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Getting Around Hiroshima: Transportation Tips and Tricks for Tourists

Thelma Heimisdottir
Jun 3, 2024
Hiroshima Transportation

Exploring Hiroshima, a city with a rich historical legacy and vibrant culture, offers tourists a chance to delve into Japan's profound past while enjoying its modern conveniences. Understanding Hiroshima's transportation network is essential to maximize your visit.

This Hiroshima transportation guide will provide all the information you need to navigate Hiroshima efficiently, from getting to the city to traveling around its many attractions.

Where is Hiroshima?

Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture. It is located in the Chūgoku region of Honshu, the largest island in Japan, along the Seto Inland Sea.

Known globally for the tragic events of August 6, 1945, when it became the first city to be targeted by a nuclear bomb, Hiroshima has since become a symbol of peace and resilience. The city's central location makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the rest of the prefecture and neighboring regions.

Getting to Hiroshima

By Air

An airplane flies overhead on a clear day, approaching for landing over a lush green hilly landscape. In the foreground, a winding road curves through the greenery, creating a scenic view. The sky is clear with a few scattered clouds.
By Air

Hiroshima Airport

Hiroshima Airport, located about 50 kilometers east of Hiroshima city, is the region's primary international and domestic gateway. This airport connects Hiroshima to major cities across Japan and Asia, making it a convenient entry point for international travelers.

To reach central Hiroshima from the airport, you can take the Hiroshima Airport Limousine Bus, which arrives at Hiroshima Station in approximately 45 minutes. Buses run frequently throughout the day.

Taxis are available for those seeking alternative transportation, offering a quicker but more expensive option.

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By Train

A sleek, modern bullet train is parked at a brightly lit station platform. The train is white with blue accents and features an aerodynamic design. The station is relatively empty, with a handful of people visible in the background.
By Train

Sanyo Shinkansen Line

The Sanyo Shinkansen Line offers a swift and scenic journey from Tokyo to Hiroshima, making it one of the most efficient ways to travel between these cities. The Nozomi Shinkansen, the fastest option, covers the distance in just under four hours, providing a direct and comfortable ride with minimal stops.

Other options, such as the Hikari and Sakura Shinkansen, require a transfer to Shin-Osaka, and the travel time must be extended by approximately five hours. Departing from Tokyo or Shinagawa Station, these trains offer frequent daily departures and ensure a pleasant journey through Japan's diverse landscapes.

JR Trains

Traveling to Hiroshima by train is convenient, especially for JR Pass holders. You can take the Sanyo Shinkansen Line from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station from Osaka.

The fastest options are the Nozomi and Mizuho trains, which take approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes to travel. JR Pass holders can also use the Hikari and Sakura trains, which take slightly longer, around 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours.

By Bus

Bus
Bus

Long-Distance Buses

Bus companies offer convenient long-distance trips to Hiroshima from major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka. Willer Express and JR Bus are prominent operators that provide daytime and overnight services.

Although slower than the Shinkansen, the journey by bus is a budget-friendly option and allows passengers to travel comfortably overnight, saving on accommodation costs. Bus routes often start and finish at significant stations, such as Tokyo Station and Osaka Station, making it easy for travelers to access their departure points.

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By Ferry

A white and red ferry boat is sailing on a calm body of water with a mountainous landscape in the background. A prominent orange torii gate is visible on the water near the shore, adding a cultural landmark to the scenic view.
By Ferry

Ferries

Travelers from Shikoku and other nearby islands can easily reach Hiroshima by ferry. The Matsuyama-Hiroshima Cruise Ferry, operated by Ishizaki Kisen, offers a scenic and leisurely journey across the Seto Inland Sea, taking approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.

This ferry service operates from Matsuyama Tourist Port to Hiroshima Ujina Port, stopping at Kure. For those in a hurry, the Super Jet Ferry provides a faster alternative, completing the trip in about 70 minutes.

Getting Around Hiroshima

City Buses

A bustling city scene shows two tram cars at a station with people boarding and waiting. Surrounding the station are multi-story buildings, shops, and a few buses on the road. Elevated walkways connect different parts of the area, and vehicles are seen on the streets.
City Buses

Hiroshima Bus Center

Hiroshima Bus Center, situated on the third floor of the Sogo Department Store in central Hiroshima, serves as a crucial hub for city and regional buses. It provides extensive bus Hiroshima routes that cover Hiroshima city and its surroundings, making it an essential stop for tourists.

The bus city center offers local buses, which navigate the city and connect major attractions like Hiroshima Castle and Peace Memorial Park, as well as long-distance coaches that travel to other prefectures, including express buses to Hiroshima Airport. The convenience of having a central bus hub within a shopping complex means you can easily combine travel plans with dining and shopping, enhancing the overall experience.

Local Buses

City buses in Hiroshima are efficient and extensive, connecting various parts of the city and its major attractions. The Hiroshima Bus Center, located in the Sogo Department Store, is a central hub for many bus routes, making it convenient to travel to destinations such as Hiroshima Station, Peace Memorial Park, and Hiroshima Castle.

The buses are well-integrated with the rest of the city's public transportation system, including the tram network, ensuring that visitors can easily switch between different modes of transport. The Meipuru-pu sightseeing bus offers added convenience for tourists, with routes covering key attractions and allowing unlimited rides with a day pass.

