Two Days in Hiroshima & Miyajima Island
Experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime
Ultimate 2 Day Itinerary on Hiroshima and Miyajima / Itsukushima
Ultimate 2-Day itinerary on the best of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island is designed to give you a comprehensive guide to maximising your experiences to the historic city of Hiroshima. Although there are more than one way to experience the city and the island, this guide is more of a DIY itinerary for mature adventurers to explore the main landmarks at their own pace, combining it with cultural activities to suit for a memorable visit that will last a lifetime.
A visit to Hiroshima inevitably includes a trip to the spiritual island of Miyajima. Here is a little background to Hiroshima and the Island as well.
Hiroshima City on a 2 Day Itinerary
Hiroshima is a vibrant modern city, having risen from its ashes of the past. It is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, located in the southwest of Japan’s Honshu Island. The City’s natural beauty can be seen in its impressive Chugoku Mountains to the north and the clear waters of the Seto Inland Sea in the south.
Hiroshima is a tourist destination
You can Hiroshima like a Local in a city where, every year, thousands of tourists make their way to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The Memorial Park stands as a grim reminder of war and a focus for prayers for world peace. Whilst this should be a “must do” itinerary for any visitor, a carefully planned itinerary will allow you to experience not just the historic sites but also the City’s culture, food and nightlife.
Miyajima Island is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima and is easily accessible (see below on accessibility). The island is regarded sacred. From ancient times, every tree, rock and sand in the island was worshipped as god. It is an island often regarded by the locals as where the people and the gods live together. It is home to the only floating Torii gate in the world, and the infamous Mount Misen which is associated with a legend of miracle-that a fire lit by a Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi. have been burning for almost 1200 years.
Home to Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Hiroshima. One is the Atomic Bomb Dome in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the other is the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima Island. The Atomic Bomb Dome is an iconic structure as it was only a few meters away from the atomic bomb blast. It is symbolic as the beacon for world peace and an end to nuclear weapons.
The Ultimate 2 Day Itinerary on The Best Of Hiroshima & Miyajima Island
I spent 2 days at Hiroshima and wished that I had spent more. This beautiful city has so much to offer every visitor right from food, sake and sights. If you have the time, try and spend 3 to 4 days. I assure you, you will have plenty to do! My ultimate 2-day itinerary to the best of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island is listed below. I had so little time and so much to see and do! Come along with me and see what I got up to.
Day 1 of 2 Day Itinerary on Hiroshima & Miyajima Island / Itsukushima
Start your day as early as you can on Day 1. Make your way to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. There are more than one way to get to Hiroshima City.
Read next – More than one way to get to Hiroshima City.
1 | The Atomic Bomb Dome
The first atomic bomb in human history was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15 on the morning of August 6th 1945. The building shows the ferocity of the explosion and the skeletal remains of what used to be the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall stands as a grim reminder of that fateful day. There is a sense of sadness here but the City is has come a long way away from the destruction. Today, the Dome stands as a symbol of Hiroshima and as a focus for world peace.
2 | Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims
The large concrete in the shape of a saddle holds 290,000 names of all those who lost their lives when the bomb fell on Hiroshima. New names are added each year as they are discovered.
3 | Flame of Peace in Hiroshima City
The pedestal that houses the Flame of Peace is designed in the image of two hands pressed together with the palms facing the sky.The Flame was lit on 1st August 1964, for a world without nuclear weapons, and will continue to burn until all nuclear weapons are abolished worldwide.
4 | Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima City
The Children’s Peace Monument was constructed in memory of Sadako Sasaki, who was exposed to the radiation of the bomb at the age of 2. She died of leukaemia about ten years later.
5 | Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The Museum was built in pursuit of world peace and a world without nuclear weapons. It was opened in 1955 and conveys the realities of the atomic bomb. The exhibits here will truly touch your soul to say the least – clothing, watches, pictures – all tell the stories of the sufferings of ordinary human lives.
6 | Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall.
. It is a building dedicated to mourning, the victims of the atomic bomb and to focus on prayers for world peace. It’s structure is designed to reflect 8:15 a.m., the time when the atomic bomb was dropped.
7 | Aioi Bridge in Hiroshima City
The Aioi Bridge was a unique structure in the shape of T and became the target point for the atomic bomb in 1945. The current bridge was built in 1983 and the old pillars bearing the marks of the bombing still preserved at the foot of the bridge.
8 | Explore the City of Hiroshima
Walk along the City’s shops to get a feel of the town and its people. Hiroshima Hondori is a covered area with all sorts of shops, fashion, restaurants and souvenir shops.
9 | Food & Drink Experience in Hiroshima City
There is no better way to get to know a culture than through its food. Hiroshima is popular for its Sake and Okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is regarded as Hiroshima’s Soul Food and it is really something that you ought to try. Its soft pancake is filled with a choice of seafood or meat and its cooked right in front of you. For a soulful experience of Hiroshima food culture, you could do a Foodie Tour and/or a Bar Hopping Food tour. Both experiences gives you a flavour of Hiroshima’s food and drink culture.
