Things To Do in Japan with Kids: Visit Hiroshima

14 Jun

One of my best friends lives in Hiroshima, and I had never been there before, so we used our JR pass to spend 2 days in Hiroshima! It was about a 4~5 hour ride on the shinkansen from Tokyo (felt like NOTHING after our 17-hour flight).

Hiroshima was a beautiful, clean, and modern city. There were quite a few tourists but it was nowhere near as congested as Tokyo. I highly recommend going during cherry blossom season if possible. They made the city even more gorgeous!

We of course went to see the Atomic Dome, which is just a short drive from the Hiroshima Station. I felt all kinds of emotions as I gazed at this structure. A haunting reminder of what war can do, in the middle of a beautiful city. It is difficult to imagine that this city was horrifically bombed at the end of WWII just over 50 years ago.

The Atomic Bomb area was a great place to stroll with our children (but if you have a toddler, I highly recommend bringing a stroller). The area has spacious sidewalks and feels like a giant park. My little girl enjoyed collecting sakura (cherry blossom) petals and throwing them into the air.

The above statue is of Sadako and her paper cranes. If you have not heard of this story, you must look it up! You can buy the book on Amazon, or any other major bookstore. This monument honors Sadako and thousands of other children who were victims of the bombing in Hiroshima.

Within an easy walk from the atomic dome and peace memorial is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The museum contains artifacts, stories, videos, etc and aims to help visitors understand the dangers of nuclear weapons. It is hard to walk through the museum without getting emotional.

We strolled through the museum pretty quickly because a lot of it is not appropriate/boring for little kids. There are a few “rest areas” in the museum though, so if there are 2 adults, you can take turns looking at everything.

Not necessarily a “fun” place for kids, but I would still say it is a must-visit place, especially if your children are older than mine (mine are 2 and 4). Excellent for teenagers.


Some of the other things we did in Hiroshima during our short stay was: take the ferry to Miyajima, shop at UNIQLO (love love love!), eat Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and go shopping at a department store. The top floor of the department store had a huge play area for little kids. I’m guessing it’s designed so that one parent can get their shopping done while the other lets the kids run around. The play area looked really fun so we decided to try it out. My daughter had a blast (unfortunately for my son, he was asleep in the stroller and missed out on the fun). There were ball pits, giant slides, dress-up, a sandbox, video games, etc.

Fun, BUT, very expensive!!!! We must have missed the fine print because we were expecting to pay about 1000 yen for a little under 2 hours but it ended up costing over 4000 yen! Crazy. I would NEVER pay that much again. SO, if you see a cool department store playland, make sure you have the workers tell you exactly how much you will be charged BEFORE you decide to do it. If money grows on trees for you, do it, it looked really fun (I can’t remember the name of the place, sorry)!

7 Responses to “Things To Do in Japan with Kids: Visit Hiroshima”

  1. Little Japan Mama June 16, 2012 at 2:08 AM #

    It’s my dream to visit Miyajima during the cherry blossom season!! Or for kouyou, or for the Summer fireworks! I’ve been there a few times as my relatives live in Miyajima-guchi, but somehow never went during the special seasons!

    • Hiragana Mama June 17, 2012 at 7:06 AM #

      Your dream has a good possibility of coming true now that you’re in Japan, right? 😉 I would love to live in Japan for a year so I can experience all the different seasons too.

  2. Asianmommy June 17, 2012 at 10:05 PM #

    Wow–the sakura trees are beautiful! I would love to visit Japan someday.

  3. silver account July 12, 2012 at 5:15 AM #

    For a 2 year old, I wouldn’t say this is very appropriate. The toddler room is more their thing and that’s pretty remedial even for a 2 year old. At least the kid I care for was pretty uninterested in the whole thing. In the main part of the museum lies the jungle gym. I was climbing in and out and all around way more than he was!! I guess you could say I was having more fun too. I think the darkness of it all can be kind of scary to them. The toddler room is definitely more friendly and inviting. Like I said, kids that are 3 and up would probably be able to enjoy the majority of the museum more than a 2 year old. Some of the other things are more hands on and require the child to be a foot or two taller in order to be able to operate them as well. His parents have a membership so we will most likely be coming back more often, and hopefully he’ll learn to love this place each time!

    • Hiragana Mama July 12, 2012 at 9:06 PM #

      Hmmm, I feel like maybe we are talking about different museums. The museum we went to didn’t have a jungle gym or toddler room. Are you talking about the Children’s Museum?

  4. louichan October 19, 2012 at 12:20 PM #

    I’m glad you and your family enjoyed Hiroshima! It is a lovely city. My husband is from the nearby city of Fukuyama, so we visit the area every year. I’d say the Peace Museum could be scary for children old enough to have some understanding of the situation. Your kids were probably a little young yet. I visited when I was 20 and had nightmares for days after, so have never been back. Even when my Mum came to Japan to visit me, I sent her in alone. I think it is something everyone should see once, but I am a little reluctant to show my kids, even though they are teens and tweens now. Maybe I’ll send them in with my husband! The expensive play land you visited looks like it might be Kid o Kid, or Bornoland, one of several indoor play areas in a chain. My kids had a fantastic time at the one in Kobe, and the oldest was 11 then. I agree, it is expensive. If a parent just wants an hour or two to kill, most department stores will have a small kids area somewhere, often on the roof or on the same floor as the kids clothing and toys. Usually these are free or no more than 500 yen an hour.

    • Hiragana Mama October 19, 2012 at 4:54 PM #

      Yes, I love the ones on the roof! Normally they aren’t so expensive but the one we went to was crazy!

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