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Things to Do In a Day at Hiroshima Cruise Port and Miyajima Island

Updated: Nov 1

With Japan cruise itineraries including hectic, jam-packed days in massive cities like Tokyo and Osaka, Hiroshima's smaller footprint comes as a respite for peace and calm during a one day cruise port stop. Although the day may be tranquil, there's a lot to see (and a lot to eat!) so it's important to start early and plan ahead. Here are the absolute must-see sites if you have just one day off your cruise ship in Japan's Hiroshima cruise port.


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View of red torii gate on miyajima island


In this article you will find information on things to do in Hiroshima in one day:


Hiroshima City:

A map of Hiroshima stops

Miyajima Island (area with my picture icon):

Tips for Visiting Hiroshima and Miyajima Island including:


Hiroshima City


Hiroshima Cruise Port


There is not much of note in this cruise port, unlike many of the others. Plan to take a taxi or excursion for this day.


Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum


Go early before the tour buses arrive and plan for about an hour at a moderate pace in the museum. Those with young children may choose to go faster, but expect some grisly photos and sobering text to read throughout the museum. As my Australian tour guide told me six years back, "It's full on". You'll understand what that means once you've completed the museum tour (self-guided). Nonetheless it is an important part of our history and absolutely worth the visit.


Hiroshima Peace Memorial


a dome topped building destroyed by a bomb

This is the name of the area where the atomic bomb fell. The domed building that stands in this memorial is one of the last structural remnants in the modern city of when the city was destroyed. Take some photos, but don't stay long, it's a big day!


Hiroshima Peace Park


colorful paper crane garlands with japanese writing

Don't expect much here. It's a nice place to stroll. You may see colorful peace flags and paper cranes. Respect the park and enjoy some tranquility.


Related: Half-day private guided walking tour of Hiroshima City


Miyajima Island


A very special place of tranquility and peace, Miyajima Island in south Hiroshima is an absolute must-see and cannot be missed. Take a leisurely ferry across the water to enjoy shrines, friendly deer, wonderful souvenir shopping, and a plethora of tasty regional treats. Paired with serene mountainous vistas and peppered with iconic red torii gates, a day trip to Miyajima will be pleasant for the whole family.


Ferry to Miyajima Island


There are two ferries to Miyajima island. One is a more scenic ride, passing along the iconic torii gates, and the other is just a direct shot across the water to the island.


Both ferries take a similar amount of time, and as far as I could tell the cost difference between the two was minimal, if different at all.

women get off a small ferry with a green landing

Upon arriving at the ferry terminal it may seem overwhelming. Simply approach a ticket booth, make a sign with your hand for 'round-trip' (gotta love sign language to get by) and you'll get a tiny ticket to take with you to the next ferry. Keep this ticket for your return trip.


The ferry ride is quick, so settle in somewhere comfortable (tip: if you are traveling with a stroller there is a nice quiet, uncrowded lounge on the downstairs deck for enjoying views and grabbing a good seat). Most passengers will ride on the top deck but it can be very crowded and potentially standing room only in bad weather.


After departing the ferry, make a right out of the ferry building and follow the crowds (and deer) towards the main pedestrian areas.


Related: Private Miyajima Rickshaw Tour



Shrines on Miyajima Island


a pagoda shrine with cherry blossoms in front

If you came to this article to read about shrines, I can't help you much. I do remember enjoying walks through the waterfront shrines 6 years ago, but this last trip was too rainy to bother.


Related: Mt. Futaba Hiking Tour

thatched roof shrine with red and white walls

Simply purchase entry tickets at the door and bring your camera, because the shots of the lake and torii gates will be stunning.


Deer on Miyajima Island


a deer noses up close to the camera

The deer on Miyajima Island are a draw in and of themselves. Purchase food to feed them with, or take pictures with them. They're very curious and not shy.


Shopping on Miyajima Island


a shopping street with lots of electrical wires overhead

The souvenir shopping on Miyajima Island is wonderful. Find mazes of pedestrian shopping streets that wind all the way back towards the shrines.


Purchase patterned toe socks like these (perfect for wearing flip flops) or take back some food souvenirs to the ship.



