Hiroshima holds a strong sentimental value for me. It was the first Japanese city that I spent a significant amount of time in, and my friends and homestay families there introduced me to Japan. Last week, for the first time I had the opportunity to show someone else around the city, when one of my friends from Tokyo swung by to visit.
We began our day at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. Located at ground zero, the park features a museum and several memorials dedicated to atomic bomb victims. The museum details the aftermath of the atomic bomb – how it affected people at the time and years after, how the city recovered from it, and how some of its side-effects persist today. The exhibits are silencing and sometimes harrowing, but absolutely worthwhile.
After taking a lap of the park, we walked to a nearby restaurant specializing in Hiroshima’s signature dish: okonomiyaki. It primarily consists of noodles, cabbage, pork, and egg, with a number of optional ingredients. It’s cooked and served on a hot surface called a teppan. We sat at a bar attached to the teppan, and watched the chef cook our meal in front of us.
A stroll through Hiroshima’s central street led us to a streetcar bound for Hiroshima’s port.
A number of islands surround the greater Hiroshima area in the Seto Inland Sea. My friend and I had both been to the most famous island in the area, Miyajima, before, so we decided the check out the less well-known island of Edajima instead.
Edajima was sleepy – it offered a nice change of pace from what we were used to in Tokyo. Shops were open for a few hours a day, bus service ran once an hour, and many of the houses appeared to be vacant. We spent a some time wandering around the island and taking in its natural scenery, before getting a lift back to the ferry from one of the locals we met along the way.
Finally, we ended the day by meeting up with another friend at an izakaya before calling it a night.
Anyway, that’s Hiroshima in a day. Next week I’ll be writing to you from Osaka, and the following week I’ll be writing from Okinawa.
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