2012 Japan Trip Day 19 – Hiroshima

Date of Travel: 17/02/2012

We checked out of our accommodation first thing in the morning under light snowfall, and the staff were very friendly and gave us a lift to the ferry terminal. After thanking them and parting ways, we moved onwards to our next destination in Hiroshima. It did take us a while to reach our accommodation however, as the tram that serviced both the Yokogawa station and the station next to our accommodation did not run as frequently as I thought it would. Luckily, we managed to reach our accommodation at J-Hoppers Hiroshima just before the reception closed for lunch break! After we were shown to our rooms, I unpacked the second set of 1,000 cranes which I was going to leave at the Peace Park on behalf of myself and one of my friends from USA, Ramsy.

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The peace park was located directly east of where we were staying. Immediately we were greeted with a depressing statue of a woman holding up her child. The statue was surrounded with piles of cranes, and was hauntingly beautiful. The Fountain of Prayer was also located nearby, though only the main center fountain was going at the time.

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We entered the Peace Museum shortly after. Like with Nagasaki, I refrained from taking any sensitive photos within the museum, even though photos are allowed as long as flash is not used. One of the few exhibits that really hit home that I was willing to take a photo of was the devastation caused by the atom bomb. A scale model showed the extent of damage the bomb had caused near its epicenter.

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This Peace Museum was a lot more visual than Nagasaki, and included disturbing exhibits such as victims clothing, possessions, hair/fingernails, and wax displays/photos showing the horrendous effects of the bomb on humans. There was also a rehash of the sad story of Sadako Sasaki, who was a young girl who got leukemia due to the effects of the bomb. She folded hundreds of cranes in a belief that reaching 1,000 would cure her disease. There were conflicting accounts of whether she did manage to reach her target, but either way, her story is one of the reasons many visitors to both the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Peace Parks would bring 1,000 cranes. A few of the cranes she folded personally were on display.

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I was grateful that the weather was not gloomy as it was back in Nagasaki. Despite that, there was a heavy air of depression after spending such a long time in the museum. We walked along the park grounds to the Children’s Peace Monument which was built in memory of Sadako. It was here that I hung the cranes on behalf of Ramsy and myself.

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We walked northward along the river to reach the Atomic Bomb Dome. This dome was close to the epicenter, and miraculously remained standing after the bomb exploded. It has since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. At the time we were there, were was a strengthening effort to ensure the building will remain standing for years to come.

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After spending most of the day in depressing circumstances, we decided to head over to Okonomi-mura to try Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki. Unfortunately, we had a hard time locating the place, even with the Lonely Planet guidebook. Turned out that I had walked right past it at one point too! Thankfully, we managed to find the place in the end. It was entertaining watching the chefs cook the Okonomiyaki in front of us, and it tasted as delicious as it looked too!

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After our late lunch, there wasn’t really any time to do anything else. As such, we decided to walk along Hiroshima Downtown shopping arcade back to our accommodation. Brownie and J.C. got bored quite early, so we didn’t spend much time there. We did stroll through the Peace Park again in order to reach the west side of town. I stood on the bridge right next to the Peace Park, and found it hard to imagine that over 60 years prior, there was nothing but devastation at the location where I currently stood. Now there were mid to high rise buildings everywhere, heavy traffic on the streets, and people going through their everyday lives. It was almost as if the horrors from decades prior were now a distant memory.

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After resting at the accommodation for an hour, replying some e-mails and Facebook messages, and saving my camcorder data, we decided to try and find a Yakitori joint for dinner. To our surprise, it started snowing as we were walking around to find the place. When we did, we were greeted to reasonable service. We made our orders, waited patiently till half our order came, then waited some more while having eating games with the Edamame beans provided. After waiting for what seemed like ages, it turns out that they completely screwed up and that they had served some of our orders to the wrong table! We discussed with the waiter regarding what food we received and which we didn’t, paid for what we had received, then quickly got the hell out of there! Luckily I wasn’t too hungry to begin with, but it has been a while since we had such drama at a restaurant! We didn’t mind though – all part of the experience right? We hit the sack shortly after anyway, since we had an early start the next day in order to reach our next destination – Matsuyama.

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Daily Expenditure

1) TRANSPORT
Tram from Yokogawa JR station to Dobashi station – 150 yen
JR Trains and Miyajimaguchi ferry covered by JR National Pass

2) ACCOMMODATION
J-hoppers Hiroshima Trad Guesthouse – 2700 yen

3) FOOD
Breakfast from convenience store at Miyajimaguchi – 400 yen [Chicken sushi and melonpan]
Lunch at Shinchan @ Okonomi-mura – 735 yen [Hiroshima style okonomiyaki]
Dinner at Toritarou – 835 yen

4) ATTRACTIONS
Hiroshima Peace Park Entrance Fee – 40 yen

5) OTHERS
Crane cellphone strap from Peace Park – 500 yen
House of the Dead 4 arcade game – 100 yen

TOTAL (cost for whole trip in brackets)
5,460 yen (412,583 yen total)

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