Hiroshima and Miyajima

This was the longest day of my holiday, with having to be at Shinjuku station for 4:42am and not getting back to Shinjuku station till 23:56, so add another 40 minutes onto the day by travel from the station to my hotel.

Initially the day didn’t start out well however, my alarm didn’t go off to wake me up at 4am, however my internal body clock woke me up at 4:15am which barely left me with enough time to get up shower and out. As it was it was a near run from the hotel to the station to get the train which pulled onto the platform just as I hit the stairs, talk about cutting that close.

The rest of the changes and transits went very smoothly though and was able to rest on the shinkansen as again it was nearly empty for the whole trip.

Now before I go any further I knew that the trip was going to upset me, I’m not a fan of the existence of nuclear weapons and even less a fan that they have ever been used in conflict and more so on civilians. Part of this trip was meant for me to reach a level of peace with myself for the actions of our nation, something that our leaders still haven’t done.

Right, after getting on the tram to the peace park and spending some time in the shadow of the A-Dome before getting some photos of it, I was approached by a free guide and her partner who was a survivor of the bombing.

That was very interesting as he didn’t hold a grudge with the western world for dropping the bomb during the war just a deep regret that nuclear weapon development still happens and that the countries who developed the bomb still have stock piles of them.

He also walked me around the peace park and the museum and gave me a first hand account of things shown in the museum, which brought home just how much of an atrocity such a weapon is, and I won’t hide it during the time in the museum and the peace park I broke down and cried on a number of occasions; part of it caused by the total realisation of the effect that was caused, the arrogance of the current world leaders, and the past leaders who abducted numerous survivors to study the effects of the radiation without offering medical aid.

All though the times that I broke down both the survivor and his partner were very supportive and never rushed me through it, though they did wonder why I got so upset with events from the past, even more so because I’m from two generations further down the line and had no responsibility for what happened.

Though going to the museum and getting taken around by a survivor deeply upset me, it didn’t really anger me. A number of French (may not have actually been French though that’s the language they were speaking in) tourists who were going around at the same time however really angered me. They didn’t seem to have any interest in taking anything the museum was trying to tell the world in, and even when they got to the photographs of the aftermath just started chuckling to themselves. I can’t stand that attitude, if you feel that way about what we have done in the past why go there in the first place?

The museum is a lesson to the world in what not to do, though is presented in a completely unbiased way – it is somewhere that I’ll visit again as I’m not convinced that I managed to take everything in, and it is also a place every person on this planet should visit as a lesson of mans inhumanity to other man.

After the museum and before getting back to the station for my trip to Miyajima I stopped off at the children’s peace monument and said a quick pray asking them for forgiveness and to watch over the world and ensure that no one else suffers the same fate as they did.

While saying that pray I attracted the attention of some Japanese Jehovah’s Witnesses though I didn’t realise that at the time, they just asked me where I was from, why I was there and to read a leaflet that they gave me. They then headed off and left me alone. Now why can’t they be like that in the UK?

After doing that I headed to the station to get the local train to Miyajimaguchi so I could get on the ferry to Miyajima.

The ferry is like all things public transport wise in Japan clean, runs on time and spacious by UK standards, after a 10 minute journey across the water we arrive at Miyajima where I just had enough time to see Itsukushima Shrine and its torii gate, and the 5 tier pavilion before having to head back to the train stations to get my shinkansen to Tokyo as the peace park and museum in Hiroshima took up more time than I’d expected.

Though that may sound rushed for me to visit just those two places took me the best part of 2 hours as I wasn’t rushing though anything during this trip.

Miyajima is a nice follow up to Hiroshima as it didn’t have an upsetting air there, and again I got lucky and had a local suggest places for me to take photos around Itsukushima giving me some photos that I perhaps wouldn’t have seen to take otherwise.

The only real thing spoiling the island for me was the shear number of tourist junk souvenir shops surrounding the temple, as they quite obviously all cater for the western tourist, while I have no issue with shops like that being around, they don’t need to surround the temple in my opinion.

But that was pretty much my day trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima, I could have easily spent more time in both places and on my next trip out there I intend to.

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