Hiroshima, Japan

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Located in the southwest of Japan, Hiroshima, the main city of the Chugoku region, is set within a striking natural landscape of mountains, sea and rivers. Home to more than one million inhabitants, it’s famous as the site of the explosion of the world’s first atomic bomb, dropped by the U.S. in August 1945. This cataclysm is sensitively documented at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and associated Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The city offers visitors a great deal more than the tragedy of the recent past. In addition to the memorials to the events of World War II, there are an array of shrines and temples, as well as the city’s reconstructed castle, which was originally founded in the 16th century.Nature lovers will be charmed by the historic Shukkei-en Garden, commissioned in 1620, and Miyajima island, one of the most scenic spots in Japan. The city is home to a number of art institutions, including the Hiroshima Museum of Art, which houses a collection of Impressionist and Japanese oil paintings, the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art and the quirky Mazda Museum. There is also an array of excellent restaurants and bars—the city is known for its okonomiyaki, a type of savory pancake—as well as a popular oyster festival each year.