Hiroshima Travel Blog› entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
After jumping on the bullet train from Kyoto we wound up in Hiroshima a few hours later. Hiroshimas main form of transportation is a tramway, so we bought some 2 day passes and headed to our hostel. We got off at the right stop but turned a 5 min walk from the station to the hostel into a 20 min walk. Kind of annoying, but we got there alright. After we checked in and settled down it was about 3:30, so we had just enough time to catch the Peace Memorial Mueseum. Our hostel was only a 5 min walk to the mueseum (and we didnt get lost, so it actually took 5 mins). The mueseum was something else. Everyone knows about how the A-bomb was dropped there in WWII, but actually being there and seeing it first hand (well first hand in the mueseum at least) gave me a completely new perspective. At the mueseum we opted to get the audio guide in English. The first floor was all pre-bomb Hiroshima. It used to be a pretty prosperous trade city, but during the war the military found that its port was very useful for aiding Japans war effort, so it quickly became a military city primarily. What blew me away though was the scaled diaramas of Hiroshima pre-bomb drop and post-bomb drop. The devastation was incredible (and I really dont mean that in a good way). What it did to a city really makes you wonder what the whole point really is. Anyways, the 2nd floor was devoted more to post-bombing effects (the ration-sickness, reconstruction, etc). Its amazing that 60 years ago, the city was completely gone.
After finishing up there (kind of a downer of how sad it was for Jennys birthday) we walked through Peace Park. In the middle of it is the statue of peace, but behind that is the flame that Hiroshima lit both in honour of everyone affected by the bomb, but also as a hope that someday the world will be nuclear weapon-free. The flame will stay lit until the last nuclear weapon on the planet has be dismantled (and seeing in the mueseum, there are a LOT of nuclear weeapons on this planet). Also in the park was a shrine to a little girl who was in Hiroshima during the bomb drop and caught leukimia from radiation poisoning. She began folding 1000 paper cranes in hopes that her illness would be cured (paper cranes are the symbol of hope). She died before she could complete them, but her classmates finished the task after her death. Since then people from around the world have been giving paper cranes to the cause and they are all housed in some glasses buildings and on display in the park.
Continuing on through the park was the A-Bomb Dome, the symbol of the devistation of Hiroshima. Seeing how powerful the bomb was to basically dissintigrate the entire building except for the frame of steel and some stone was almost overcoming. It was less than a kilometer from the epicenter of the blast which makes it that much more impressive its still standing .
After all the melodrama, we had a birthday dinner at a local Subway and then continued to celebrate by having a few drinks...
The next day we went to an island (kinda like Bowen is to us at home) called Miyajima. The first thing you see crossing the water on the ferry is a torri (shrine) in the middle of the ocean (apparently we were lucky to see it at high tide or else it would have been surrounded by mud). When you come to land, you find tens of messanger of the gods, better known as deer, surrounding the tourists on the streets. It was just crazy. They set up the city pretty well, for being a tourist trap that is. You have to walk by about 500 shops before you reach the reasons why you come to the town. But the shops were all interesting and they didn't pressure you too bad. The main attraction of the island was the Itsukushima-jinja (or the floating temple). It was pretty cool. The entire thing was built on stilts on the water. Mind you it was really shallow water, but when we walked through it at high tide it was quite impressive. Though there's nothing really special to say about it, being on the water gave it a completely different feel to it than any other temple we'd seen so far. We watched a prayer held in the main temple which was kind of a tourist thing because you could pay to take part in it, but it was pretty cool to actually watch. Anyways, we finished through the temple and made our way to the ropeway. In the tram pass we bought in Hirsoshima a trip up the ropeway was included. This was a long hike to get there and it was very hot and humid out (so maybe that made it feel that much longer) but it was definitely worth it. The views from up the top were fantastic. But as we reached the top along came a huge rain cloud so down we went haha. We got back to the ferry just to beat the rain. Then we hopped a train bound for Osaka.