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Trains and Trams

A yellow and beige tram numbered 808 is at a stop in an urban area. A person is boarding the tram, and a white car is parked nearby. Buildings, a Lawson store, and greenery are visible in the background. The tram's destination is "Hiroshima Station.
Trains and Trams

Hiroshima Electric Railway

The Hiroshima Electric Railway, commonly known as Hiroden, operates an extensive tram system that covers many parts of Hiroshima city. Japan's most extended tram network features six lines connecting key locations, including Hiroshima Station and Peace Memorial Park.

The trams offer an efficient and scenic way to navigate the city, with flat fares making them economical choices for travelers. Additionally, the trams link to Hiroshima Port, providing seamless access for those planning to explore nearby islands such as Miyajima.

Local Trains

Hiroshima's train and tram systems offer convenient and efficient ways to explore the city and its surroundings. Local trains, such as those operating from Yokogawa Station, connect different neighborhoods and nearby towns, making it easy to travel within the region.

The Kabe Line, for instance, serves areas like Mitaki and Aki-Kameyama, providing frequent services to Hiroshima Station and beyond. Additionally, the Hiroshima Electric Railway (Hiroden) trams are an iconic and reliable means of transport, with routes that cover major city attractions, including Hiroshima Station, Peace Memorial Park, and Hiroshima Port, ensuring tourists can easily navigate the city's key site.

Rental Bicycles

A row of colorful bicycles, including orange, yellow, blue, and green, parked on a paved sidewalk. Baskets are attached to the front of the bicycles. Trees and a passing car are visible in the background.
Rental Bicycles

Rental Bicycles

Rental bicycles are an excellent eco-friendly and leisurely way to explore Hiroshima. The city offers a convenient bike-sharing system called Peacecle, which allows tourists to rent and return bicycles at various docking stations.

These electric-assisted bicycles are available for around 1,000 yen daily and can be rented easily with a smartphone app. The flat terrain and scenic routes, including paths along rivers and parks, make cycling a pleasant way to see the city's sights.

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Ferries

People boarding a large white and red ferry docked at a terminal. The vessel has ramps lowered for passenger access. A mountainous landscape and water are visible in the background. The sky is partly cloudy, suggesting it might be late afternoon or early evening.
Ferries

JR Ferry

The JR ferry service is a convenient way to travel between Hiroshima and Miyajima Island, a popular tourist destination known for its scenic beauty and the iconic Itsukushima Shrine. The ferry departs from Miyajimaguchi and reaches Miyajima in about 10 minutes, offering frequent daily services.

This short and picturesque journey allows passengers to enjoy close-up views of the famous floating Torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, especially if you choose the Great Torii ferry service, which operates during the daytime. The JR ferry is also covered by the Japan Rail Pass, making it a cost-effective option for travelers holding this pass.

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Transportation Tips

  • Use an IC Card: IC cards like Suica or Pasmo are accepted on most buses, trams, and trains, making travel hassle-free.

  • Avoid Rush Hour: Travel outside of rush hour times to avoid crowded buses and trams.

  • Plan Your Route: Use a map or a navigation app to plan your routes and ensure you reach your destination efficiently.

  • Check Bus Stops: Check the bus trip stops and schedules, especially for less frequent routes.

  • Use JR Pass: If you plan to travel extensively in Japan, consider getting a JR Pass, which offers unlimited travel on JR trains and the JR ferry.

  • Pay Attention to Bus Stops: Some bus stops are request stops, so be prepared to signal the driver when you need to get off.

  • Use the Hiroshima Meipuru-pu: This tourist loop bus offers convenient stops at major attractions like Hiroshima Castle, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and Peace Memorial Park.

  • Be Punctual: Japanese transportation services are known for punctuality, so arrive on time for your bus or train.

  • Language Assistance: While many signs are in English, a translation app can help you understand schedules and directions.

Seamlessly Exploring Hiroshima

Navigating Hiroshima's transportation system is straightforward and requires some preparation. Whether you travel by bus, tram, train, or bicycle, you can easily reach Hiroshima's historic sites and vibrant districts.

The city's efficient and reliable public transportation network ensures a smooth and enjoyable journey from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to the bustling Hiroshima Station. Embrace the convenience and explore the beauty of Hiroshima with confidence.

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FAQs

What is the best way to get to Hiroshima?

Unless you travel from regions such as Hokkaido or Tohoku in northern Japan, the most efficient way to reach Hiroshima is by taking the Shinkansen (bullet train).

How do you pay for the buses in Hiroshima?

If paying with an IC card, touch your card to the reader. When there are two doors, exit through the front door. If paying by cash, compare the fare number on your numbered ticket with the fare table displayed at the front of the bus and place the exact amount in the fare box.

Does the bus Hiroshima take Suica?

In Hiroshima and Osaka, the Suica card is accepted on buses, subways, trains, streetcars, and ferries.

Does Hiroshima have subways?

Unlike many other Japanese cities with subway systems, Hiroshima features an extensive tram network known as the Hiroden.

Is one day in Hiroshima enough?

A two-day itinerary is ample time to experience Hiroshima's highlights. You can dedicate one day to exploring the city's main attractions, such as Hiroshima Castle, the Peace Memorial Museum, and the Hiroshima Peace Park. The second day can be reserved for a day trip to Miyajima Island, home to the iconic Itsukushima Shrine and its famous floating Torii gate.