Hiroshima - From devastation to determination

  • Bunnik Tours
  • 21 Jul 21

It can be difficult to think of this Japanese city and not recall that devasting day in August 1945, but the people of Hiroshima are determined to make their home a place of ‘peace and creativity’. And this is exactly what their ‘Hiroshima 2045’ future city plans have been developed towards.

Hiroshima Castle by Mirza Ariadi

Hiroshima Castle by Mirza Ariadi

Today, Hiroshima is a buzzing metropolis of the Chugoku Region with over one million residents. The end of the war saw the city put in huge efforts to rebuild, disproving claims that the area would become uninhabitable. Iconic, historic sites like the Hiroshima Castle have been reconstructed and are stunning structures not to be missed.

Hiroshima Castle

While the blast caused this 500 year old castle to collapse, by 1957 the main keep had been rebuilt.

Today the site is home to a fascinating museum of the pre-war history of Hiroshima, along with other ruins found around the grounds.

 

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle by Mirza Ariadi

Many monuments around Hiroshima have been constructed as a way of paying tribute to those that lost their lives, each of great significance and essential viewing during your time here. The centrally located Peace Memorial Park is not only a place of remembrance, but also a symbol of their mission for world peace and to rid the world of nuclear weapons. 2017 saw Setsuko Thurlow, a Hibakusha, accept the Nobel Peace Prize award on behalf of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a group founded in Australia in 2007.

Each year since 1947 at exactly 8:15am on 6 August church bells rings out in Hiroshima, marking the start of a day of commemoration, and the emotive yet beautiful Toro Nagashi festival where hundreds of lanterns drift down the Motoyasu River that surrounds the Peace Memorial Park.

Peace Memorial Park

The Memorial Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims by Adam Dickson

Image by: Mirza Ariadi

The incredibly moving Children’s Peace Monument was built to remember Sadako Sasaki and all the thousands of children affected by the dreadful day. Having been exposed to the radiation at the age of two, Sadako continued her love of creating paper cranes throughout her illness, losing the battle at just twelve years of age. To this day, some 65+ years later, folded paper cranes continue to be sent to this monument from all around the globe.

Image by: Mirza Ariadi

Image by: Catherine Kurmelovs

Image by: Mirza Ariadi

Across the river from the Children's Peace Monument you will witness the haunting image of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, often referred to as the Atomic Bomb Dome. Opened in 1915 the building was originally used as the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, to promote locally produced goods. Today the dome is a stark reminder, but more importantly it is a symbol of ‘everlasting peace’, one the people of Hiroshima are determined to maintain, having sought funding for three preservation projects.

Atomic Bomb Dome

Atomic Bomb Dome by Kevin Bishop

Miyajima

Hiroshima is the also home to the charming island of Miyajima. It is here you can view the renowned Shrine of Itsukushima. This amazing structure was built at the end of the sixth century on wooden piers over the water. The iconic Torri can be found at the head of the bay and is one of the most photographed locations in Japan.

Rising and falling with the tide, this imposing structure is said to be where ‘God dwells’ and holds great religious significance, with the name ‘Itsukushima’ translating to ‘island of worship’. Its vibrant orange hue contrasts beautifully against the surrounding blue waters, and a visit early morning or late at night will also offer striking images of morning glow or twinkling lights. Inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1996, the Shrine is a must-see!

Image by: Kevin Bishop

Image by: Kevin Bishop

Image by: Kevin Bishop

Image by: Mirza Ariadi

Adding to the magical feel of the island are the thousand plus tame deer that call this place home. While most are found in the five square kilometre Nara Park that houses numerous shrines and stone lanterns, don’t be surprised to see one strolling alongside you down a main street or at the beach. Super cute and very friendly, the island offers a number of locations to buy ‘deer cookies’ for you to feed them, with the opportunity to give them a gentle pat. These gorgeous creatures were long revered as sacred in the Shinto religion and protected from hunting, and today they’re still seen as a national treasure.

Image by: Kevin Bishop

Image by: Kevin Bishop

Image by: Kevin Bishop

Image by: Kevin Bishop

Whether you’re visiting the moving monuments, historic shrines or beautiful natural landscapes, the city of Hiroshima is well-worth a visit. Check out our small group tours to Japan that include this poignant destination.

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