I am writing this as the news from North Korea vows to put US military bases in Japan “under radioactive clouds” and threatens another Hiroshima – If war breaks out. The warning appeared in the Korean state newspaper “Rodung Sinmun”. The threat comes as the Japanese debates over changing their anti-war constitution, in fear that the conflict between Amerika and North Korea increase.
If you can talk about a place having a soul, Hiroshima has one. This modern city has the skeleton of one building standing from before august 6th 1945. The skeleton of “the Dome” is telling the story of the destruction of nuclear bombing in wars. The dome was in the centre area of the blast that wiped out Hiroshima city and killed 350 000 people instantly. The number of casualties in the aftermath, due to radiation related illness and burns are unknown.
The Peace Park, across the river from the Dome is beautifully decorated with trees, monuments, peace sculptures and museums – totally dedicated to the honour world peace. I arrived as the cherry blossoms were peaking and families had picnics under the cherry trees, celebrated Sakura and the new spring. After visiting the museums, it was a moving contrast to the heritage from the war. Visiting Hiroshima has been on my bucket list for a long time and ended up being a wonderful surprise. The Area is a celebration of life, peace, and new beginnings, beautifully displayed in a park where you can walk around and experience the different areas inside and outdoors at your own pace. Overwhelming feelings of sadness is definitely a part of the experience. So is the Happiness of watching old and young people celebrating a new spring and hope for a prosperous new year under the cherry trees. In Japan, the new year starts with the cherry blossom. That’s when the school year starts and newly hired staff start their job by securing good spots under the cherry trees for the office festivities.
The rest of the city is a modern metropole with cafes, restaurants, and shopping in the streets in and around Hondori street. This shopping street has a roof so rain or shine, you are dry and tempered when visiting. A tour in the park around Hiroshima Castle is also worth a visit. Inside the castle the view is lovely from the top terrace. You can also visit “Museum of contemporary art” and “Hilltop art museum and sculpture garden”, where they have a skywalk and interesting sculptures outside, as well as a nice view over the city. The Hiroshima prefectual art museum is a nice little museum where you can view a real “Dali” and the garden Shukkei-en, behing the museum is a traditional Japanese beauty to stop by if you have time.
I stayed 3 days and decided to take the ferry to Miyajima Island to enjoy a day of hiking and nature. You can buy a combination roundtrip ticket with the city car (tram) and ferry. They sell them at the tourist information next to the Dome. In Miyajima there is a little town, beautiful temples and gardens. There are three different hiking trails to the top. I tried two of them. The Momiji Dani route going up and the Daishoin route going down. The view from the top of Misen mountain is beautiful. The Island has lots of deer and they are used to people. Get close and take a deer-selfie. There is a cable car going a part of the way to the top. If you don’t want to hike, you can still get to a top with a view. Read more about the Island and attractions here.
I arrived Hiroshima from Kyoto with Shinkansen. Fast trains are not a luxury we indulge in where I come from. I only tried it once before, in China, from Shanghai to Beijing – big tick of the bucket list. As I leave this soulful place, I pray that Kim Jong Un`s threat to repeat the nightmares of Hiroshima, are just words. Now, Shinkansen is waiting to fly me low to Tokyo.