Before my wedding day in Japan last December I spent 2 days visiting Hiroshima with my parents. Since we only had 2 days we tried to make the best out of our time and discover the city. This is our itinerary, hope it can be helpful if you also spending a couple of days in Hiroshima during your next trip to Japan.
First of all consider buying a Japan Rail Pass, the cost of the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hiroshima and back covers already all the cost of the weekly Pass so it is really worth it. If you depart from Tokyo you will need to change trains at Shin-Osaka and the trip will take more or less 5 hours. We departed from Tokyo at 8 o’clock in the morning, bought our lunch once arrived at Shin-Osaka, had our lunch on the Shinkansen and arrived to Hiroshima at 1 o’clock in the afternoon ready to discover the city.
To make the most of your time I suggest taking a hotel near Hiroshima Station so you can drop your bags at the hotel and start quickly getting around the city. If you decided to invest on a Japan Rail Pass take the JR Loop Bus. The bus stop is just outside the Shinkansen Main Entrance and you will easily find it because it is bright red. Just show the Pass to the driver and you are ready to ride. We got off at the Atomic Bomb Dome and walked through the Memorial Park visiting the Peace Bell and the Peace Memorial Museum. Inside the park there are a number of volunteering guides who will give information to visitors for free in a pretty good English. The visit gave me a combination of feelings, I felt sorry and also angry. Overall the visit to the museum made feel uncomfortable and sad but I am happy I spent some time in the Museum.
The visit to the Memorial Park and the Museum took around 4 hours and it was almost time for dinner. We decided to try the famous Hiroshima okonomiyaki and walked to Okonomimura. Okonomimura is a building with 4 floors full of okonomiyaki restaurants. Alongside with okonomiyaki I also suggest trying oysters. Oysters are also a must try in Hiroshima.
Our second day in Hiroshima was dedicated to visiting Miyajima. Miyajima is a small Island in Hiroshima Bay where Istukushima shrine was built in 1168 and dedicated to the gods of the sea. The shrine is particularly spectacular because it seems like it is floating on the water but if you like to walk under the red torii in front of the shrine, one of Japan symbols, you need to depart early in the morning because low tide time is around 6 in the morning and already around 9 the water level starts to rise.
To arrive to Miyajima the easiest way is to take Sanyo Line train from Hiroshima Station bound for Miyajima-guchi and Iwakuni. It takes around 30 minutes to arrive to Miyajima-guchi Station and if you have a Japan Rail Pass the ride is free. From the station you will reach Miyajima Pier in a 3 minutes walk, the ferry to the Island is also free if you have a Japan Rail Pass.
The Island is populated by wild deer, don’t worry, they are used to be surrounded by tourist and they don’t dislike to be pet.
After visiting Itsukushima Shrine, if you have time, take the Miyajima ropeway to the top of the mountain to enjoy a breathtaking view on the bay.
While walking around Miyajima don’t forget to try Momiji Manju, the maple leaf shaped pastries filled with sweet beans paste, custard cream, chocolate a many more tastes. The shops selling Momiji Manju will let you sit inside and offer tea to drink while eating your snack.