Full-Day Hiroshima Day Trip from Kyoto

Enrich your understanding of this city's rebirth from tragedy to cultural capital
From US$1,283 privately
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Tour Details
12 hours
Product Type
  • Atomic Bomb Dome
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
  • Itsukushima Shrine
  • Miyajima Island
Photos & Highlights
  • A comprehensive day-long view into the history and culture of Hiroshima, for Kyoto-based travelers
  • Led by a local historian
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Tour Description
Hiroshima will forever be scarred by the atomic blast it suffered at the end of World War II, making it a necessary place to visit to understand the incomprehensible degree of destruction wrought during the war. It is also, however, a lively city with a stellar food scene, excellent museums, and plenty of festivals. 

On this full-day Hiroshima excursion from Kyoto, we’re joined by a local historian who will help us grapple with the destruction this city faced, as well as how it was rebuilt to become the thriving hub it is today. We’ll visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum and the Atomic Bomb Dome before grabbing a quick lunch and heading to Miyajima Island, known for its shrine, torii gate, and stunning views. This tour digs into the contrasts that define Japan—war and peace, urban development, and serene nature, providing a fully fleshed-out idea of what life is like in this important city.
We’ll start our day early, meeting in the lobby of a hotel adjacent to Kyoto Station. Walking over to the station and hopping on our shinkansen (bullet train), we’ll spend the ride getting acquainted with one another, as well as getting a historical overview of the city of Hiroshima. After we step off the train, we’ll head over to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park—once the political and commercial center of Hiroshima as well as home to 6,500 people. Hoping for eternal world peace, the park was established near the epicenter of the atomic bomb explosion in remembrance of the victims and as a memorial to peace. As we walk through the park, we will visit various peace monuments scattered about, such as the Flame of Peace, Hall of Remembrance, Memorial Cenotaph, Children’s Peace Monument, and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum—the latter of which we will enter to view artifacts ranging from belongings and photos of victims, important film footage, and historical records.

Finally, we’ll pay a visit to the Atomic Bomb Dome. Originally the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, the building and its distinctive dome were designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel in 1915. Because the bomb detonated almost directly above the building, the vertical support columns were able to withstand the impact of the blast; the ruins of the building were eventually converted into a memorial to those killed in the blast.

Off to Miyajima Island

Having spent a few hours visiting the most important sites in remembrance of the horror that took place in the city, we’ll take a quick break, getting some lunch with our guide before proceeding to the next portion of the tour: Miyajima Island. The word ‘Miyajima’ means ‘shrine island,’ named due to its association with its most famous site, Itsukushima Shrine. Built in 593, this UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of 17 buildings and a large torii gate, all of which appear to float on the water during high tide. The torii gate and vermilion color of the shrine are considered to keep evil spirits away. The island is considered one of the three destinations that make up ‘Nihon Sankei’, meaning the top three scenic views of Japan. We’ll spend some time navigating the island’s serene, spiritual sights, getting an in-depth background of the shrine’s religious importance, and the roles that Shintoism and Buddhism have played on the island and Japanese culture as a whole.

Take Aways

Heading back to the mainland, we’ll proceed back to the train station, where we’ll begin our return journey. We’ll leave this walk with a deeper understanding of the history of Hiroshima, the terror and destruction that the atomic bomb wreaked upon the city, and how it revitalized itself into a vibrant, thriving city. We’ll also get a taste of Japanese spirituality, by visiting one of the nation’s most famous shrines on Miyajima Island.
Where does it start? Where does it end? You'll meet near Kyoto Station. The confirmation email will have the exact spot. After your busy day in Hiroshima, you will return to Kyoto with your guide and end the tour there.

Is it possible to add more participants in my group after checkout?
If you add participants after the time of booking we cannot guarantee it can be accommodated within a 30 day period before your tour date. Please reach out as soon as you know to inquire about the possibility. 

Are train tickets included? Your return bullet train tickets are included in your order and your guide will purchase them ahead of time. There will likely be additional entrance fees or public transport tickets that occur once you are in Hiroshima, so it's a good idea to have some local currency or a credit card on hand for these.

I have a JR Pass, can I use it instead of the train ticket that the guide will buy for me?
Unfortunately not: the only way for you to sit with the guide on the train is by using tickets bought directly by the guide, therefore you must purchase tickets through us.

Is this tour suitable for children? This walk is not a part of our official family program. Being 12 hours long and involving significant travel time and walking, this tour can be tricky to manage with children. For a day trip from Kyoto that is less time-intensive and more family-friendly, see our Nara Day Trip.

Is it okay to tip my guide in Japan?
Yes. Context clients generally tip anywhere from 10-25% of the purchase price of a personal service such as this, depending on the quality of the experience and their tipping habits.
Where You'll Start
(4.57) 15 Reviews

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Highly recommend this tour - Marcin’s knowledge was fantastic - a long day but Marcin never made us feel rushed and he was easy to get along with. A highlight of our trip to Japan.
We had an excellent experience on our tour with Marc. He was extremely knowledgeable, and did a wonderful job engaging our entire family - in particular both our children who never once complained of being bored. We highly recommend Marc to any other tourists who want to experience Hiroshima.
We were disappointed in our Hirsoshima Day. I am a long-time fan of Context and particularly value the deep subject matter knowledge of the guides. While our guide has a deep passion for Buddhism, he did not know basic facts about the events in Hiroshima. We expected that plus context about how the city evolved post war. We were reading plaques and checking wikipedia during the tour. He also did not communicate any facts about the Miyajima shrine. (did not know when it was built, by whom, etc.) Overall, he shuttled us around, but we honestly did not need that. He was not a good fit for this tour and I will hesitate to book again given cost and experience.