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Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima May 3rd 2014

From Itsukushima Shrine to the Atomic Bomb Dome We are sorry to say this but it's got to suck to live in Hiroshima. Pretty much everybody in the world know about Hiroshima for one reason only, the city was once wiped out by an atomic bomb. Even though the atomic bomb is a central part of the history of Hiroshima there is more to that city than that. Hopefully this blog entry will make at least a few people aware of other places worth mentioning in and around one of the most well known cities in the world. But if you read this blog entry for the sole purpose of learning a bit more about what a piece of weaponry named Little Boy did to Hiroshima in the end of the summer in 1945 we will ... read more
Itsukushima Shrine
Torii gate
Main section of the shrine

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Onomichi April 7th 2014

Sakura Season, the Onomichi Trip, and the Return Home Well, I returned from Japan on Tuesday, April 1, and have been meaning to finish up the blog with one last post. It’s a bit late, but here it is now. Towards the end of my last week in Japan, the cherry blossoms came out, and so I was able to do some flower viewing. The pink ume blossoms had been out for a while, and they were beautiful, so I didn’t fully appreciate why people kept anticipating the cherry blossoms. When they came out, it was spectacular. Lining the Nikokawa (river) in Kure, a formerly bleak winter scene, rows of cherry blossoms exploded with life, and with the blossoms, people began returning from their winter hideaways. The river banks were lined with old men ... read more
View of Onomichi Straight
Temple Architecture
Town of History

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Kure March 29th 2014

Since my pass ran out last weekend, this week was spent much more locally. Without the train rides to write on, the days slipped by so I'll just recap briefly here. I still got some sightseeing in, but also had time to study Japanese and catch up on things. I've been following Uncle Ron's Road to Recovery, and I am glad to see that he will be discharged from the second hospital soon. I'll be flying back on his birthday, too, so there's a chance we'll both get home on the same day. Instead of recapping day by day, I'll just review the more exciting aspects of the week. Studying After the weekend, I used some time to catch up on rest and to finally get some serious studying in. They say the best way to ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Miyajima March 25th 2014

We took a day trip from Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima. It is meant to be one of Japan’s most visited places, though it wasn't somewhere we had heard of before coming here. We had however, seen photos of The O-Torii Gate, we just didn't realise where it was. Even way back in 1643, Miyajima was being described as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan. This was by a Confucian scholar, Shunsai Hayashi, who had written a book about his travels through Japan on foot. In 1996, World Cultural Heritage status was bestowed on part of the island including the O-Torii Gate, Itsukushima Shrine and the Mt Misen Forest. Mt Misen is the tallest peak on Miyajima at 535m. It is covered with primeval forest and has been considered sacred since 'ancient' ... read more
One of the many deer
O-Torii Gate at high tide
Heading for the ferry

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima March 23rd 2014

6thAugust 1945. The world took a step closer to the abyss. We went from one iconic image of Japan, Mt Fuji, to another, this one with an altogether different atmosphere. Hiroshima. 6th August 1945. The first atomic bomb was used in warfare. And we got to Hiroshima on yet another icon of Japan – the bullet train. It was a long day of travel for the girls. A bus from Kawaguchiko to Mishima. One bullet train, or shinkansen, from Mishima to Osaka. A second shinkansen from Osaka to Hiroshima. Then we took pity on them and took a taxi to the hostel instead of the tram. Or perhaps took pity on ourselves as the tram would have been hard work with two tired, grouchy kids and our bags. Which incidentally, we don't have many of. We ... read more
Shinkansen - bullet train
A-Bomb Dome on the mural
Our first shinkansen pulling into Mishima station

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Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Onomichi March 21st 2014

The last full day of my vacation, I traveled out to Onomichi, which took 90 minutes by the local train, which was one of the most beautiful train rides I've had here. It was definitely taking us through the countryside, dotted with houses and farms and temples nestled against the backdrop of the hills and trees. Completely amazing, and I really enjoyed it. The purpose of going to Onomichi was to hit up Shimanami Kaido, which is a 70km bike trail that goes across six islands. I knew I wouldn't be able to make it the whole way, because I hadn't been on a bike in about fifteen years, but I wanted to see how far I could go, and to take in the oceanside views the route offered. When I arrived at Onomichi, I grabbed ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Miyajima March 20th 2014

Miyajima Island is called "shrine island" because of the bulk of its fame resting in the "floating" torii (red gate) and shrine built into and on the water on the beach. It's not far from Hiroshima - only a 40 minute train ride and a 10 minute ferry - and tends to shut down completely after 5 pm. There are some ryokans to stay in on the island, but I did the commute thing for a day trip out to see the famous sites. It was easy to get to the ferry and from there, easy to get around the island itself. Deer roam freely through the streets, and I took some funny photos of them trying to get into a shop, and hanging out in a toilet on the mountain (later), and I made a ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima March 19th 2014

I woke up feeling ready to tackle the day after my first night's stay (though my hostel was wonderful and comfortable, a reoccurring issue with hostels in general is the other guests and how loud they are). I had an itinerary planned out so that I knew what I wanted to do, and my main reason for going to Hiroshima was to visit the peace museum and atomic bomb-related memorials. Since I'd walked through the remains of a concentration camp in Germany, I knew I wanted to do this to round out my World War II visitations, and to make sure that I never forgot the horrible things that humans can do to other humans. It's important never to let history die, lest we risk making the same mistakes again. Seeing as how Japan is my ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima March 18th 2014

Because I have three weeks off between school years, I decided to take a vacation completely by myself to see part of the country that I really wanted to get the chance to visit. I journeyed down to Hiroshima via shinkansen, a journey that still amazes me sometimes looking at how far I can go in just four hours after doing nothing but getting on a train. It's convenient, but very pricey, but it's worth it to not have to get on a plane to make that trip, I think. I set out pretty early and arrived in Hiroshima around 1pm, so I had the rest of the day to do some stuff around the city. The first thing I did was get lost (of course), but this is where having a smart phone really comes ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima March 15th 2014

Weekend in Hiroshima March 15-16 After a week of traveling, I stayed in Kure on Saturday and hung out with Ellen. In the evening, we went to Hiroshima to meet up with her friends at a place they call “Beyonce’s Bedroom.” The floor is covered in mattress and there are pillows everywhere, with the tabletop being directly on the soft floor. It was a bit feminine and after the other guy left before we had dinner, I was the only male left. It was a bit silly, but it was nice to meet more of her JET friends. Many of them are from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia as well as the United States. The way Ellen made it sound, I thought we were going to be out all night because you either catch ... read more
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