With three days in Hiroshima, you can check off the top city sights, sample some okonomiyaki, trek to the top of a mountain, and even travel a little farther afield. Here’s how to make the most of your time.
Day 1: Explore Hiroshima City
On your first day, get to know the city. Hiroshima suffered enormous damage at the end of World War II, when it was hit by an atomic bomb. Visit Peace Memorial Park to learn about the victims as well as the events leading up to the bombing. Later, make your way to Hiroshima Castle. Built in the 1590s, the castle was destroyed by the bomb and reconstructed in the 1950s. There’s a history museum inside, and the top floor offers sweeping views of the city. Many Hiroshima walking and biking tours stop by multiple attractions. For dinner, sample some Hiroshima okonomiyaki (fried pancakes with noodles and various savory toppings) or other local delicacies on a nighttime food tour.
Day 2: Visit Miyajima Island
On the second day, take a short ferry ride to Miyajima. Many travelers have seen photographs of the 12th-century Itsukushima Shrine and the red torii (gate) that stands in the water, but that doesn’t make your first glimpse any less impressive. The shrine and the torii appear differently depending on the tide. Other Miyajima activities include hiking or taking the cable car to the top of Mount Misen, and visiting various museums and temples. To extend your stay on the island, check in to a traditional Japanese ryokan (inn) for the night, then soak in an onsen bath and dine on local cuisine.
Day 3: Head to Iwakuni
Located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Hiroshima, the midsize city of Iwakuni makes for an easy day trip. Don’t miss seeing the Kintai Bridge with its five wooden arches—particularly at night, when it’s illuminated. Built in the late 17th century, completely without nails or bolts, the bridge washed away during a typhoon in 1950. It was eventually rebuilt using the original construction methods.
Alternatively, if you spent your second night on Miyajima, you might prefer to spend your last day exploring the Seto Inland Sea, in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard.