Since I live in South Korea, Japan is an hour flight away and I decided that since this is my last year in Korea, I am going to take advantage of the close proximity and see some places in Japan that I am interested in. The first one being Hiroshima.
I do not get a lot of vacation time, so I decided to take a short weekend trip there and see history before my very eyes. I enjoyed learning about World War history in school, and I never felt like it focused enough on the War in the Pacific side of things. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Canada and we weren’t involved in that part of the war.
I really wanted to visit the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, which was one of the only structures left standing after the horrific event on August 6th, 1945. The dome is across the river from the Memorial Park, which is really nice to walk around and features different art sculptures made by students. Around the Dome, there are binders which students curated that contain facts and pictures of the events that happened. It was great to see the effort being made to educate tourists on these events, especially those not from Japan or the U.S.
After walking around the area, and having some caramel ice cream, which was really good ice cream. Does anyone know if Japan has a special ingredient in their ice cream that makes it taste better than other ice cream? Anyway, I saw pictures of this island on Instagram that looked really cool and I walked around till I could find an information centre that could give me directions.
Such a coincidence that the tram I needed to take to get to the ferry port was located right in front of my hotel, which was around the corner from the A-Bomb dome. So I hopped on Tram 2 and headed towards Miyajima Island. One thing to note, which confused me, is that you don’t pay for the tram until you get off. There is a little chart that tells you what each stop costs and you put your coins in a little machine as you exit. Except if you are going all the way to the ferry port, then you pay outside as you enter the docking area.
On the island is an old temple built in 1168. It is called the Itsukushima Shrine and it is famous for the O-Torii Gate that sits in the water out in front of it. In the Shinto culture and religion, this gate is meant to keep away evil spirits from entering the shrine. On the island you will also find deer just roaming around. Yes, just free roaming deer. You’ll also find advertisements for Deer Poop ice cream, I wasn’t hungry or I would have tried it. I am guessing (hoping) that it is just chocolate chips or maybe those tapioca balls they put in Bubble Tea.
The name of the hotel I stayed at is called the Mielparque Hiroshima Hotel. I didn’t know it at the time I booked it, but it is a very conveniently located hotel. Like I mentioned it is around the corner from the A-Bomb dome, the tram stops in front of it, Hiroshima Castle (which I did not see) is a short walking distance from it and it is right next to the bus terminal which has an airport shuttle bus. Its very clean and my room was great, I highly recommend.