Hiroshima Castle

After visiting Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, it was only a 15min walk to our next stop, Hiroshima Castle (Hiroshimajō). The castle can also be reached direct from Hiroshima Station via the tram, with the tram stop only being 10mins walk from the castle entrance. Also, the castle is served by the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop bus and takes 6 minutes from Hiroshima Station.

On the way to the castle, we first had to walk through Hiroshima’s Central Park, which is a large green space surrounded in trees, which looked beautiful in the autumn colours. INSERT PICTURE - Hiroshima’s Central Park. 


The Garden is a walled garden with key-hole style gates, courtyards and sloping tile-roofed gazebos and pavilions set around a central pond, it also known for its beautiful Chinese plum and cherry blossoms in spring. 

Koi fountain

From the park we crossed the main road and saw our first glimpse of Hiroshima Castle…it was certainly an impressive site to see, with the Castle being surrounded by defensive walls and situated at one end of its moat, it almost seemed to rise up from the trees that surrounded it! 

Chrysanthemums on display

We walked through the castle’s car park and through a small public garden. When we visited, we were fortunate enough to have been there when a stunning flower display event was taking place…there were long marques full of show Chrysanthemums on display. Being that it was the end of October when we visited, it was a bit strange to see Chrysanthemums in full flower, as back here in the UK they would have been finished! Chrysanthemums or Kiku in Japanese and are very popular in Japan, as yellow and golden Chrysanthemums are the symbol of Japan’s Imperial family.

Gate bridge

Once over the bridge and though the gate led us to what we can only explain as a little island within the moat which was called the Second Compound and had turret buildings situated on it. In the centre there was a stunning flower display on a Hiroshima Castle and Koi theme! There were many different kinds of Chrysanthemums on display, with some being trained on wire mess frames, which were very impressive! 

Hiroshima Gokoku-jinja Shrine

Infront of the shrine there is a very nice torii gate and wide straight path leading to the shrine within a courtyard, where there are some Niwaki trees and statues of koi.

Hiroshima Gokoku-jinja-Niwaki Black Pine Tree

We then walked up to the Upper part of the Main Compound, within the grounds here there were ruins of Hiroshima’s old Imperial Military Headquarters. The Headquarters were building in 1894 with the building later being preserved as a historical monument, but unfortunately it was destroyed by the bomb, with only the foundations remaining. From there we walked through the grounds up to Hiroshima Castle itself.

The castle is an attractive dark in colour, with its main keep being five stories high. Japanese castles are vastly different compared to what our stone castles look like here in the UK, as they are normally built out of wood with stone foundations.  The castle was originally built in 1589 by the powerful feudal lord, Mori Termoto of which the castle became an important seat of power in western Japan. Hiroshima grew into a castle town, whereby the castle was both the physical and economical centre of the city. Much of the castle was dismantled during the Meiji Restoration.  The Meiji Restoration was a period of great change in Japan which started in 1868. The emperor took back full rule of the country, the National army was created, and the wearing of a Samurai sword was banned by the government. The Samurai rebelled and fought against the new Meiji government, but the new governments army now trained in new western style and technology won within a year. During this period many of the castles in Japan were dismantled or destroyed. 

Black Pine Tree-Second Compound

We certainly really enjoyed our time walking around the castle grounds, especially with being able to witness the fantastic flower displays as well! From the castle we then headed off to Shukkeien Garden, which is only an 8 minute walk from the castle…but this particular day we had not bought our lunch in the morning as we usually do, but instead after some prior research, we decided to stop off on the way for some very nice Ramen at a lovely traditional looking Ramen restaurant, where we were greeted by fantastic hospitality, as is the case in every Japanese restaurant! 

Please find our other Kyoto articles in the 'Hiroshima' section of the website.

Hiroshima’s Central Park

When we entered the park from the south east entrance, we came across a lovely small garden, called Yuka-en. The garden was on a Chinese theme and was constructed in 1992 to celebrate five years of official friendship between Hiroshima City and the city of Chongqing in Sichuan Province, China. A Japanese garden was also laid out in Chongqing, while Yuka-en was constructed with the help of Chinese gardeners in Hiroshima.


From the Yuka-en garden, we then walked through the park to the eastern end, we also came across a really nice carp water feature…I guess it was more impressive for us than most, being as we are koi keepers! 

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima castle was originally constructed in 1589 and is also known as the Carp Castle! This was evident by the many carp and koi swimming in the moat that surrounds the castle. The castle was built on flat area in the centre of the city, (as most castles are usually positioned on a hilltop or mountaintop), making it an excellent example of this type of castle. 

Bonsai Chrysanthemum display_1

Once we had viewed the display and walked through the park, we reached the gate bridge to the castle, which was also lined with small potted Chrysanthemums…looking across the bridge and through the impressive main gate, another curious flower display could be seen! I

Hiroshima Castle and Koi flower display_1

From there we then crossed another bridge to the Hiroshima Castles grounds which are quite large, with many trees and surrounded by a moat. The path from the bridge climbed up and led to a small car park and grassed area, which was the Lower part of the Main Compound, where in the corner there was a large traditional style building which was a Shinto Shrine called Hiroshima Gokoku-jinja. 

Hiroshima Gokoku-jinja-Koi Statue
Hiroshima Castle-close view

But while Hiroshima Castle was spared demolishment that many of the castles met during the Meiji restoration, the castle was later destroyed by the atomic bomb. 13 years later the main keep was rebuilt in a type of concrete with an attractive wooden exterior.  Inside the keep is now an informative museum on the castle’s history and Japanese castles in general, it’s only 370yen (£2.60) admission fee to enter the keep. Later and more recent the castles second defence circle were reconstructed using traditional building methods and materials, which is included the castles main gate and two turrets joined together.

Ramen Lunch