It wasn’t until I was reading the news today, on September 3rd, that I realized that yesterday was the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Interesting that Scott and I were in Hiroshima.
Whenever world events happen and such, I admit, I tend to keep my feelings close to my heart and I tend not to speak up much.
It feels a bit unsettling when you’re on a tram or bus in Hiroshima and they announce the next stop, or a stop on the line happens to be the A-Bomb Dome. There’s a but to this. Reading the sentiments of keeping the dome around after the rebuilding of Hiroshima, there’s a mixed sense of obligation and duty as a reminder to the world what happened – all around – during World War II. I don’t look at it as a reminder of what the United States did to Japan, or Japan’s role in World War II, I look at it as being about war and peace as a whole.
In short, it should be mandatory that all world leaders should take a full day and spend it at the Peace Park in Hiroshima, seeing the whole park. Not just the Atomic Bomb Dome, but the Peace Flame, the Childrens Memorial, the Korean Memorial and the museum. I nearly lost it several times while walking around the park – The children’s memorial, the Korean memorial, the burial grounds near ground zero…
After spending a good two hours or more in the park, we headed out to see the rest of the city, with a population of 1.1 million people. There is so much more to the city. It’s the Rijo (Hiroshima Castle), Okonomiyaki, old trams, and for those that like to shop, there’s a great shopping arcade here.
Be sure to jump on the JR-run Hiroshim Meipuru~pu (Japanese Maple) bus. They have several lines and they take you around all the key sites with explanations on Japanese and English of each place. You can get on and off, and you can use it with your Japan Rail Pass.
After going back to the hotel with sore feet we chilled out in the lounge (amazing food at the Sheraton lounge!) and then headed out for Okonomiyaki-mura which we had learned about in an “Only in Japan” video featuring this guy who does short videos about Japan for gaijin.
We ended up eating at the place featured in the video, which was amazing! After that, we stopped at a 7-Eleven, had some ice cream for dessert and then headed back to the hotel as we would have a very early wake up for tomorrow’s journey.
Hiroshima is a great city, and well worth visiting. So different from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, still Japan nonetheless.