Seek out a small teashop (read more about their food offerings below) called Cafe Miyazato in the back alleys to purchase used, but beautiful kimonos.


a pile of used kimonos in a tea shop

Pro tip: Nagasaki cruise port sells really inexpensive used kimonos (I'm talking $10 USD) so you may want to hold out, unless you want something special.


Other souvenirs you may want to purchase include all manner of plush deer toys and knick knacks, paper fans, chopstick holders, etc. My advice is to only buy something truly special when you see it, because Japan's 100 Yen Shops will have a lot more to offer for lower prices.



Dining on Miyajima Island


a man shucks oysters on a grill

Listen up - Miyajima Island is busy, which means you will either wait in line to sit down somewhere for lunch, or you'll be grabbing street snacks. Be prepared for either, because we marched around in a hungry daze for about an hour in the rain and cold before finding a charming place to eat.


Related: Sake Town Tour


Your best bet to find a sit-down restaurant will be by the ferry terminal. Along the road there are about half a dozen larger restaurants for soups and stir frys. I was in search, however, of a famous Miyajima treat - okonomiyaki.


My search led us with empty stomachs, as every place was full. Each establishment has only 10 or 12 seats, so it's a waiting game. My advice? Don't have your heart set on anything, just follow your nose and intuition.


Some of Miyajima Island's best bets include:


Grilled oysters


a woman eats cheesy grilled oysters

Find oysters at many street stalls and choose how to eat it. I love it with cheese, five spice and a little lemon, but to each his own.


2 large grilled oysters with cheese and five spice


Okonomiyaki


An island specialty, oyster okonomiyaki is a bold winner. Much like a pancake, it's cooked as a flat batter of cabbage and vegetables and topped with a variety of tasty options like kimchi, oysters, meat, or seafood.


Related: Okonomiyaki Cooking Class


Matcha tea ice cream


This was recommended on my first visit by my guide, and I found them everywhere. Get a cone covered with chocolate pieces, yum!


Maple cakes

a man cuts waffle molds shaped like leaves

Filled with bean paste and other options like chocolate, these waffle-like cakes are so popular, you can find shops where you can view them making them on site. Expect to at least try one, or take a box home as a souvenir.


a shop sells maple cakes


Recommended Restaurant: Cafe Miyazato


woman drinking from a bowl in a tea shop

Tucked in a back alley further up and away from the pedestrian chaos, find a tranquil tea shop built into an old geisha house.


Related: Authentic Tea Ceremony with Kimonos

sign in English and Japanese reading Cafe Miyazato
a rustic teahouse with teacups for sale along the walls

They offer simple tea set meals, including a curry dish, sandwich or soup.


Curried meat, rice and carrots

A tea set also included traditionally whipped matcha tea with a warm maple cake.

frothy matcha tea and a brown maple leaf shaped cake

Tips for Visiting Hiroshima and Miyajima Island


How to get around


I have visited Hiroshima and Miyajima two times - once on an overnight stay, and once on a cruise. With an overnight stay I had the luxury of time, in which case I'd suggest using the well-connected public transportation and trains.


For cruise excursions, I 100% recommend taking taxis to and from the cruise terminal and your destinations for the day.


BE CAREFUL: There are multiple cruise ship ports in town so DROP A PIN on your phone before you get off the ship so you can instruct your driver where to go.


Always rely on Google Translate to get through any communication barriers.


a red torii gate stands out of the water

Advice for planning your cruise day


Start your day EARLY. I can't stress this enough. By 10am you and ten dozen tour buses will be arriving at the Peace Museum so do yourself a favor and get off the ship early, grab a taxi right there at the port (there will be a line of them) and get the museum out of the way and done with by 10am.


Related: Half-day tour to Miyajima by public transport with a licensed guide


From the museum, grab another taxi and request that they deliver you to the Miyajima Island Ferry. Again, talk into your Google Translate app to help.


Taxi costs and duration of trip:

Taxi to museum = $25-40, plan for 20-30 minutes in the car

Taxi from museum to Miyajima = $25-40, plan for 25-40 minutes in the car

Taxi from Miyajima to port $25-30, plan for 15-25 minutes


Cash and credit cards are both accepted as payment.


Lastly, plan ahead for any kind of weather. Both times visiting the island I found it was much chillier there than anticipated. Bring a jacket, umbrella, good walking shoes, and some snacks.




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