Sample itinerary of day trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima from Osaka/Kyoto

One of well known places in Japan, World Heritage Site, Miyajima Itsukushima shrine.  ©Hiroshima Prefecture / ©JNTO
One of well known places in Japan, World Heritage Site, Miyajima Itsukushima shrine. ©Hiroshima Prefecture / ©JNTO

Hiroshima and Miyajima are very popular and obviously these are “Big Name”s in Japan. Some of you want to visit these place but you may be hesitating to visit there because of tight schedule.

If you stay in Osaka or Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima can be visited as day trip. If you can stay there for even one night, that is much better. But you may prefer to have “Baggage Free” day trip.

In this post, I show you sample itinerary to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima as day trip.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

From Osaka / Kyoto to Hiroshima

Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura and Mizuho give you direct trainsfer to Shin-Osaka from Kyusyu.
N700 series Shinkansen fleet is used for Mizuho and Sakura.

If you stay in Osaka, get Shin-Osaka station to catch Shinkansen. If you stay in Kyoto, you can catch Shinkansen at Kyoto station.

If you use JR Pass, as probably you know, you cannot take Nozomi and Mizuho. Only Hikari, Sakura and Kodama are covered by JR Pass. But there are a few Hikari that take you to Hiroshima from Kyoto directly. Please check Shinkansen timetable at the link below:

Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen westbound timetable

As of Nov 2014, only these Shinkansen trains go directly Hiroshima from Kyoto.
Hikari 491
Kyoto 07:20 – Shin-Osaka 07:35 – Hiroshima 09:06
Hikari 493
Kyoto 08:02 – Shin-Osaka 08:17 – Hiroshima 10:01
Hikari 495
Kyoto 08:23 – Shin-Osaka 08:39 – Hiroshima 10:44

If you miss these trains, you have to transfer at Shin-Osaka or Okayama.

If you do not use JR Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass is recommended.

Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel both Kansai and Hiroshima.

This pass is sold at 13,000 yen. This is cheaper than round trip fare to Hiroshima from Shin-Osaka. But this pass does not cover Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to the east. You cannot take Shinknansen from Kyoto. If you stay in Kyoto and intend to use this pass, you have to take Rapid or local train to get Shin-Osaka from Kyoto. Special Rapid train runs every 15 minutes and connects Kyoto and Shin-Osaka in less than 30 minutes.

Most convenient and the fastest train among Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Special Rapid Service

Trip to Miyajima

You have to visit at low tide if you want to walk around Torii.  	©Hiroshima Prefecture / ©JNTO
You have to visit at low tide if you want to walk around Torii. (C) Hiroshima Prefecture / ©JNTO

If you go to Miyajima first, you need to transfer to local train at Hiroshima station. If you have 10 minutes, you can transfer. Local trains run every 10 to 15 minuted to Miyajimaguchi that is the nearest station to the ferry to Miyajima. And it takes about 30 minutes to get Miyajimaguchi. I have visited Miyajima and wrote about access there from Hiroshima before. Please find more information at the link below:

How to access to Miyajima from Hiroshima by local train. No extra charge for Japan Rail Pass user.

Most of you spend half day in Miyajima and half day in city of Hiroshima. You can visit either Miyajima or Hiroshima at first. But if you want to walk down floating Torii gate at Itsukushima shrine in Miyajima, you visit there at low tide. You can find updated tide table of Miyajima at this fishing site.

You will spend 45 minutes for each way from Hiroshima to Miyajima. I suggest you to have 4 hours, 2 hours transfer and 2 hours sightseeing, for Miyajima.

Sightseeing in Hiroshima

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is one of Must-See in Hiroshima. ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is one of Must-See in Hiroshima. ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Most of sites are very accessible from Hiroshima station by street car. But my reader told me loop bus is free for JR Pass user.

Hisoshima Sightseeing Loop Bus, “Meipuru-pu”

As far as I know, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass does not cover this bus service. Even if you pay, this bus covers most of popular sites in Hiroshima. One day pass is only 400 yen.

Street car is most popular transportation in city of Hiroshima. ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau
Street car is most popular transportation in city of Hiroshima. ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau
If you want to see more places that is not covered by loop bus, you can take Hiroshima Railway’s street car, a.k.a. “Hiro-den”. One day pass is 600 yen.

Hiroshima Electric Railway economical ticket

If you spend 4 hours for Miyajima, you still have 7 hours for Hiroshima until the last Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka. You may add some more time for Miyajima. It depends on how many places you want to see in Hiroshima.

