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Friday, July 14, 2017

Hiroshima and Miyajima

While Hiroshima is obviously most famous for being the first city that nuclear weapons were ever used on, many people fail to realize how much the city has to offer. The city has a variety of places to visit, from places that are incredibly historical, like nearby Miyajima, to its modern downtown where you can shop or eat fantastic food in Okonomimura where they serve a variety of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. 

I personally visited Hiroshima during the blooming of the cherry blossoms, and it was one of the most beautiful sights I've experienced. Close to Hiroshima is the island of Itsukushima, better known as Miyajima. It's most famous for what is pictured above, the o-torii, or great torii gate. 

While the gate is a stunning view, it is truly the backdrop that makes it great. The island's location on the Seto Inland Sea gives you a really unique view of Japan and its island geography. When you combine this with the beauty of the island being covered in cherry blossoms, it leads to a truly unforgettable view. 

Back in the city of Hiroshima, there are a couple things that you must see. First, as in many cities in Japan, is the castle. While obviously Hiroshima Castle has been rebuilt, it is still a sight to see. 

But, the final place you must visit in Hiroshima is quite a bit different in tone. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is one of the most haunting places I've ever been to, and an incredibly moving place. While one cannot imagine the actual experience of those who were there during the bombing, the Museum gives you a better perspective and view of the event than anything else. 

When you add in the A-Bomb Dome, pictured above, as well as the other monuments scattered around the Memorial Park, you will truly feel the weight of the event. The most striking memorial to me was a monument to the estimated 20,000 Korean victims of the bombing. Until I visited the park, I was completely unaware of the other victims of the bombing, as well as the true toll the bomb had on the local population.


So as you've probably noticed, this blog has been blank for awhile. While I apologize about the delay, I felt it better to spend my time out enjoying Japan, with the intention of writing about my adventures later. This post, as such, is the first in a long line of stories and other adventures. 

For those of you who don't know, the city of Nara was the first permanent capital of Japan, from 710-794. It is the capital of the modern prefecture of Nara, located in the Kansai area (as shown below) of Japan. 
Image result for nara map

Due to its ancient origins, the city is famous primarily for its number of temples and shrines. In addition to this, the city is also well-known for its wild deer, which have become well adapted to living in the city parks and interacting with humans on a daily basis. 

I found the city to be incredibly beautiful, and wonderful to get around. Nara was one of a few places in Japan that I think you can really feel close to the older, traditional side of Japan. 

This feeling partially came simply from the history you could feel in the surrounding structures and places, but there was also an intangible feel that came from Nara. The city and its history seemed to surround you as you walked the streets, and it was truly a unique place to see. While the most popular things to do, like feeding the deer, and visiting Todaiji Temple, are more or less tourist traps, they are still great experiences. I would recommend Nara as one of the must see places in Japan.