This vibrant city will forever be associated with the devastating 1945 nuclear bombing, but it has emerged from its clouded past as a thriving city with a plenty to offer. Pay your respects at the poignant Peace Memorial Park and Museum, and read moving first-hand accounts of the fateful day at the Atomic Bomb Dome.
Follow the mile-long Temple Walk in Onomichi to discover 25 of the region's temples; or visit some of the city's excellent museums including the intimate Hiroshima Museum of Art which features galleries by Japanese artists and French masters including Renoir and Monet.
Dubbed the ‘City of Water’ due to the six rivers that flow through it, Hiroshima is famous for its delicious oysters and its excellent cuisine – dine at one of the city's okonomiyaki restaurants for a traditional and informal dining experience where diners sit around a hot plate and choose ingredients for savoury pancakes which are cooked in front of them.
Stroll around the beautiful Shukkei-en garden which dates back to the Edo era and is centred around a large pond with ornamental bridges, thatched teahouses, plum trees and cherry blossom. Surrounded by picturesque mountains, Mitaki Temple is just an eight-minute train journey from Hiroshima and well worth a visit. Listen to the soothing sound of waterfalls and birdsong as you follow moss-covered steps up to the 9th-Century temple which is tucked away on a mountainside in a tranquil bamboo forest. Hundreds of Buddha statues are nestled in tree roots and rocks and if you continue up the hill past the temple you can hike to the summit of Mount Mitake for incredible views over the city and sea.
Hiroshima Castle was destroyed in 1945 but it has been faithfully reconstructed and houses a fantastic musuem. Hiroshima is also the gateway to tranquil Miyajima island which is famously home to the UNESCO-listed Itsukushima Shrine and its red torii gate which appears to float at high tide. After exploring the island head to one of the hot springs to relax in therapeutic waters.