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Published: November 7th 2009
A sculpture designed to illustrate the melting and twisting of metal from the heat of the bomb.
Upon arriving by Shinkansen train we were immediately greeted by warmer weather and it has to be said a warmer people.
Hiroshima will always stand out in history as the place where the first atomic bomb was dropped to devastating effect. So much of the area is understandably dominated by this history with monuments, parks, museums and sculptures and there is a huge sense of what happened that fateful day should never happen again with the city representing a warning to mankind. However, despite this morbid past Hiroshima happens to be a thriving city. With plenty of lush greenery and trees, a main river that runs through the city and plenty of restaurants and tourist sites to keep the majority interested. The people are warm and friendly and seem happy rather than indifferent to the tourist presence . Matt and I took the opportunity on arrival to duck into a great noodle restaurant near our hotel. I can't remember the name of the dish but it was basically noodles in a broth with an assortment of spices which upped the heat ante considerably. I was explaining to Matt that the correct way to eat noodles is with a healthy amount
of slurp! After this three guys came in and helpfully demonstrated what I meant with large amounts of slurping going on which is quite amusing to the outside observer, its possibly something to do with cooling it down or helping the flavour but another cultural difference all the same.
We also visited Hiroshima Castle which architecturally was no different to Osaka Castle but in size and is still something to behold despite the original being bombed with this concrete copy created in its stead.
The next day we headed off to the idyllic shrine island of Myajima which is an hours journey if taking the express boat from Hiroshima city which we did. The sad thing about the boat journey was we were totally enclosed and subjected to sub-zero air conditioning which took the pleasure slightly away from the journey across but still managed to see some nice scenery on the way.
The island was opening up shop as we arrived and there were tens of school children milling around all in the Japanese blue and white uniform maybe waiting for their day to start. Walking round you cant help but bump into the local wildlife which has
Atomic Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome)
As Hiroshima was rebuilt around the dome, it became a subject of controversy; some locals wanted it torn down, while others wanted to preserve it as a memorial of the bombing.
become tame over the years and are happy to come and see what your all about or sun themselves in the middle of the path.
The main tourist attraction at Myajima to some degree is the Torii arch which sits just off the island in the water and is a very heavily photographed site but yet quite stunning with the bright red t-shape emerging from the water contrasting with the blue sky and sea (the tide was in) and am sure is one of Japans national treasures.
You can see why Myajima is a UNESCO World Heritage site with ancient pagodas, temples and little traditional looking shops and restaurants but there is an element of encroaching tourism which somewhat diminishes the authenticity of the island but this really was a quick stop for me and I wanted to head off and get to the hotel in Kobe where we would be meeting up with our Karate instructor and friends.
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