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Hiroshima

Symbol of world peace, Hiroshima - Miyajima Island symbolized by the grand torii gate in the sea
Hiroshima is situated at the center of the Chugoku region in western Honshu (the main island of Japan) Island. It contains In'noshima Island and 150 other islands in the Seto Inland Sea. Hiroshima City was leveled by an atomic bomb in WWII. Today Hiroshima is internationally known as a city of peace that continues to convey its experiences to the entire world. The Chugoku Mountains extend from east to west to the north of Hiroshima. The Akana-toge Pass and Misaka-toge Pass are access routes to areas in the Sea of Japan side. The plains are narrow, and the coastlines are mostly saw-toothed coasts with mountains drawing close to the shore.

An important cultural property, Itsuku-shima-jinja Shrine, is located on Miyajima Island, one of the three most beautiful sights in Japan, and is a special historic site. Its symbol is the great torii gate (shrine gate) that stands in the sea. There are other important cultural properties here such as Mitaki-dera Temple, the Fudo-in Temple built in the mid-14th century, and many other noted temples. Hiroshima is surrounded by the sea and mountains, and has abundant natural beauty. Here, too, are Setonaikai National Park, Hibadogo-Taishaku Quasi-National Park, and West Chugoku Mountains Quasi-National Park. In Hiroshima City, known to the world as the first city attacked by an atomic bomb, there is the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome to symbolize the importance of world peace and which was designated as a World Cultural Heritage with the adjacent Peace Memorial Park.

Getting there
An hour and 25 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport. Take the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for 4 hours and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station to Hiroshima Station. It takes 2 hours and 10 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station.

  • Hiroshima City
    City of water where six rivers flow - City of peace restored from devastation by the atomic bomb
    Hiroshima City facing the Hiroshima Bay in the Seto Inland Sea is one of the most prominent cities in the Chugoku region (the southwest end of Japan's main island), and a center of the administration and economy of Hiroshima. Six rivers flow through the city, so it is also called the "city of water." It was devastated by an atomic bomb in World War II. All structures vanished, but one miraculously remained standing. It is called the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome, and Hiroshima is internationally known as the city of peace.

    Hiroshima developed as a castle town after a feudal lord, Mori Terumoto, built Hiroshima Castle in the 16th century. Hiroshima Castle is also called Ri-jo, or Carp Castle, because the exterior painted in black resembles a black carp. There are a number of must-see places, such as the Shukukei-en Garden, or a miniature scenery garden, so named because there is a miniature version of Lake Xiyu (West Lake) in Hangzhou in China and many other miniatures of scenic sights, and the old Mitaki-dera Temple built in 809. The red Taho-to Tower in the Mitaki-dera Temple was transferred from a shrine in Wakayama as a memorial tower for the victims of the atomic bomb attack.

    Hiroshima also offers gastronomical pleasure, including oysters the culture of which has been going on since 1673 and okonomi-yaki Hiroshima style, unique flour crepes fried with vegetables and noodles that are different at each restaurant.

    Getting there
    An hour and 25 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport. Take the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for 4 hours and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station, or 2 hours and 10 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station.

     

  • Heiwa Kinen Koen (Peace Memorial Park)
    World Cultural Heritage to tell the horror of atomic bombs and wish for permanent peace
    The Genbaku-dome (The Atomic Bomb Dome) is the symbol of Hiroshima, the city that advocates peace in the world. It is located in Hiroshima and faces Hiroshima Bay in the Seto Inland Sea. It was originally the Hiroshima Industrial Promotion Hall built in 1915. While all structures vanished in the atomic bomb explosion, only this building miraculously remained standing. It was August 6, 1945 when the first atomic bomb in history was dropped on Hiroshima. People from all over the world visit this Dome to resolve never to repeat this tragedy and wish for peace.

    Bare, scorched steel sticks out from the roof and collapsed walls. The miserable half-demolished figure expresses the dire disaster at that time. It was registered as a World Cultural Heritage to continue to express the sins of wars and preciousness of peace to the future.

    The Heiwa Kinen Koen (Peace Memorial Park) is located in the ground sandwiched between the Ota-gawa River and Motoyasu-gawa River near the Atomic Bomb Dome. Here are the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, several monuments of peace, a tower erected for the repose of the souls of the victims of the atomic bomb attack, a memorial tower, and a fountain with an eternal flame of peace. Doves, the symbol of peace, fly around in flocks.

    Getting there
    An hour and 30 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport. Take a bus for 48 minutes from Hiroshima Airport to Hiroshima Station. Take the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for 5 hours and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station, or for 1 hour and 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station. Take a streetcar for 12 minutes from Hiroshima Station to Genbaku-Dome-Mae stop.

     

  • Itsuku-shima-jinja Shrine
    A shrine that stands in the sea, a World Cultural Heritage
    The Itsuku-shima-jinja Shrine in Miyajima Town in southwestern Hiroshima is a unique shrine that stands in the sea. It boasts solemn and gorgeous architectural beauty in the palace style popular around the 10th century. Its symbol, The O-torii (big shrine gate) in the sea and the main shrine with red pillars and white walls create a wonderful contrast with the green woods and the blue sea. It was designated as a World Cultural Heritage in 1996.

