So this Tuesday i went alone to Hiroshima by Shinkansen for the first time. And it was a very lovely trip.
To start of with, the sinkansen ride that only took 1 hour was so smooth and relaxing i could very easily fall asleep. I am not kidding it goes so freaking fast you couldnt feel a single bump on the tracks until they slowed down for stopping at the different stations.
So what i decided to do that day was to get on the train at 9 in the morning and return around 10 in the evening the same day, so in total i spent 11 hours in hiroshima to visit many of its spectacles. My check of list was 5 things: The peace park, The hiroshima dome, The peace museum, Hiroshima Castle and Itsukushima Island.
So after my problem free Train ride, i step out of the Hiroshima train station and decided to take the tram in the direction of The peace park, and wouldnt you know it, there was one that stopped right next to the park. Where i got of was just above the park so the only path to the park took me to the Hiroshima Dome. It felt very unreal to see this beautiful building standing even after being in the epicenter of the most deadly bomb in human history. It is only the skeleton remaining but sturdy non-the-less! There were so many tourists everywhere and many Japanese people around the park asking for signatures to a nuclear dissarment around the world.
Then i crossed the nearby bridge and entered the park itself, which was a very calm and pretty park with many small and big memorials to adore. I send about one and a half our just walking around and enjoying the occasional rain drops. There were many bells scattered around the area that people could ring to wake the spirits and make prayers at.
There were 2 things that stood out more than the rest and that was firstly the Memorial Cenotaph with the peace flame next to it. It is an arc shaped monument that lies over a tomb with the names of all the people who died in the bombing and its aftermath. If you look at the monument from the right angle, you can see the peace flame (A flame that is meant to burn until the day we no longer have any nuclear weapons on this planet) and the Hiroshima Dome far away in the background. It was a really nice view, but a little difficult to get a good picture with all the tourists everywhere who had the same idea.
And the 2nd is the very colorful and pretty paper cranes everywhere. You can see in these pictures some strings of paper, those strings of paper is made of many hundreds of small origami cranes. For those who dont know, In hiroshima, there was a small girl who´s named Sadako Sasaki who survived the blast at the age of two, and spend the rest of her life in treatment. During her time in hospital, she spend much of her time creating small paper cranes after her friend told her of a legend that said, if someone folds 1000 paper cranes, you will get one wish fulfilled. So in honor of that girl who sadly passed away at the age of 10, people fold paper cranes and offer them at alters and shrines in honor of that girl. Although some stories say she only managed to reach around 640, luckily there is alot of evidence she managed to create over 1000 and continued even after that. We can only hope she finally got her wish.
My next stop was at the peace museum where there were many sad but important exhibitions to see, many broken clothing and items from all over hiroshima. And there were so much to read in the museum, and since i am dyslectic, it took me maby 2 or 3 hours to finish reading everything that was written in that museum, but it was worth it to get a better glans of the events that has unfolded over the past 72 years. Just like when i entered Nagasaki and its peace museum, i didnt feel like i wanted to go around taking pictures of such historical memorabilia, so i only took 2 photos of items i felt really shocked me of the heat and power of the bomb that we normally do not see in media. The first one is of a gas tank about 2000m away from the epicenter, where the extreme heat burned a mark on the wall from a nearby handle. The 2nd chocking item i found was a letter that, because of the extreme heat, had all the black characters burned of, while the paper itself remained intact.
After the museum i decided to head towards Hiroshima castle, that luckily was only 10 minutes walk away. And it was a fantastic sight! Sadly it is not the original castle that stood for many many years, because of the bombing, but the recreation of its certain parts are stunning. The main tower and the main gate is the areas they decided to rebuild from scratch, but it is more then enough to be impressive. you first walk over a bridge the leads the the main courtyard. There there they had a few small exhibitions of what the area looked like hundreds of years ago, and where Hiroshimas castle was located before it was build on its current location. Not much to see here other than the beautiful Japanese architecture of the wall and guard towers itself. I just love how they are build and how elegant they look. When i was finished there, i headed towards the main castle tower, and when i was walking through the courtyard and the main castle compound, i realized how incredibly beautiful it was to see all the trees and nature that had taken over after the destruction many many years ago. It was nice to see a city once completely destroyed being so full of life and nature after such a long time.
When i finally entered the castle i sadly only had about 45 minutes until they closed for the day, so i had to go through everything fast. But the tower itself was amazing. It was huge, frightful and very impressive to look at. Inside they had many many items and pictures of from hiroshimas past, but sadly most of the items didnt have any information in english so i could only look at it and try to puzzle out by myself what they were. But it was really fun to just look at the historical items by itself, so i couldnt complain. And of course, the view from the top floor was fantastic!
Since time was running out for me, i had to abort my plans for Itsukushima Island, and i decided to just wonder a little bit more around the castle compound to enjoy the nature. And luckily everything in Hiroshima is close-by, since it only takes 10 minutes from the peace park to get to the castle, and from the castle to the train station, only takes about 15 minutes. Overall i have to say it was very nice to go on a one day trip to hiroshima and see such a recent historical city. It feels surreal to stand in a place where the atomic bomb was dropped not to long ago and to see how Japan has been able to rebuild and grow stronger after that. Japan is really a fantastic country with alot of things we could learn from them.
But now i will have to leave you all for some studying and room cleaning.
Take care and enjoy the nice pictures i took from the area inside the hiroshima castle compound!