To most people, Hiroshima means just one thing. It is a place indelibly inked into world history. That date was 6 August 1945, when Hiroshima became the target of the world’s first atomic-bomb attack. Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park is a constant reminder of that day, and it attracts visitors from all over the world and is sure to be a huge place of interest for fans of all ages and nationalities during the tournament. Hiroshima, with its boulevards and laid-back friendliness, is far from depressing.

Present-day Hiroshima is home to an ever-thriving cosmopolitan community and it’s worth experiencing it during Rugby World Cup 2019. There is something about Hiroshima that is compelling, making it one of the highlights to visit during the tournament.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a memorial park in the centre of Hiroshima. It is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack, and to the memories of the bomb's direct and indirect victims. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is visited by thousands of people each year. The park is there in memory of the victims of the nuclear attack on August 6, 1945.

In the park are the ruins of Genbaku Dome, one of the few buildings that was left standing near ground zero. Marcus Neal, our Senior Event Operations Manager, said after visiting that “this was an incredibly moving place – a must visit for anyone visiting Japan.”

George Burton, sales co-ordinator at England Rugby Travel, stated that Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was certainly the main attraction of Hiroshima City. “The museum told of the history, stories and displayed artefacts of the incident that destroyed over half of the city’s buildings, claimed the lives of tens of thousands and affected the area deeply for the following decades.”

“Hiroshima is a very emotional place, and it's of such significance to Japan that it really is a must see” said Dan Woodburn, a member of our operations team. “The people here are the friendliest I encountered on my trip, eager to talk and have been very welcoming.”

Traditional food in Hiroshima – Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake and a traditional dish in Hiroshima.

Often referred to as Japanese pizza, okonomiyaki are cooked on a flat grill or griddle. Traditionally, cabbage or other firm vegetables make up the bulk of the batter but you can also order a thinner version. The dish is typically prepared with flour, eggs, yam, meat, seafood, vegetables and cheese. These ingredients can be mixed together or layered on top of each other.

Okonomi-mura is a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki food park located in the heart of Hiroshima and one of the top food destinations for families in Japan. Here you will enjoy traditional okonomiyaki with a variety of toppings and ingredients. This variability is reflected in the dish's name; "okonomi" literally means "to one's liking".

Although okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Hiroshima, it is widely available and enjoyed throughout the country.

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle used to be the physical, cultural and economic centre of the city before it was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. The castle was reconstructed in 1958 with the interior not renovated until much later. The main tower keep now serves as a history museum featuring Samurai culture.

As part of your trip, enjoy a serene walk around the stunning gardens surrounding the tower in which stand three trees that survived the bombing in WWII. The eucalyptus, holly and willow trees are now symbols of the city's strength and ability to survive and flourish even after a truly devastating event. The gardens also contain some ruins from the bombing and the Hiroshima Gokoku shrineIf you’ll be visiting in October. Take the opportunity to spend some time at the annual Hiroshima International Food festival which is held around the castle moat.

Fukuromachi Elementary School

The Fukuromachi Elementary School was one of the closest schools to ground zero when the atomic bomb fell on August 6, 1945. Although many students were saved during the evacuation, 160 students and teachers lost their lives and the building suffered extensive damage. After a few days, the school became a first aid station, and its black burned wall became a message board to find missing people.

During renovation of the school, they discovered the messages written on the walls by Hiroshima survivors looking for loved ones. Marcus Neal, our Senior Event Operations Manager, described it as an “unforgettable place to visit and it’s difficult to read the stories without feeling emotional.” The school is keeping it as a relic of the atomic explosion, to foster peace, and to send their information to the world.

Hiroshima Peace Clock Tower

Within Hiroshima Peace Park stands the 20-metre-tall Peace Clock Tower. The tower was designed by Shoji Ohata and built in 1967. This touching monument is made from three twisted iron pillars that symbolise the hands of Hiroshima citizens praying for endless peace.

At the top of the tower sits a clock, two metres in diameter, that chimes at 8:15 every morning – the exact time that the nuclear explosion happened. The sound of this lesser known landmark was chosen to be one of the 100 soundscapes of Japan, an initiative to combat noise pollution and protect and promote the environment.

Transport in Hiroshima

Hiroshima does not have an underground subway system like many other Japanese cities, instead it has an extensive tram network known as the Hiroden. The main route leaves from Hiroshima Station and travels out to the dock area, passing the Peace Park, Hiroshima Castle and close to the Mighty Carp Baseball Stadium.

Taxis are a very good way to get around Hiroshima, and there is also an extensive local bus service. It’s unlikely that you will need to make use of it, but there are two lines that are of some interest to foreign travellers: the green and orange Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Buses (Meipuru-pu buses) that stop at Hiroshima Station and make loops of the main sights, including the Peace Park.

Hiroshima is also serviced by a newer light rail system known as the Astram. It links much of Hiroshima’s northern suburbs.