J2K1 – Hiroshima & Miyajima

JAPAN, OCTOBER 1-17, 2001

I remember that we arrived at Hiroshima at night; we found our ryokan and explored.  I have lots of blurry, barely recognizable photos of the Hiroshima Peace Park from that first night, but won’t bother with them here.

The next day we used our rail passes to travel by train and boat over to Miyajima, to see the famous torii.  And deer.

We got a few good shots of Cloyce’s rubber chicken with the torii.

The famous torii of Itsukushima Jinja.

Miyajima is also known for its rice paddles (shakushi); here is the world’s largest one on display along one of the streets of the village.

Miyajima is also known for oysters;  I left the sampling to Cloyce. Freshly grilled and eaten on the street.

Back to Hiroshima and off we went in search of Okonomimura, three floors of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki restaurants in one building.  In other words, heaven.  Though I didn’t know it at the time.  The food was all new to me, but Hiroshima-style became (and still is) my favorite style of okonomiyaki.

After dinner, I remember we got lost on our walk back to our ryokan. We accidentally wandered into the red-light district and, at one point, came across a tinted black Mercedes with two tough-looking dudes in black suits and sunglasses standing guard.  We walked quickly and quietly away and took refuge in a nearby game center.  Our first yakuza (gangster) sighting.  Whee!

The next morning we headed to the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum.  Photos cannot do justice to the haunting beauty of this place. I believe that anyone who travels to Japan must visit this place, to have a better sense of the horrors of nuclear weaponry.  It still moves me when I think about it.

Thousands upon thousands of peace cranes are donated every year by people from around the world. These are just some of the ones that were on display.  It’s quite overwhelming to witness.

Another view of the A-Bomb Dome.

A view of the Peace Flame looking back toward the Peace Museum. The flame will burn until all nuclear weapons are eliminated from the earth.

A last view of the A-Bomb Dome.

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