Last night I stayed in a small, cheap hotel in Hiroshima. Then I was off to Hiroshima Peace Park, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and Itsukushima Shrine. Unfortunately I ended up with rain all day, so I got soaked and so did my bookbag. Thankfully most of my stuff was alright, but I think some of the pamphlets I’d picked up from several of the places I’ve gone to the past couple of days got pretty wet. I’m hoping I can lay them out when I get back to Tokyo and maybe they’ll be somewhat alright.
The room I stayed in was pretty small and had a slider instead of a door (so I could hear other people moving around in their rooms) but it was super cheap and it was a place to stay. The room pretty much just had a small bed, a small desk, and a closet that was barely wide enough to fit my overpacked bookbag. Down the hall they had restrooms, a community shower, and what I’m assuming was a place to do laundry. The sign had a picture of a washing machine, but underneath it read, “Laund Romat.” Somebody butchered that spelling hard core, haha.
I woke up early in the morning and headed to Hiroshima Peace Park. I went to the A-Bomb Dome, which is one of the few buildings that remained standing after the atomic bomb went off. I also saw the Children’s Peace Momument which is a memorial for all the children who died as a result from the bomb. Surrounding the monument are several cases of paper cranes that people have made. (If you’re not familiar with the significance of paper cranes, you can read the story about it here). I also stopped by the memorial hall for the victims where you can search the archives for a list of atomic bomb victims.
The actual Peace Memorial Museum was a heart wrenching place to visit, especially as an American. I may not have been the one who decided to drop the atomic bomb, but somehow seeing this museum made it hard to have American pride. Some of the exhibits in this museum are a little grotesque. It’s definitely not a place you should visit if you are faint of heart, but I think it’s a place that everybody should make and effort to visit. I’ve learned about the atomic bomb in high school and we read books about the horrors the survivors experienced, but that’s nothing compared to seeing pictures of just how badly that bomb destroyed people. My heart goes out to everyone who suffered because of it.
In the afternoon I made my way to Miyajima, which is a small island not too far from Hiroshima that’s famous for Itsukushima shrine. I wish I would have planned better because I ended up going at low tide. The shrine is famous because it will look like it is floating when it’s high tide, but because I went at low tide, the pictures I got weren’t as good as the ones you often see on the Internet. Still, the shrine itself was a cool place to see. The island is full of mountains, so when you ride the ferry over, it’s really cool to see the big Torii on the beach, the red shrine, and then the mountains in the background. Even through the rain it made for an absolutely beautiful sight. If you ever find yourself near Hiroshima, this is definitely a must visit.