During World War II on 6 August 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Approximately 130,000 people were killed, and 60% of the city was destroyed. After that, the city was rebuilt and slowly began to thrive again.  

Many cruise operators, including Cunard Line, Seabourn and Silver Sea, include the port on their itineraries, and when cruising to Hiroshima, it’s a good idea to plan your visit ahead, as there is so much to see.

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Why visit Hiroshima ?

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Historical and cultural

Situated on the Southwestern end of the island of Honshu

Most Japanese and foreign tourists travel to the city to visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. The leafy park is home to several monuments that commemorate the dropping of the atomic bomb. It also holds celebratory festivals and gatherings, so is not the depressing location you may originally imagine.  

The museum has a collection of items illustrating the horrific effects of the bomb. The displays are haunting and thought-provoking, and they include ragged clothes, a child’s melted lunch box and a watch stopped at 8.15 am precisely. Uncomfortable and upsetting, it is nevertheless something that most feel they should do when visiting the city.  

The Atomic Bomb Dome was originally the Industrial Promotion Hall built in 1915 until the bomb exploded above it. Every person inside was killed, but the building itself was one of the few left standing near the epicentre. The shell has been preserved as a memorial.  

A short ferry ride away from Hiroshima is Miyajima Island, and you should not miss it on any excursion from your cruise. Regarded as one of the most scenic spots in Japan, it houses one of the country’s oldest Buddhist and Shinto shrines. Its orange-red torii gate appears to be floating in the shallow waters near the shrines and is one of the most photographed places in Japan. The lively lanes leading to the site are lined with shops and food stalls.  

Close to the harbour, the historic Ota Residence is a collection of restored buildings from the mid-18th century. There are guided tours available to take you through the family homes and workplaces where homeshu – a sweet medicinal liquor – was once brewed.  

For a trip a little further afield, you can take the Kodama bullet train to get to Shin Iwakuni, home to the Kintai Bridge. Spanning the Nishiki River, it is regarded as one of Japan’s three most beautiful bridges. It is over 210m long and includes five wooden arches.  

Next to the bridge is Kikkō Park, once the home of the daimyo Kikkawa who began the construction of the bridge. The buildings are excellent examples of the traditional residences built by the samurai warriors.  

An intriguing and educational mixture of ancient Japanese culture, the devastating effects of modern warfare and the striving of its residents to rebuild a better future, Hiroshima is a cruise location you will never forget.

Photo copyright: ©Hiroshima Prefecture
Photo credit: https://www.seejapan.co.uk

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