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Hiroshima l Okayama

Hiroshima Prefecture

The prefecture of Hiroshima is known more for the destruction of Hiroshima City than for its other attractions. Nonetheless, there are other interesting sights in Hiroshima Prefecture, such as the famed Itsukushima-jinja Shrine in Miyajima Island, the quaint fishing village of Tomo-no-Ura, and a marathon temple walk in Onomichi.


At 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945, the city of Hiroshima left a mark on the pages of world history. A single atomic bomb signaled the instant destruction of the city, an eventual loss of 200,000 lives, and linked the city's name with nuclear holocaust. The immediate and permanent impact on Hiroshima City paints to us a bleak picture of the horrors and effects of nuclear war.

However, through a stroke of miracle, the people of Hiroshima have rebuilt the city from ashes into an even vibrant, larger, and more prosperous town. The old has been buried and in its place now stands a more appealing city, leaving only carefully chosen scars to memorialize its abiding atomic legacy.

Hiroshima is serviced by frequent flights from other parts of Japan. As it is an important railway junction, Hiroshima is an important stop on the Tokyo-Osaka-Hakata shinkansen route. It is also an important port with a variety of Inland Sea cruises and connections to other cities. Hence, travelling to Hiroshima via train or ferries should pose no problems. On the other hand, it is better to use the tram services when travelling within Hiroshima. The city has an easy-to-use tram service, which will get visitors to most places for a fixed fare.

Genbaku Dome (A-Bomb Dome)

A symbol of Hiroshima's destruction, the A-Bomb Dome previously housed the Industrial Promotion Hall until the famed bomb exploded almost directly above it and effectively put a stop to any further promotional activities. The dome is the only survivor of the ruins although some of the damaged buildings were repaired and still stand today.

Heiwa-koen (Peace Memorial Park)

The actual epicentre of the explosion was just south of the dome, which is now marked by this memorial park. The park is covered with memorials that include the cenotaph, which contains the names of all known victims of the tragedy. The flame that burns underneath the arched cenotaph was not meant to be permanent; it will only be extinguished when the last nuclear weapon on earth has been destroyed. The most poignant memorial in the park is the Children's Peace Memorial, which was inspired by Sasaki Sadako, who died of leukemia caused by radiation when she was just 12 years old.

A peaceful and serene aura surrounds the park today. Visitors to the park will see the older generation sitting meditatively on benches, with resonant tones of the Peace Bell echoing through the trees.

A-Bomb Museum

The A-Bomb Museum in Hiroshima showcases graphic portrayals of the bombing and destruction of the city and its people. A model is shown to highlight the extent of the damage right after the blast.

Hiroshima-jo Castle

Also known as Ri-jo (Carp Castle), the Hiroshima Castle was once occupied by the emperor during the occupation of Manchuria. Although the castle was originally constructed in 1589, most of it was dismantled during the Meiji Restoration, leaving behind the donjon, main gates, and turrets. The bomb destroyed whatever was left of the castle. In 1958, the castle was reconstructed, and is now an excellent museum devoted to the castle's history.

Shukkei-en Garden

Located near the Hiroshima Castle, the Shukkei Garden was built in 1620 on the banks of the Kyobashi-gawa in emulation of a famous Chinese lake. Cherry blossoms dot the garden in early spring whereas multi-coloured carp inhabit the garden's central pond throughout the year.

Miyajima Island

Although this island is formally called Itsuku-shima (Strict Island), it is better known as Miyajima Island or Island of Shrines. The island is well-known for the floating torii (shrine gate) of the Itsukushima-jinja Shrine. The torii happens to be one of the most familiar Japanese cultural icon and representation of Shintoism.

The five-story pagoda and the hall of Senjokaku (A Thousand Mats), which sits on top of a hill behind the Itsukushima-jinja, were contributions from the great warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The island is also blessed with several other temples, good walks, and herds of tame deer, which wander even on the streets of this small town.

Ferry shuttle services transport visitors to and from the island in a period of 10 minutes. Ferries can be boarded from the ferry terminal near Miyajima-guchi station or from Hiroshima's Ujino Port. On the other hand, bicycles are a good option for travelling within the island. A free bus also operates from the Iwaso Ryokan to the Mt Misen cable-car station.

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