Hiroshima is primarily known for having an atomic bomb dropped on it by the USA army in August 1945. At the end of 1945 it is thought that the bomb had killed 140,000 (+/-10,000) people. In school I’d learnt about World War I and II and visited areas in France and Belgium and got a better understanding about what actually happened during the World Wars. As I’m in Japan and have no fixed timeline as to where I want to be and when, other than a flight to Vietnam the week after next and to end up Egypt and Jordan by the end of the year maybe, I thought I’d come here to get a better understanding of why the atomic bomb was dropped, and how the city was effected as a result of it.
Upon arriving, I got to the hostel before it started pouring with rain. I’d given up my seat on the tram to an elderly woman and couldn’t help but think if she grew up in the area, what affect the atomic bomb that was dropped would have on her, her family and the people she knew. I ditched my backpack at the hostel and headed for the Atomic Bomb Dome, having a look around before heading to the Peace Memorial Museum.
The museum went into great depth about the events that occurred both before and after the bomb was dropped, and the effects that it had on the local people, families and area. One thing that really surprised me was how severely injured people who were as far away as 9km from the bomb were, some dying from the radiation that they were exposed to that day, or by the following week.
After being in the museum, I went back to walk around the Dome, and whilst I’m only 24 and arrived in Hiroshima a few hours before, I got a sense of how much the area must have changed in that one second when the bomb exploded. The Peace Park had once been a busy street but now serves a purpose to inform people as to what atomic weapons are capable of, as well as the upsets and damage that they can inflict.
Today, I started off at Miyajima Island which is known for having a shrine and deer on the loose, and with my Japanese Rail ticket I could ride the ferry for free. I didn’t really find that there was too much to do – I chose not to ride the cable car up to the top of the mountain as I didn’t really fancy that, and I had a deer try to eat my hand as I’d just eaten a pasty. There’s pastries known as Momiji Cakes on the island, flavoured I think with maple syrup from the island and I even saw some Kit Kats in that flavour too.
It started pouring with rain so I decided to get the ferry back and go to Osaka Castle, around 50 minutes on the tram. Spent an hour or so there – there’s a museum inside and a lookout on the top, though I wouldn’t lose any sleep if I’d missed out on the museum.
Tomorrow, I’m still staying in Hiroshima for the night, but I’m thinking of heading to Nagasaki as I’ve done pretty much all there is to do in Hiroshima and have paid for my bed for the night. After Nagasaki will come Osaka, then I’m back in the Fuji area, though I have really researched being in that area this time. After Fuji will be Tokyo, I think with a bit too long a stay, but I have a few options for day trips.