Journey to Hiroshima - 広島の旅

This will be another retro blog post. This one dating back to September of 2009. I had a few days off from work, so I planned a trip to Hiroshima, Miyajima, and Iwakuni for a few days. My first destination was Hiroshima.

Bomb Dome in Hiroshima


I'm sure most of you are familiar with the historical significance of Hiroshima. It is one of only two cities that have ever had an atomic bomb dropped on it, with Nagasaki being the other. The picture above is of a structure that was near the epicenter of the bomb explosion and is still standing. It is called the "Bakudan Dome" or "Bomb Dome".

Traveling to Hiroshima was a bit of a bittersweet trip for me. I am a bit of a history buff. I own many books on histories from every era and location in the world. My bachelor's degree is even in history. Therefore, it was an amazing experience to travel to such an important historical site. Also, as an American, it was a bit awe inspiring and emotional. It is this city, shy of just 70 years ago (not that long at all) that America was at war with Japan and dropped an atomic weapon on this city. Standing in a location where so much death, destruction, and misery was caused on innocent people gave me such a weird wave of emotions. From horror, sadness, guilt and simple shock.

It is amazing how far both Hiroshima, and human relations between Japan and America have come in just a few short decades. The most amazing thing about Hiroshima are the people. They are so welcoming, friendly, and hospitable, and many are still around to have witnessed the bombing firsthand. But I was met with smiles, friendly hellos, and offers to show me around the different sites. At the time of my visit, there was a local resident who had survived both atomic bombings. He was on a business trip in Nagasaki when the first bomb hit, and rushed back as fast as he could to Hiroshima, just in time to be caught in the second bombing. He miraculously survived both and lived a long life. He died sometime sooner after the time of this trip.

Hiroshima is in the southern part of Honshu (which is the largest island of Japan) and I traveled there via bullet train or the shinkansen. The trip took around four hours on the shinkansen. As comfortable as the ride was, I was happy to see this when I arrived:


Hiroshima Station

The first thing I noticed about Hiroshima was how clean the city is. Granted, most buildings are not that old, but it was interesting to see just how neat and clean the city was.


The clean streets of Hiroshima

The clean streets of Hiroshima

River in Hiroshima

After checking into my hotel, I decided to just spend the rest of the day slowly exploring the city. I set off on foot, with the Bomb Dome as my goal. But I stopped at some interesting places along the way. The first stop was a traditional Japanese garden:

Japanese Garden in Hiroshima 1

Japanese Garden in Hiroshima 2

I have many more pictures of the garden here.

After that, I headed to Hiroshima castle. Japan still has an amazing number of castles still standing. Many of them have been turned into museums and are fully accessible to the public.

Hiroshima Castle

What I enjoyed most about the castle was the view from the observation deck. 

View of Hiroshima from the Castle


View from Hiroshima Castle 2


After the castle, I finally headed towards the center of the city and was properly welcomed!

Welcome to Hiroshima
Thank you! 


Streetcar track in Hiroshima

Here you can see a streetcar track that is still used today.

When I arrived at the Bomb Dome, I was met with this memorial. People place bottles of water for all of the victims of the bombing, who burned alive. Giving them a bit of refreshment in the beyond.
Memorial in Hiroshima


Bomb Dome in Hiroshima 2


Birds on the Bomb Dome 1


As you see in the pictures above and below, the building was teaming with birds and other wildlife. Seeing so much life in an area of death.

Birds on the Bomb Dome 2


View into the Hiroshima Bomb Dome

The closest view one can get to the inside of the dome.

Hiroshima Bomb Dome 3

I mentioned earlier that the dome was close to the epicenter of where the bomb hit. The actual epicenter was close by and had a very interesting marker.

Hiroshima Epicenter

Here, at this statue is the direct center of where the bomb fell. The heat of the blast was so intense, that the shadow is permanent burnt into the statue.


Hiroshima Epicenter 2

I explored a bit more in the area and saw many more memorials surrounding the dome, dedicated to victims who were children and more. There was one more important spot I wanted to see, however.

Hiroshima Bomb Dome 4


Here is a view of the Bomb Dome from across the river.

Eternal Flame in Hiroshima


Here is an eternal flame lit in memorial to the victims of Hiroshima, it is constantly kept burning despite any weather conditions.

Eternal Flame in Hiroshima 2


And from this view, it aligns perfectly with the Bomb Dome in the distance.

Eternal Flame & Bomb Dome in Hiroshima


There were many more memorials to see in the area, and friendly locals to help explain and tell stories. Visiting Hiroshima was quite a moving experience for me. It is amazing how far the city has come to from this:

Hiroshima Aftermath


 I believe it is a must visit city for any American traveling in Japan.

Here are the rest of the photos from the trip:



The next day I traveled to the nearby island of Miyajima. That, however, will have to wait for the next entry! I hope you're all enjoying reading these entries. It is very enjoyable for me to remember these past trips and share them with the world. Thank you all very much for reading!

Shea
Journey to Hiroshima - 広島の旅 Journey to Hiroshima - 広島の旅 Reviewed by Shea Roberts on 8:12 PM Rating: 5
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