Japan Log #3 – City of peace

by Grungi

When we arrived at Hiroshima, it was already dark since the sun already had set long before we left Fukuoka. So we made a beeline to our hostel, and were greeted by a really nice and cozy Japanese-style room.

The very comfortabe futon.

The next day was planned as two half. In the morning, we wanted to go to the Hiroshima Dome, lone remain of the atomic bombing of the city during World War II, and to the Peace Museum next to it. Then, in the afternoon, we would probably need something to lift the mood a little bit, so we would be headed to Miyajima, one of the most photographed spot in Japan.

The weather was with us on this one, and we took the streetcar under a clear sky. After a short ride, we arrived at the Dome. I already had seen it, but it still impressed me this time around. It serves as a reminder of an horror of such magnitude that I really feel humbled by it.

The A-Dome, still standing as it remains since that fateful day in 1945.

Then, we took a stroll through the park between the dome and the museum, with all the monuments to the victims of the bombing.

View towards the T-shaped bridge that was meant to be the target of Little Boy.

The museum was, even for a second visit, a pretty harrowing experience. Between the models of children with their skin dangling from their arms to depict wounds from the bomb to slabs of stone with shadows etched upon them by the heat rays, the many items on display were sometimes gruesome, but were always put to the background of the peaceful message of the museum. Hiroshima is really a city dedicated to the idea of everlasting peace and the museum carry this idea to put it front and center. The museum refrains from casting Japan as the helpless victim, but instead spends time acknowledging the horrors committed by Japanese in China, Korea, and elsewhere. No need to say that you still feel a pretty strong guilt at the thought of what the “good guys” did to Hiroshima, and Nagasaki in the hope of preventing the USSR to gain too much influence after the war and justify the cost of the Manhattan project to the public…

Paper cranes folded by Sadako, a child that died of leukemia several years after the bombing, in the hope that making 1000 of them would help her live.

So, after exiting the museum (and escaping the hordes of elementary school children asking for our name for their English class), we started to walk in the direction of the station to take the train towards Miyajima. Along the way, we discovered several pretty sights, that Joan didn’t fail to capture.

A house with a beautiful blue roof.

After a quick train trip, we finally arrived to the Miyajima ferry pier, and as the sun was setting at this point, we got some gorgeous views during the crossing.

On your left, Miyajima.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the locals. And by that I don’t mean the people living on the island, but rather the ones tolerating the humans there : the deers.

Teenage deers with their distinctive “life sucks, man” look.

They were more or less friendly, except when one tried to run away munching on our map. Or when they decided they wanted to be on the group photograph.

Matter-of-factly posing as old Japanese people.

I did take that for a practice run before Nara, though. Because compared to there they seemed quite docile…

Anyway, after messing with the deers, it was time to check out the biggest attraction of the surroundings : the big torii.

The photograph taken ten thousand times.

The sun sets early in Japan. That means that you get to enjoy the nighttime atmosphere a bit more, but it also has its share of drawbacks. For example, it meant that we were too late to enjoy the climb to the top of the mountain behind the temple… Too bad! We still climbed part of the path to grab some pictures, though.

A twisted tree.

Some stones.

The colours of autumn.

When we decided to come back down, it was really dark, but that showed us another side of Miyajima.

Eerie lights near a house.

The temple at night.

And that concluded our Miyajima trip. The next day, we just had a small walk around Hiroshima station planned before our train at noon. It was nice to take things a bit slower to rest for all the walking we had done up to that point. Then, when the time came, we boarded the train to the first “new” destination of this trip, for me at least : Osaka.

But that will be for next time. I’ll give you a spoiler word though : Hyper. Like this hyper spoon :

Not the easiest spoon to take on a picnic.