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Hiroshima: what to see

Have you thought of visiting Hiroshima?

By Anna Purpurpurpur

Hiroshima became a household name after the tragic events of WWII and iconic movies such as Hiroshima Mon Amour, and is sadly less visited than other Japanese legendary cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and others. Let me show you some of the major landmarks in this city if you decide to pay it a visit!

Peace memorial museum 

Hiroshima was an important military target for Americans who pushed Japanese Emperor to capitulate and end the war sooner after Germany capitulated a few months earlier, and a first nuclear bomb in the human history hit the city at 8:15 on August 6, 1945. Peace memorial museum is the main landmark documenting the events that lead to the bombing, the timeline of that day, the immediate damage that was brunt by the bomb and its extended influence on the human lives.

The museum was opened in 1955 and the renovations ended in 2019 (unfortunately, a part of the exposition was under renovations during our visit). I use the official pictures to illustrate this part of my blog.

Peace memorial museum park

Peace memorial museum surrounded by Peace memorial museum park. There is a flame in the park which will be lit until all nuclear bombs around our planet are destroyed.

Atomic Bomb Dome

Atomic Bomb Dome is the most well-known symbol of American bombing at 8:15 on August 6, 1945. Initially it was constructed in 1915 and served as Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. It’s located pretty close to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and is the only building in this area which remained standing after the blast.

Although the aiming point for it was supposed to be the T-shaped Aioi Bridge, in reality the bomb detonated almost by the dome and probably due to that and its initial earthquake-proof properties it was left standing. Now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

Children’s Peace Monument 

Children’s Peace Monument featuring a girl with a golden crane is dedicated to Sadako Sasaki and all other children affected by the Hiroshima bombing (here’s a special word for people like this in Japan: hibakusha). Sadako Sasaki was just two when she was exposited to nuclear radiation, and the symptoms developed only much later. She died of leukaemia in 1955 when she was 12 years old, and everyone knows her as a girl who folded paper origami cranes in hope to recover.

When she was admitted to a hospital, a friend of hers told her a legend that a person who make thousand paper cranes, can be granted a wish. There’s a touching story that she folded only 644 out of 1000 before her death and the rest was folded by her friends and family members, however in realily she managed to fold over 1300 cranes made out of different materials (it was hard to find paper in the hospital). 

You could also read a diary of Yoko Moriwaki, another little girl who described the events or WWII in Japan and died in August 1945 (her diary is sometimes compared to the diary of Anna Frank from Amsterdam: although the girls were on the different sides during the wartime – Japan fought together with Nazi Germany and Anna Frank was a Jew in hiding – wartime was cruel for everyone). 

Hiroshima castle 

Hiroshima Castle, also called The Carp Castle, was constructed in the 16th century as the seat of Mori Terumoto, a military chief and one of the members of the Council of Five Elders organised by famous unifier of Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598. It played an important role in the Japanese feudal and military history, and the city which we known as Hiroshima mainly was formed around it.

Original castle built out of wood was destroyed by the atomic bomb as well however its main tower was restored in concrete in the 1958. Now it’s a really beautiful sight surrounded by  castle walls and water, and the green park outside the nicest spot for a stroll or hanami, sakura viewing!

Shukkeien garden located not far from the Castle dates back to the early 17th century. With a large lake and different flower areas, this is another landmark to consider visiting. 

Easy trips from Hiroshima

Hiroshima is located very conveniently to travel to other destinations from it. For instance, you can visit Miyajima, a sacred island famous for its Great Torii standing in the water, or the Rabbit Island, where wild rabbits occupy the whole area – and you can feed with with special food bought in a kiosk nearby.

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Hope you liked my blog!
Yours,
Anna xxx

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