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Hiroshima

A fascinating, metropolitan, vibrant city. Regrettably, also a city that requires little introduction.

On August 6th 1945, at 8:15am, an atomic bomb attack effectively ended WWII in an instant. Today, millions of visitors flock to Hiroshima every year to reflect, pay their respects and, perhaps, try make sense of the tragedy. The moving Peace Memorial Park now sits at northern point of the triangle formed by two of Hiroshima's rivers, and monuments to that day abound in the park, but only one original site bears witness to that enormous release of atomic energy 70 years ago: the A-Bomb Dome. To visit is poignant, informative...and essential.

But look beyond and you'll find a city with a cosmopolitan disposition. The downtown area has wide and colourful streets, frantic shopping districts, and plenty of places to eat, drink and otherwise make merry. You soon learn - there is much more to Hiroshima than its sombre history.

The small wooded island of Miya-jima is close by. Located in the Inland Sea, this island has the the incredibly photogenic Floating Torii Gate which has been sacred to the Japanese since the inception of the first shrine on the island over fifteen hundred years ago.

Hiroshima INFORMATION

Population:  1.2 million

Highlights:  The Peace Memorial Park / staying in a ryokan on Miyajima Island / Nagarekawa-cho, the city's raucous nightlife district

Access:  Hiroshima is 500-miles from Tokyo (which takes four hours on a bullet-train), but only 225 miles from Kyoto (less than two hours on the bullet-train). There is also an airport, though servicing only domestic flights.

Suggested Itineraries featuring Hiroshima

These suggested itineraries will give you a starting point for what your ski holiday to Japan could entail. Sometimes we combine ski resorts and we often cherish the opportunity to explore and experience Japan beyond the ski slopes. We hope these itineraries will inspire, excite and inform you as we begin the planning process. They’re not set departures or tours, as every holiday we plan is completely tailor-made for you - treat them as inspiration only.

The Grand (Ski) Tour of Japan

Hakuba - Takayama - Kyoto - Hiroshima - Hakone - Tokyo

Duration: three weeks

The ultimate itinerary, for those with the time, an adventurous spirit and a real passion for Japan.

from £3,580 per person, including flights

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Geisha, Onsen, Snow & Sake

Nozawa Onsen - Takayama - Kyoto - Hiroshima

Duration: two weeks

Explore old Japan – the temples, the shrines, the ryokan, the Geisha & the onsen. Ski in Japan's prettiest, most authentic ski village.

from £2,540 per person, including flights

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Prices are indicative only and include accommodation (low season), lift passes, transfers and – because we are ATOL-bonded – your flights from the UK. Different Snow can also include ski hire, backcountry and off-piste tours, rail passes, private transfers, English-speaking guides, cultural excursions and activities.

Accommodation

Hiroshima city itself doesn't really have any characterful hotels of note - pragmatism is your chief concern. We can either locate you near the station or close to the Peace Park, arguments can be made for either, and from there it's simply a question of how much you want to pay.

However, the opposite is the case over on Miyajima Island. This is where a stay in an historic traditional ryokan is essential, and all that comes with that - kaiseki dining, futon beds on tatami mats and welcoming Japanese hospitality.

Sekitei Ryokan

One of Japan's finest ryokans, 20-miles outside Hiroshima just across the water from Miyajima.

Here, hospitality is considered an art-form. The kaiseki cuisine, the beautiful gardens, the koi carp in the pond, the hot spring onsen, the cherry blossom in season, the classic tatami-mat rooms ... it’s all quintessential Japan. The ryokan experience doesn't get much better than this.

The ryokan is set in a beautiful Japanese garden, creating a serene and peaceful ambiance. You are on the slopes of Miyahama Onsen (Spa), and Miyajima Island can be seen across the Inland Sea. Each guestroom is unique and 100% authentic Japanese in style.

As with all ryokans, the food is central to the experience – fine kaiseki haute cuisine dining. They use fresh vegetables and local seafood, which you are served in your room.
There is both an indoor and outdoor onsen.

Rhiga Royal Hotel

Central high rise hotel, with amazing city views from its impressive Sky Lounge.

The modern, western-style Rihga Royal Hotel in Hiroshima enjoys a central location, just a very short walk from the World Peace Memorial Park. This excellent 4-star hotel offers a number of restaurants serving a range of cuisine including Japanese, Chinese and French, as well as a coffee shop, lounge and bar.

There is an excellent swimming pool, sauna and fitness centre (all subject to a usage fee) as well as a hair salon and beauty parlor. However the main feature of the hotel (in additional to its ideal location), and the reason we love it, are the beautiful views over the city for the Sky Lounge on the 33rd floor.

Watanabe Ryokan

A cosy four-room traditional inn on Miyajima Island, with its own private hot spring bath.

The Watanabe Inn is magnificent and, because most of our guests are traveling during winter, we often have a chance of securing one of their few rooms, each beautifully appointed. The ryokan is at the edge of the main village, a short walk from Itsukushima Shrine and slap bang in front of Daisho-in Temple.

Run by the very hospitable Watanabe family, the ever-so-thoughtful staff will arrange a complimentary pick-up from the ferry port, and they include kaiseki multi-course dinners featuring regional specialties such as oysters and Hiroshima eel.

Excursions

It is perfectly possible to self-guide yourself in Hiroshima - a good guidebook, study shoes and an inquisitive outlook will get you far. Much is the city is walkable, otherwise the street trams are foreigner-friendly and, when you get to the Peace Park, exhibits have English signs and there is an accessible audio-guide. Don't rush, ponder and reflect....and then dive in to the vibrant streets of Hiroshima to revive your soul.

It is possible to 'do' Hiroshima and Miyajima in a day, but you need to keep a close eye on the clock so as not to miss the last boat back to the mainland in the late afternoon, as schedules are reduced in winter. Far better, if you have the time, to extend with an overnight stay in a ryokan on the island. Having Miyajima to yourself, after the tourist hordes have departed on that last ferry, is a spiritual experience.