The Sanyo Shinkansen from Osaka to Fukuoka (Hakata) runs down the coast of Hiroshima prefecture, stopping at all major cities including Hiroshima and Onomichi. Direct Nozomi trains from Tokyo take about four hours to reach Hiroshima and cost ¥18,500 one-way.
From March 2015, JR West will offer a new Hiroshima centered regional rail pass, called the JR Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass, available to foreign tourists with a Temporary Visitor stamp in their passports. The pass costs ¥11,000 yen and is valid for 5 consecutive days. Area coverage goes between Hakata in Fukuoka City, up the Sanyo Line to Onomichi, and includes JR lines in Yamaguchi and up to Matsuda in Shimane. The pass may be purchased by those who qualify in or out of Japan, but multiple passes for one user can only be bought outside of Japan.
In addition, there is another new regional pass called the JR Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, costing ¥13,000 for 5 consecutive days, which covers Iwakuni from the southwest, to Shingu, Wakayama in the Kii Peninsula, to Hikone and Tsuruga in the northeast. Note that aside from Iwakuni it does not cover Yamaguchi, nor Shimane or Tottori. See the JR West homepage for complete information.
Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum and Peace Park A visit to Hiroshima naturally brings people to the Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum and Peace Park to see the real affects of atomic warfare. Genbaku Dome is the famous symbol of Hiroshima, as it one of the few structures that remained standing after the bomb hit. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hiroshima Castle (広島城, Hiroshima-jō) - The original castle was built in the 1590s however, it did not survive the atomic bomb. The present-day castle is a reconstruction built in 1958. Only a picture was used in the reconstruction of the castle, so it is not exactly the same as the original castle.
Shukkeien Garden (縮景園 Shukkeien) - The garden was originally constructed in 1620 by the daimyo Asano Nagaakira. The gardens suffered extensive damage in the atomic bombing in 1945 however, it was reconstructed and opened to the public in 1951.
Mitaki-dera Temple - A delightful mountainside temple that is unfortunately overlooked by most western tourists. It is located in the western part of the city, about 20 minutes on foot uphill from Mitaki Station.
The Mazda Museum - Headquartered in Hiroshima, Mazda offers a 90 minute tour of its factory assembly line as well as museum of cars going back several decades. Prior reservations are required.
Hondori St. & Okonomimura This is a 500m covered pedestrian mall close to Peace Park. It offers some of Hiroshima's best shopping. Close to the eastern side of the arcade is Okonomimura, a collection of restaurants that specialize in Hiroshima's favorite dish, okonomiyaki, a kind of fried pancake with seafood, meat and vegetables. Hiroshima style okonomiyaki differs from the Osaka style mainly by its extensive inclusion of cabbage.
Itsukushima Shrine As the most photographed shrine in Japan, Itsukushima Shrine is one of the most beautiful Shinto Shrines in the nation. The floating torii is an icon of Japan and offers a wonderful sight both when the tide is in, as well as at low tide when you can walk out on the beach up to the giant torii itself. It is so large that it is still readily visible from the summit of Mount Misen.
Kosanji Temple - An astounding temple that started as a villa of an industrialist made for his mother, Kosanji was developed from 1936 over 3 decades and includes replicas of the gate in Nikko as well as the temple hall of Byodoin in Uji, Kyoto. Unlike other temples in Japan, it has a very bright and colorful style, some may even say gaudy, as well a granite cave to simulate a trip through Buddhist Hell and a large artistic deck of imported marble on top of the hill the temple is next to. Many describe it as like a Buddhist Disneyland more than an actual temple. It is on Ikuchijima Island which also falls under the city limits of Onomichi, and is best accessed by a ferry from the port next to Onomichi Station. It is also quite pricey at ¥1200 but well worth the cost and time to reach it.
Okayama Prefecture lies to the east. Kurashiki with its beautiful and well-preserved historic district is easily accessible from Hiroshima Prefecture. Other cities in the prefecture include Okayama, which contains many museums, Korakuen Garden one of Japan's Top 3 gardens, and the Kibi Trail, among other things. The city of Takahashi is home to the famous Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, which is the highest castle in Japan, as well as one of Japan's remaining original castles.
Shimane Prefecture is located north of Hiroshima Prefecture. In Izumo you can find Izumo Shrine, the second most holy Shinto Shrine in the nation; it's quite an impressive site. The city of Matsue is famous for Matsue Castle, one of only twelve original castles left in Japan, Vogel Park, one of the largest greenhouses in the world, and the Lafcadio Hearn Residence. Shimane is also home to one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, Iwami Ginzan, in Oda.
Yamaguchi (prefecture) borders Hiroshima Prefecture to the west. In the city of Yamaguchi, you will find the beautiful Rurikoji Temple, Joieiji Temple, and memorial for Saint Francis Xavier. In Hagi, there are many cultural sites, such as the ruins of Hagi Castle, Hagi Castle Town, and the Hagi Uragami Museum which houses a large amount of famous Japanese Ukiyoe artwork. For nature lovers, Akiyoshidai is home to Akiyoshidai Plateau, the largest limestone plateau in Japan and the Akiyoshido Cave, the largest cave in Japan. Akiyoshidai is not so well known among foreign tourists however, it is a unique and and very worthwhile addition to one's travel itinerary.