    Most of the main shrine, a national treasure, was built in the 12th century. Twenty-one buildings are laid out around the main sanctuary, and a Noh stage and other special structures are placed among them. All buildings are connected with corridors painted in red that extend to encircle the main sanctuary. The total length of the corridors is 300 meters. The layout was cleverly designed to make the shrine look like a bird stretching its wings when viewed from Hiroshima. The O-torii Gate is usually half submerged in the sea, but you can walk to it at low tide. In the neighboring areas, there are the Senjokaku Hall that had been left incomplete and abandoned, and a red, 27-meter tall, five-story pagoda built in a blend of Chinese and Japanese styles. They are also designated as important cultural properties.

    Getting there
    An hour and 30 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport. Then take a bus for 48 minutes from Hiroshima Airport to Hiroshima Station. Take the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for 3 hours and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station, or for 1 hour and 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station. Then take the JR Sanyo Main Line for 26 minutes from Hiroshima Station to Miyajima-guchi Station. Take a ferry for 10 minutes from Miyajima-guchi to Miyajima.

     

  • Miyajima
    Miyajima, a harmony of the mountains, sea and red shrine buildings - Beautiful islands of the Seto Inland Sea viewed from Mt. Misen
    Miyajima Island is the popular name of Itsuku-shima Island situated in Miyajima Town in southwestern Hiroshima. It is a scenic site in which the mountains, sea, and red shrine buildings blend in harmony, and the entire island is designated as a historic site. It is one of the three most beautiful sights in Japan, along with Matsushima in Miyagi and Ama-no-hashidate in Kyoto. The origin of Miyajima is said to date back to 593 when Empress Suiko took the throne when the Itsuku-shima-jinja Shrine was built to commemorate it. But the island of Miyajima itself has had a history of being an object of worship, especially with Mt. Misen that rises at the center of the island. Men of power had always worshiped and protected Miyajima.

    The Momiji-dani Park, or maple leaf park, where the Momiji-dani-gawa River flows, has many maple trees as the name implies, and is a famous spot for viewing colored leaves in autumn. You can climb Mt. Misen from here by ropeway or by a climbing path. You can enjoy the beautiful scene of the numerous islands of the Seto Inland Sea from the mountaintop. There are many bathing beaches with camping grounds around the island, and sea bathers throng here in summer.

    Another must-see is the Miyajima Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in western Japan, where 13,000 fishes and aquatic animals of 350 kinds are exhibited.

    Getting there
    An hour and 30 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport. Take a bus for 48 minutes from Hiroshima Airport to Hiroshima Station. Take the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for 3 hours and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station or for 1 hour and 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station. Then take the JR Sanyo Main Line for 26 minutes from Hiroshima Station to Miyajima-guchi Station. Take a ferry for 10 minutes from Miyajima-guchi to Miyajima.

     

  • Onomichi
    Center for marine traffic in the Sea of Japan since olden times - The Tahoto Tower, one of the three famous towers in Japan
    Onomichi, situated in southeastern Hiroshima, faces the Onomichi Channel in the Seto Inland Sea and stretches from east to west. It is a scenic port town that has thrived as a center for marine traffic in the Seto Inland Sea.

    There are many old temples. The Senko-ji Temple located halfway up Mt. Senkoji-san is noted for its bright red main sanctuary commonly called the "red hall" that is cleverly laid out on the slope of the mountain. The Jodo-ji Temple famous for the Tahoto Tower, one of the three famous towers in Japan, offers an elegant view of the straight line formed by the main sanctuary and other structures built in an ancient Chinese style. Another must-see is the Saikoku-ji Temple, where a huge Japanese sandal over 2 meters long is suspended on the Niomon Gate.

    As you climb Mt. Senkoji-san by ropeway, you can get a bird's-eye view of the whole of Onomichi, the brightly shining Onomichi Channel, the beautiful green Mukai-shima Island, houses crowded on the hills, and the Seto Inland Sea. The mountaintop is a park with must-sees such as Onomichi Castle and the Onomichi City Art Museum. It is a popular spot among the citizens to enjoy the night view. When you cross the bridge to Mukai-shima Island, you can get a view of Onomichi from the seaside.

    Getting there
    An hour and 30 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport. Take a bus for 40 minutes from Hiroshima Airport to Hiroshima Station. Take the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for 3 hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo Station or for 2 hours from Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Onomichi Station.

