Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and its surroundings have a lot to offer — from critical history to cute and fluffy animals. Here’s the problem, though: it’s far from Tokyo, and that can mean expensive. But that won’t kill our travel buzz, so let’s look at the Tokyo to Hiroshima travel options.

Tokyo to Hiroshima transport options

Since Hiroshima is so far away from Tokyo, we don’t have a clear winner — when it comes to the best way to make the trip, it depends on your priorities.

We recommend taking the Shinkansen if you’re concerned about comfort and convenience; however, it’s also fairly pricey. Flying offers a good balance of speed and cost, but is terrible for the environment and requires extra travel to/from airports. An overnight bus is a budget-friendly and convenient option, but you’re potentially sacrificing a good night’s sleep!

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Here’s how the different Tokyo to Hiroshima transport options stack up:

TransportComfortPriceTimeCarbon emissionsBooking links
Shinkansen★ ★ ★ ★ ☆From ¥18,360~4 hrs8.3 kg CO2Buy one-way tickets or a Japan Rail Pass via Klook
Flights★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆From ¥9,000+~ 1 hr 45 min (plus transfers)89.9 kg CO2Search flights
Buses★ ★ ★ ★ ☆From ¥6,00010+ hrs15 kg CO2Search buses
Regular trains★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆From ¥11,880 or ¥12,050 for the Seishun 18 Pass15+ hrs17.6 kg CO2 
Driving★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆Varies wildly9–10 hrs without stops34.9 kg CO2 

Shinkansen: Comfortable high-speed journeys

From ¥18,360 (one way, non-reserved seating)
Approximately 4 hours
Buy one-way tickets via Klook

For pure convenience and comfort, we recommend taking the Tōkaidō-San’yō Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hiroshima. While it’s certainly the priciest option, it’s also one of the fastest, taking just 4 hours on the speedy Nozomi service. Plus, if you take the Nozomi you won’t need to make any transfers — just hop on the bullet train at Tokyo or Shinagawa Station, then hop off at Hiroshima Station.

Prices start at ¥18,360 for a one-way ticket, with non-reserved seating, during off-peak season. Reserved seats add ¥1,380 to your ticket price, and traveling in peak or super-peak season will also add a few hundred yen.

shinkansen at kyoto station
A bullet train at Kyoto Station. | Photo by Chris Kirkland

Should I buy a JR Pass to get from Tokyo to Hiroshima?

We don’t recommend buying a JR Pass if you are only planning to travel between Tokyo and Hiroshima. Round-trip Shinkansen tickets will cost between ¥36,720 (non-reserved seating, off-peak pricing) and ¥40,720 (reserved seating, super-peak pricing) on the fastest Nozomi service. Meanwhile, after the price hike in October 2023, a 7-day country-wide JR Pass costs ¥50,000, so if this is your only long-distance travel, it’s not worth it.

Plus, even though the JR Pass is now valid on Nozomi services, there’s an extra charge. In this case, it’s ¥13,000 extra for the round trip to Hiroshima, on top of the ¥50,000 for the pass. So it’s doubly not worth it. That said, if you are planning other trips, e.g. a couple of days in Fukuoka, or a long ride up to Tōhoku, the JR Pass starts making more sense.

No other rail pass covers the Tōkaidō Shinkansen to Hiroshima from Tokyo. However, you could look into using the Hokuriku Arch Pass to get from Tokyo to Osaka, and then buy single-journey Shinkansen tickets between Osaka and Hiroshima. Or, if you’re more interested in exploring Hiroshima and the surrounding region in-depth, there are many JR West Regional Rail Passes to choose from.

Flights: Low cost, high carbon footprint

From ¥9,000 (one way), plus travel to/from airports
1.5 hours flight time, plus travel to/from airports
Book here

Surprisingly, the fastest way to get to Hiroshima from Tokyo is reasonably priced as well. Flights cost as little as ¥9,000 depending on the season. From Tokyo, you can opt to fly out of either Narita or Haneda Airport, landing at Hiroshima International Airport.

RouteAirlineOne-way FareDate
Tokyo Narita => Hiroshima InternationalSpring Airlines JapanUS$46.00 Jul 07, 2024Booking options
Tokyo Haneda => Hiroshima InternationalJapan AirlinesUS$72.00 Sep 30, 2024Booking options

However, you also need to consider the time and cost of traveling to/from the airports. Budget at least 25 minutes and ¥480 to get from central Tokyo to Haneda Airport or 1 hour and ¥2,470 to get to Narita Airport. From Hiroshima International Airport to Hiroshima Station, it costs ¥1,450 and takes about 50 minutes by bus.

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So in the end, you’re looking at a minimum of about 3 hours travel time, and at least ¥1,930 on top of the price of the plane ticket.

