Friday, October 28, 2016
Today was the only official day off from classes this semester so my roommate and I decided to go on a day trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima.
We got up early and travelled by bus, train, subway and finally by Shinkansen to Hiroshima station where we were greeted with cloudy skies and light rain. The rain was very light throughout the day which was fine enough to walk in without getting uncomfortably soaked.
We walked to Hiroshima Castle first and took more pictures of the outer walls rather than the castle itself. The castle was a bit underwhelming and, since both of us love water, the moat around the castle held our interest longer than the wooden castle.
After leaving the castle we walked over to the Genbaku Dome, the dome that half stands as a grim reminder of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. The dome was a bit chilling to look at, especially from the stark contrast of the lively and modernized city Hiroshima has become.
Around the immediate area was a park called Peace Park where various monuments stood depicting the tragedies and losses caused by the bombing. Among those was the statue of Sadako Sasaki, the girl known for making 1,000 cranes for world peace after she developed leukemia and eventually died at the young age of 12 from exposure to the bomb as a child.
At her monument were a large group of elementary students who made 1,000 cranes to put at the monument while also reciting a speech one line at a time for each student. From what I could catch (not all the children were very audible), they were acknowledging her struggle, saying how they wouldn’t forget even if they can’t exactly understand as they live in a time with plenty of food and without war.
At the edge of the Peace Park was the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The museum was fairly small but the impact was quite large. The museum didn’t play a victim’s narrative, but instead aimed to show the horrors of the impact of the bomb itself so that something like this never happens again.
Both my roommate and I were left speechless by the time we left the museum. The impact of the museum and seeing the ruins from the bomb scattered around the city is something that cannot be put into words. If you get the opportunity, I really recommend coming to see this for yourself one day.
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After an hour of traveling, my roommate and I finally arrived at Miyajima island. The clouds and fogs were much thicker than those at Hiroshima. And, combined with the encroaching darkness was a scene similar to that of a horror movie. But, the atmosphere was much different, feeling like a peaceful dream landscape.
The island had sand roads, deer roaming the streets, shrine gates, tiny local stores and lots of trees. In the ocean was Itsukushima Shrine which, despite undergoing some construction, still stood beautifully in the foggy and rainy darkness.
The feeling can’t be described with anything than a dream. The place felt so untouched by modernity (minus the streetlights) and the nature was absolutely gorgeous. It was also mixed with the smell of the ocean, which I love as I grew up surrounded by the ocean. It was like a mixture of the known and unfamiliar.
Once it got too dark, my roommate and I headed back to Hiroshima station where we got on the Shinkansen again back to our home prefecture of Osaka. We were both exhausted by the time we got back, but were also glad to have been able to experience the stark contrast of tragedy and beauty in a day.