I probably should not speak authoritatively about Hiroshima. We were there less than 24 hours and I only had two things on the agenda: the Atomic Peace Park & Museum and Miyajima Island. I didn’t have time for more and those were the two items on my bucket list while living in Japan.
Plan 2-3 hours for the museum and the peace park. I thought it would be a quicker stop than it was and then I would have a more little time for exploring. However, it is a large site with the museum and several memorials. One of the irreplaceable things about travel is to learn about history and culture from another point of view. I have studied and read a lot about WWII. But I am an American and I read & speak English. And those are limitations. Even if I were to learn to read Japanese, I would be reading what has been written and published by a historian. The information presented at Hiroshima was what the city and survivors wanted to communicate to its own citizens and visitors from around the world. WWII is something not spoken about in Japan and I have not been able to learn much from the perspective of the Japanese. I was surprised to see such responsibility taken for the war (although if interested in a completely different perspective, visit Yushukan in Tokyo).
Miyajima Island and the floating Torii gate was my second must see item for Hiroshima. You can get to the island on the regular JR ferry or by private ferry. It was a bit confusing and took a minute to realize that there are in fact two different types of ferries and a huge price difference. Of course I went with the public JR ferry and used my train card to board (and avoid the extra line to buy a ticket). I was there on a rainy dreary day and the Torii gate had recently gone under construction for the Olympics. We spent about 90 minutes on the island in order to see the Torii gate and the temple. But with better weather and more time, many people have told me they have enjoyed a full day on the island. There are free roaming deer, nice hiking, shops, temples and cafes to enjoy.
There is also lodging on the island which I think would be a nice way to enjoy the tranquility after the last of the tourists goes home for the afternoon. I think I’ll try that next trip.