From Hiroshima to Kyoto / Shin-Osaka

There is no direct Shinkansen train from Hiroshima to Kyoto. If you take the last Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka, there is no Shinkansen train to Kyoto. Even if you have JR Pass, you have to take local train to Kyoto. Please see Shinkansen timetable below:

Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen eastbound timetable

As of Nov 2014, these Shinkansen trains will be your last departure to Shin-Osaka.
Hikari 444
Hiroshima 21:58 – Shin-Osaka 23:32
Mizuho 610 (Sanyo Area Pass user only)
Hiroshima 22:13 – Shin-Osaka 23:37

If you need to take subway to get Namba or other subway stations, it is very tight if you take Hikari 444. The last subway departs from Shin-Osaka is 23:44. Usually you can transfer from Shinkansen to subway in 12 minutes. But if you want to avoid risk, take earlier Shinkansen.

If you need to go to Kyoto, the last train is Special Rapid 00:30 departure to Kyoto. But if you take this train, you can get Kyoto but you cannot get any other places in Kyoto by public transportation. If you do not stay around Kyoto station, take earlier Shinkansen.

Sample itinerary

My suggested itinerary is as follows:

From Shin-Osaka
08:07 Shin-Osaka
Sakura 547
09:39 Hiroshima

10:00 Hiroshima
Local train
10:27 Miyajimaguchi

10:40 Miyajimaguchi
Ferry
10:50 Miyajima

From Kyoto
08:02 Kyoto
Hikari 493
10:01 Hiroshima

10:15 Hiroshima
Local train
10:41 Miyajimaguchi
10:50 Miyajimaguchi
Ferry
11:00 Miyajima

Sightseeing and easy lunch at Miyajima.
Same itinerary for Osaka and Kyoto departure after visiting Miyajima.

13:30 Miyajima
Ferry
13:40 Miyajimaguchi
13:58 Miyajimaguchi
Local train
14:25 Hiroshima

Hiroshima has one of the best Okonomiyaki in Japan!  ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau
Hiroshima has one of the best Okonomiyaki in Japan! ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau
Sightseeing and dinner at Hiroshima. Enjoy Hiroshima Okonomiyaki (savory pancake Hiroshima style) for your dinner!

20:48 Hiroshima
Sakura 570
22:21 Shin-Osaka

If you take Sakura 570, you can get back to any places in Osaka and Kyoto by public transportation.

At last, I recommend you to take Sakura (or Mizuho) than Hikari. Because reserved seat accommodation is much better. Sakura and Mizuho has 2+2 layout. Hikari has 2+3 layout. Sakura and Mizuho’s seat is much wider. You find many photo of seat and interior at the link below:

Tokaido Shinkansen image gallery. Check the interior and accommodations.

Kyushu Shinkansen N700 series for Mizuho, Sakura and Tsubame image gallery

203 thoughts on “Sample itinerary of day trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima from Osaka/Kyoto”

  1. Hi Takeshi!
    I am planning a 13D12N trip to cover Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Here is plan, would love your advice if the plan makes sense and also your recommendation on transport:

    Day 1: Tokyo to Kyoto
    Day 2 to 7: Explore Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Takayama
    Day 8: Kyoto to Tokyo
    Day 9 to 13: Explore Tokyo, Hakone

    I am still considering if i should stay in Kyoto or Osaka as my base.

    Thank you (:

    1. Hi ET,

      Day trip to Takayama from Kyoto or Osaka is a bit tight. It takes 3.5 hours one way. I recommend you to stay one night there. Takayama is worth staying and also you should visit Shirakawago too. You can drop by there between Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-access-to-takayama-by-trains-and-buses.html

      You may use 14 days JR Pass. But some parts of your trip is not covered, like Hakone, subway in the cities. Please see the link below to find the info:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi
    I’ve been planning our first trip to japan and below is our tentative itinerary

    Day 1-2 -arrive at haneda airport and stay in tokyo
    Day 3 -head to kyoto
    Day 4 -day trip to nara
    Day 5- day trip to osaka
    Day 6- day trip to hiroshima from kyoto
    Day 7-10 – head back to tokyo

    Could you please recommend best pass to purchase and which train we need to take to get to each location?

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I am travelling to Osaka from 29 May to 3rd June I have a 7 day rail pass. It’s my mother’s 60th birthday, hence our trip.

    I want to give her a traditional experience…. I can see Japan offers so much. What can you recommend first timers?

    I’d like to do an onsen as well…. but I am people with tattoos are not permitted. Are there any spas that allow a girl with a couple of small tattoos?

    And what would be the best cultural, traditional castles, gardens to visit and explore?

    Thank you for any advice

    1. Hi Malissa,

      It’s hard to answer that.
      In Japan, there are so many onsens. I believe some onsen allows people with tattoo. But I cannot say which one is okay for you. I don’t have this kind of info. Some high-end onsen ryokan has a room with private onsen bath in the room. Try to google it and find it.

