Day 9: Hiroshima

Got up early today as we had to catch the 8:22 Shinkansen from Kyoto station. Another hot day today, we could even feel the heat on the way to the station at 7:30 in the morning. We decided that we’d visit Miyajima Island first off, so we hopped on a local train followed by a nice 10 minute ferry ride. The whole journey was covered by our Japan Rail Pass – really glad we got those, I reckon its saved us a fortune in fares! Some good views were to be had of the “Torii in the Sea” as we approached the island, and of the nearby Itsukushima Shrine and 5-storey pagoda. We made the most of the breeze on the ferry while it lasted, as it looked like it was the only breeze we’d be getting all day! Soon as we got off the ferry, we bought an icecream and as we walked outside the ferry terminal we got accosted by deer. It was brilliant! They really wanted our icecream and at one point Kate had 4 of them jumping up at her. They were really tame and not agressive at all. Kate looked like Doctor Dolittle at one point, and I took a few photos and a short video to capture the moment. 🙂

Moving on we visited the Shrine and took some photos of the big Torii (gate) in the sea. The shrine on this island is a really bright orange colour – more so than all the other shrines/temples we’ve visited, and the whole of it sits on stilts giving the illusion that its floating in the water. It was really hot by now so we tried to stay in the shade. Found some big lantern thingies which we later found out were probably big sake barrels.

After the shrine, we walked up through the village towards the ropeway station that would take us up to the top of Mount Misen. The ropeway/cable car ride took us right near the top, but there was a 30 minute walk if you wanted to go to the summit. We decided against this as it was baking hot, there was little shade, it was all uphill and we still had lots to do. The view was fantastic from the top of the ropeway station anyway. You could see all around Hiroshima and the surrounding islands/towns. There are usually monkeys at the ropeway station too, but the sign said that they’d “all gone into the forest for food”, so unfortunately we didn’t see any.

After getting the ropeway back to the foot of the mountain, we wandered through the shops back to the ferry port (I bought a miniature Torii in the Sea to put on my desk – couldn’t resist!!). Got the ferry back to Hiroshima (enjoyed the breeze again) then got on a tram to the Peace Park and the A-bomb dome and museum.

Seeing the a-bomb dome, the only remaining ruins from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, was mad – all the rubble inside is still there, its as though its remained untouched since the event happened. Scary stuff. We walked through the memorial park, where there are several statues/memorials for different things, and then visited the museum. I can’t really say we enjoyed the museum, it was more of a sobering/educational experience. They show graphical evidence of the tragic event, have lots of info on the bombs themselves (including a lifesize replica model of the one that was dropped on Hiroshima), plenty of stories from survivors, old burnt clothes and artifacts etc. We came out in a very sombre mood, and headed back to Hiroshima train station. We couldn’t get a direct train back to Kyoto, so we changed at Shin-Osaka and eventually got back to the hotel.

Despite the numbing effect of the a-bomb museum we still had a nice day, very different to all the other days so far. New pics uploaded, and a couple of vids. We’re having an easy day tomorrow visiting the Arishiyama District in Kyoto. Only 2 days left here then its back to Tokyo.

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