While in Hiroshima
While in Hiroshima you will visit the Peace Park when you arrive. You will visit the museum and see the Genbaku Dome* (A-bomb Dome). The next day will be spent at Miyajima Island. You will take a 45-minute ferry boat ride from the Peace Park to Miyajima Island.
An emotional and memorable stop on your travels will be to Hiroshima.
It was a sunny morning in Hiroshima on August 6th 1945, when the Atomic bomb dropped out of the sky, obliterated the city, and changed the course of world history forever. The atomic flash and the eventual loss of over 200,000 lives have forever linked the city of Hiroshima with the utter ferocity and ultimate tragedy of nuclear holocaust. Today this beautiful city of nearly 3 million, located in Japan's southwestern Chugoku region, offers some of the most somber and moving sightseeing in Japan.
Though the event will no doubt be seared on the Japanese consciousness forever, the Heiwa Kinen-koen (Peace Memorial Park) located at ground zero of the Atomic bomb's explosion is a reminder and moving memorial to those who lost their lives. The Peace Memorial Park is southwest of the Hiroshima Castle between the Motoyasu and Ota rivers. Across from the Peace Memorial Park is the Genbaku Domu (Atomic Dome).
Ironically, this structure once housed the Industrial Promotional Hall. Today its crumbled façade, and the skeletal remains of its main dome are among the only vertical structures that withstood the bomb's initial shock wave. The Atomic Dome and Peace Memorial Park combine to form some of the most reflective and moving sightseeing in Japan.
Hiroshima was the target of US aggression in WWII because of its military importance as a munitions depot and industrial center. Long before the 20th century, however, Hiroshima was recognized as a military bastion. A relic of this ancient military history is the Hiroshima-jo (Hiroshima Castle). The original Hiroshima Castle was built in 1589 by the Mori Clan but completely destroyed by the atomic bomb. The present day Hiroshima Castle was rebuilt in 1958 and houses a museum of Hiroshima's pre-WWII history.
The focal point of any trip to Hiroshima is the documentation of the horrors of Atomic War. Bearing witness to Atomic warfare is as important for the same reasons as visiting a concentration camp: we must witness both the beauty and horror of life and human nature if we are to fully rejoice in the former, and fully renounce the latter.
While in Hiroshima you will be staying at:
Aster Plaza International Youth Hostel
4-17 Kakomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0812, Japan
☎ +81 082-247-8700
Miyajima is a small island less than an hour outside the city of Hiroshima. Miyajima is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on top of the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan's three best views.
While officially named Itsukushima, the island is more commonly referred to as Miyajima, Japanese for "shrine-island". This is because the island is so closely related to its shrine, Itsukushima Shrine, in the public's mind. Like the torii gate, the shrine's main buildings are built over water.
"Miyajima" means "shrine-island" in Japanese, referring to the island's cause of fame, Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine is known worldwide for its "floating torii gate".
The shrine and its torii gate are unique for being built over water, seemingly floating in the sea during high tide. The shrine complex consists of multiple buildings, including a prayer hall, main hall and a noh theater stage, which are connected with each other by boardwalks and are all supported by pillars above the sea.
Miyajima Island has a long history as a holy site of Shinto. The island's highest peak, Mount Misen, was worshiped by local people as early as the 6th century. In 1168, Taira no Kiyomori, the most powerful man in Japan during the end of the Heian Period, selected the island as the site of his clan's family shrine and built Itsukushima Shrine.
The shrine is located in a small inlet, while the torii gate is set out in the Seto Inland Sea. Paths lead around the inlet, and visitors will enjoy walking along them while looking out onto the water. After the sun has gone down, the shrine and the torii gate are illuminated, providing a perfect backdrop for ryokan guests to enjoy an evening walk in yukata and geta sandals.
Because the experience of Itsukushima Shrine involves the water over which it is built, it is good to be aware of the hours of the tide during one's visit. At high tide the shrine and its gate float above the water, and this is certainly the time at which they are most picturesque. At low tide, the water drains out of the bay and out past the gate. Many people take the opportunity to walk out and see the gate from up close.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3451.html Miyajima Island