Overlooking the island of Miyajima on the edge of Hiroshima Bay, Hatsukaichi was established in the early-13th century as a settlement for workers rebuilding the Itsukushima Shrine. Today it serves as a gateway to this “floating” shrine and the attractions of Miyajima, as well as the pilgrimage trail that leads to the Gokuraku-ji temple.
Things to do in Hatsukaichi
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Itsukushima Shrine, famed for its floating" torii gate. The shrine is dedicated to the daughters of Susano-o no Mikoto, the Shinto god of seas and storms, with its highly photogenic setting in front of Mount Misen recognised as one of the “Three Views of Japan”.
Tackle the centuries-old pilgrimage trail that leads up the slopes of Mount Gokurakuji to the Gokuraku-ji temple, which overlooks Hatsukaichi and the island of Miyajima. It was founded in 731 AD by the Buddhist saint, Gyoki, with Zen architectural features and stone statues scattering the grounds.
Visit the site where the 16th-century Battle of Miyajima took place at the fortified ruins of Miyao Castle, perched atop Yougai-san hill in the north-west of Miyajima. The castle is believed to have been abandoned by the Mōri clan following the battle, with a small shrine and interpretive signs now marking the site.
Hatsukaichi is considered the birthplace of the traditional Japanese toy known as a “kendama”, as woodworking is a long-established craft in the city. Kendama are still produced and sold in stores throughout Hatsukaichi.
Hatsukaichi is around 25 minutes’ drive from central Hiroshima and one hour from Hiroshima Airport. Ferries depart from Miyajimaguchi Station in Hatsukaichi to Miyajima Island, where the main sights are easily reached on foot.