Exploring Hiroshima, Japan – Photography + Travel Guide

The city became known worldwide after the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima on 1945 obliterating almost everything within a couple of kilometres radius.  Many of the historical sights that were destroyed have now been reconstructed and new sights such Peace Memorial Park have been built as a memory and aspirations for the city.

You can use Hiroshima as a base to explore the region and do day trips to Miyajima Island, Onomichi, Iwakuni or Fukuyama.

Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima

Planning & Getting Around

It’s easy to get to Hiroshima from the main cities in Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka & Kyoto. Once in Hiroshima, you have the options to either get a day pass for unlimited use on trams or, if you have the JR pass, this will allow you free use of the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Buses. If you don’t have a JR Pass you can buy a one day pass for 400 yen. Alternatively, it is approx 3km from Hiroshima Station to Hiroshima Castle and Peace Memorial Park so you could always walk there. The city centre also has a fantastic network of trams as well.

We didn’t do a great deal in Hiroshima. As mentioned in our Exploring Miyajima Island post, we decided to stay on Miyajima Island and visit Hiroshima as a day trip while all the day-trippers were swarming over the island. From Miyajima Island, it is just a short ferry ride and local train into Hiroshima. In total about a 1-hour trip.

As mentioned in our previous Japan posts, depending on how much and how far you plan to travel you may want to consider the JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass). The passes are available for 7, 14 or 21 days and must be purchased before you arrive in Japan for the best price. If you are not sure if you should get the pass, you can use the Japan Rail Pass Calculator to see if it is worth getting. The PASMO card that we used in Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka was also valid for using the trams and buses in Hiroshima.

Note: From the 1st September 2019 you can now purchase the PASMO PASSPORT card which is only for visitors. The card costs 1500 yen (which is credited to the card) plus a 500 yen issuing fee and is valid for 28 days. The card also gives you access to many discounts when using the card. It can be used for trains and buses in the Tokyo metropolitan area and across all of Japan.

Street Scene in Hiroshima

Camera Gear

Camera & Lens

The Sony A7Rii with the Sony 24-105mm f4 was the main combination we used during our time in Hiroshima. We also carried the Sony 16-35mm f4 & Laowa 15mm f2 to cover us for any wide-angle requirements. Generally, a focal range from 16mm to 105mm will cover the majority of shots, no matter where you travel. For a bit more reach on the Sony cameras, we always have the option to switch into APS-C mode (crop sensor) which would give us about 158mm (but only 18mp).

Camera Bag

Our go-to bag for Hiroshima was the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L. With only a couple of lenses to carry each, it was the obvious choice for a day trip. If we had been based here and spending more time in the area, we would probably have used our Vanguard Alta Rise 45 Camera Backpack and Lowepro Transit Backpack 350AW bags.

 

Tripod

As always, we shared a carbon fibre tripod on our day trip to Hiroshima. It strapped easily to the bottom of our Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L bag. Even though we did not end up using it during the visit, we’ve learnt from experience that if we had not taken it with us we would have needed it. sealed

Filters

We didn’t have much use for many of our filters here however we did take them with us.  The *GOBE CPL (polarizer) came in handy and the 3-stop NiSi ND Graduated filter helped with the bright sky when photographing the view from the top floor of Hiroshima Castle.

* Use coupon code ‘widescenes’ to receive 15% off all GOBE Filters products

Location Guide

Hiroshima Castle

Even though it is not the original castle, extraordinary efforts have been made to reconstruct the castle using original building methods and materials. Inside you will find an informative museum about the castle’s history and from the top floor, you get a great view of the surrounding city. The header of this post is an exterior view of the castle.

Entrance is 370 yen. It’s about a 12min walk from Hiroshima Station. It can also be visited using the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus (free with JR Pass or 400 yen for the day) or by using the Pasmo Passport on local transport.

View from Hiroshima Castle, Hiroshima

Atomic Bomb Dome

The Atomic Bomb Dome, also knows as Hiroshima Peace Memorial, is the remains of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. It was one of the few buildings that survived due to being almost directly below the hypocenter of the bomb. The dome remains as a reminder of the force and suffering caused by the bomb and to help bring world peace. 

The Atomic Bomb Dome can be easily reached by catching the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus.

Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima

Flame of Peace

The feature of the city is Peace Memorial Park a large park with many trees, open areas and walking paths and facilities devoted to to peace, such as of Peace Memorial Museum, Peace Bell, National Peace Memorial Hall and the Flame of Peace.

To reach the Peace Memorial Park take tram line 2 or 6 from Hiroshima Station (180 yen) or the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus.

Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima

Okonomiyaki

Hiroshima’s most well-known dish is its version of the okonomiyaki. This version has a classic savoury style pancake with a thin layer of batter lots of cabbage, yakisoba noodles and lots of toppings to choose from (oysters, squid, cheese, spring onions, etc). Easy to find a place that makes them and well worth trying. Price approx. 700 yen.

Okonomiyaki, Hiroshima

TIP! 

Try to obtain a slower shutter speed to show movement in the chef’s hand. This will give the image a feeling of motion. Make sure the shutter speed is still fast enough to handhold while keeping the main subject sharp. If there is a lot of available light consider using a *GOBE Variable ND filter to slow the shutter speed down. 

* Use coupon code ‘widescenes’ to receive 15% off all GOBE Filters products

We really didn’t get to see as much of Hiroshima as we would have liked as it was only a day-trip. We definitely will spend more time in the city on another trip as there is a lot more to see and do in this wonderful seaside city. 

Hiroshima Castle

Atomic Bomb Dome

Hiroshima Station

Peace Park

Click here to see our other Location & Photography Guides in Japan!

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