We booked 3 nights in Hiroshima as we had been told that it was a place we should visit while in southern Japan. So we boarded a bullet train from Osaka for the 90 minute train ride to Hiroshima.
Our purpose there was simple. To pay our respects and be educated about this special city that has lost so much.
Our hotel was attached to the JR station where the bullet trains arrive. So after a quick walk to the hotel, we caught a city loop bus to get an idea of the tourist sights and restaurants.
A larger city than I had expected, with lots of parks, green spaces, quaint trams that run through the town, all in all, a place that has been rebuilt from scratch with mod cons and space.
The entire duration of our stay, I was constantly thinking about the obvious. The war, the bomb, the suffering, the people. How could it have happened here. How on earth did these people rebuild this city.
We noticed more caucasian tourists here than any other place in Japan. Many Americans and British families, paying respects to the various memorials around town.
First stop was the Atomic Bomb Genbaku Dome, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
When the United States dropped the bomb on August 6, 1945, it exploded just above the building, but didn’t totally destroy it because the immediate blast and heat buffered the air at ground zero. We had a group of Japanese girl guides join us here, as they wanted to tell us more about the sight while practising their English with us. They informed us that some of the locals wanted the dome to be destroyed as it is a constant reminder of the war. But the city of Hiroshima chose to have it restored and become a place of pray and memorial.
The days seemed short here, time at the sights seemed to freeze as we were captivated by our surroundings.
Yesterday, we caught a train 30 minutes out of Hiroshima to a town named Miyajima which lies on an inland lake.
A quick 5 minute ferry ride later, we arrived at Miyajima Island which is home to many shrines, few hotels and the magnificent orange torii gate that lies out in the water. The great Torii is the boundary between the spirit and the human worlds. The first Otorii of Itsukushima Shrine was constructed in 1168 and was built about 200 meters offshore.
It was very rural, but the locals spoke fluent English. The island is quite large and has wildlife that roam the area. The children were terrified of the local deer that wandered around the tourists, searching for food. I felt terrible but it was quite funny watching them run away from these tiny baby deer.
James and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary yesterday too. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to celebrate, but we did reflect on our years of marriage and all the amazing things we have accomplished together.
Today we ride another bullet train, bound for a 5 night stay in Kyoto. I have been to Japan 4 times but never have I visited Kyoto. I am so excited with anticipation as to what this city will offer. Our time will be spent at temples, shrines, searching for soba noodles and sushi. I hope to visit a tea ceremony and Maiko/Geisha dress up studio with Abi too.
More from me as soon as we arrive in Kyoto.
Until then, sayonara!