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Knowing a destination's characteristics can make a trip more interesting! Here is some information about Hiroshima, an area full of attractions such as World Heritage Sites and local gourmet food. Hopefully this will deepen your understanding.

What type of place is Hiroshima?

History

Hiroshima Prefecture's central city of Hiroshima is referred to as the "city of waters" for the six beautiful rivers that flow through it. Its origin dates back to 1589, when Hiroshima Castle was established. It was named "Hiroshima" (broad island) because the delta on which the castle was built looked like a big island, and thenceforth flourished as a castle town. From the late 19th century to early 20th century, the neighboring city of Kure had Imperial Japanese Navy bases and war plants and prospered as one of the main military ports in Asia and as Japan's foremost naval shipyard. In August 6, 1945, the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, resulting in the loss of numerous lives. The city of Hiroshima, which was resurrected from the devastation, continues to appeal to the world for everlasting peace for humankind.

Climate

Hiroshima, which is located between the Chugoku Mountains and the Shikoku Mountains, is protected from seasonal winds. It is mostly sunny year-round, except during the rainy season and typhoons. The coastal areas around the Seto Inland Sea have a warm climate with an average temperature of 16℃, and little rain in the summer or snow in the winter with an average annual rainfall of 1,120mm. There are climatic variations within the prefecture, and some mountainous areas in the north have an average temperature of 11℃ and average annual rainfall of 2,500mm.

Temperament

People from Hiroshima are said to have cheerful and optimistic dispositions nurtured by the moderate climate. They are also said to be passionate, flamboyant and to love having fun. They love their hometown and are proud to be from Hiroshima. They tend to quickly form friendships with people who share their values, and many will be great friends once you've opened your hearts to them.

Dialect

A famous Hiroshima expression is "jakee," which replaces "dakara" in standard Japanese that means "because." "Buchi" and "bari," which mean very are also frequently used. Although there are many words shared with the Kansai-ben dialect of Osaka and its neighboring prefectures, the accent is more similar to standard Japanese. In Japan, it is said that the Hiroshima-ben dialect spoken by women is particularly cute.

Transportation Access Guide

Reaching Hiroshima

The easiest way to get to Hiroshima from Tokyo or Osaka is the shinkansen bullet train. It is only about four hours from Tokyo Station to Hiroshima Station, and about one hour from Shin-Osaka Station. By air, it is about an hour and 20 minutes from Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport, and about an hour and 40 minutes from Narita Airport. There are also international flights from Hiroshima Airport, including direct flights to China, Taiwan, and Korea. It is about 50 minutes on a limousine bus from the airport to Hiroshima.

Intra-prefectural Transportation

Use the JR line to travel within Hiroshima. Also, as Hiroshima has many outlying islands, its water transport system is well developed. There are many ferries and high-speed crafts crossing the calm Seto Inland Sea. Trams and buses are recommended for transportation within Hiroshima. If you use the sightseeing loop bus, Hiroshima Meipuru-pu, that circles the city center, you'll be able to efficiently see all the major tourist spots.

Major Tourist Spots

Two must-sees are the World Heritage Sites, Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Itsukushima Shinto Shrine. The peace memorial, a building preserved as it was after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, symbolizes a hope for peace. It is on the grounds of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Itsukushima Shinto Shrine is the main attraction on Itsukushima Island, commonly known as Miyajima, of which 14% of the island is designated a World Heritage. The large vermilion torii gate that seems to float on the water is famous. It is also recommended to explore Onomichi with intricate narrow hills and lanes and beautiful views of the Onomichi channel where ships pass by and the various islands on the Seto Inland Sea.

Specialty Gourmet Foods to Try

Okonomiyaki is famous as Hiroshima's regional gourmet dish. A flour and dashi-soup batter is grilled in rounds, and layered with meat, vegetables, eggs, and Chinese noodles, then eaten with a rich, salty-sweet sauce. There are a staggering 2,000-plus okonomiyaki restaurants in the prefecture. In addition to the basic "niku-tama-soba" (meat, egg, noodle), each restaurant offers a variety of standards and original versions. Another dish to remember is the Miyajima specialty, anagomeshi (salt-water eel bowl). It is a regional dish made by grilling anago salt-water eel in a salty-sweet sauce and serving it on top of rice cooked with stock made from anago bones. Onomichi ramen, which is characterized by a rich soy-sauce based soup with fatty pork back on top and flat noodles, and fat, and deeply sweet Hiroshima oysters are also must-eats.

Recommended Souvenirs

How about getting a "kumanofude," a representative traditional Hiroshima craft, as a souvenir? The brushes that are handcrafted by artisans using traditional techniques handed down over 170 years are famous for their quality. They are apparently used by makeup artists around the world! Hiroshima is also famous for its wooden toys, so wooden kendamas, yo-yos, and koma tops are also recommended. If you want sweets, why not choose the maple-leaf shaped momiji manju, made with sweet bean filling inside a castella sponge cake?

Once you've deepened your knowledge with this article, go and visit Hiroshima! Feel the city's air and culture, and surround yourself with its charm.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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