Hiroshima is quite a flat city, yet there is one spot in the central city where it is possible to get a panoramic view over Hiroshima; from the Peace Pagoda located at the top of mount Futabayama, just one kilometer from Hiroshima Station, there is a magnificent panoramic view of the city.
Hiroshima is a large and modern city which is packed with tall buildings and flickering lights. The city is located in a river delta and it is therefore very flat, making it hard to find a panoramic view of downtown Hiroshima. There is however one viewing platform in the central city, which is both easily accessible and not well known among tourists.
Behind Hiroshima Station, where most visitors arrive with the Shinkansen, lies mount Futabayama. It is a small mountain with a height of only 139 meters. On top of the mountain the Hiroshima Peace Pagoda sits. It is a large, silver stupa containing part of Buddhas ashes, which were donated by the Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, years ago. A stupa is a structure which holds relics of Buddha.
The area around the Hiroshima Peace Pagoda is made as a small park, with cherry trees, benches and a stunning view over Hiroshima – especially at night when the city lights up.
Hiroshima Peace Pagoda. © touristinjapan.com
The Hiroshima Peace Pagoda is the 12th of the 16 stops of the Historic Futabanosato walking trail – a 10km trail which runs along the foot of the mountain, with a small detour up the mountain to the Peace Pagoda. The Futabanosato walking trail takes visitors past 16 historic sites around mount Futabayama- mostly temples and shrines.
By foot: the only way to get to the Peace Pagoda is by foot, or by car. There are two ways to approach the Pagoda; Through the shrine-filled forest path or by the paved road. The path through the forest is by far the most scenic, but is really not suitable for use at night. If approaching the pagoda after dark, you should follow the paved road up.
Forest path: Leave Hiroshima Station through the North Exit, and walk to Hiroshima Toshogu Shrine (about 10 minutes). When approaching the shrine, take the road to the right of the shrine, leading around it. Behind the shrine you will find a small path leading through some torii gates to a small shrine. Follow the path, which takes you up the mountain while passing multiple other small shrines. When you reach the Kinkoinari Shrine Okumiya at the top you will find the first view point overlooking the city. From here you have to venture into the forest on a not very well marked foot path towards the Pagoda. The forest path is not lit and have no proper markings, making in unsuitable for use at night. In the day time however it is a pleasant and beautiful path which is highly recommended.
The paved road: A paved road leads all the way up to the Hiroshima Peace Pagoda. Even though there isn’t a side walk on the last part of the road, it is a safer approach than the forest road at night – just be mindful of cars on the road. To get there, leave Hiroshima Station through the North Exit, and walk about 1.5km north in direction of Myohoji Temple. It should take 25-30 minutes to reach the Pagoda.
Hiroshima Peace Pagoda Map. Copyright openstreetmap-constributors. Overlay by touristinjapan.com