Highway bus to Hiroshima: The budget option

From ¥6,000
10 or more hours
Book here

Taking an overnight bus is a budget travel option between Tokyo and Hiroshima. But for a destination this far away, there is a downside: you’ll be spending 10 + hours in a closed space, among other strangers trying to sleep. On the bright side, waking up in a new city (even at 6 a.m.) is a pretty good start to the day.

Prices start around ¥6,000, but tend to go up depending on the season and on weekends and holidays. We recommend comparing prices ahead of time, because the Japan Bus Pass may work out cheaper than individual tickets, with prices starting at ¥10,200 for 3 days.

willer bus parked
Overnight buses aren’t recommended for light sleepers. | Photo by iStock.com/Tapsiful

Local trains: The road less traveled, for a good reason

From ¥11,880 (or you can buy the Seishun 18 Pass for ¥12,050)
15 hours or more

Taking local trains all the way from Tokyo to Hiroshima is only for the most adventurous of us. You will have to change trains at least five or six times (depending on your exact route), and travel for about 15 hours overall. That means you need to leave Tokyo early, or risk getting stuck at a random station over night.

With all that travel time, why would you take this route? Well, we’d only recommend it if you’ve got your hands on the infamous Seishun 18 Pass. It gives you five days of unlimited use of local trains for ¥12,050 — meaning, in theory at least, that you could use it to get to Hiroshima for just ¥2,410. It’s also possible to split the Seishun 18 Pass between a group of people and travel together. However, the Seishun 18 is only available at certain times of the year.

Driving: Take control

Varies wildly depending on car rental costs and the use of toll roads
9 to 10 hours without stops

It’s hard to estimate the price of getting from Tokyo to Hiroshima by car or van, since it depends on many factors: which vehicle you have (or rent), which route you take, how fast you drive, and so on. If you share a camper van with friends, it’s likely to be cheaper than flying — but road tolls can add up quickly. And since it takes about 10 hours from Tokyo, we don’t recommend driving if you are just going to Hiroshima. However it’s a great travel option if you’re planning a long road trip with multiple destinations along the way.

If you don’t have your own car, you can look into car rental. Car share services like Orix, Careco, and Times Car Plus are also options.

The reverse route: Hiroshima to Tokyo

The A-bomb Dome. | Photo by Gregory Lane

What about traveling from Hiroshima to Tokyo? Your best bet is to just reverse the above options. However, if you’re visiting from overseas and you’re only returning to Tokyo to catch a flight home, we suggest trying to book a flight out of Kansai International Airport in Osaka instead — it’s much closer to Hiroshima. There’s also Hiroshima International Airport, but international flights from there only go to a few cities in mainland China, Seoul, and Taipei.

Tokyo to Hiroshima travel FAQs

Can you do Hiroshima as a day trip from Tokyo?

You could, in theory, but we don’t recommend it. It would be an extremely long day, and you’d spend almost as much time traveling as exploring Hiroshima. You’re looking at about 8 hours of travel and 10 hours in Hiroshima.

The earliest Shinkansen departs from Tokyo at around 6 a.m. and the last Shinkansen back leaves Hiroshima around 8 p.m. You could probably squeeze the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Miyajima into your day trip, but trust us when we say that the museum especially shouldn’t be rushed. We recommend spending at least one or two nights in Hiroshima. Read more about Hiroshima and its accommodation options.

How long does the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hiroshima take?

If you take the fastest bullet train, which is the Nozomi, it takes about 4 hours to get from Tokyo to Hiroshima.

Two recommended day trips from Hiroshima

Itsukushima Main Shrine, Miyajima, Hiroshima
Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima. | Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter

1. Miyajima Torii: The gate of guidebooks everywhere

You’ve probably already seen it in books, documentaries, and travel guides. So why not check it out for yourself? The famous Miyajima Torii is just a 45-minute journey from Hiroshima, making for an easy half-day or full-day excursion.

Catch either the JR San’yō line to Miyajimaguchi (25 minutes, ¥420 and covered by the JR Pass) or the slower tram which is ¥270. Then, hop on a ferry, either run by JR (also covered by the JR Pass) or Matsudai (which is not). Both ferry trips cost ¥200 one way, plus a ¥100 visitor’s tax.

2. Okunoshima: Bunny Island (need we say more?)

japan rabbit island
Island-style bun. | Photo by iStock.com/mitumal

Could you imagine something more awesome than an island abandoned by humans and inhabited almost only by bunnies? Well, apparently it’s not just the stuff of fairy tales — it really exists and it’s close to Hiroshima.

Get to Tadano-Umi Station by train on the JR San’yō and Kure Line (¥1,340), then catch the ferry (¥360 one way) to Okunoshima Island. Just get some cabbage and sit down anywhere on the island; you will have at least 10 bunnies jumping on you in no time.

While we do our best to make sure that all information is correct, it is subject to change. This article was first published in February 2016, and last updated by Maria Danuco in November 2023.

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