Hello peeps and welcome to the 2nd of a double header blog entry i.e two blog entries on the same day a week! I'm currently in Kyoto now but this one will discuss my first and second day in Hiroshima. Be warned this is a bumper read! Please enjoy and check out more pictures @ Only D Brave Facebook page!
Other than being extremely tired from lack of sleep, the journey from Fukuoka to Hiroshima wasn't that bad. First change over was at Kokura. The train i had to transfer onto was on the platform opposite and I only had a 5 miniute waiting time! Second transfer station was Shimonoseki. There i wasn't so lucky. The next train was suppose to Iwakuni was suppose to be in 25 minutes according to my itinerary but in fact it was in and 1hr and 45 minutes time, a wait i could have done without. Third transfer was the quickest and the most dangerous as in i didnt really have time to check if I was on the right train or not. It was a case of the train was already on the opposite platform and 30 secs after i got on it, the train departed the station!! Thank goodness it was the train going to Hiroshima!
Arrived in Hiroshima weary from the 8 hour journey but excited at what adventures lay in store for me in this new city! Took out the iPad and looked at the route to my hotel -18 mins. After 25 mins (map wasn’t so clear on the location ) I had arrived! Smallest hotel room I have had so far in Japan but as the Japanese way tidy clean and efficiently makes use of limited space available. I got settled in, plugged in my electrics, took a quick wander of local surroundings then went to sleep
The next day after a very basic buffet breakfast i checked out of the hotel. I only stayed the one night because the main hotel Saturday rate was double the daily rate for the other days of the week. Th main hotel was only a two minute walk away so it was nice and handy. Dropped my stuff there but since check-in was 4 hours away I decided to explore the city. My aimless wandering led me to the peace memorial park, to be more exact, the A-bomb dome
This is the preserved remains of one of the few buildings not to have been totally destroyed by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, that helped signalled the end of the second world war. I was approached by a local volunteer who proceeded to give me a history lesson on the Hiroshima before and after the bomb struck and what an education it was. Back in the UK all I knew about Hiroshima in the second world war was that it was hit with 1 of the 2 atomic bombs used to end the war and the iconic picture of the school girl crying, the clothes burnt off her skin. I was informed about so much more, such as the bomb didn't actually hit the ground, it exploded approximately 600 metres above the city, and one of the reasons Hiroshima was chosen because it was believed that it didn't have any prisoner of war camps.
Had been sitting with the volunteer for about 45 mins when I heard a "Hey you!". Looked up and I saw a familiar face! It was a girl I had been introduced to by Ned one evening in the street in Fukuoka about two weeks prior but for the life of me I couldn't remember her name(I think I've forgotten it again! I think it might be Tessa) She did stick out because not only was a fellow Brit, she was from London South, in fact town neighbours (Dulwich and Streatham) We reintroduced ourselves, asked why we were both in Hiroshima and agreed how small the world was and how random our reunion was! We said our goodbyes and then resumed the historical lesson by the volunteer.
10 mins later still buzzing from randomly bumping into someone I knew, I hear a "Heyyyy!". Looked up, wowsers yet another person I met in Fukuoka!! This time I knew the name of this person! This was Aliyah, an American student who is a also fantastic dancer that I met in Fubar! What are the chances of bumping into not one but two separate people at the same spot that, you met in your previous town?? The volunteer knew Aliyah too since she had spoken to her on a prior day! The three of us spoke for a bit, and then Aliyah mentioned that she wanted to check out Hiroshima castle! I said I would join her since that was on my list of things to see! Also I think my head would have actually exploded if I saw another person I knew at the same spot!
Before going to the castle Aliyah showed me more of memorial park. She took me to the cenotaph, built in remembrance of the those that lost there lives in the bomb. It was purposely built so if you looked through it you could see the flame and the A-bomb dome in the distance. We then visited the statue of Sadako Sasaki. I had not a clue before who this person was and Aliyah kindly gave her back story. This girl had been exposed to the radiation of the bomb and had become sick years later with leukaemia. There is an ancient Japanese story that anyone who folds 1000 cranes will get their wish granted. Sadako believe this an embarked on folding 1000 cranes. Unfortunately she died before reaching her target and so her school friends completed the rest for her. I found it to be a very sad and touching story but also fitting it became a massive symbol of the peace memorial of Hiroshima.
After a quick pit stop at my second hotel, made our way to Hiroshima Castle! Hiroshima Castle also known as Carp castle was originally built in 1589 but was demolished by the atomic bomb (as well as 99% of the city) It was rebuilt in 1958 with a museum inside.
Castle wasn't far from the hotel at all, no more than a 15 min walk. When we first saw it, there was concern that the castle lacked size. Fortunately fears dissipated, it was a case of mistaken identity the actually castle was further in the grounds. Bar having a moat, Japanese castles do not resemble English castles. they are mainly constructed out of wood as oppose to stone and they have more of a grand, multilevel look to them. Started off the exploration at the building we first mistook for the castle which housed a massive drum which was used for proclaiming the time.
Castle entrance fee wasn’t expensive at all. Inside was ornaments and history of Hiroshima castle. This included swords, roof decorations and armour. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures but some people found ways to blatantly ignore the rules. Best part of the castle for me I have to admit was the on the bottom floor , where you could dressup as a warrior or traditional dress. Aliyah and I gave it a go as did a senior couple and I have to say I did look rather dashing in my Japanese getup!
Japanese word of the Day - Akachan - Baby