2006-05 Japan: Hiroshima and Miyajima

Hiroshima, correctly pronounced Hee-ro-shi-ma (not “Hi” as in “him”),  is most famous for its fateful part in the termination of the Pacific conflict of WWII.  For Japanese children it is an important trip that almost every class makes to visit the city and the museum. There were certainly of young people running around in the museum when i visited – a curious counter point to the horrors contained in the exhibits. The bomb dome stands in the center of town as a permanent monument and reminder.

The city today is a sleepy place – a far throw from the megacities of Osaka and Tokyo and even the touristic bustle of the temple-come-university town of the old capital Kyoto. As a stone step towards the southern reaches it’s well worth a visit to walk around in the cleaner and more open climbs.

Another major attraction of Hiroshima is it’s proximity as a base to explore Miyajima – a beautiful little island a short train ride away. The famous Torii which stands guard is at various times according to the tides accessible on foot and then partially submerged.

Most of my time in Hiroshima was spent getting lost trying to find a Manga library in one of the southern parks – when I found it it was closed – the majority of the photos are therefore from Miyajima.

Have a look at my photo of the “Tanuki” which is spotted whilst climbing to the top of the ropeway on Miyajima. The animal appears frequently in Japanese folklore in various guises as a trickster and shapeshifter.

Another curious thought was that at the same time a future medical school friend of mine was at this very time working in one of the municipal hospitals in the city as a porter. A great way to sharpen one’s Japanese!

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Seb 28/02/2014 London

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