for about 1,500 yen ($15) each way. If you are in a hurry and have the money, you can get there in an hour by taking a bullet train, but then it’s $40-$60 each way. From Onomichi station, the cycle rental is across the street and just past the ferry entrance.