Hiroshima, Japan

dome2
Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

A-dome was one of the few structures remaining after the atomic bomb was dropped. Almost every building in a 2km radius was leveled. Ground zero or the "hypocenter" is a 1 minute walk from the dome. There is a hospital on the site and the only memorial is a small sign explaining a few facts about that location. Instead A-Dome has been preserved and remains as the main memorial. In contrast with before the bombing when the dome was the tallest building in the area, it is now one of the smallest buildings.

museum
People move from exhibit to exhibit at Peace Memorial Museum.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Peace Memorial park. On the left is a scale model of A-dome. The museum contains models of the city before and after the bombing, a model of the atomic bomb and its design, stories from the survivors, clothing and belongings of those who died, and even a portion of a finger from one of the victims. In some cases these articles were all that could be found of loved ones.

okonomiyaki3
Hiroshima okonomiyaki

Hiroshima is famous for a special type of okonomiyaki which is like a big pancake made from vegetables and fish, and topped with mayonnaise and seaweed. Usually fish flakes are sprinkled on the top and they wiggle from the heat like a heap of worms. Hiroshima okonomiyaki is similar but has a base of soba (buckwheat noodles).

okonomiyaki1
Okonomiyaki

2nd floor, okonomiyaki. 3rd floor, okonomiyaki... 4th floor okonomiyaki! The elevator doors opened and we already had one foot in this okonomiyaki restaurant in downtown Hiroshima.

okonomiyaki4
Okonomiyaki restaurant

This was one of the five "restaurants" on the floor. Each restaurant was nothing more than a 3-sided grill with the customers sitting around the outside and the cooks on the inside as seen in this photo. The grills were hot so there was a "ventilation system" made from PVC-pipe located under the table and above the table in front and behind the rows of chairs.

okonomiyaki2
A worker smiles as I take her photo while she prepares my okonomiyaki.

My order was rather bland and did not contain squid, fish, or any thing else that might wiggle around on top.

ema
ema hang on the walls of the Itsukushima Shrine

Miyajima Island is the location of the famous floating shrine, Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine is located in the bay, over the water during high tide. When visiting a shrine you can purchase an ema like the ones in the photo above. You write your wish on it, and hang it here with the rest of the wishes waiting to come true. The larger shrines will usually sell ema with an design original to that shrine like the ema with the sheep and red torii as seen in this photo. The ema are taken down on a regular basis and burned.

jizo
Statue of Jizo Bosatsu at the Daiganji Temple

There are many temples and shrines on the island. Next to Itsukushima Shrine is Daiganji Temple with a couple of images of Jizo Bosatsu, a buddhist god. It is said that if someone with an ailment rubs the statue of Jizo at the location of that ailment, and then rubs the location of the ailment itself, that they will be cured.

shops
River-side shops near Itsukushima Shrine.

Another claim to fame for Miyajima Island is that deer rome freely through the island. There are vendors selling deer crackers and there are always deer waiting for someone to buy them.

monkeyinfo
Daily "Monkey Information"

monkeysign1 monkeysign2
Monkey Park Rules

The ropeway that leads up to the peak of Mnt. Misen stops first at Monkey Park. Here check the latest "Monkey Information" apparently posted daily. I was in luck! There were monkeys around here! After checking the local park rules, I entered the park. The park has two important rules. The first on the left reads, "We do not like to be stared at our eyes. if you do so, we are not responsible for what will happen." I was surprised the park let the monkeys get away with such a blatant threat. The second on the right reads, "We do not hope to be such a monkey. Please refrain from feeding us."

monkey1
A baby monkeys stops playing for a quick snack.

temple
Reikadou Temple

The fire inside this small temple on Mnt. Misen remains burning. It was from this fire that the flame for the Peace Flame Memorial in the Peace Memorial Park was taken. You can hike or take the ropeway up to the peak of Mnt. Misen.

temple2
Dainichidou Temple on Mnt. Misen

momijimanjyu
A man makes manjyu in a small shop on Miyajima Island.

Besides okonomiyaki, Hiroshima is also famous for momiji manjyu, a maple leaf-shaped cake with a filling of custard, chocolate, or the traditional sweet bean paste.

torii
The torii (gate) to the Itsukushima Shrine.

This is one of the largest torii in Japan and this location is on the list of the top three most scenic spots in all of Japan. During high tide the torii protrudes from the ocean. In ancient time commoners were not allowed to set food on the island which was considered holy land, and had to enter the shrine by boat. Since the tide comes in under the elevated shrine it is said to appear to float over the ocean.

dome1
Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

The next day I wanted to return to Peace Memorial Park see an exhibit called "A-bomb Drawings: A People's Record of Hiroshima". Each year a subset of the drawings are selected based on a theme and displayed. Some drawing also tour around Japan. There is a complete collection of copies of all the 2002 campaign drawings on display in a 12+ volume book set. There are also 5 computer monitors that display all drawings collected from the first campaign up until the most recent campaign. This is worth seeing because it was directly from the survivors themselves. The drawings depict images some of the survivors have had to live with day-in and day-out for the past 58 years. This year's theme seemed to be parents and children searching for family members in the days following the bombing.