|Our hotel overlooks the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park where we headed after breakfast. The park and Peace Museum are a memorial to the 240,000 people who died as a result of the A-bomb dropped on the center of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. It is also dedicated to world peace and the elimination of all wars and nuclear weapons. The museum reminds all visitors of the horrible consequences of the rabid nationalism and xenophobia present in Japan in the first half of the 20th century.
We began our visit with a lecture from the daughter of a survivor of the bombing. She described how her mother, who was only 14 years old, accompanied her mother from the outskirts of Hiroshoma to the center of the city in search of an older sister. The horrific scenes they saw on their journey were seared into her mother's memory and continue to haunt her today.
We continued to the museum where there are displays detailing what Hiroshima looked like before and after the bombing. Many photos and artifacts are displays which serve to remind all viewers of the horror of the morning of August 6, 1945. The grounds surrounding the museum includes the Memorial Cenotaph and Peace Flame located in the center of the island, forming a peaceful concrete and water garden monument to the city's A-bomb victims. The park is an emotional and moving symbol of the horror and grief caused by war.
Following the park visit we walked to a local restaurant where we had delicious Okonomiyaki, Japanese pancakes. They are hard to describe but are basically a shell of wheat cake filled with shrimp, pork, squid and cabbage fried on a grill.
After lunch we took a trolley to Shukkeien Garden, a beautiful garden surrounding a small lake in the heart of the city. The tranquil. garden was the perfect followup to the emotional visit to the Memorial Peace Park.