Hiroshima 広島 Part I

Hiroshima Travel Blog

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ayako-san on the shinkansen platform!
Our final CIEE field trip for the semester was a three-day, two-night trip to Hiroshima. This cultural experience was one that I feel everyone should encounter if they are traveling to Japan.

I need not to explain the history surrounding the city, but will instead guide you through our journey. The trip was prefaced by a pre-departure meeting featuring a video and lecture on the city's history - one that was a subtle reminder of the solemn, yet informative events of the weekend ahead. We then gathered as a group and rode the 新幹線 shinkansen or bullet train. This was my first ride ever, and it was pretty neat. These trains, some of which travel to speeds in excess of 250mph, connect the main islands of Japan and cater to all people looking for a very fast, efficient, and quiet ride.
genbaku dome
I read somewhere that the shinkansen network boasts a record time-keeping schedule - that is, the trains reach their destinations within 3-5 seconds of the promised schedule. Awesome.

We arrived in the city of Hiroshima late in the evening...and it was pouring rain. Probably not the best time of the year to visit, early January, but it couldn't be helped this time. We checked into our hotel and some of us went to explore the city a little, only to get drenched and then return for an early call time for the next morning.

The following day was jam packed with cultural events. We started the morning off going to the 原爆ドーム Genbaku dome, one of the remaining government buildings that survived the blast. It has since become a world icon and solemn reminder of the time-stopping event of that August morning.
the peace memorial
The city of Hiroshima is very pleasant, situated on a series of canals and rivers. If you were to visit having never known anything about WWII, you would think it was just any other modern, Japanese city.

We were led around the grounds of the memorial sites by our friendly Hiroshima guide. We moved onto the Eternal Flame - one that will be extinguished once all of the nuclear weapons in the world are disarmed (a nice thought) - as well as the museum itself, which by the way, is very cheap to get into. Inside are relics, artifacts, photographs, videos, timelines, all things surrounding the bombing and thereafter. It is beautiful, it is sad, it is gruesome, it is truthful, but most importantly, it is peaceful. That's the thing I gathered from this entire trip: the message of this place is not one of blame, but one of rememberance and of working toward peace so that something like this will never happen again.
a moment frozen in time (i know, kind of cliche saying)...8:15am.


Our museum visit was then followed by a lecture and speech by a 原爆者 genbakusha, or bomb survivor. Ms. Miyoko Matsubara shared with us her experience on Aug 6th, 1945. A school girl at the time, she was only 1.5 km from the hypocenter of the blast. She survived, but was very badly burned and injured. Many of her friends and family died. This was a tough, but very important speech to listen to. I admire her for continuing to tell that story as painful as it may be each time to recall the events of the past.

We had time to reflect and relax afterward. Some of us went out around the park and walked around. We were then taken to our ryokan where we would be staying. A small group of us went to visit 縮景園 shukkei-en, a Japanese garden nearby. It was really beautiful and nicely landscaped.
they have many artifacts like this buddhist statue, melted by the blast.
For dinner that evening, we were taken to お好み村 okonomi-mura, a collection of 30 okonomiyaki stalls. お好み焼き okonomiyaki, which literally means 'as you like it' is an egg-based savoury pancake consisting usually of cabbage and vegetables, meats, and whatever you want. It is usually topped with sauce and you either prepare it yourself on a griddle or it's prepared in front of you. And it's oh so delicious. The okonomiyaki is a regional food, so each part of Japan makes it their own way and boasts it's the best in the nation. Hiroshima is famous for layering all of the ingredients instead of mixing them together. It is also famous for putting かき kaki or oysters in it. I really enjoy this part of Japanese dining, going into these little locales where all of the stalls serve the same thing, but each varying it slightly and trying to get you to come in and try their own recipe.
the eternal flame.
I really enjoyed the Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki, but I think I prefer Tokyo-style better. Although I hear Osaka is famous for it, I would never get a chance to try it while I was in Japan.

We ended the evening at a 9-story arcade, bowling, karaoke, billiards, mini-golf, super-fun center. This place blew Gameworks and D&B's clear out of the water. Sadly, there are no pictures from it, but you'll have to trust me on this one.
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ayako-san on the shinkansen platfo…
ayako-san on the shinkansen platf…
genbaku dome
genbaku dome
the peace memorial
the peace memorial
a moment frozen in time (i know, k…
a moment frozen in time (i know, …
they have many artifacts like this…
they have many artifacts like thi…
the eternal flame.
the eternal flame.
the tiny paper cranes made by the …
the tiny paper cranes made by the…
inside the museum.
inside the museum.
childrens peace memorial, featuri…
children's peace memorial, featur…
the 1000s of paper cranes are open…
the 1000s of paper cranes are ope…
my shinkansen meal: yakisoba, 2 on…
my shinkansen meal: yakisoba, 2 o…
the super sleek shinkansen
the super sleek shinkansen
the trolleys that run throughout t…
the trolleys that run throughout …
at shukkeien.
at shukkeien.
one of the many rivers that runs t…
one of the many rivers that runs …
okonomi-mura!
okonomi-mura!
waiting patiently for our okonomiy…
waiting patiently for our okonomi…
yesss....
yesss....
it was delicious.
it was delicious.
Hiroshima
photo by: mmeymey