Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima prefecture and its surroundings have a lot to offer: the Shukkeien garden, the Hiroshima Castle, the Peace Park, Miyajima‘s famous floating torii and Okunoshima (‘Bunny Island’) are just some of the must-visits in Japan’s far west. Here’s the problem for cheapos, though: it’s far, and far means expensive. But that won’t kill our travel buzz, so let’s look at our Tokyo to Hiroshima travel options.
Quick Comparison of Tokyo to Hiroshima Transport Options
|Flights||★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆||From ¥6,000 (excl. transfers)||1.5 hrs (excl. transfers)||89.9kg CO2||Search flights|
|Shinkansen||★ ★ ★ ★ ☆||¥18,380, cheaper returns with JR passes||Just under 4 hrs||8.3kg CO2||Japan Rail Pass|
|Regular trains||★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆||¥11,880 minimum or ¥12,050 for the Seishun 18 Pass||15 hrs (possibly even longer)||17.6kg CO2|
|Buses||★ ★ ★ ★ ☆||¥3,500–¥10,200||6–10 hrs||15kg CO2||Search Buses|
|Driving||★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆||Varies wildly||9–10 hrs without stops||34.9kg CO2||Search Vans|
1. Flights: Low cost, high carbon footprint
Surprisingly, the fastest way to get to Hiroshima is reasonably priced as well. Flights can be had for as little as ¥6,000 depending on the season. Flight compare sites like Skyscanner often have the best deals:
|Tokyo => Hiroshima||Spring Japan||¥4,669 (US$33)||Details|
|Tokyo => Hiroshima||Japan Airlines||¥11,098 (US$78)||Details|
Note: it costs an additional ¥1,370 to get from the airport to the Hiroshima city center by bus.
2. Shinkansen: High speed journeys
Traveling via bullet train is of course really fancy, and it’s an experience that anyone should try before leaving Japan. But not to go to Hiroshima. The Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen is certainly convenient: only slightly longer than traveling by plane, and without the headache of getting to and from the airport and going through the check-in/baggage process. The issue is that it’s quite a bit more expensive: about ¥18,380 one-way (and no, you can’t get a deal comparable to what airlines offer).
If your heart is set on taking the bullet train there, consider the ¥29,650 JR Pass that provides unlimited travel for 7-days, even on some shinkansen, making your journey to Hiroshima a much better deal if you’re planning one or more additional trips around Japan. If, for whatever reason, you’re not getting the JR Pass, you can easily book your Hiroshima shinkansen tickets in advance.
Best Value Flights To Tokyo
3. Local Trains: The scenic route
If you’re reading Tokyo Cheapo, you probably already know about the Seishun 18 Ticket: five days of unlimited usage of local trains for ¥12,050, and if you split the 5 non-consecutive days of travel between five friends you can actually get to Hiroshima for less than ¥2,410. However, get ready for a tough day.
You will have to change about 5-6 trains (depending on where exactly in Hiroshima you plan to go), and travel for about 15 hours overall: meaning you shouldn’t leave Tokyo too late in the day, otherwise you’ll be stuck in the middle of Japan for the night waiting for the train service to start up again. Overall it’s quite inconvenient, but it’s going to save you some good money. Use Hyperdia to plan your travels for this journey.
4. Bus: The old reliable
Taking the bus is a tried and true cheapo travel hack to save some cash, and it’s no different for getting to Hiroshima. We recommend checking out Willer Express, who offer bargain bus + hotel packages, as well as one-way tickets.
For a destination this far away from Tokyo, though, there is a downside: 13+ hours seated in a closed space among strangers. On the bright side, women are only seated next to other women on nightbuses, and if you dont want to waste a day, waking up in a new city (albeit at 6am) is a pretty good start. If you a knack for falling asleep almost anywhere, it might not be so bad though!
5. Driving: Take control
It’s very hard to estimate the price of getting 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. With the reasonable prices of gasoline in Japan, if you manage to share a campervan with friends it’s likely to be much cheaper than flying—although tolls are quite expensive, so options like the Seishun 18 ticket can still be cheaper than driving.
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 road trip with multiple destinations along the way. We have a handy winter guide for campervan trips in Japan and suggest Dream Drive for alllllll your campervan rental needs.
What to see nearby
Miyajima Torii: The Gate of Guidebooks Everywhere
I’m sure you have already seen it in books, documentaries and travel guides. So why not check it out for yourself? The Miyajima Torii is just a 45-minute journey from Hiroshima. You can catch either the JR Sanyo line to Miyajimaguchi (25 minutes, ¥420 and JR pass covered) or the slower tram which is ¥280. Then, you hop on a ferry, either run by JR (which is also covered on the JR pass!) or Matsudai, (which is not)—both cost ¥180 one way. As you can see from the picture, when the sun goes down the view is pretty breathtaking.
Okunoshima: Bunny Island (need we say more?)
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 fairy tales are made of—it really exists and its close to Hiroshima. Get to Tadano-Umi Station by train on the JR Sanyo and Kure Line (¥1,520), and then catch the ferry (¥500 one-way) to the 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 in May 2022.