We left for Hiroshima early in the morning. It was our first experience with Shinkansen and I have to say that when I compared it to our Czech trains, I almost didn‘t see any difference….
😀 Okay, that‘s a bit exaggerated and in defense of Czech trains, I have chosen probably the worst type of train that is still operating in my country xD But still, just to see the differences between our worlds.. 🙂
Hiroshima is a pretty new city since it was destroyed after an atomic bomb attack on the 6th of August, 1945, which everybody certainly knows.
There are a few things however that remain undestroyed. One of these is the old railway that runs through the center of the city. Another is the “T” bridge, which was the target point for the “Little Boy” (the name of the atomic bomb). Last but not least, a building that used to be a hall for exhibitions now serves as a Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Just out of interest, the building was designed by the Czech architect Jan Letzel.
Walking through the Peace Memorial park we saw many groups of little kids walking around, notebooks and pens in their hands, waiting for something to come. After a while we figured out what it was all about. Once they noticed there are some foreigners, they ran towards them in order to ask them questions for their questionnaire.
The questions were basic things such as if we speak English, where are we from, if we like Japan, why did we come to Hiroshima etc. What impressed me was the fact that unlike many adults here in Japan they weren’t shy to speak English. Unfortunately, we could not get any information from them, because once we started asking them, they did not understand :D. So we just assumed that it was some kind of a homework what they were doing.
Why am I mentioning this story is the fact that after our “interview” was over, the kids gave to each of us a little Origami.
Origami is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. The most well known origami model is the crane. It has become an international symbol of peace. In Japan every child learns to make origami from kindergarten. With a connection to World War II, it has not only a meaning of peace but also health. When somebody is ill, Japanese people start making these origami and as the legend says, when they reach the number of 1000, the person should get well.
Let’s leave Hiroshima now and have a look at the next place we visited during the same day.
A place, where you have a feeling that the whole world stopped- Miyajima island.
Miyajima is a small island next to Hiroshima city. We took a ferry to get there and the wavy 40min lasting travel was definitely worth it.
It is most famous for its giant torii gate, which is rated as a Unesco World Heritage and which at high tide seems to float on the water. This gate called Itsukushima Shrine is a spectacular place and I would be able to spend the whole day just sitting and watching the changes of colors on this beautiful red Shrine as the sun is moving on the sky. It’s one of the places where you can definitely find peace of mind. =)
What is also interesting in this island are the wild deers which you can see everywhere around. With the time they became very cheeky and it is absolutely normal here if they come to you and start pocking you, trying to steal whatever you are just holding. Food, papers, money and also clothes are on their favorite menu 🙂
Visiting Hiroshima was a very intriguing and unique experience considering what a disaster happened here not so ago. Life of the people here is normal, they seem to be happy, going through life day by day like everybody else. One thing, however, is different. They still remember deep inside what happened here in 1945 and they don’t want to forget. As a proof are thousands of origami that are brought constantly to the memorials to honor the victims of the World War II.