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Hiroshima Castle, Hiroshima

last update: September 30, 2022
The Hiroshima Castle (広島城, Hiroshimajō), also called Carp Castle (鯉城, Rijō), is an example of a Japanese feudal castle built on the plain, as opposed to the castles built on the hills. It is one of the main attractions of Hiroshima, a symbol of the medieval history of the city prior to the explosion of the atomic bomb for which everyone knows it, and is surrounded by a fascinating and relaxing public park.

Practical information, hours and fees

All the details on Hiroshima Castle

Historical background

Hiroshima Castle was built in 1589 by the powerful feudal lord Mori Terumoto and soon became one of the main centers of power in western Japan. The city of Hiroshima itself developed over time around its castle, the center of political and economic power. The building, made mostly of pine wood, survived until 1945, when it was destroyed by the atomic bomb. In 1958 its five-story main keep was rebuilt in ferrocement. In 1994, an entrance door, two turrets (yagura) and a warehouse were rebuilt in wood using original methods and materials. Visitors can enter the buildings for free and see exhibits on their reconstruction.
hiroshima castle from above the castle area from above

The buildings of the castle

What has remained, or rather, that has been rebuilt of the castle, is now scattered inside a park where the ancient castle once stood, surrounded on all sides by a moat full of water. Here, as already mentioned, you will find the keep of the castle, an entrance door, two turrets (yagura) and a warehouse. The whole park can be visited for free, and you can also enter the reconstructed buildings, inside which there is some information on their reconstruction. An exception is the keep of the castle (entrance costs 300¥), which is located in the north-west corner of the park and which houses a small informative museum on the history of Hiroshima and the castle and on Japanese castles in general, while from the top floor you have a panoramic view of the surrounding city.
hiroshima castle's main gate the main entrance to the castle
hiroshima castle's yagura the rebuilt yaguras next to the main entrance
hiroshima castle's keep the castle's keep
hiroshima castle's view from the top floor of the keep the view from the top floor of the keep

Other places of interest within the old castle's moat perimeter

Inside the castle walls, you will be lucky enough to find three trees that survived the atomic bomb of 1945. They are a eucalyptus and a willow that were about 740 meters from the hypocenter, and a holly about 935 meters from the hypocenter. Inside the park there is also the concrete bunker from which the first radio broadcast from Hiroshima was made after the atomic bombing, as well as various remains of parts of the castle that no longer exist. Finally, you can visit a very popular Shinto shrine for New Year celebrations (Hatsumōde) among the citizens, the Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine.
hiroshima gokoku shrine Gokoku Shrine
hiroshima prefectural museum

Hiroshima Museum of Art

(admission 1000¥, opening hours 9-17, closed on mondays)
An art museum whose permanent collection includes about ninety modern European paintings, and in particular of French Impressionism, but also Japanese paintings from the Meiji period to the contemporary. These paintings are permanently exhibited in the Museum. The museum also periodically organizes special exhibits that could add to the museum's entrance fee (consult the calendar).

How to get to Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle Park is within walking distance of the city center. As mentioned, it is surrounded by a water-filled moat on all sides, and is accessible via two bridges. The main entrance, where you will also find the reconstruction of an ancient door, is located on the south side, about one kilometer north of the Peace Park. Another entrance is located on the east side and is characterized by a large white torii, the sacred entrance gate to the Gokoku shrine inside. This is about 600 meters from Shukkeien Garden and 1.5 km from Hiroshima station.

By public transport, the closest tram stops are Kamiyacho-nishi and Kamiyacho-higashi (lines 1, 2, 6), approximately 750 meters from the main entrance south side. Alternatively, the castle is served by the Orange Line and Lemon Line of the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus (Meipuru-pu). The reference stop is Hiroshima-jo right in front of the east side entrance, and can be reached in 5 minutes from Hiroshima station.

Map of Hiroshima Castle, Hiroshima

hiroshima castle's map

Guided tours, activities and other things to do

If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences.

How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences

Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.

Some examples

Take a look at Rakuten Travel Experiences

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