Day 1: Osaka – Hiroshima After morning pickup from Hotel Granvia Osaka, head to Shin-Osaka station to board the Nozomi or Hikari bullet train (Shinkansen) to Hiroshima station. After the 2-hour ride, disembark and walk with your guide to Hotel Granvia Hiroshima to check in.
From here, board a comfortable coach to Miyajimaguchi, where your tour continues aboard a boat to Miyajima (Sacred Island). Follow your guide on foot to Itsukushima Shrine for a 45-minute tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site that, at high tide, appears to be floating on water.
Enjoy 1.5 hours of free time for lunch (own expense) before returning by boat to Miyajimaguchi, where you’ll board a coach with your guide. Visit Peace Memorial Park, located near the epicenter of the first atomic bomb, which fell on the city on August 6, 1945. Gaze in wonder at the UNESCO-listed Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome), the only original structure left standing in the area. Today, the 1914 landmark, preserved immediately after the nuclear blast, serves as a a symbol of hope for a peaceful future.
You’ll also visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, featuring exhibitions of items related to the A-bomb, including poignant remnants belonging to its youngest victims. See tattered student uniforms, drawings by survivors and the diary of a middle school student documenting the days leading up to the tragic day.
After around 1.5 hours at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, re-board the coach to JR Hiroshima station. Your tour ends at your accommodation in the evening, with free time to purchase dinner out on your own.
Overnight: Hotel Granvia Hiroshima in Hiroshima
Day 2: Hiroshima – Osaka (L)After breakfast (own expense), check out of your hotel and depart for Hiroshima station to board the Kodama bullet train for a 1.5-hour ride to Shin-Kurashiki station. When you arrive, take a walking tour of the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter with your guide.
The district in this industrial town, which is situated in Okayama Prefecture, is a step back in time with its historic 17th- to 20th-century buildings. Stroll the streets and alleys on your sightseeing tour as your guide points out earthen-walled villas and stone bridges flanked by weeping willows on the Kurashiki River. If there’s time, browse the cafes, souvenir shops, and art galleries in restored warehouses.
After lunch at a restaurant with your group, proceed with your guide to the Ohara Museum of Art. This private museum, established in 1930, is the oldest in Japan to feature Western art. During your 40-minute tour, view paintings and sculpture, including illustrious works by Monet, Cézanne, Gauguin, Manet and Camille Pissarro.
Then, continue on from Kurashiki station, taking the JR train (non-reserved seat) to Okayama station and walking to Okayama Korakuen Garden. Completed in 1700, the UNESO World Heritage site, and one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, was restored to its original appearance (think Edo-period paintings and diagrams) after it being destroyed in World War II.
You'll return to Okayama station in the evening to ride the 1.5-hour Hikari bullet train back to Shin-Osaka station, where your 2-day tour ends.