     

  • Sandan-kyo Valley
    Meandering pool and deep green pool - Cruise through deep virgin forest
    The Sandan-kyo Valley is a 16-kilometer long ravine along the Shiwaki-gawa River, a tributary of the Ota-gawa River in northwestern Hiroshima. It is surrounded by deep virgin forests, and is one of the five famous ravines in Japan. You can enjoy magnificent views such as the Kurofuchi Pool that meanders over 100 meters and the Sarutobi, a narrow passage sandwiched with precipices covered with moss. At the Sandan-no-taki Falls, or the three-step falls, water falls over the head of 30 meters in the 120-meter long passage in three stages with a thunderous roar. It is the best scenic spot in the Sandan-kyo Valley. A riverboat runs through this ravine. It is utterly thrilling to pass through the Nidan-no-taki Falls and the Sarutobi where the precipices on both sides are only 2 meters apart.

    There is a well-maintained 12-kilometer long promenade with few ups and downs. The local bus that runs between the station and the Deai-bashi Bridge near Saruiwa is convenient. There are other attractions, such as the Sandankyo-onsen Hot Spring in front of the station and Mt. Osorakan-zan where a splendid virgin forest of beech trees covers the entire mountaintop.

    Getting there
    An hour and 30 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport. Then take a bus for 48 minutes from Hiroshima Airport to Hiroshima Station. Take the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for 3 hours and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station, or 1 hour and 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station. Then take the JR Kabe Line for 2 hours from Hiroshima Station to Sandan-kyo Station.

     

  • Shimanami-Kaido
    The bridge linking Shikoku and islands in the Inland Sea with Honshu - Enjoying the luxurious multi-isle beauty of the Inland Sea
    The Seto Western Expressway, also known as the Seto-uchi Shimanami-Kaido (highway above the sea), was opened to traffic on May 1, 1999. Located between Onomichi City in Hiroshima and Imabari City in Ehime, it links Mukai-shima, In'no-shima, Ikuchi-jima, Omi-shima, Hakata-jima, and O-shima, six islands in all, within the Geiyo Islands situated nearly in the center of the Inland Sea of Japan. The completion of the Shimanami-Kaido has made Ehime more easily accessible from Honshu (the main island of Japan) and driving through the Geiyo Islands is possible. The highway also allows passage by cycling and on foot.

    With unique island-to-island bridges, like the Tatara Grand Bridge, the longest askew-arched bridge in the world, and the Kuru-shima Strait Triple Suspension-Type Grand Bridge, the Shimanami-Kaido provides brand-new scenery in harmony with the insular nature. The capital viewing points overlooking the bridges over the Inland Sea and dotted islands, are the Hanaguri Seto observation spot on Omi-shima Island and Mt. Hoko-san on Hakata-jima Island. Thanks to the mild climate, there are many flower-viewing spots, like Yoshimi-cho Rose Garden where you can see various kinds of roses collected from all parts of the world, Citrus Park Setoda that boasts citrus plants as a main attraction, and In'no-shima Flower Center. Also on the Shimanami-Kaido, are the Yoshiumi Produce Center Iwaki House and the Marine Oasis Hakata and local specialty centers, where you can enjoy shopping.

    Getting there
    An hour and 25 minutes to Hiroshima Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport. Fourteen minutes from Hiroshima Airport to Shiraichi Station by bus. Forty-two minutes from Shiraichi Station to Onomichi Station by the JR Sanyo Main Line. Four hours and 30 minutes to Shin-Onomichi Station, with a change at Okayama Station, from Tokyo Station by the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line; 1 hour and 57 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by the JR Sanyo Shinkansen Line. An hour and 30 minutes to Imabari Station via Shimanami Kaido from Onomichi or Shin-Onomichi Station by JR bus.

     

  • Taishaku-kyo Valley
    Great valley carved into a karst tableland, with one of the three largest natural bridges
    The Taishaku-kyo Valley is a 15-kilometer long canyon carved into a karst tableland in the Kibi Heights by the Taishaku-gawa River in eastern Hiroshima. It has magnificent scenery with a wide variety of features, including precipitous cliffs, cave mouths, mountain streams, depths, torrents, and waterfalls.

    There is the Taishakuten Eimei-ji Temple, an old temple that enshrines the chief deity in Buddhism, Taishakuten, from which the name of the canyon derives. Along a promenade that starts from this temple, there are a series of scenic spots, such as the Yosekura-Iwakage Ruin, where many articles from 5,000 BC were excavated and a 200-meter long limestone cave, Hakuundo Cave.

    The highlight of the Taishaku-kyo Valley is a 90-meter long, 19-meter wide and 40-meter high natural limestone bridge, Onbashi Bridge. This is one of the three largest natural bridges in the world; the other two are the Purehishu in Switzerland and the Rock Bridge in the US. It is also designated as a natural monument. A sightseeing horse-drawn carriage service is offered from the Taishaku Provincial Museum to Onbashi from spring to autumn, so you can leisurely enjoy the natural scenery from the carriage.

    Getting there
    An hour 20 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Okayama Airport. Take the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for 3 hours and 15 minutes from Tokyo Station or for 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Okayama Station. Then take a Limited Express on the JR Hakubi and Geibi Lines for 1 hour and 40 minutes from Okayama Station via Niimi Station to Tojo Station. Take a bus for 12 minutes from Tojo Station to Taishaku.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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