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Hiroshima/Miyajima (World Heritage Sites)

Golden Route

1 night, 2 days

Hiroshima/Miyajima (World Heritage Sites)

1st day
Tour World Heritage Sites

About 1 hour from Hiroshima Station is the small island of Miyajima, worshiped as a sacred place since ancient times.
The season of autumn leaves in November is crowded with tourists, but it is the best time for a visit. The entire island is ablaze with red leaves.

Hiroshima and the area around Miyajima in particular are typical oyster production areas. The cultivation of oysters has been carried out here for more than 400 years.
If you are keen to try fresh oysters, it is best to visit between November and March.
The oysters are at their tastiest between January and February when the weather is at its coldest. They can be eaten raw, or roasted, steamed or boiled, and you will be surprised by the variety of recipes.
85 minutes (Nozomi) to 95 minutes (Hikari) from Shin-Osaka Station on the JR Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Change at Hiroshima Station to the JR Sanyo Honsen Line (25 minutes). Get off at Miyajimaguchi Station.

You can buy a Miyajima Free Pass at the Hiroshima Dentetsu Electric Railway's Tourist Information Bureau. This is a set of tickets for the tram lines within Hiroshima, the sightseeing boat and the Miyajima Ropeway.

Valid for 2 days; 2,000 yen.

Walk for 5 minutes from Miyajimaguchi Station to get to Miyajimaguchi-sanbashi Pier.
After boarding the ferry boat, you will arrive at Miyajima-sanbashi Pier within 10 minutes.
You will find a large number of deer waiting to welcome you. They are treated as messengers of the gods. Do not do anything to disturb them.

A 10-minute walk takes you down the Omotesando shopping street where you will find an abundance of souvenir shops.
On the way you can pop in to a shop selling Miyajima-jakushi, ladles that bring good luck.
Momiji-manju (steamed bean-paste buns) in the shape of momiji (autumn-tinted maple leaf) is also popular. Beans are usually used as the filling, but cheese-filled and chocolate-filled manju have also become very popular.

Ferry fare: One way 170 yen

Goju-no-To (Five-Story Pagoda)
An important cultural asset erected in 1407.
This shrine stands 29.3 m high, and its colors and decorations still remain vibrant today.

Sightseeing time: 20 minutes
Admission: Free

Within a short walking distance.

Houkoku-jinja Shrine
This shrine is also called 'Senjokaku (Hall of One Thousand Mats)' because its huge floor area is equivalent to 857 tatami mats. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the most significant rulers in Japan's history, started building this shrine in 1587; however, he was not able to complete it.

Sightseeing time: 40 minutes
Admission: 100 yen

A 3-minute walk.

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine (World Heritage Site)
Constructed in the 6th century, this shrine consists of 37 buildings connected by a 300 m corridor. Since ancient times, people have considered the island itself as a god, as a most sacred place. The shrine is still the focus of the island today and has lost none of its mysterious aura.
It is a unique construction, with the area under the sea regarded as part of the shrine, and there is a completely different atmosphere at high tide and low tide. Conservation work at sea is very difficult; however, the shrine looks almost the same as it did 800 years ago.

At low tide, you can walk out to the magnificent Otorii (Grand Gate) rising 16 m high from the sea, a symbol of the shrine and famous throughout the world.

Sightseeing time: 60 minutes
Admission: 300 yen

A 3-minute walk.

Museum of Historical and Folklore Materials
In this museum, which is the former residence of a wealthy 17th-century merchant, approximately 2000 items are displayed for your enjoyment and education. It is fascinating to learn about the history of Miyajima from the lives of its common folk.

Sightseeing time: 40 minutes
Admission: 300 yen

A 3-minute walk.

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine Houmotsukan (Museum)
This intriguing museum has a collection of carefully preserved treasures including suits of armor, swords and art crafts from 800 years ago.

Sightseeing time: 30 minutes
Admission: 300 yen

A 3-minute walk.

Daisho-in Temple
This is the oldest temple in Miyajima, opened in 806 by Kukai (774-835), the founder of the Shingon Buddhist sect. Buddhist statues and an abundance of treasures fill the many rooms of this ancient temple.

Sightseeing time: 30 minutes
Admission: Free

A 10-minute walk. Make your way to Momijidai Station on the Miyajima Ropeway from the entrance of Momijidai-koen Park on the free shuttle bus.

Visiting Mt. Misen by Miyajima Ropeway
Climb to the summit of this sacred mountain where Kukai sat in meditation 1200 years ago.
Board the ropeway from Momijidai Station and change to the next ropeway at Kayatani Station.
The exquisite scenery unfolds in front of your eyes, at times taking your breath away.

Fare: Return 1,800 yen

You arrive at Shishiiwa Station within about 15 minutes from Momijidai Station.

A 4-minute walk.

Shishiiwa Observatory
You can view the beautiful Inland Sea from the observation deck.

A 20-minute walk.

Misen Hondo
This is the site where Kukai underwent rigorous ascetic training for 100 days. It is said that the fire he lit at the time is still burning in the Reika-do House after almost 1200 years.

Admission: Free

A 1-minute walk.

Sanki-do Hall
Sanki-do Hall is believed to be the only place in Japan where the devil is worshipped, even though it is generally thought of as a force of evil.

