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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.

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