Off we go again, leaving the Monastery to make the return trip, Funicular and 2 trains back to Osaka to then catch a Shinkansen (300kph) for a 1.5hr ride to Hiroshima. Again, upon arrival as a group all of us with luggage in tow we all walked to the Hotel New Hiroden for a 2-night stay.
Later that evening Kiyoe ran a group exercise teaching paper folding (origami) on how to make a paper crane (traditional bird of Japan (Hiroshima).
First stop for the day was a local bus ride to see the Hiroshima Castle ruins, Temple and the remainder of the Watch Towers, however Karen and I were left on the bus as everyone got off without us knowing. As the bus left the stop Karen looked out to see Brain frantically waving his arms to either us or the Bus driver, as we were left there alone, very funny travel story….
We then walked through the gardens, across a bridge and string of lanterns to the Temple. Most of the group went in for a tour/walk, but Karen, Brian & Nicola stayed out. So I ventured in and went in to all floors and inside was able to dress like a Samurai and had photos taken by myself, with Houda dressed in Kimono wear and then Kiyoe joined in for a group photo.
Took some city scape photos from the roof top level and stuck my head out next to a gap near the binoculars and called out to Karen.
From there we walked towards the city to the Hiroshima Parco Shopping Mall, shopping, cafes, puppies, ABC shoe Marts, sock stores etc etc.
We met at the end to attend a group dinner, Okonomiyaki where over 4 levels of the building there are 80 little diners serving Okonomiyaki. Well, what an amazing experience eating like a local in a place you would never find, the mum, dad & son all cooked and served from behind a tiny long hot plate making the multiple level meal with all sorts of different fillings, including egg, cabbage, bacon, spices and more, Cold beer, baseball on TV, great food and company all wrapped up into one night of Fun. Okonomiyaki YES please!
Walked home at night back through the street besides the local shops, eateries, little bars and Okonomiyaki places and others we couldn’t recognise.
Finally, back to our room to prepare for next day, tidy up and sleep. (zzzzZZZZZ)
23 May Well, luck wasn’t on our side as it decided to rain, yes rain ‘all day’ for our day trip to Hiroshima Park & Peace Memorial – Miyajima Island (‘torii’ gate)
First up, meet at the Mermaid Bakery to have breakfast, warmed cinnamon bun (soo good) and coffee, then head towards JR Bus to visit the A-bomb dome, very much near the hypocenter of where the Nuclear bomb was dropped (Wednesday August 6th - 1945 at 8.15am).
The A-bomb dome was originally built as an Exhibition Hall and still remains today in memory of the horrific events that led to thousands of deaths for many years after due to Radioactive fallout etc. Kiyone also explained and got quite emotional when talking about the fact many many bodies of the people from the moment of the attack are still in the adjacent river, along with thousands of children who were visiting the area having a day off school. Only metres’ away along the river we stopped at a Memorial built and dedicated for the children killed and for us to pay our respect.
We then continued onto the memorial site and statue for the young girl who died from Leukemia where local people from all over Hiroshima made folded ‘Cranes’.
It was believed if they made and presented 1,000 paper cranes (Hope & Healing) ‘Sambazuru’, to help give her strength to survive, but unfortunately, she did die. Earlier the tour group made cranes in the Hotel as a learning experience, and in her own time Kiyone made them all into a beautiful hanging design and out of respect and tradition they were presented and placed at the site.
Across the way we then walked into Hiroshima Peace memorial Park, whereon 1st August 1964 in hope of a world without nuclear weapons, the flame (Flame of Peace) will continue to burn until nuclear weapons are abolished worldwide. The pedestal was designed in the image of two hands pressed together with the palms facing the sky. (Let’s hope its extinguished soon).
Next was a visit to the Hiroshima Memorial Hall (Museum) where the group spent 1hr looking through to experience the history, reasons and devastation of the event. It was somber, sad and enlightening experience, yet felt very indifferent…..Met in Café, again coffee to move on to catch bus towards the Ferry for Miyajima Island. As a group we caught the Ferry (10 min ride) over to Miyajima Island to visit the Itsukushima Shrine, the floating ‘torii’ gate.
Itsukushima, also known as Miyajima, is a small island in Hiroshima Bay, western Japan. It is known for its forests and ancient temples. Just offshore, the giant, orange Great Torii Gate is partially submerged at high tide. It marks the entrance to the Itsukushima Shrine, which was first built in the 12th century.
It was a rainy day, very wet under foot, not the best day for clear photos and blue sky, however the mist was effective in the foothills and over the Temple. The timing for the day was for high tide as orgainsed by Kiyone so we could see the gate floating, as at low tide you can actually walk to the gate. Photos were had and taken by all. We then continued to the Temple and decided not to enter, soo many people and 100’s students, also with no guide to explain we said ‘No’. I however climbed the steps solo to see the Temple and Pagoda while the others remain at ground level….(lazy)
We all then strolled the local street mall shops, coffee and cake again (of course). Nicola tried some local oysters while we searched for lightweight rain coats. Ice-cream was needed by then on the way back to ferry. We then deciphered the train system to get back to Hiroshima Station and the Hotel, to dry off, do washing and later find a dinner location.
Well, all went well apart from the washing expedition, by the time Karen, Nicola and I got to the local laundromats, we only had until 6pm to do washing and drying, and as a matter of urgency the washing was taken out before spin cycle finished and the tumble dryers were next to useless, so wet smelly clothes were the outcome. So off we head back to Hotel to try to hand dry without vain so we walked the streets looking for a dinner choice.
We decided on the Beer & Restaurant place next to a nice Sashimi/Shushi place and had Ribs, Beer, garlic bread and crumbed prawns were the order of the day. Belly full, back to Hotel for sleep, tidy and pack ready for early morning departure on Bullet train headed for Kyoto via Osaka.
In closing, 'Take Every Chance You Get In Life, Because Some Things Only Happen ONCE', & let my stories and experience give you inspiration to create your own Moments.
Another 'Rivetting Moment', to inspire & ignite the traveller in you, to broaden life challenges & experiences!!!