Hiroshima Soul Food
Getting to Miyajima Island from Hiroshima
There are a couple of ways to get to Miyajima Island from Hiroshima via ferry rides. There is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima. The journey takes ten-minutes from Miyajimaguchi Pier (see below for information on How to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima). There is also the longer route which takes about forty-five-minutes – World Heritage Sea Route by Aqua Net ferry. The World Heritage Sea Route takes off from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima.
Day 2 of 2 Day Itinerary on Hiroshima & Miyajima Island / Itsukushima
Arriving in Miyajima is a smooth ferry ride. Once on the island and exiting the pier, there are well posted signage to various attractions on the island. All attractions are within walking distance except the mountains. You can opt for a private tour of the island by rickshaw if you prefer. You can discover more on the history of the island and Hiroshima as these two are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The following are my recommended unmissable experiences.
1 | The Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima Island
The Itsukushima Shrine is an iconic shrine and is regarded as one of the “Three Views of Japan” along with Matsushimo Island and Amanohashidate, chosen by a 15th century scholar, Nihon Sankei. It is the only shrine in the world that is built on water and attracts visitors from all over the world.
2 | The Floating Torii Gate at Miyajima Island
The floating torii gate is an amazing craftmanship. The six pillars are not buried in the seabed. It is 16 meters tall and weighs 60 tons. The thickness of the giant legs is astounding as is the remarkable craftmanship and engineering involved to ensure the structure stays balanced in water. The two huge legs or pillars is made from 600-year-old Camphor trees and are weighted down by their own weight and tons of stones inscribed with Buddhist sutras are inserted into the loop of the cross beams that form the roof of the gate. This is truly an amazing and remarkable structure, one that has to be seen to appreciate!
3 | Mount Misen (弥山) in Miyajima Island
Mount Misen sits in the centre of Miyajima Island at 535m above sea level and is the highest peak in Miyajima. Mount Misen is a Must visit destination when you are in Miyajima. The mountains have a powerful effect on people and is a popular hotspot of spiritual energy. It offers amazing scenery which makes it a place hard to forget. I can assure you, you will speak of your experiences here for many times with friends and family.
4 | Reikado Hall in Mount Misen, Miyajima Island
The Reikado Hall is associated with a Legend of Miracle – that a fire originally lit by Kobo Daishi himself as part of his religious training have been burning ever since, now for almost 1200 years. The very same fire that has been burning for 1200 years was used to light the flame at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
5 | Misen hondo Hall
This is a holy hall built on the former training site used by Kobo Daishi. You will find this on Mount Misen, near to Reikado Hall.
6 | Main Street in Miyajima Island
This 350-meter long main street in Miyajima Island is a market street like many others in Japan, and is dedicated to restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. It is the busiest place in the Island.
7 | Five storied Pagoda – Gojunoto
Originally constructed in 1407, was restored in 1533. The pagoda reflects Japanese style with Chinese influence.
8 | Food – Momiji manju
The Momiji-manju is the island’s speciality. The cakes are shaped like maple leaf and is filled with red sweet bean (anko). There are also other varieties such as custard fillings. These Momiji-manju are found all over the island and in the shops along the Omotesando Street, it is made fresh. You can buy some to take back with you or just try them when they are warm and delicious.
9 | Food – Yaki gaki
Yaki-gaki is a signature dish of Miyajima Island. It is popular amongst tourists. You can feel the smoky air where the oysters are grilled to perfection.
10 | Sunset & quiet moments to appreciate the island vibes
No matter how busy a schedule you have, i strongly recommend setting aside some time to watch the sunset and just enjoy the island before the last ferry leaves the island.
Useful information for 2 Day Itinerary on Hiroshima and Miyajima Island
i | Getting to Miyajima from Hiroshima
There are 2 options to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima.
1 | Aqua Net ferry from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima-World Heritage Sea Route (45 minutes)
2 | Railway Route: Miyajima Pier to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Atomic Bomb Dome) or vice versa
iii | Other aides
Conclusion on Ultimate 2 Day Itinerary on the Best of Hiroshima and Miyajima / Itsukushima
The experiences listed above are my recommendation for an Ultimate 2-Day itinerary on the best of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. You can fit in more activities or less to suit your schedule. This list here is designed to give you a comprehensive guide to maximising your experiences to the historic city of Hiroshima. As I mentioned in the introduction, there are more than one way to experience the city and the island, and this guide is more of a DIY itinerary for mature adventurers to explore the main landmarks at their own pace, combining it with cultural activities to suit for a memorable visit that will last a lifetime.
When planning your trip, here is a simple guide to When is the best time to visit Japan
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Now it’s your turn 🙂 Was this post valuable to you as an aid towards planning your trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima Island? If so, let me know in comments below or via the Contact Form – I would love to hear from you. Contact me also if I could help you with your itinerary for Hiroshima or Japan generally.
Have a splendid time exploring, discovering and experiencing this historic city and magical island.
January 2020, Update
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