Hiroshima

Travel ?? Comments Fri 26 December 2014

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The A-Bomb Dome

By the time I had landed, bussed to the central train station, and checked into my hostel, it was dark and I didn't really know what to do. I'd heard that the Atomic Bomb Dome (the only structure left standing near the bomb's hypocenter, preserved as a memorial) was flood lit at night, so on a whim I decided to head down and check it out (and work out the cities tram system along the way).

Unfortunately an ordinance survey was being carried out to assess the structural integrity of the building, so the dome was covered from bottom to top in scaffolding (in typical Japanese fashion, the sign apologized profusely though).

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A night guard rearranging the flowers outside the Cenotaph memorial

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Peace Fountain


Deciding to forgo the tram for the walk back (it can't be that far), instead I walked back down the main street, checking out the department stores/shopping side streets. First stop: Sogo. We used to have a Sogo in Singapore, but that was minuscule compared to this one - 11 stories! I had to check out the food floor in the basement, at this stage I was pretty starved and thinking mainly with my stomach.

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Crispy fried chicken skin, I just couldn't resist


I kept aimlessly wondering around slowing (making sure I was still heading in the direction of my hostel) until I suddenly chanced upon Okonomi-mura, a 'Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki food theme park'. Essentially, three stories of back-to-back okonomiyaki (Japanese layered pancake)restaurants. Well. That's dinner sorted then!

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Back-to-back okonomiyaki restaurants

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Making the okonomiyaki - layering the pancake batter, udon noodles, and cabbage

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Almost done now

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SO GOOD.


The next morning, it was time to check out the Peace Memorial Park and Museum properly, before I had to catch the shinkansen to Kyoto.

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It was a bit surreal how the tram station adjacent to the memorial park is called Atomic Bomb Dome station. Especially when it is announced over the loud speaker in such a matter of fact way

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A-Bomb Dome

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The Cenotaph in daylight


The atmosphere upon entering the Peace Memorial Museum was so sombre - the exhibits are so graphic and detailed, that no one was able to say a word upon entering, and throughout the entire museum I don't think I heard a single word uttered. Well, except for a young child, who upon listening to some of the videos, proceeded to repeatedly ask his mother, 'But mum, they survived right?'. She never answered him.

The only change in atmosphere that morning was due to my own stupidity. One of the exhibits was of an abnormally growing black fingernail, extracted from a man exposed to the radiation. I was strangely drawn to it, and had to get closer to examine this mesmerizing 3 cm black strip inside of an almost meter by meter glass case.

It was the echoing thud of my forehead colliding with the glass of the display case that set of a smattering of giggles around the hall, and I couldn't help but join in. Moments later though, the gravity of the exhibits took hold once again, and the sombre climate returned.

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Catching the shinkansen to Kyoto


Due to going straight from the Peace Museum to the train, I left Hiroshima on a very serious note, engrossed in deep thought over the cities World War II history.

But I really enjoyed Hiroshima, and wish I had more time to explore other aspects of the city (and eat some more delicious okonomiyaki).

Tags: japan hiroshima



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