Hiroshima - worth a visit?
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Nov 19, 2012 6:04 AM Last Post By: rrm6225
Nov 7, 2012 7:15 PM
Hiroshima - worth a visit?I will be in Japan for about 12 days. I will be in Tokyo and Kyoto mostly (and Fukuoka a bit for the ferry to South Korea). I had been planning on seeing Takayama and Kanazawa to get a bit off the (Western) tourist track and spending a few days in both cities. Yet, some people are saying Hiroshima is a must see.
I'm looking at tourist guides to the city and beyond the Peace Park and a nice looking castle, the city doesn't seem that interesting. I know the city is of massive historical import, but would experienced Japan travelers or native Japanese say that this city really is a must see on a tourist's itinerary.
...and if so (figuring I might get a day trip out of it), is there a place to leave luggage at the JR train station if I want get a glimpse of the city between other destinations?
Thanks for any input!
Nov 7, 2012 7:25 PM
Nov 7, 2012 7:31 PM
2Whether or not Hiroshima is a must-see depends not only on how a visit to the city fits into your planned itinerary, but of how much importance you place on seeing the atomic bomb-related sites (the A-Bomb Dome and the Peace Museum). It's a very sobering experience, and one that some travelers might not want to force themselves to see on an otherwise fun vacation. If you do feel like this is something you ought to check out, then I would certainly recommend Hiroshima. Otherwise, skip it if your schedule is tight.
Hiroshima Castle isn't particularly interesting, being a postwar reconstruction (the original was destroyed in the atomic bombing). However, the nearby island of Miyajima is definitely worth a day trip from Hiroshima, time permitting.
Nov 7, 2012 9:13 PM
Nov 7, 2012 9:23 PM
Nov 7, 2012 9:54 PM
5What time of year are you coming? I felt it was a good afternoon trip to see the various monuments in the Peace Park, and to browse through the whole (very cheap) museum.
If you want to visit a department store, you might pick up a hat or T shirt with the logo of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team.
Nov 8, 2012 12:35 AM
Further, IMO, most large Japanese cities are similar as far as atmosphere/city scape is concerned, so it makes sense to base the decision on whether the sights interest you or not.
There are other places between Kyoto and Fukuoka, that might match your interests such as: Naoshima, Okayama, Bizen, Kobe, Iwakuni,....
Nov 8, 2012 1:43 AM
Nov 8, 2012 12:20 PM
8I'm having the exact same dilemma. I really want to see Hiroshima for the historical value, and because I think contextually it will help me understand the Japanese a tiny bit better since those events must have played such a large part of the country's psyche and identity for awhile. And also to be moved and pay my own respects for such a tragic but important part of history.
But I'm planning my second trip to Japan on a tight budget, and because of various reasons my only two options are to fly to Tokyo and use the Japanican tour option to see Kyoto and not get a JR Pass, or fly direct to Kyoto and get the JR Pass which would allow me to visit Hiroshima and where ever else I want to go, but it would cost my girlfriend and I $400 per person more than the former option.
So now I'm stuck and don't know what to do.
Nov 8, 2012 12:45 PM
Not sure how much time and budget you have, but you could also consider the following options:
1) taking night buses between Tokyo and Kyoto (and Hiroshima if you wish), which would turn out much cheaper than any rail options including the JRP.
2) concentrate on Kansai only or Kanto only with base in Kyoto or Tokyo respectively. Each are has enough to keep you busy for a long time.
The japanican packages are good deals money wise. However as far as I know they force you to travel around noon, which could be inconvenient if you have little time in Japan as you'd basically lose a minimum of 3 hours sightseeing on transport (for one way Tokyo-Kyoto).
Nov 8, 2012 3:43 PM
10The way I understand it is you can choose the "early" or "late" departures. Each option has a rather large window of train times that you could be assigned and you don't really know which you get until a future point; maybe as soon as you confirm the purchase. But the early option could get you on a train as early as 6:20am.
Thanks for the tip about the buses. I may be too spoiled for doing that. I'm all for rail and metro public transportation, but buses are kind of a drag to me. I don't know how I feel about spending a lot of time on them when I know I could be at my destination and exploring much quicker.
But yes, it's obviously a balancing act between money and convenience. I'm still leaning towards paying more money to begin my trip in the south and getting the Rail Pass for the freedom to go all over. But man is that going to hurt. The responsible thing would be to not go at all, but I can't help it. I had too much fun the first time.
Thanks for your input Bamse.
Nov 9, 2012 12:40 PM
11It has been a while since I looked at the japanican deals, but as far as I remember the early/late departure only applies one way, i.e. for the way back you are forced to take a train around noon.
I am also all for rail travel, and if you can afford it, that's what I would recommend. As written above, if taking long distance buses, I would recommend to take night buses, as you won't lose any sightseeing time with them. Long distance daytime buses are indeed a waste of precious time IMO.
Nov 11, 2012 12:32 AM
Nov 18, 2012 3:17 PM
13Definitely combine a visit to Miyajima if you are heading to Hiroshima, and if possible stay overnight on the island at a ryokan, though it sounds like your itinerary may not allow this.
Of the two "atomic cities" I actually found Nagasaki a more interesting destination than Hiroshima. Hiroshima does have the iconic A-bomb dome, but Nagasaki has a multitude of things to do, on top of visiting the Atomic Bomb Museum/Ground Zero/the Peace Park, thanks to its interaction with other cultures: you have the Dutch trading post of Deshima and "Horandazaka" (Dutch slope), Glover House & Garden (a little bit of the British Empire in Japan with lovely views over the bay), the monument and museum at the top of Martyr Hill, Chinatown, a wonderful Confucian temple, and Oura Church/Urakami Cathedral. There are also Japanese temples, and the oft-photographed "Megane-bashi" (spectacles bridge, a bridge which, with its reflection in the river, looks like a pair of spectacles). Lastly you can take a cable car up to the top of Mount Inasa for some really spectacular views, especially at dusk.
Nov 19, 2012 6:04 AM
14I lived in Hiroshima for two years (I've been in Japan for over 8) and think it's a great city, and of course it has great historical value. The peace museum/A-bomb dome/Miyajima are the best bits but if you miss them this time around it's okay -- they'll still be there if and when you come back to Japan.
BUT, honestly, as a tourist, there are many other places I'd rather go to in Japan (I like Hiroshima as a place to live, and for the festivals/events it has, but outside of that....). I think a lot of people add Hiroshima as part of their JR rail pass whistle-stop Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima tour, but if you have only twelve days I would say spend it in the places YOU are interested in, not what other people tell you you should be interested in. The only reason I would suggest you could do it is because you are headed to Fukuoka and it's on the way, but otherwise there is plenty to see and do up north where you plan to be. Just my two cents (or yen, as the case may be).
(0 star Hotel)
From US$79.36 per night
Hiroshima & AroundBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$97.99 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$515.77 per night