Daniella Bassett discovers the tranquil islands of Japan’s little-visited Setouchi region.
Hiroshima needs no introduction as the first city on Earth to suffer an atomic bombing. These days Hiroshima is a young and lively city. The people of the city built a Peace Memorial park to symbolize its wishes for everlasting peace.
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Take an easy day trip from Hiroshima to the scenic island of Miyajima, set in the Inland Sea National Park. Miyajima is famous for it's 'floating' torii gate at Itsukushijima, which is ranked as one of Japan's top three sights and has been designated a Unesco world heritage site. You will get your first glimpse of this as you take the ferry to the island. Other highlights include taking the scenic cable car to the top of Mount Misen for sweeping views of the whole area as well as the chance to encounter some of the native monkeys. There are a number of small shops near the port where you can browse souvenirs including cherry wood carvings.
The city of Hiroshima has two superb art museums. The Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum exhibits more than 3,500 works associated with Hiroshima prefecture, including Japanese and Asian art and crafts. The Shukkei-en gardens nextdoor are also worth visiting. In contrast, the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art displays a range of more modern art, with a collection encompassing work that shows the history of modern art after the second world war, works that reflect the relationship between Hiroshima and modern art, and a selection of pieces from young contemporary artists.
While in Hiroshima, take the chance to sample some local cuisine that is unique to the city. Hiroshima’s signature dish is known as ‘okonomiyaki’, a pancake made from flour, eggs and shredded cabbage, garnished with a range of toppings and condiments, and sometimes known as ‘Japanese pizza’. Oysters from the Seto Inland Sea (known locally as Setouchi) are also popular, along with a range of local seafood accompanied by one of Hiroshima’s 50 local sakes.
Hiroshima is widely known for the events of 6 August 1945, when the city became the world's first to be visited by the horrors of nuclear holocaust. The events of that day are etched forever in the minds of Hiroshima's population and the city is full of reminders, none more poignant than the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or A-bomb dome, with its skeletal shell that has been preserved as a symbol of the devastation of nuclear war. The Peace Museum and the open expanses of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with the eternal flame that will burn until the last nuclear weapon is destroyed, are essential stops on any visit to the city.
Truly exclusive and exceptionally luxurious.
Very high class accommodation with superb facilities and service.
High standard accommodation, service and facilities.
Good standard accommodation, service and facilities.
Clean and comfortable with en suite bathrooms but limited facilities.
Very modest with shared bathrooms and minimal facilities