Tuesday 30 May Hiroshima and Miyajima

We arrived in Hiroshima this morning and after a lovely breakfast out on the Lido Deck, we disembarked the ship and two buses drove us through the city centre, past the Castle Moat, to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Kōen) in the centre of Hiroshima. It is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack, and to the memories of the bomb’s direct and indirect victims.
At 8.15am on 6 August 1945 the US dropped an atomic bomb (“Little Boy”) on Hiroshima in Japan. Three days later a second atomic bomb (“Fat Man”) was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. These were the only times nuclear weapons have been used in war.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was planned and designed by the Japanese Architect Kenzo Tange. The location of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was once the city’s busiest downtown commercial and residential district, which was obviously why it was chosen as the site for the nuclear bomb. The park was built on an open field that was created by the explosion. Today there are a number of memorials and monuments, museums, and lecture halls.
Our first stop on our walking tour was at the Atomic Bomb Dome, also known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, which is what remains of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. The building served as a location to promote Hiroshima’s industries. When the bomb exploded, it was one of the few buildings to remain standing (partly), and remains so today. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Atomic Bomb Dome is a moving link to Hiroshima’s unique past.
From there we saw the “Console the Souls” Rock, the Motoyasu-bashi bridge, which was the original target, the Peace Clock Tower and the Peace Bell. We were very moved by the Children’s Peace Memorial, where there is a sea of color thanks to the thousands of folded paper origami cranes, a symbol of longevity and happiness. There is also a monument there in memory of Sadako Sasaki, a little girl who was exposed to the radiation at the age of 2, then 10 years later died of Leukaemia. She had folded thousands of paper cranes to try and stop the disease from killing her.
We also saw the Pond of Peace and the Flame of Peace, which will continue to burn until all Atomic Bombs have disappeared from this earth. The Cenotaph, which is a monument to all the victims, was next to the Flame of Peace. The Cenotaph is an arched tomb for those who died because of the bomb, either the initial blast or exposure to radiation. Below the arch is a stone chest holding a register of these names – there are over 220,000 names – Japanese, Korean and 12 American POWs. The Cenotaph is lit by the Flame of Peace.
We continued our walk to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Outside the museum is the Fountain of Prayer. The Museum is undergoing some renovations, so part of the exhibition has been moved to the East Building. The first thing we saw was an animated aerial replica of the city prior to the atomic blast, and showed an animation of the bomb being dropped, the mushroom cloud and the subsequent devastation of the area. It was disturbing to see the Atomic Bomb and how in a matter of seconds a 2 kilometre zone was completely destroyed. There was an exhibition showing the Dangers of Nuclear War and about Hiroshima’s history during the war, recovery efforts after the war and the efforts of Hiroshima city and its citizens to eliminate nuclear weapons. We also saw some of the belongings and clothing of some of the school children affected by the blast, which was heartbreaking.

The city of Hiroshima is prosperous once again, but the city will forever be synonymous with the tragedy of war and the atomic bomb that was dropped on the city at the close of World War II in 1945.
This was one of the most moving places we have visited.

We returned to the Caledonian Sky for a buffet lunch, which we ate out on the Lido Deck.
At 2.30pm we were shuttled to the island of Miyajima, 10 at a time, in zodiacs – we did beach landings and managed to not get our feet wet.
Miyajima is considered to be one of Japan’s scenic wonders and is located two kilometres off the coast of Hiroshima, offering one of the country’s most iconic sights – a giant red Torii (gateway) that appears to float on the Inland Sea. The great Torii is said to be the boundary between the spirit and the human worlds. The first Otorii of Itsukushima Shrine was constructed in 1168 and was built about 200 metres offshore. The island of Miyajima also features wooded hills where shrines and temples nestle in maple and cherry trees.
We walked along the shore of this lovely island, past the Ferry Terminal from the mainland, through the little village to the Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. The shrine and its Torii gate are unique for being built over the water, seemingly floating in the sea during high tide. The tide was on its way out, which meant that the Shrine buildings did not have water under them, but we were lucky that the Torii Gate still had water around it. We enjoyed wandering through the shrine complex with our guide Junko. She gave us interesting information about the shrine complex, which consists of multiple buildings, including a prayer hall, a main hall and a Noh theater stage (a form of theatre involving music, dance and drama, originated in the 14th century), all of which are connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the sea.
The island also has a fairly large deer population, which, although lovely animals, have become somewhat of a nuisance to tourists as they try to steel food or anything else from your pockets or out of your hands.
We returned to the ship by zodiac and were greeted by the staff with the usual cool face-washers and lovely cold drinks, which were very much appreciated because it was very hot. We enjoyed afternoon tea in the lounge, especially the churros with chocolate sauce and ice cream!
We enjoyed dinner in the dining room, relaxing and chatting with several other couples and the resident musician. As usual there was a lot of laughing and joking from our corner of the room.
We could get used to this lifestyle!

2 Responses to “Tuesday 30 May Hiroshima and Miyajima”

  1. Maria Highes says:

    Love all the photos as always – my favourite today is the Red Torii gateway in the Water – just beautiful 🙂 love us xoxo

  2. sandy says:

    Hi Sis,
    Glad you like the photos – the Red Torii Gate in the water was our favourite too. xo

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