A 5-minute walk. On the way, you pass under an arch formed by gigantic rocks called Kuguri-iwa Rock. There are many bizarre rock formations around.

Summit of Mt. Misen
Take in the dazzling 360° panoramic view from the observation deck 535 m above sea level.

Take the same route you used to come up the mountain when you go back down. Change over on the ropeway and go back down the mountain on a trip that takes approx. 1 hour.

Stay at Miyajima
Why not try a meal of Miyajima's famous oysters or anago (conger eel)?

2nd day
Sightseeing at Hiroshima
Board the ferry from Miyajima-sanbashi Pier to go to Miyajimaguchi-sanbashi Pier.

Fare: 170 yen

Take a tramcar from Hiroshima Miyajimaguchi Station on the Hiroshima Dentetsu Line. Hiroshima is one of the few cities in Japan where tramcars still run extensively.
Arrive at the Genbaku Domu-mae Stop in 46 minutes.

Fare: 270 yen
Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima Peace Memorial)
On 6 August 1945, an atomic bomb exploded 150 m above the ground just southeast of this point. The building was burnt out and the people inside died instantly, but miraculously, the building was not destroyed.
It was originally designed by a Czech architect in 1915 and used for the display and sale of articles produced in Hiroshima.
This dome is registered as a World Heritage site as a symbol of the horror of the atomic bomb and as an appeal for peace.
There is a reconstructed hospital nearby, which was at the center of explosion, and a monument is erected there.

Peace Memorial Park
This area was at the epicenter of the atomic bomb blast of 6 August 1945. The park is dedicated to all people everywhere who have perished in warfare, and was established as a prayer for eternal peace. A peace memorial ceremony is held on 6 August every year.
Be sure to allow sufficient time to spend at this site as it is very extensive.

Sightseeing time: 3-4 hours

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
In the West Building, photographs and belongings convey the horror of the destruction from the atomic bomb. In the East Building, on the other hand, are depictions of life in Hiroshima before the bombing and after the city's reconstruction. The question of why the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima is also answered. There are also exhibitions concerning current worldwide problems associated with nuclear weapons.

Admission: 50 yen

Peace Bell
There is a bell suspended beneath a domed roof representing the universe. Everyone is welcome to ring this bell, so please do so with a thoughtful heart. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum also has a peace bell. This is rung once a year at the Peace Memorial Ceremony on 6 August.

Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims
A registry of the names of the people who died as a result of the atomic bombing regardless of nationality is held in a stone tomb. The words, "Let all the souls here rest in peace; for we shall not repeat the evil" are inscribed on the front of the stone tomb. Anyone who stands before this cannot help but wish for world peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons forever.

Take a tram on the No. 2 route or No. 6 route from the Genbaku Domu-mae Stop (9 minutes), change to the No. 9 route at Hacchobori and get off at Shukkei-en-mae (4 minutes).

Fare: 300 yen

*You can also tour the Shukkei-en Garden, Hiroshima Castle and Okonomi-mura Village on a bicycle taxi called a Velotaxi from the entrance of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
The Velotaxi was developed in Berlin, Germany as an environmentally friendly vehicle.
The basic fare is 300 yen per person and 50 yen is added for every 100 m afterwards.

Shukkei-en Garden
This unique garden was created for the second house of the lord of the Hiroshima Clan in the 17th century. There are about 10 islands in the pond, with bridges and teahouses arranged on the shore, as well as hills surrounding the pond. There are bamboo groves and rice fields, and the blossoming plum trees in February and cherry blossoms in late-March/early-April add to the exquisite beauty of the grounds.

Sightseeing time: 40 minutes
Admission: 250 yen

A 10-minute walk.

Hiroshima Castle
Mori Terumoto, the feudal warlord who ruled the expansive Chugoku district, erected this castle in 1599. Its original structure included 23 gates and 88 towers.
The castle was reconstructed in 1958, with historical material now on exhibit and the top floor made into an observation deck.
You can have your photograph taken wearing a suit of armor or a kimono.

Sightseeing time: 40 minutes
Admission: 360 yen

A 10-minute walk. Take the new Astram Line transportation system from the Kencho-mae Stop and get off at Hondori (1 minute). A 15-minute walk.

Fare: 180 yen

The Astram Line is powered by electricity, so it does not produce exhaust gas. It also uses rubber tires; therefore, it causes less noise and provides a comfortable ride.

Okonomi-mura Village / Okonomi Kyowakoku, Hiroshima-mura Village
Try Hiroshima's specialty cuisine, okonomiyaki, at one of the 30 okonomiyaki restaurants in this area.
This unique Japanese pancake is layered with cabbage, pork, squid, rice cake, buckwheat noodles or egg, and garnished with a special sauce. If there is anything you cannot eat, please let the staff know and they will leave it out.
The pancakes are prepared right in front of you at your table, so you can enjoy watching the cook's incredible techniques and then eat your delicious meal.

A 5-minute walk. Take a No. 1, 2 or 6 route tram from the Hacchobori Stop bound for Hiroshima Station (11 minutes).

Fare: 150 yen

Approx. 15 minutes by taxi.

Take the JR Sanyo Shinkansen Line home.