Hiroshima’s proximity to the sea not only offers access to great seafood, but also allows us to enjoy water transportation and activity. I think one of Hiroshima’s best features is its many islands and views along the Seto inland sea. One great way to enjoy this aspect is to book a cruise on a yacht, sailboat or aboard one of the larger dinner cruise boats. There are a range of services that suit most budgets and if you book with a group, you could even charter your own personal cruise.
If you are looking for a short active trip across the water to Miyajima island on your own steam, it’s great fun to book a day paddling a kayak in Miyajima with the Paddle Park. We enjoyed a few hours of paddling and were able to go right under the tori gate and stopover on the island for a cup of tea and snack before heading home.
If you’d prefer a chartered boat to explore the islands around Hiroshima, including Miyajima, Sail Hiroshima
offers a range of cruises from the Marina Hop
outdoor shopping mall’s Kannon port. You can book a sailboat/yacht for 1-3 people boat for a full day tour at 15,000 yen or charter the whole boat for up to 10 people.
Although you would need a Japanese speaker to book a cruise, there are dinner cruises and sunset cruises on the commercial Ginga cruiser, it leaves from the Ujina Port. The Ginga [ja] cruise liner regularly offers lunch or dinner cruises to Miyajima on their large boat that cost from around 5,000 yen per person (including a nice meal).
This year (2013), the Hiroshima’s Tourism board is promoting summer cruising plans (July-Sept) called Hiroshima Bay Night Cruises. There are a variety of cruises, at various prices, leaving from various ports around the city or on Miyajima or Etajima islands.
Recently, I had the treat of trying out a sunset cruise that left from the Cannery Row boat harbor on a catamaran booked through Luxury Yacht Japan
. This 12 passenger catamaran is based here in Hiroshima can be booked for sunset cruises like we did, full day or overnight cruises that would take you further away. The boat is really high-class and there is room inside and seating for about 8 on the back deck around a table. It was also fun hanging out on the front of the boat, enjoying the breeze and open water views. Our sunset cruise destination was the island of Miyajima’s giant red Tori gate that stands prominently in front of the floating Itsukushima shrine
Just a few minutes after leaving port, we passed the nearby, modern building of the Yoshijima Incineration Plant. Then we saw the Ferris wheel of the outdoor Marina Hop shopping mall. We then passed by some tall ship-building cranes poised high overhead. It took just under 2 hours using the motor to reach Miyajima.
Although some cruises can be booked individually, this catamaran can only be booked out completely. For a group of 10 adults, it would be around 10,000 yen per person and doesn’t include any food or drinks (prices and details in English).
We dined potluck style and it was a great experience with friends. The yacht is very posh, the engine is so quiet, the trip was beautiful and very comfortable. The staff are really friendly, professional and speak a little English too. Although we drove to the port, you could arrange a taxi to the port or arrange other transport directly with the owner
More information about cruise availability in the Hiroshima area can be seen on the Cruise Hiroshima English map (free download). We will update this page with more information of cruises and boat services in the Hiroshima area as it becomes available in English.