Well, another 2hr trip on the Shinkansen, becoming a pro at this getting about the stations, and we arrived in Hiroshima, Not sure what I was gonna expect but probably not the sunny green place we encountered. Caught our first Japanese tram to the Peace Memorial Park where we first saw the A Bomb Dome.
The bomb expolded almost directly above the building and the remains have been left as an eternal reminder to the tragedy.
It was actually pretty moving to see the burned out shell of a building among all the greenery and pretty flowers and river boats.
The memorial park contains a cenotaph that contains all the known names of the 200,000 victims of the bomb, 1/10th of which were Koreans who had been working and studying in the city at the end of teh war. There is a flame burning there which will only be extinguished when the last nuclear weapon is destroyed.
There is a memorial to a leukaemia victim Sadako, who was exposed to the radiation at just 2 years old, having survived she then developed luekaemia at 10, and decided to fold 1000 paper cranes, the symbol of longevity and happiness in Japan. She died before reaching her goal, and her classmates folded the rest. Children from all over the world have become involved and send their paper cranes to the memorial where they are on display.
The actual museum was even more sobering. On display are pictures and models of the city itself, it was just flattened, pictures of peoples horrificly burned bodies, stories of people just being incinerated or burnt to a crisp. Clothing wore by many children, who were on work duties or in schools around the city, were in tatters, the children all died within the days that followed.
One exhibit had the tricycle of a 2yr old, who had playing outside when he saw a flash of lightening in the sky, then burned to death.
We saw videos of people talking about their experience of the day, looking for children, husbands, wives, it was truly awful.
It was actually encouraging to see throughout the whole display that Japan is the first to put their hansds up and say that they comitted crimes and atrocities to other nations as well.
Tho very enlightening, until you actually visit these places you can only have an idea of what it was like, and although, we still only can imagine, the stories and the pictures were so moving and disturbing, cant help but affect you, Apparently the surface temperature of the bomb, which exploded 580m above the city, 1/10000sec after explosion was 300,000degC.
The reason they chose Hiroshima out of the 5 other cities in contention was mainly the fact that there were no POW camps there, a high civilian population, and above all clear blue summer skies where there would be no doubt as to where to drop hte bomb, on the main bridge, T shaped in the middle of the city. It couldnt have been a more devastating effect.......
After a few hours absorbing the hooror of the A Bomb we headed back out into the brilliant sunshine and caught the train to Miyajima, where the famous red Torii come rising out of the sea as a symbol to Japan, apparently, one of the three most photographed sites in Japan. Caught the ferry, and although it was at low tide, and the torii were coming out the sand, they were really impressive, 2 huge steel gates, surrounded by hundreds of, believe it or not, cockle pickers. Coudlnt work out at first what all the wee black figures were, until on closer inspection, realise they were hundreds of wee workers, filling crates and bags full of mussles scraping away at the sea bed with wee rakes.
Not tired yet of Buddhist shrines we paid our 300 entrance and caught a glimpse of a wedding going on, couldnt believe our luck, as we saw the whole proceedings, ending in a lion type dance by one of the monks.
The brides outfit was just amazing, and her hair was just wow. All very somber tho, didnae see her smile once, tehn again, she might have had the day we had as well, and not feel like smiling eitehr!