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Published: September 8th 2011
Before we went to Hiroshima neither of us really knew anything about it. Ang knew a bit more from watching old war films but all we knew was that an atomic bomb was dropped and this ended the war between japan and the allies.
We took a shinkansen from Osaka to Hiroshima which took 1.5 hours and were greeted by a beautiful blue sky scattered with fluffy white clouds – Great weather compared to the typhoon conditions we had experienced in Kyoto!
We took a short tram ride to Peace Memorial Park which has the atomic bomb dome, Peace memorial museum, the cenotaph and the flame (which will be extinguished when the last atomic weapon is dismantled).
We read more about the bomb dome, which used was the Industrial Promotion hall in a thriving Hiroshima which at the time was a rapidly growing city. This was one of the only buildings that remained partly standing in 2km radius of the Hypocentre. The atomic bomb exploded almost directly on top of this building, which is why it was not instantly flattened along with the rest of the city. Many residents of Hiroshima did not want this to be preserved,
but many did to remind others of the destruction and devastation that atomic warfare can cause. The building itself is eerie – set among the green garden, overlooking the river and the modern buildings of the new, restored Hiroshima.
We took a look at the children’s memorial, which was erected to remember the many young boys and girls who lost their lives due to the A-bomb. We made a short walk to the museum and we decided to rent an audio guide. What we liked about this museum was that it was not taking a side, it was unbiased and it as it was (unlike, say, the War museum in HCMC, Vietnam!).
We read about how the Americans decided to use the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan and also to prevent the Russians from entering the war to secure a strong political position. We also found out that 5 cities were picked and it was whittled down to Hiroshima due to its strong military presence and its port.
We heard people’s accounts and were shown items of people who had lost their lives which made some of the Japanese tourists rather distraught and in
tears. Clothes, skin and even fingernails of affected people were on display.
Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia had all shown us the atrocities of war and this only strengthened our feelings that war is not worth the loss of life and suffering of so many innocent people.
We took a walk back through the arcades and had a browse around the area. We took the shinkansen back to Osaka. That evening we went up to the floating garden in the Umeda Sky building - which had amazing views of Osaka city at night. We came across an Oktoberfest celebration at the bottom of the building and it was really great to watch the Japanese drinking German beer and munching on sausages - there was also some yodelling.
Deb & Ang
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