Japan
May 2024
2 nights

Hiroshima

A sombre but worthwhile stopover for your itinerary.

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Hiroshima gained tragic historical significance as the target of the world's first atomic bomb attack.

Today, it stands as a symbol of peace and resilience, with memorials and museums commemorating the event and promoting nuclear disarmament.

Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

100% worth passing through to visit the museum on the site of the nuclear explosion, but not vibrant enough to warrant a prolonged stay for working in. Worth one or two nights.

🌎
Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

100% worth passing through to visit the museum on the site of the nuclear explosion, but not vibrant enough to warrant a prolonged stay for working in. Worth one or two nights.

Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

100% worth passing through to visit the museum on the site of the nuclear explosion, but not vibrant enough to warrant a prolonged stay for working in. Worth one or two nights.

👎
Verdict:
Consider for a holiday

100% worth passing through to visit the museum on the site of the nuclear explosion, but not vibrant enough to warrant a prolonged stay for working in. Worth one or two nights.

🛫
Japanese Yen (JPY)
1.2 Million
🏝️ Great for a holiday

Summary

I had little reason to visit Hiroshima other than to gain more context on the aftermath of the nuclear explosion during World War II.

With higher-than-average accommodation costs, it seemed like a perfect two night pit stop between Fukuoka and Osaka.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Noticeably more expensive hotels than any other city in Japan aside from Tokyo, I imagine due to the density of tourists passing through.

With this in mind, I took this as an opportunity to tick off an item from my Japan checklist - staying in a capsule hotel. I spent two nights at the Capsule Hotel Cube - it's a remarkably well-run and spotless operation, but it's hard to imagine that you'll have the best sleep of your life in such a concept.

A couple of nights in such a set up is absolutely fine if it is during the summer months and you intend on spending 90% of the day outside; otherwise, it's hard to justify spending any of your time in the country in such a contraption.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Whilst there is no WeWork in the city, there's a number of independent outlets dotted around the centre. I booked a day pass at ヒロマラボ which I've written about in greater detail below.

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Accommodation aside, prices in Hiroshima are generally in line with the rest of the country, with access to key tourist attractions in the city priced very low.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
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View the cost of living
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Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Japan observes Japan Standard Time (JST), which is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). However, the time difference reduces to 8 hours during the summer months as Japan does not observe daylight saving time.This large gap in time zones has advantages and disadvantages, but planning a trip during the summer would reduce the likelihood of having to work past midnight to maintain alignment with European schedules.

Viewing the western skyline of the city from the ヒロマラボ coworking space, it's difficult to comprehend the scale of destruction that took place and the remarkable success of Hiroshima's recovery.
Viewing the western skyline of the city from the ヒロマラボ coworking space, it's difficult to comprehend the scale of destruction that took place and the remarkable success of Hiroshima's recovery.
A unique Japanese quirk seems to be the communal lending of umbrellas. It's not uncommon to see racks of these dotted around outdoor spaces. On the flip side - if you want to ensure yours returns, you may want to keep it in your bag.
A unique Japanese quirk seems to be the communal lending of umbrellas. It's not uncommon to see racks of these dotted around outdoor spaces. On the flip side - if you want to ensure yours returns, you may want to keep it in your bag.
Originally the 'Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall,' what is now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome is one of the few structures left standing in the hypocentre of the nuclear blast.
Originally the 'Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall,' what is now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome is one of the few structures left standing in the hypocentre of the nuclear blast.

Where to stay

I would not profess to be an expert having had only 48 hours in the city but you won't go wrong with either of these two areas listed.

Would avoid
Recommended
Nagarekawa
Having walked around a good chunk of the city, I can't see any reason why you wouldn't want to stay directly in the centre. A glut of shopping, food and nightlife options all on your doorstep.
Would avoid
Recommended
Matsubaracho
Assuming you are arriving by train, no harm in staying in immediate proximity to the station. Only a 10 minute walk into the hub of Nagarekawacho.

Where to work

Hiromalab (ヒロマラボ)
Top Choice
☕️ Good Coffee
📍 Top Location
🥗 On Site Cafe
🧍Community Focused
⭐️ Quality Fit Out
🌳 Outdoor Space

If you are looking for a reliable work environment when in Hiroshima, then I would look no further than here.

Based on the 17th floor of a commercial building moments from Kanayamacho Station, there is a large open-plan space dedicated to coworking, with panoramic views looking toward the city center and the mountains in the near distance.

The space is well-designed, the staff are incredibly welcoming, and a day pass is currently phenomenal value at only 1,100 yen (£6).

