Hiroshima hotel sign

Hiroshima + Miyajima, Japan

“The rainy season is coming early” we heard people say when we reached Hiroshima. And so it was, wet and a little grey but not without bursts of bike-friendly sunshine.

The melancholy weather reflected our mood as we made our pilgrimage to the Atom Bomb Memorials that for many are synonymous with this city. But we walked away feeling quite positive after chatting with school kids who were eager to talk about the future and a lasting peace, even if it was part of their homework.

We watched student groups, bow respectfully toward the concrete cenotaph which perfectly aligns to frame the Peace Flame and the A-Bomb Dome and marvelled at the thousands of paper cranes (symbols of peace) sent in from around the world. Hiroshima residents continue to be vocal on nuclear abolishment in the wake of Japan’s recent tragedy and this is even more prescient in a world where someone is constantly beating a war drum.

In a strange way, Hiroshima reminded me of Belgrade (my home town), maybe because of the numerous rivers and wide boulevards that traverse it, or perhaps because of its wounded history.

We were also eager to venture out on the water. Miyajima Island, a short ferry ride away, is an oasis—but a busy one. Sure the tourists all know about its ‘floating’ Torii gate, but if you hop on a bike rental you can be alone in the hills of Mount Misen in minutes. Maybe not exactly alone, but free of people.

The most numerous inhabitants of Miyajima are tame deer, which wander, graze and nap in every which corner. Deer are thought sacred in the Shinto religion because they are considered messengers of the gods. In the past, the inhabitants of Miyajima Island were forbidden to till the ground, give birth, die or be buried on the sacred ground. Even today there are no hospitals or cemeteries on Miyajima Island.

Biking along the Kyobashigawa river

Biking along the Kyobashigawa river

Bridge over the Kyobashigawa

Bridge over the Kyobashigawa

Warehouse-sized sushi train restaurant, surprisingly delicious (and cheap!)

Warehouse-sized sushi train restaurant, surprisingly delicious (and cheap!)

Hiroshima's Nagarekawa shopping district

Hiroshima’s Nagarekawa shopping district

Wrestling poster in Nagarekawa

Wrestling poster in Nagarekawa

Ruins of the A-bomb Dome

Ruins of the A-bomb Dome

Over 70,000 people were killed instantly in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima

Over 70,000 people were killed instantly in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima

Sculpture commemorating the death of 12-year old Sadako Sasaki, a symbol of the impact of nuclear war

Sculpture commemorating the death of 12-year old Sadako Sasaki, a symbol of the impact of nuclear war

Thousands of paper cranes, send from all over the world as a symbol of peace

Thousands of paper cranes, sent from all over the world as symbols of peace

Ken with our new friends who needed help with their English homework

Ken with our new friends

Students bowing in respect at the Hiroshima Memorial Park

Students bowing in respect at the Hiroshima Memorial Park

Another beautiful sewer

Another beautiful reminder

The rainy season begins

Not deterred by the rain

The view from Hiroshima castle

The view from Hiroshima castle

The rainy season has it's benefits

The rainy season has it’s benefits

Ferry ride to Miyajima

Ferry ride to Miyajima

The infamous red gate in low tide

The infamous Torii Gate in low tide

Parking the bikes for a better view

Parking the bikes for a better view on Mount Misen

They are everywhere!

Messenger of the Gods?

Miyajima view

Miyajima view

An unlikely friendship

An unlikely friendship

The Miyajima beach is a popular spot for gathering crabs and other sea food

Miyajima beach is a popular spot for gathering crabs and other sea delicacies

Pet deer? Maybe we could make it work.

Pet deer? Maybe we could make it work.

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UnaHiroshima + Miyajima, Japan

Comments

  1. Patricia

    Hi!

    I was wondering if you did the trip on your own pace? meaning that you did not get any tour guide for it? :)

    My boyfriend and I are visiting Japan for the first time and we wanted to see the place at our own pace :)

    More power to your blog!

    Best,

    Patricia

    1. Author
      Una

      Hi Patricia.
      Yes, Japan is a great place to explore without a guide. It’s super safe and the locals are friendly and helpful.
      We rented a car so it allowed us to see the country side and take it as slow (or fast) as we wanted. Though I would recommend getting a pocket wifi, since navigation can be challenging both in cities and on the road.
      Have a great time!

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