Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hiroshima, Kyoto and Miyajima Up Close

Though it was hard to say goodbye to our ultra kind foster families, there's really no way to escape it. With heavy hearts, my co-delegates and I took a ferry boat from the Matsuyama Port to the Hiroshima port.

Hiroshima Port

We went straight to the historical Peace Memorial Museum. During this time, Hiroshima had an occasional dusting of snow. However, I forgot how cold it was outside, once I stepped into the museum. Diorama after diorama of how the A-bomb finally crippled Japan's spirit and military arsenal after torturing millions in Asia during the Second World War. 

We were given this pamphlet with a matching cassette player and headphones to guide us in our tour. The voice still haunts me to this day...

                                 Courtesy of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

"Around 70,000 died immediately by the bomb. More people died due to radiation poisoning, burns and inability to access medical attention..."

Sadly the innocents had to pay the price for the sins of their leaders! Fifty-three years after the bombing, Takashi Hiraoka, mayor of Hiroshima delivered this message to his people and the whole Japanese population in general.

Towards the northern end of the Park, we walked to the Children’s Peace Monument, built to remember all the children who died during the bombing. One such child was Sadako Sasaki who was affected at age two, contracted leukemia after that and passed away ten years after being exposed to the atomic bomb radiation.

Taken at the Memorial Cenotaph of the 
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Hiroshima is not just remembered for the A-bomb, but also for the Hiroshima Castle, barely a fifteen minute walk from the Peace Park.

My friends Ulysses Sabuco-Torres and Pam Pamplona-Riggan 
in front of the Hiroshima Castle

In 1589, the feudal lord Mori Terumoto built the Hiroshima Castle which later on became a venue for the most powerful in Western Japan. It survived the "castle destruction phase" of the Meiji Restoration but didn't escape the A-bomb's wrath in 1945. 

     Photo courtesy of Japan Guide

Fortunately, the castle was rebuilt faithful to the its original design and construction. Now turned into a museum, I was enthralled to see all the swords, clothes and other paraphernalia of the samurai, including posters showing the infamous Bushido code that the samurai were willing to die for. 
 Photo by Felice Beato

In the afternoon, our group went to Miyajima island, just an hour by land from Hiroshima. Miyajima is certainly most popular for its giant torii gate that seems to float on top of the clear waters. 

This reminded me of another spectacular torii gate during our Kyoto trip. Thank goodness we were able to capture this historic beauty right here while I practiced my tae bo kick against my co-delegate and friend Ulysses Sabuco-Torres. 

Torii Gate in Kyoto

There's the torii gate once again, this time taken with "Us girls." 

Kyoto Trip

Miyajima is known for good food and a herd of friendly, but obviously very hungry deer,  also known as nihonjika in Japanese. At present, there are about five hundred deer that live in the island, some of which are domesticated, while others, especially those living in the forests, are not particularly friendly toward humans.

Miyajima Island

But for some interesting reason, an extremely friendly deer went up to me without any apprehension, and in an instant started digging into my left jacket pocket, completely devouring my tissue! Stunned was too weak a word to describe my exact feeling that time. I didn't know whether to run or stand still. Fortunately, I made the right decision when I just waited for the deer to finish his snack. If not, then I wouldn't have had this memorable snapshot. :)

 Gulp...gulp.. :)

Travel Directory:

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Hiroshima Castle

Kyoto Travel Guide

Miyajima Travel Guide


Around Japan: Timeless Confection Travel Diaries with Detailed Itinerary

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