Only downsides are that it shuts by 6:30 PM and the on-site coffee is not particularly inspiring. I would gladly return if ever in the city again.

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.

Japan has introduced a new digital nomad visa under its specified visa category, allowing remote workers to stay in Japan for up to 6 months.

Requirements include having an annual income over 10 million yen (around $65,000 USD), private health insurance, and being from an eligible country like the US, UK, EU, Australia, Singapore or South Korea.

Visa holders are not considered residents, cannot extend their stay beyond 6 months, cannot open bank accounts or access national healthcare system in Japan.

View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a sombre yet powerful museum commemorating the atomic bombing of August 6, 1945. Located near the hypocentre, it contains numerous exhibits with artifacts, testimonies, and photographs documenting the event and its catastrophic aftermath in meticulous detail.

One of the most informative and moving museums I've visited.

Learn more
Sample Okonomiyaki

A savory Japanese pancake, subject to fierce competition among cities claiming the best version. A grilled batter base contains shredded cabbage, meat or seafood, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and katsuobushi flakes. Despite trying numerous variations, it failed to impress me personally. However, I seem to be in the minority, as it is cherished by the masses.

Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a sombre yet powerful museum commemorating the atomic bombing of August 6, 1945. Located near the hypocentre, it contains numerous exhibits with artifacts, testimonies, and photographs documenting the event and its catastrophic aftermath in meticulous detail.

One of the most informative and moving museums I've visited.

Sample Okonomiyaki

A savory Japanese pancake, subject to fierce competition among cities claiming the best version. A grilled batter base contains shredded cabbage, meat or seafood, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and katsuobushi flakes. Despite trying numerous variations, it failed to impress me personally. However, I seem to be in the minority, as it is cherished by the masses.

Duration & season

The mid-May weather was pleasant and ideal for visiting before the wet season started.

Due to the high accommodation costs and limited excitement in the city, I wouldn't recommend staying for more than two nights, whether you're on holiday or working.

Food & drink

Mt. Kanda
·
Walk
If you follow the river up from the bomb site you can take several paths up to this viewpoint in the north of the city. Trailheads not particularly too clear and don't show up on Google Maps.
Mt. Ogonzan
·
Panoramic views across the whole city and harbour from this elevated view point on top of the mountain. Absolutely nothing of interest to view from the walk on the river preceeding it.

People

A noticeable increase in the number of tourists in the city compared to Fukuoka, which had preceded it. Large tour groups of international tourists can be seen around the museum of the bomb site. I would expect the overwhelming majority of tourists in the city are there for one or two days.

Exercise

Mt. Kanda
If you follow the river up from the bomb site you can take several paths up to this viewpoint in the north of the city. Trailheads not particularly too clear and don't show up on Google Maps.
keyboard_arrow_down
Mt. Ogonzan
Panoramic views across the whole city and harbour from this elevated view point on top of the mountain. Absolutely nothing of interest to view from the walk on the river preceeding it.
keyboard_arrow_down
Mt. Kanda
If you follow the river up from the bomb site you can take several paths up to this viewpoint in the north of the city. Trailheads not particularly too clear and don't show up on Google Maps.
Mt. Ogonzan
Panoramic views across the whole city and harbour from this elevated view point on top of the mountain. Absolutely nothing of interest to view from the walk on the river preceeding it.

Verdict

Positives
  • A location of great historical significance.The museum makes for a sobering experience, bringing some personal stories and relevance to a devastating and monumental event in global history. This is the stand out reason for visiting the city and it was one of my most memorable parts of the trip.
  • A manageable size.It's easy to get around, and you can easily cover the majority of the city center over the course of a weekend.
Negatives
  • Very little going on outside of the immediate center.I followed several of the rivers around the city and outside of a relatively small area in the center, there's little to warrant your attention elsewhere.
  • Lack of a buzz in the city center during the daytime.The streets surrounding Nagarekawa-cho did take on a new lease of life in the evening, but during the daytime, it didn't feel like a particularly compelling place to be.
  • More expensive accommodation than other comparable cities It's hard to justify the additional cost given the lack of ambiance and excitement.
Tips
  • Arrive early at the museum.There'll likely be crowds whenever you visit, but the earlier you get there, the more likely you'll be able to experience it at your own pace.
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
View across the city from Ogonzan viewpoint. Worth taking a walk up there on a clear day to look across the city.
If you are looking to hike on the city perimeters these can be easily mistaken for warning notices but translate as guides to trailheads (I could entirely be wrong on this).
If there's any data missing that you would like to see in these articles please leave some feedback and I'll aim to add it in.