Japan has been on my travel bucket list for a long time, and in October 2014 I finally went.
I’ve wanted to go to Japan for so long because of all the crazy stories I’ve heard. Like vending machines that stock everything from drinks to underpants, crazy products like fans on hats, and even something I’d heard about rats on sticks for street food… Let’s just say I didn’t see that, thankfully.
After our tour of Fukuoka we visited Hiroshima.
Hiroshima is sadly known for the atomic bomb that was dropped on the 6th of August 1945, which devastated nearly everything within a two kilometre radius.
Today a Peace Memorial Park houses many monuments and a museum giving respect to the devastation that occurred on that August day.
I must confess, Hiroshima was a city that I had no interest in visiting, but now I’m really grateful that I did. It’s beautiful, and its tributes to its history were very confronting and eye opening.
We ended up only having only one full day to explore Hiroshima, here’s the highlights:
If I didn’t research what to do in Hiroshima I would never have known about this. Situated a small distance away from the Peace Memorial Park sits a plaque where the atomic bomb was dropped. Visiting this before anything else is a great way to put the whole history and area into perspective.
Peace Memorial Museum
After visiting Ground Zero I recommend that you make this your first visit. It costs only 50 cents to enter. The contents of this museum are heartbreaking, and really open your eyes to the horrific events of that August day.
There are a lot of garments, building structures, and historical facts showing the amount of damage that the bomb caused. The museum covers what happened prior to the bomb being dropped, as well as the effects afterwards.
Once you exit the museum you gain a view of the other monuments the Peace Memorial Park holds.
Peace Memorial Park
Spanning 120,000+ square meters the Peace Memorial Park is one of the most identifiable parts of Hiroshima. The monuments I visited in this park are detailed below.
In front of the Peace Memorial Museum stands the Cenotaph, an arched structure standing above the names of those who died as a result of the bomb.
This building was the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall before the bomb was dropped, and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. It’s one of the few buildings to remain standing after the bomb was dropped.
Hiroshima Peace Bell
This bell is quite large and you are encouraged to ring it for world peace. It is surrounded by water and trees, so as well as symbolising world peace, it’s also a peaceful part of the park to explore and take it all in.
Children’s Peace Monument
In the Peace Memorial Museum you learn about the story of Sadako Sasaki, a little girl who folded 1,000 paper cranes to cure her from the radiation effects of the bomb. Sadly she didn’t make it, and it is Sadako who stands on top of this monument.
A short walk from the Peace Memorial Park is Hiroshima Castle. This five story Castle was constructed in the 1590s, but was destroyed by the atomic bomb. It was rebuilt in 1958 and is opened to visitors. Upon walking through each story you will learn about Hiroshima’s history before World War II. It’s a great way to spend your afternoon after visiting the Peace Memorial Park.
Shopping and food
Like the other cities I visited in Japan, Hiroshima has a great undercover shopping centre, as well as street shopping housing all sorts of brands including the usual suspects of Uniqlo, H&M and Zara.
If you find yourself looking for some good Peruvian, Spanish, Mexican or Italian food then I highly recommend Cusco Café. PS. the Pina Coladas are fantastic!
5 – 23 Hachobori Naka-ku | 1F Ogawa Building
If you’d like to see my other Japan posts, here’s the links:
Please also feel free to visit my Japan Pinterest board.