      Around Osaka, Kyoto and Nara offers most traditional experience. And Mt. Koya is very interesting place too.
      http://www.nankaikoya.jp/en/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    We would like to ask for your help to advise the most suitable pass for our itinerary. We are going to Japan from 19-28 May.

    Day 1: Arrive @ Narita Airport in the morning, eat and shop at Ikebukuro & Jujo (Accommodation)
    Day 2: Tsukiji Fish Market, Roppongi (Kasuma Art Exhibition), Kawasaki (Anata No Warehouse), Akhihabara
    Day 3: Shibuya & Harajuku (Overnight Willer Bus from Tokyo station to Osaka Umeda)
    Day 4: Osaka Castle, Mizuno Flagship Store at Yodoyabashi, Namba, Dotonburi at night, Nippombashi (Accommodation)
    Day 5: Umeda (Umeda Batting Dome), Taisho (to watch a baseball game)
    Day 6: USJ
    Day 7: Kyoto (Looking at Fushimi Inari, Arashimaya, Uji)
    Day 8: Mt Koya
    Day 9: Hiroshima, Miyajima
    Day 10: Ikeda (Cup Noodle Museum), Yamazaki Distillery, Suntory Kyoto Brewery, Haneda Airport
    *We are only staying at 1 location in Tokyo and 1 location in Osaka

    Please help us to look through and advise us. For now, we think that the Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass (5 days) is the most suitable for us when we are in Osaka since we would like to visit Hiroshima, but are unsure about the other 2 days in Osaka. The Sanyo Sanin Area Pass (7 days) seems good as well but it does not cover Mt Koya.

    Thank you so much for your help.

    1. Hi YL,

      Kansai Hiroshima area pass is a good choice. But you need to get Haneda. What is your plan to get there. If you take a train, it costs around 15,000 yen (base fare and Shinkansen seat fee). Meanwhile JR pass 7 days is 29,100 yen. Kansai Hiroshima area pass + extra cost is almost same as 7 days JR Pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      JR pass covers reserved seat fee and Kansai Hiroshima area pass does not. I think JR pass is better choice.

      For staying in Tokyo, you can use Airport access + subway combo deal:
      http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/airport_bus/index.html

      But Kawasaki is not covered by subway pass. You need to add extra fare.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you so much for your help. I made a blunder — we are leaving Japan from Kansai Airport, not Haneda.

        So I think that we will choose the Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass.

        Thanks again for all your effort and help.

        YL

  5. Hi there, we are coming to Japan next week and are confused about tickets!

    day 1 – Kansai airport to Osaka
    day 2 – Osaka to Hiroshima
    day 4 – Hiroshima to Kyoto
    day 8 – Kyoto to Tokyo. (In tokyo for 10 days and fly home from there).

    Please could you advise on the cheapest ticket?

    Many thanks

    Rachael

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    Looking at travelling to Japan in August with the following itinerary.

    Days 1 – 3 Fly into Narita. Tokyo
    Day 4 travel to Kyoto via Hakone day trip
    Days 5 – 7 Kyoto
    Day 8 travel to Osaka via Nara day trip
    Day 9 Osaka
    Day 10 day trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima
    Day 11 Osaka
    Day 12 Osaka, then travel back to Tokyo in the evening
    Day 13 Tokyo, fly out of Haneda.

    We mistakenly believed the 14 day rail pass was the way to go but I can now see we could probably do a 7 day pass and pay separately for either the Hakone trip or our final trip back to Tokyo. I’m wondering if the pass is the still best option or if you would recommend something different?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I think 14 days pass is okay. If you use 7 days pass, you will start using he pass from day 4 to 10. The difference between 7 days and 14 days is 17000 yen.

      One way fare by Shinkansen from Osaka to Tokyo is around 14000 yen. At this point, the difference is only 3000 yen.

      If you take Narita Express on day 1, it costs 3000 yen. 7 days pass + extra is 46000 yen. It’s same as 14 days pass now. You can use JR pass to take local train in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto if you have 14 days JR Pass.

      What do you think?

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. The more I researched different passes the more unsure I got. Good to know our original plan is the way to go.

  7. Hello Takeshi,
    I am still confuse with the transportation and all the pass about going to Japan.
    My itinerary :
    Day 1 : Arrive at Haneda at 22.30
    Day 2 : Tokyo
    Day 3 : Tokyo
    Day 4 : Kawaguchiko
    Day 5 : Yokohama ( to Osaka with overnight willer bus)
    Day 6 : Osaka
    Day 7 : Kyoto
    Day 8 : Kyoto & Osaka
    Day 9 : Kobe & Nara
    Day 10 : Hiroshima
    Day 11 : Fly back from KIX

    That my planned itinerary, can you suggest me what the best transportation or subway I have to use so I can travel without confusing.
    Thanks in advance

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