Must-See Historical Sites in Hiroshima

ByJustin Hanus
Mar 27, 2023

Must-See Historical Sites in Hiroshima

Hiroshima is a city full of history. Although the atomic bomb destroyed many places, several landmarks were rebuilt, new ones were constructed to commemorate the events, and some ancient sites still stand. During your time in the city, there are a few places, in particular, you must make sure you visit.

1. Peace Memorial Park

The target of the atomic bomb was the business district of Hiroshima. Today, the Peace Memorial Park stands in that spot. There are monuments throughout commemorating those who died in the blast and later from radiation injuries. The gardens are the perfect place to walk around and reflect.

2. Atomic Bomb Dome

A highlight within the Peace Memorial Park is the Atomic Bomb Dome. Formerly an exhibition hall, it is the only building in the hypocenter that withstood the attack — it is now a World Heritage Site. The skeletal remains are reinforced to prevent the building from collapsing.

3. Itsukushima Shrine

A World Heritage Site from a completely different era is Itsukushima Shrine, located on the island of Miyajima. Since the 12th century, it has undergone several reconstructions, but its iconic appearance remains the same: the torii gate appears floating on the water at high tide. At low tide, you can walk right up to the vermillion gate.

4. Hiroshima Castle

The original Hiroshima Castle dates back to the 16th century, but the atomic bomb destroyed it. The castle that stands in its place today is a replica and a great example of traditional architecture. A museum inside the castle explains the history and has a collection of artifacts, including katana swords. A couple of large trees still on the grounds survived the bomb blast — a rare sight in Hiroshima.

5. Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine

Just beyond the castle, you’ll find Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine. The large open space around the shrine makes this an incredibly peaceful place. The shrine was initially constructed to mourn those killed in the Boshin War in 1869. It was later dismantled and moved to where Hiroshima Municipal Stadium stands today. After the atomic bomb destroyed the shrine, it was rebuilt in 1965 on the castle grounds.

6. Mitaki Temple

One of the most attractive temples in Hiroshima is Mitaki-dera, constructed in 809. It sits on the slopes of Mount Mitaki, surrounded by a forest of maple and sakura — which makes it a top place to see the cherry blossom and autumn leaves. Sites around the temple include three waterfalls, numerous Buddhist statues, and some stone lanterns.

7. Daishoin Temple

Another historic temple to visit is Daishoin. It is part of a larger complex on Mount Misen — a holy mountain on the island of Miyajima. The temple dates back more than 1,200 years, when the flame continuously burned on the grounds was first lit. While you’re at Daishoin Temple, make sure to visit the stunning Henjokutsu Cave, which has hundreds of lanterns attached to the ceiling.

There’s so much to see in Hiroshima. Visiting the historical sites is one of the best ways to understand everything from the ancient to the more recent past of this city.

Photo By Hugh Cann

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