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We were down to our last two days of the adventure to tour Japan and visit all the highlights. The city of Hiroshima was our next to our last stop in Japan. We spent two days exploring this reconstructed "City of Peace." Situated on the Ota River delta and close to Hiroshima Bay, Hiroshima has been an importing trading center and strategic military point since the late 16th century. The Japanese military recognized the city's prime location and set up a logistics base that would last until 1945 - when our military dropped the first atomic bomb ever to be used during military action.
The attack leveled Hiroshima, crippled Japan, and led the Japanese to surrender just six days later. The Japanese parliament later rebuilt the city from the ashes of its total devastation.
After arriving from Kyoto by express train, we embarked on a half-day city tour that included Peace Memorial Park, home to several memorials dedicated to those that perished during the bombing. We visited Peace Memorial Museum, displaying photos and belongings left behind by victims of the attack.
|This picture was taken from a Department of Energy (Manhattan Project) website showing the devastation the bomb produced. Pictured below is the building over which the bomb exploded. The framework is still standing. Source|
|The building before the bomb was dropped.|
|This bridge was the aiming point for the bombardier of the Enola Gay. Of course the original bridge was totally destroyed, it has been re-built on the exact location of the original point.|
|This memorial is the Cenotaph It contains the names of all those who died in the bombing with an inscription which reads|
"Rest in Peace. We will Never Repeat the Error."
|"Children's Peace Monument"|
It is dedicated to a child victim of the bomb. The monument is symbolized by a crane meaning longevity and happiness. On top of the monument is a girl with outstretched hands who died from radiation.
|Memorial mound contains the ashes of tens of thousands of people cremated on this spot.|
That evening dinner was on our own and we enjoyed a dinner of okonomiyaki. This is a dish of cabbage, noodles, and egg, fried with meat, cheese, and seafood for which is Hiroshima is renowned.
Next day we traveled by local train to Miyajimaguchi. There we boarded a ferry to Miyajima Island, a sacred location in the Shinto Religion. For many centuries, it was illegal for anyone to inhabit this sacred ground.
Legend has it that the first Shinto shrine was built here during the 6th century in honor of the goddess of the ocean, the daughter of the goddess who created Japan itself. We toured the island and visited Itsukushima Shrine, built toward the end of the 12th century and renowned for its red gate. This shrine stands on piers above the water in order for visitors to enter by boat without disturbing the land below.
|We held up our camera and got to take a picture of this gentleman and his son. The boy looked so precious.|
|We just happened at the conclusion of a wedding ceremony with the bride and groom dressed in traditional Japanese dress.|
|Shrine and temple.|
We then took a gondola ride on the Mount Misen Ropeway. At the summit you have a stunning 360-degree view of the island and Hiroshima.
|My beautiful wife in the gondola car on the way to the summit.|
|That is me riding the gondola car to the summit.|
This is one of the most phenomenal trip we have ever taken. From the food to the scenery and deep history we cannot say enough nice things about Japan based on what we saw and experienced.
When I get back it will time to go duck hunting. Based on the reports I have had from my good friend in the blind, John, things have really stunk. Who cares, after this experience.