Very early start for today, alarm sounded at 6am…..practically the middle of the night! Anyway, on the fast train down to Hiroshima, only took 1 hour 40 mins. We firstly headed to an island called Miyajima, which involved a local train out of Hiroshima and then a short ferry ride to the island. The main attraction of this island is the floating torii that is in the water, it's the gate to Itsukushima-jinja temple on the waters edge. The torii was built out in the water as the temple was too sacred to be approach by commoners on foot and so you had to enter the temple via boat…hence entering under the floating torii.
The temple itself was cool at its all built over the water.
While we visited the temple we saw a wedding party having their photos taken, the bride looked immaculate, not a hair was out of place.
On the island they have a number of wild deer, that are very tame, and they worn you that they will eat paper and other things if you leave it accessible. Was rather weird walking along the streets with deer roaming past you.
We looked around the island a little and then headed back on the ferry and local train back into Hiroshima. Time for lunch, so we headed to the locally popular Okonomi-mura, which has 27 outlets over 4 levels all selling the same dish….okonomiyaki….yep more Japanese pancakes. These ones had noodles in them….have to say, they where really yummy, and went down nicely with a cold beer.
Next we headed down to Peace Memorial Park and the Peace Memorial Museum (A-bomb Museum) which has a very detailed history of Japan and the impact on Japan and Hiroshima of the dropping of the nuclear bomb on 6 August 1945. Needless to say the museum had some confronting images and stories of the impact of being the first and only town hit by a nuclear bomb, lets hope it will be the last.
The park has a number of monuments in it including the cenotaph which holds all the names of known victims, and each year on the anniversary they add any new victims who have passed away in the past year. The Flame of Peace is near by and will not be extinguished until all nuclear weapons are destroyed, sadly it might burn for a long time yet.
Further on in the park is the children's memorial. This was inspired by leukemia suffer Sadako Sasaki, you may of heard of the book called Sadako and the thousand paper cranes, I know I read it as a kid. In case you haven't, when she got sick at age 10 as a result of being exposed to radiation when she was 2, she decided to fold 1000 paper cranes as its an ancient Japanese custom through which it is believed that a persons wish will come true. She died before folding all the cranes, but her class mates finished them for her. Her story inspired Japan and they still fold cranes today, with local children folding them and putting them on display at this memorial.
At the end of the park is the most famous image of the Hiroshima bombing, the A-Bomb Dome. Photos of the town after the bomb show that literally the whole town was flattened except for a few buildings, this was one of them and today remains in the same condition as the day it was bombed, the bomb practically exploded 600m above this building and was the centre of the devastation.