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August 5th 2015
Published: August 6th 2015
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A-Bomb Memorial DayA-Bomb Memorial DayA-Bomb Memorial Day

Floating lanterns with the A-Bomb Dome in the background. Poignant.
After Fukuoka, I took the 5h bus eastwards towards Hiroshima, and I hadn't planned it at all, but after I arrived I found out I was in town just in time for the A-bomb memorial week, and it would turn out to be a particularly poignant and memorable visit to the city.

The city of Hiroshima will perhaps always been remembered for that one tragic morning at 8.15 a.m. on August 6th 1945, when the world saw for the very first time the horrendous power of the atomic bomb. In one fell swoop, virtually the entire city within a few kilometres of the hypocentre of the explosion was destroyed, and tens of thousands of people killed instantly, or in the immediate aftermath. And that excludes the many thousands more who would succumb to their gruesome injuries in the following weeks and months. As for the survivors, they would continue to suffer from radiation poisoning for years, as well as discrimination by others. As debatable and controversial the use of the bomb remains to this day in the context of its role in ending World War II, one thing most must surely agree with is that it was not humanity's finest
Floating ToriiFloating ToriiFloating Torii

Certainly the most recognisable sight in Miyajima, and possibly in all of Japan. Built hundreds of years ago and still standing.
moment, and the destructive power of nuclear weapons should hopefully never have to be used again in future.

Seventy years later, the city has completely rebuilt itself, and now stands proudly in the ranks alongside Japan's other major cities. Walking along Hiroshima's peaceful parks in the evenings, it's almost impossible to imagine the hell it endured seventy years ago, if not for the few remnant structures that building that somehow withstood the blast, and continue to serve as reminders of that fateful morning. The memorial week's programme of activities concluded on the evening of August 6th, when hundreds of coloured lanterns bearing messages of peace were floated along the Ota River in remembrance of the victims, and which concluded also one of the most poignant visits to any place that I've made on my travels thus far...

Stayed at Cube Hiroshima.


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The Humble, Unsung Hiroshima Tram OperatorThe Humble, Unsung Hiroshima Tram Operator
The Humble, Unsung Hiroshima Tram Operator

I'm exceedingly impressed by the service and performance standards of Hiroshima tram operators. Other than merely driving and ensuring all passengers have boarded and alighted safely, at each stop, he stands to bid each alighting passenger farewell with a smile. I've also observed (admittedly almost somewhat bizarrely) that when the traffic light changes from red to green, he strikes his hand forward with a pointed finger, and says something in Japanese which I can only assume to mean something like "Onward we go!". This is done regardless of whether anyone is paying attention to him. Impressive.
A-Bomb DomeA-Bomb Dome
A-Bomb Dome

One of the few structures left standing (just barely) near the hypocentre of the A-bomb seventy years ago.
Children's Peace MemorialChildren's Peace Memorial
Children's Peace Memorial

In the background are thousands of origami paper cranes, in memory of Sadako, one of the young victims who'd originally folded a thousand cranes hoping they'd grant her wish of survival. She did not make it.
Peace Memorial MuseumPeace Memorial Museum
Peace Memorial Museum

Mock-up of the hypocentre.
Peace Memorial MuseumPeace Memorial Museum
Peace Memorial Museum

"Little Boy", as the bomb was known, so called because it'd turned out smaller than originally designed.
Peace Memorial MuseumPeace Memorial Museum
Peace Memorial Museum

Sadako's paper cranes.
RamenRamen
Ramen

I was expecting to become more closely acquainted with this dish in Japan, one of the more common budget options. Plus side is the atmospheric ramen bar.
Cozy Capsule!Cozy Capsule!
Cozy Capsule!

@ the Cube Hiroshima.
JPY400 BreakfastJPY400 Breakfast
JPY400 Breakfast

I could get used to these <USD4 breakfasts! Definitely a pleasant surprise, no small thanks to the currently weak yen.
Former Bank of Japan BuildingFormer Bank of Japan Building
Former Bank of Japan Building

Another one of the few buildings left standing in the wake of the bomb. Remarkably, it was opened was business again just two days after the bombing, and transactions involving other banks were also processed here.
Shukkei GardenShukkei Garden
Shukkei Garden

Apparently inspired by West Lake in Hangzhou, China, but a miniaturised version.
Hiroshima Tram LineHiroshima Tram Line
Hiroshima Tram Line

In operation even before the bomb, almost a hundred years now, and a poignant contrast to the subway which is otherwise ubiquitous in other major Japanese cities.
JPY1000 Nagoya Style UnagiJPY1000 Nagoya Style Unagi
JPY1000 Nagoya Style Unagi

The capsule hotel owner who happened to be sitting at the next table explained using hand gestures how to negotiate the onion/wasabi/broth concoction (just slurp it all up with the eel).


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