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Hiroshima is a beautiful city that’s flourishing despite the devastation that occurred in 1945. For me, a trip to Japan didn’t feel complete without a visit to Hiroshima to pay my respects and learn about the devastation that was caused when a 4 tonne atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

 

I caught the Shinkansen bullet train from Kyoto to Hiroshima which only took about 90 minutes. On arrival at Hiroshima, there is a tram service that stops at most main points throughout the city making it really easy to get around. I caught the tram to Ebisu-cho which was directly across the road from my accommodation, The Nest which I found to be an excellent base for exploring.

 

I headed straight for the Peace Memorial Park, after all it was the main reason I wanted to visit Hiroshima. The Peace Memorial Park is situated alongside the Motoyasu River and is incredibly peaceful. It’s quite surreal to walk through an area so beautiful, knowing that such a short time ago in the scheme of life, was completely decimated by an atomic bomb.

 

I visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which captures and presents the devastation caused in such an informative and respectful way. It is really hard to comprehend the damage this bomb caused, it was so large it heated temperatures to 2000-4000 degrees celsius and wiped out an entire city, killing approximately 200,000 people. The photos and horrendous stories of loss, pain and devastation are a stern reminder that war and violence is never the answer.

 

 

Within the Peace Memorial Park, I also visited the Children’s Monument which is a monument for peace to remember Sadako Sasaki, a young girl that died from leukemia due to radiation exposure from the atomic bomb along with thousands of other children – a very sad and touching monument.

 

 

Lastly, I visited the Atomic Bomb Dome, also called the A Bomb Dome which is situated right next to the river and is still somewhat intact following the atomic bomb being dropped. Sadly, everyone inside the building at the time died and the interior was completely gutted by fire. Today, the Atomic Bomb Dome is World Heritage Listed and is a symbol of Hiroshima and a focus for world peace.

 

 

Across the road from the Atomic Bomb Dome is a relatively new building called Orizuru Tower. At the very top, there is an observation deck that offers great views of Hiroshima, especially at sunset. When I visited, there were plastic igloos set up to relax in and enjoy the view.

 

 

Note: I visited in Winter and it was VERY cold and windy at the top so I definitely recommend wearing warm clothes if it’s a cooler day. As part of the entry ticket to the viewing deck, on the way down there is a floor where you can make your own paper crane as a symbol of peace with the help of a Youtube video and the friendly staff. Once you’ve made your paper crane, you are then invited to drop it in to a large section along the side of the building that is full of paper cranes. You can see all of the paper cranes down the side of the building from the road. I really enjoyed doing this activity. For me, it was a way of honouring the victims and contributing a small symbol of peace that will be kept in Hiroshima forever.

 

 

The following day, I visited the historic Japanese Gardens at Shukkei-en which were really beautiful. I even got to see some early cherry blossoms!

 

 

Then it was on to the visit the hypocentre of the Atomic Bomb. The bomb exploded approximately 600m above the monument that stands there today, which was a hospital at the time and was completely destroyed.

 

With a train journey to Osaka scheduled for the afternoon, it was time to head back to my accommodation but I had to have a little walk through the Hondori Shopping District which is a bustling area with lots of shops.

Overall, Hiroshima FAR exceeded my expectations! I don’t know what I was expecting but I certainly didn’t think it would be a thriving city after the devastation that occurred just 75 years ago. I highly recommend a trip to Hiroshima if you are planning on visiting Japan!

 

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