One of the best parts about travelling is reuniting with old friends and during our time in beautiful Japan; Victor and I hitchhiked all the way to Hiroshima to reunite with my good friend Phil I had met the year prior in Thailand.
Although Hiroshima is a somewhat sleepy town in comparison to other cities, if you know the right people, you can unveil its other side that typically goes overlooked by tourists passing through.
Below is a local’s perspective on the best things to do in Hiroshima where to eat, drink and explore.
Osaka may claim that they make the best Okonomiyaki but the proof is in the pudding (…or rather Okonomiyaki). In Hiroshima, they call it a hiroshimayaki and if you’re looking for a taste bud overload, the only place you need to go is Okonomimura.
Although a little tricky to find, look for the sign reading “Plaza”, go into the elevator to the 2nd floor. Head to the 2nd last booth on the right hand side and this is where you will eat your way into Okonomiyaki-heaven thanks to the incredible chef Kyoko. (If you’re lucky, she may even sing for you!)
Address: 5-13 Shintenchi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima
Yakiniku meaning, “grilled meat” is exactly what you get to do at Kuuge. The Genghis Khan lunch special comes with a platter of various meats in a tangy and bbq sauce, vegetables, soup, salad, rice and tea. At 650¥ the price cant be beat.
Address: 6-11 Tatemachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima
For the budget conscious and those who simply love udon, head to Hanamaru and order Curry Udon – a delicious and thick curry udon. (You may have to resist licking the bowl clean; its that good!)
Address: 4-1 Tatemachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima
Were suckers for vinyl, 70s music and nostalgia for an era we were never born in.
With that said, Mac bar is easily our favorite bar equipped with vinyl and cds from floor to ceiling, a tiny dance floor that’s always crowded with someone attempting to moonwalk the second Michael Jackson comes on and plenty of laughs throughout the night with a beer in hand.
(Note: When you arrive, go to the bar, ask for a marker and add your mark to their covered walls of praise. Everyone who comes into the bar has to write his or her name or a message on the wall. Try to find mine!)
Rated as one of the best bars in Hiroshima’s entertainment district, Bar Revolucion (aka: Rev Bar) may be small but it’s always crowded and for good reason.
The cocktails are excellent (try the mojito!); the vibe is chilled out with tropical décor to match and the best part? No cover charge!
Imagine stepping back into your college days of hole in the wall bars where everyone knows your name by the end of the night accompanied by large pints of lager, dated 90s music and neon disco lights.
That is what you’ll get from Southern Cross but you’ll end up partying with the best people while playing a round of pool. Who doesn’t love a dive bar?!
Address: 1-29 Hondori 4F, Naka Ku
It’s without saying that a stop over at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and museum is a must. Here you can see what remains from the atomic bomb that hit in 1945 and pay tribute to those who have perished.
For a small fee, you can enter the castle exploring each floor with various exhibits but the glory comes from reaching the top. There is a stunning panoramic view overlooking Hiroshima that is best at sunset.
A 10 minute ferry ride (¥180) will bring you into the peaceful island of Miyajima where wild deer roam the streets as you take in the surrounding beauty.
Although accommodation on the island is available, one of our favorite moments in Hiroshima was the opportunity to camp in the national park watching a striking sunrise as wild deer roamed the beach at dawn.
(Camping cost: ¥500)
Famous on the island is a maple leaf shaped pastry traditionally filled with sweet bean paste but come in many other flavors such as caramel, chocolate, strawberry and green tea.
One of the most famous monuments on the island is a freestanding gate placed in the middle of the sea to look as though it’s floating. It is apart of the Itsukushima Shrine and the divide between the human/spirit worlds.
(Note: Be sure to come at high tide for the best view.)
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