Japan: Hiroshima

 

Blurb

So this is the final blog for the Japan tour. Hopefully I havn’t bored you to death and given you some insight into what Japan is like and learned some tips from me. This final chapter is the last daytrip we did to Hiroshima and to Miyajima Island which is off the port of Hiroshima. A lot of people do try to visit Hiroshima due to the infamous and tragic A-bomb incident. You get to visit a piece of history and it is quite sombre. Would I recommend it, definitely.

But try to pick a dry day. The visit to the island would’ve been a lot nicer if it was sunny.

Getting around

We took the bullet train to get to Hiroshima, I would highly recommend it if you are travelling from Osaka or even Tokyo. A lot of travellers will tend to do a day trip to Hiroshima and some may consider staying. We decided to do a day trip as it was only a 2 hour journey. Hiroshima itself is a small city but you could consider staying for a day or two, however there isn’t much to see in terms of sites. Obviously if you are doing a month or longer tour of Japan then you can afford the time.

There were two main modes of transport, the electric tram or the bus. Transport was fairly cheap and could get you from central to the port in about 25 to 30 minutes. You might even consider riding around on a bike.

Sites

  1. Cenotaph
  2. Atomic Dome
  3. Hiroshima Castle
  4. Peace memorial museum
  5. Day trip to Miyajima

Peace Memorial Museum – Atomic Dome – Cenotaph

Hiroshima is a relatively small city and the main sites are related to the A-bomb (Little boy) and its devastation. The main site is the museum where it showcases the lead up to the bomb and the aftermath and how it has affected Hiroshima and its effect on the world thereafter. The atomic dome is nearby and is a reminder of a structure which survived the bombing.

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Genbaku atomic dome

When the atomic bomb hit on 6th August 1945, it created devastation and the Genbaku dome was hit, after everything had settled, this dome still stood. The people of Hiroshima needed to rebuild and it was decided that this dome would remain as a sign of what happened that day and to maintain it as a symbol of peace to never allow anything like this happen again.

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Childrens Monument – based on true story of a Sasaki Sadako who believed if she folded 1000 paper cranes that she would be granted one wish, to stop atomic bombs being used. She died of leukaemia as result of the a-bomb

The peace memorial museum was close to the dome and also the cenotaph was located opposite the museum. The cenotaph is a structure which represents a burial for those who were unable to be found and so for those who were killed in Hiroshima, it was built as in remembrance of those people. The memorial museum was another area where you could see how and why these events occurred. The entry fee is very cheap, I believe It was 100-150 yen but on the day we went, there was a whole school visiting. The museum is very well laid out and dates from events just before, during and after the bombing. It was very humbling that the Japanese would build a museum to remember its people and also sent out messages across the world that such a bomb such never be used again.

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Cenotaph

Miyajima Island

So a few of my friends recommended that I go to Miyajima Island, most famous for the Great Tori; a Tori gate which looks as if it floats on water. The island itself is located south of Hiroshima and takes 15 minutes to get to, if you have an activated JR pass then you can take the ferry at no extra cost. The island itself is inhabited by many deer, similar to Nara but there were considerably less deer. There are actually a few sites to see on the island but we had to rush as we were going back to Osaka.

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The great tori is part of the Itsukushima shrine, there are legends based around the shrine and was built to honour the gods of sea and storm. The shrine itself is quite large and has a lot of ornate statues, you can buy entry to walk inside the shrine and even walk up to the great tori at low tide.  Near the shrine is Tahoto pagoda and if you walk further up you can reach Daisho temple and walk up to Mt Misen.

Mt Misen is the peak of the island and you can get a great view of the sea and island atop, unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to go up and also as the weather was slightly dull, so any view would have been obscured.

Eating!

So we didn’t do much eating in Hiroshima. I know its surprising! I think we tried an oyster curry bun which is something I have never tried before and also a spicy noodle dish. However I cannot authenticate whether it was truly a Japanese delicacy or whether it may have been Korean or Sichuan in origin. Either way, it was pretty damn good and we ate at the station before we left to go see the sites.

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Spicy noodles, I think I went for level 10 and it went up to level 20, so spicy

We also tried this oyster curry bun, it was something very different and the bun although warm, was not as crispy as I had been expecting. It was still very good!

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Curry oyster bun

Our meal before we went to Osaka was inside the station and it was really good. Fresh sashimi for a very cheap price, I think we spent £30 for two kaiseki and a small plate of sashimi!

Top tips

  1. Go to Miyajima island and explore, you could spend a day or two there. The great tori is a beautiful spectacle
  2. Personally one day of sightseeing in Hiroshima is more than enough as it is such a small city but combined with Miyajima island would be ideal – you have the choice of taking a JR ferry or an alternative company ferry but this is not JR (yes you can use the pass)
  3. If you decide to spend a few days at Hiroshima then plan a stay at Miyajima and leisurely see Mt Misen and the other sites, some people recommend a ryokan at Miyajima
  4. Try to plan to go to Hiroshima either right at the start or the end – we chose the end because we explored the other cities first and it was a nice end to our Japan tour. If you go at the start you can then tour the other cities but I advise using a JR pass

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