FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2017
Saturday, 08 November, 2014 19:18

A Side Trip To Hiroshima

Back On The Bullet Train ….
Whilst in Osaka we planned a 2 day side trip to Hiroshima with the primary objectives of visiting the island of Miyajima and the Peace Park in Hiroshima.  Our 87 minute Shinkansen journey took us to Hiroshima and we immediately hopped on another train for a short journey to Miyajimaguchi where the ferry terminal is located to get us across to the island of Miyajima.

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Bullet train to Hiroshima

Miyajima Island, A World Heritage Site ….
The ferry trip across to the island took about 15 minutes and was free if you had a Japan Rail Pass.  One of the highlights of Miyajima is the O-Torrii Gate, a massive 60 ton cypress wooden gate that sits in the water about 50 meters away from the Itsukushima Shrine.  At high tide it is in the water but at low tide people can walk out to the gate on the sand.  The Itsukushima Shrine is also built over the water at high tide and is an impressive orange structure.  Construction of the shrine first started in the year 563 and was later remodeled in 1168.  The shrine consists of a main shrine, a drama stage, music rooms, halls and several other smaller shrines surrounding the main shrine.

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O-Torrii Gate that welcomes you to Mirajima

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Walkways on the impressive Itsukushima Shrine

We See A Wedding ….
During our walk around the shrine we were lucky to witness a traditional Japanese wedding with the bride in a Kimono and the groom in traditional costume.  Lots of formalities, drum banging and chanting.  Very interesting.

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A wedding in progress at the shrine. Very formal

Another Shrine And A Pagoda ….
A walk up a rather steep hill and we were at the Five Story Pagoda and the Toyokuni Shrine.  Whilst we were there we witnessed a special ceremony where we assumed new buddhist monks were being ordained.  Once again, lots of drum banging, speeches and chanting for this very formal ceremony.

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5 Story Pagoda

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Formalities at the Tokokuni Shrine

A Delicious Lunch ….
We were recommended to try Okonomi-yaki for lunch in Miyajima and it did not disappoint.  This delicious dish was invented in Japan dating back more than 70 years and became very popular as a street stall snack following the A Bomb attack.  Flour is mixed with water to provide a pancake style mixture and then on the top was added spring onions.  Over the years it has been refined and now includes chopped cabbage, noodles, bean sprouts, pork and egg or beef, scallops or oysters then covered with a delicious sauce topping.   Healthy, nutricious and very tasty.  Another popular treat on the island are fresh oysters baked in their shell then served.

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Our Okonomi-yaki restaurant for lunch

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My half eaten Okonomi-yaki Lunch. I was too hungry to take the photo before I started

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The compulsory gift shops

Back To Hiroshima ….
After several hours in Miyajima visiting shrines, temples, gardens and compulsory gift shops we were back on the ferry and train headed for Hiroshima.   We checked into our hotel, The Parkside,  right next to the Peace Park and then just as dusk fell went out to walk around the Peace Park developed to commemorate the loss of life and devastation caused by the dropping of the first ever atomic bomb in wartime which occurred at 8:15 AM on August 6, 1945.   Walking this park is a very moving experience particularly as dusk fell and there was the orange glow from the setting sun on the buildings, monuments and the autumn colours on the trees.  The most dramatic monument is the A Bomb Dome, another world heritage site, which was originally built as the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotions Hall but now stands witness to the devastation caused by an atomic bomb.  Our day finished with a walk up the Hondori St covered arcade and then a delicious meal at a restaurant right on the water overlooking the Peace Park.  The end to an interesting day.

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A-Bomb Dome at sunset

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A-Bomb Dome at night

An Early Start ….
Up early the next morning to walk around the Peace Park visiting many of the monuments commemorating loss of life as a result of the atomic bomb and then a visit to the Peace Memorial Museum, the National Peace Memorial Hall for the bomb victims and the Childrens Peace Monument.  We walked to Hiroshima Castle and then on to the Shukkeien Traditional Japanese Garden to complete a full and interesting day.  It was then back on the Shinkansen to our cosy little apartment in Osaka.

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Childrens Peace Monument. The boxes at the base contain millions of paper cranes sent from all over the world

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Cenotaph for A-Bomb victims

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle

A wedding at the Shukkeien Gardens

A wedding at the Shukkeien Gardens

Autumn colours at the Shukkeien Gardens

Autumn colours at the Shukkeien Gardens

 

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