The first place I visited in Hiroshima was the A-Bomb Dome. As soon as I came close to the structure, tears covered my eyes. I walked around the dome a couple of times, and then proceeded toward the Peace Park. Throughout the park, there were numerous memorials dedicated to those who died during nuclear devastations. At the end of my walk was the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. For the longest time, I did not want to visit this place due to the fact that it is way too saddening. However, a number of people that I spoke to told me that the Peace Museum is the one museum that I have to visit during my stay in Japan. As I expected, the Peace Museum made me extremely sad... and very angry towards Americas. Well, by that, I mean angry towards actions taken by Americas during WWII. I don’t really want to describe what I saw and read at the museum, so I’ll just move on to my next destination.
I checked in to my hotel, emptied out my backpack, and headed toward Miyajima. Miyajima is this beautiful town near the city of Hiroshima... you have to take a ferry to get there. Of course, as soon as I arrived at Miyajima, I went straight to the famous O-Torii, the grand gate to the Itsukushima Shrine, the symbol of Miyajima. The tide was lo, so I could walk through and around the O-Torii. Afterward, I strolled through the Itsukushima Shrine. The passages throughout the shrine were so beautiful… I realized that by the end that I was supposed to pay a fee to enter the Shrine, but I entered it through the exit and I guessed that people working there thought I have already paid. Haha, I can’t believed I rip-off a shrine!! Anyways, I wandered through the quiet town, visited a couple temples and pagodas and headed back to the O-Torii as the sun was setting. By then, the tide was beginning to come in and you no longer can get out near the gate without getting yourself wet. I sat on the rocks for an hour or two, just watching the O-Torii from a distance, seeing the sunset, and hearing the water coming closer and closer to the shore... it was such a peaceful experience, a definite contrast from the horrifying images I saw at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum earlier that day.
I left Miyajima at around eight and headed back to Hiroshima. I don’t know why, but I decided to see the A-Bomb Dome again. The thing was even more haunting at night! I crossed the bridge to the other side of the Peace Park and saw a gathering of mostly young hippies, I mean people, playing music and chanting while candles were lit to form a peace sign. I stayed and watched the hippieness for while, got hungry and left.
So that was my very long and memorable first day in Hiroshima/Miyajima, I will post about my second day in Hiroshima very soon, stay tuned!
Go see more Hiroshima and Miyajima pictures here... there are only like fifty more pictures of the O-Torii!