When I planned my first trip to Japan, visiting Hiroshima was something that I was certain that I wanted to do.
The few people I spoke to who had traveled to Hiroshima during their time in Japan had told me that it wasn’t worth the journey and there was very little to see – I decided to be the judge of that myself so I left Kyoto and boarded the Shinkansen south to Hiroshima.
There’s a somewhat eerie vibe to Hiroshima today – perhaps because the modern day City is so beautiful and quiet, it provides such a contrast against what happened here in 1945.
The CBD area is small, and vast areas of parkland and greenery span the City.
There’s a trolley service that stops at all key sites which can be pretty much summarised as – The A Bomb Dome, The Peace Memorial Park and The Peace Museum.
Don’t wear mascara and definitely be sure to bring a packet of tissues if you are visiting the peace museum. The museum places focus on the children that were impacted as a result of the Atomic bomb; it displays their stories, along with an item to support each making it that much more real. For example – the story of a Mother who ran to her daughter’s school to find only her charred metal lunch box left behind in the courtyard, or the ragged bloodied clothes of a Boy who staggered miles home with severe burns to see his parents for one last moment before collapsing – There are halls upon halls filled with such horrific accounts.
At the time, I was hysterical – in the museum alone crying with mascara covering approximately 90% of my face like a panda on crack.
I hated that the museum placed focus on children but in hindsight, really emphasising the horror of what happened here and publicising these stories for visitors to see really outlines the consequences of war – the unavoidable innocent casualties, and the importance of nuclear disarmament.
The museum is just 50 yen to enter (around 25 pence/50 cents) and all proceeds go to the foundation.
It is far more engaging and eye opening than any classroom history lesson could ever be.
The museum is the “jewel in the crown” if you will, of the peace memorial park. The park itself is a lovely walk and features donation art pieces created in honour of victims of Hiroshima.
So do I recommend Hiroshima? Absolutely! Especially if you are already in Southern Japan. You only need a day here (I stayed for two and was at a loss after visiting the main sights) Granted it is a little out of the way, but nice to pay your respects and support those working and volunteering today to raise awareness of the impacts of nuclear war.
Have you ever paid a visit to Hiroshima? What did you think?