When we think of Hiroshima, we might think of tragedy and peace. Hiroshima was brought to the attention of the world due to the tragic atomic bombing during World War II. Even though this event is an important part of the city’s history, Hiroshima is also a lively city with a strong connection to its culture. It’s a place on the cutting edge of science and knowledge, and it is the home of two of Japan’s renowned universities. Between the great food, unique history, and lively baseball fans, Hiroshima is a must-see for any traveler.

Baseball fans near Hiroshima station coming from a Carps game. They won!

I had the pleasure of visiting Hiroshima in the past week for my graduate research connected with Hiroshima Prefectural University. While I was mostly visiting for my studies, I managed to slip in some fun outings with my friends and colleagues who live in the area.

Okonomiyaki: Hiroshima’s delicacy

On my first night in Hiroshima, I was excited to accompany a colleague for dinner. When he asked me where I wanted to go, I was quick to decide: okonomiyaki! For those who aren’t familiar, okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake containing a ton of different ingredients. Hiroshima okonomiyaki is famous for including noodles in the recipe, and the customer has their choice of the noodle style.

For my okonomiyaki experience, we checked out Okonomiyaki Nagata-Ya. Located in Otemachi near the Peace Park, this okonomiyaki place is very popular with tourists and locals alike. I ordered the ‘special’, which included raw squid, egg, scallions, and tons of veggies. I was more than happy with my first okonomiyaki experience, and I have to say that it might be even better than kinds I’ve tried elsewhere in Japan!

Nagata-Ya is open 11 AM – 9 PM. For delicious and classic Japanese food, click here: http://nagataya-okonomi.com/

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum

On my second day in Hiroshima, I received a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park from a colleague. Although I have visited the Peace Park in the past, it was an entirely new experience with the accompaniment of a tour guide. With her explanations, the meaning of these sites took on an entirely new meaning. As my tour guide explained the different sites, I was able to understand with new empathy the tragedy of these events.

This large gong which was donated by an Indian Buddhist group. The gong is sounded at the time of the bombing each year, 8:16 AM. Visitors of the park are invited to also ring the bell while thinking of a prayer for peace in the world.

An especially moving part of the tour was my visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The museum has recently been relocated due to construction on the main building. Even so, it retains its strength and importance in conveying the extent of the damage caused by the dropping of the atomic bomb. I found the museum to be informative and empathic, connecting me to the plight of the survivors of the bombing.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is open 8:30 AM – 7 PM during the month of August. For more information about current exhibits, click here: http://hpmmuseum.jp/?lang=eng

Social tour with Ripple

While I greatly appreciated learning about Hiroshima’s past, I was also excited to learn about the present. During my time, I had the pleasure of being hosted by professors at the University of Hiroshima and Hiroshima Prefectural University. One of the highlights of my experience was receiving a tour of Ripple.

Ripple is a social service agency that offers mental health and family services to the people of Hiroshima. I received a tour of the organization by gracious hostess, Michiru Naka. Ms. Michiru spoke passionately about her work in mental health, and this experience greatly inspired me. Often, people do not associate Japan with advancements in mental health practice. However, organizations like Ripple, and academics at the universities, are working hard to find mental health solutions in the country. I left Ripple feeling inspired and motivated for my psychology studies in the United States.

Ripple is open 10 AM – 6 PM, Tuesday through Friday. For psychology geeks interested in Japanese social services, check out Ripple here: https://ripple-hiroshima.jimdo.com/

My time spent in Hiroshima was made special by the people who I met there. My colleagues and friends love their city, and they were happy to show me around. When traveling in Japan, my top recommendation is to get to know the people you meet! You never know what kind of adventure might await you if you open yourself to the experience.


A graduate student at the University of Michigan conducting research & traveling in Japan.
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