Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima

Tripoto
Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima 1/1 by Mariya Nalawala

To most of the people around the world, the port city of Hiroshima will forever be associated with the tragic events of August 6th, 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped. But when I visited the city for the first time I learned that is not the case at all. I found it to be a lively and beautiful city that has recovered greatly from its scarred past. The city is a reminder of a horrific past, but also bright and hopeful future.

You should definitely plan, at least for a day to visit this beautiful city.

A day trip to Hiroshima is very easy from Kyoto. There are several Shinkansen lines that make the journey between Kyoto and Hiroshima. A journey in bullet trains cuts the travel time by half.

A short history of Hiroshima atom bomb:

On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped the first of two atomic bombs over Japan. The atomic bomb was exploded 600 meters in the air over Hiroshima. The blast and the heat wave reached the city almost instantly, leaving only well-constructed buildings intact. At the hypocenter, people were killed instantly. Further away from the hypocenter, there were survivors, but many of these people died within a few days to a few weeks, victims of radiation sickness. Those people who lived on the outskirts of Hiroshima survived the bombing, but many of them were affected with cancer and other medical problems in later years.

After the bombing, buildings in Hiroshima were dismantled as part of the rebuilding process. The Atomic Bomb Dome, known before the bombing of Hiroshima as the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall was preserved it as a memorial of the bombing and a symbol of peace.

* Atomic Bomb Dome

The Atomic Bomb Dome became a symbol of the bombing of Hiroshima and it was left in place. The Atomic Bomb Dome sits behind a fence and is surrounded by trees. Other than seeing this building, I never would have imagined the level of destruction that existed here seventy years ago.

Photo of Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan by Mariya Nalawala
Photo of Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan by Mariya Nalawala

* Hiroshima Hypocenter

The hypocenter also known as Ground Zero is the point where the atomic bomb was exploded, 600 meters off of the ground. It is marked by a small, marble monument on a downtown street. It was so sad even to imagine what would have been like to have been there on that fateful day.

Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala

On the way from Hypocenter to the Atomic Bomb Dome, there is a bridge over the Ota River.

* Children's Peace Monument

The Children’s Peace Monument is a monument that stands in memory of all of the thousands of children who were killed by the blast. It is topped with a figure of Sasaki Sadako, a young girl who died of radiation poisoning in 1955.

Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala
Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala
Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala

Next, to the list of sites, there is the Cenotaph. The Cenotaph frames an eternal flame, and it is said that this flame will burning until all nuclear bombs are eradicated.

* Hiroshima Museum

The museum has some of the best of the exhibits, which gives a fascinating and somewhat disturbing look into the destruction that occurred with the bombing of Hiroshima. I learned about the impact the bombing had on the city of Hiroshima and its people. Some of the exhibits are very graphic.

There are statues of women and children walking through the rubble, their skin literally hanging from their arms which is the result of radiation sickness and the effects it has on the human body.

Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala
Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala
Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala
Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala

None of them is very good. As I walked down the museum I learned more about the effects of radiation on the human body. Children born in the months after the bombing usually had some sort of birth defect. There were even deformed body parts preserved in jars, on display.

It was so morbid and depressing seeing after bomb effects on people.

Photo of Miyajima Island, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan by Mariya Nalawala

Miyajima is an island just outside of Hiroshima. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and one of the Japans most visited tourist attractions. It is famous for its red shine Torii gate, which rises out of the water.

Take the ferry to reach the island, as it’s far more scenic than the train!

Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala

When you are on the island you will see a lot of tame deer all over the place. They roam the streets following people :)

Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala

There are several temples, pavilions and pagodas on the island, one is even located on a hill to which one can walk or take a ropeway half way up. Unfortunately, I did not have time to do this hike.

Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala
Photo of Japan Part 3 - Hiroshima & Miyajima by Mariya Nalawala

I had a very good time on the Miyajima Island and enjoyed wandering the streets and parks among the cheeky deer. But of course, the highlight was the floating gate which was pretty cool.

Note: For all the hikers out there

You can do the hike up to Miyajima's highest Mountain Misen (530 m, 4 hour hike) where there are a temple and a flame that has been burning for 1200 years.

I enjoyed my time here and I hope you will enjoy it too :)

Keep Exploring :)