The name Hiroshima is known the world over as the city that emerged like a phoenix from the trials of World War II. In reality, Hiroshima is much more than that city. It is a vast prefecture at the heart of the Chugoku region of southwest Japan.
In the mountainous north of the prefecture where agriculture dominates, towns hold festivals and dances celebrating the rice planting season. It is like an Akira Kurosawa movie brought to life. Women in indigo and white kimono sing and move rhythmically through the flooded paddies gently placing the seedlings in the soaked earth.
The northern section of the prefecture is of course influenced by the ever-present Japan Sea, which provides a bounty of seafood and cool trade winds that make the summer months so special.
The south of the prefecture is lined with interesting cities from east to west. Fukuyama is a quaint city on the border with Okayama Prefecture. Mihara is a cozy seaside city with lovely views. Onomichi is a city on the sea with wonderful streets for strolling. Higashi Hiroshima is the little sister and next door neighbor of Hiroshima City.
The treasure of the prefecture has to be its islands in the Seto Inland Sea which are a world unto themselves. Within the coastal cities there are ferries to the various islands. From Hatsukaichi City there is a ferry to Miyajima and its UNESCO World Heritage site Itsukushima Shrine. The massive Shinto gate turns any photo into a postcard.
From the naval city of Kure there is easy access to the island city of Etajima by bridge. Once there, enjoy the outdoors with a cycling tour, go kayaking and try the local oysters and tangerines.
Hiroshima Prefecture has something for everyone. Sightseeing has never been so good in the land of history, culture, nature and tradition.