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When on an Asia cruise to Hiroshima, Japan, you’ll find top-notch historic and cultural institutions right at your fingertips. Hiroshima quickly rebuilt after an atomic bombing in 1945 during World War II, and history buffs will be fascinated by Hiroshima’s enduring resilience in the face of tragedy. Monuments like Peace Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial are a testament to the region’s history and remind us to never forget the loss of life that happened as a result of the bombing.
For meaningful walks through history, head to Shukkeien Garden. Take a tour of incredible miniature garden landscapes and see Hiroshima Castle, which dates all the way back to 1589. Or take a more outdoorsy approach to exploring with a half-day excursion to Miyajima Island. It’s less than an hour from Hiroshima. Hike Mount Misen and check out the beautiful Japanese temple Daishō-in at the summit.
Come in the spring for the cherry blossoms, or tour the Shukkei-en gardens year-round for a traditional Japanese garden experience. Though it was reconstructed after the bombing in 1945, the original gardens date back to the 15th century.
See the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where a 50-foot tall torii gate floats majestically over the Miyajima waterfront, dating all the way back to the 6th century. Take a half day to explore the island, sip tea, and shop for souvenirs.
If you travel a little beyond the city on a Hiroshima cruise, you’ll find this massive wooden bridge in the nearby city of Iwakuni is one of the area’s most traveled-to sites, particularly during the springtime cherry blossom festivals and events. At sunset, the bridge lights up, providing a romantic lookout to Kikkou Park and beyond.
Walk this peaceful park in memory of the events in Hiroshima during World War II. Pay respects to the lives that were lost in Hiroshima at the cenotaph dedicated to the victims. Today, the park is a reminder of the city’s lasting mission for peace.
At the end of Peace Park, the city built the Memorial Museum to educate visitors about the history of Hiroshima before and after the bombing. Though a heavy topic, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a must-do activity to fully understand the roots and strength of the community here.
On your Hiroshima cruise, be sure to make a reservation at the Mazda Museum for a tour of the Mazda assembly lines, a detailed history of Mazda since it began making vehicles in the 1920s, and pristine preserved car memorabilia. Car aficionados will love an afternoon spent touring the facilities.
A Hiroshima cruise wouldn’t be complete without trying some of the city’s biggest culinary contributions, like kure caiji curry or momiji manju, a local dessert crafted in the shape of maple leaves in many flavors. The coastal influence of Hiroshima is never more apparent than through its wide variety of oysters, whether they’re grilled, fried, or served with rice. Hiroshima is also one of the top sake producing areas of Japan, and their method of sake production is different than other parts of Japan.
Most of the world knows of the effects World War II had on the city of Hiroshima, when thousands were killed in an atomic bombing of the city. On a cruise to Hiroshima, Japan, understanding the area’s history is extremely important to locals and travelers alike. The spirit of Hiroshima is unbreakable, and today the city has taken great pains to preserve its historic sites, keep up the area’s natural beauty, and globally advocate for peace and nuclear disarmament while simultaneously acting as a hub for Japanese culture and government.
The port at Hiroshima is relatively new, so it’s equipped with popular amenities like free wifi and an information desk for travelers. The Hiroshima port is also less than two miles from the city center, and it’s pretty easy to get to the heart of everything via bus or taxi. .
There are several methods for getting around in Hiroshima, including the city’s interconnected system of streetcars, trams, and local sightseeing buses. Unlike other Japanese metro areas, Hiroshima didn’t switch over to a more elaborate subway system in the 20th century and is still using its streetcar network extensively. Taxis are common in Hiroshima too, but there are a few rules of etiquette. For example, tipping isn’t required when you take a taxi, and it’s recommended to show your destination on a map to your driver to minimize any confusion, particularly if you don’t speak any Japanese.
Shop along Hondori Street, which is reserved for pedestrians to stroll and shop without being bothered by cars or bikes whizzing by. Clothing, souvenirs, jewelry, and handmade Japanese goods are all for sale along the Hondori Shopping Arcade, plus there are cafes and restaurants when your feet need a rest from all the shopping.
Tipping isn’t a huge part of the culture in Japan, so you don’t typically have to tip your taxi driver or waiter. Carrying Japanese yen is recommended when paying for day-to-day expenses during your trip to Hiroshima. Though credit cards are catching on in Japan, the culture here is still very much cash-centric. When you’re taking a taxi, most drivers will use the meter honestly.