Hiroshima: tragedy, rebirth and great food

Hiroshima was the last stop on our Japan trip. It is the largest city in the Chugoku Region on the western front of the Honshu Island. It is largely known for the Atomic bomb that was dropped on it during WW2. Despite this, the city has been rebuilt into a modern city, whilst paying homage to its rich history and is home to million inhabitants.

Hiroshima was one of the highlights of our trip. We visited nearly all the top attractions in a day, without rushing and had some great meals along the way. The sites that we saw included Shukkeien GardenHiroshima CastleHiroshima Peace Memorial ParkHiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Downtown Hiroshima.

 

To get to Hiroshima we took a bullet train from Tokyo, taking about 4 hours. When we arrived it was evening time. We were so hungry so we found a little restaurant that specialised in the Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki. This is a Japanese pancake, but this style is layered with plenty of cabbage, pork or seafood, noodles and okonomiyaki sauce. For dessert, Marco had a cheeseburger, but I went more traditional and had a Sticky Rice ball covered in Sweet Soybean flour.

 

The next day we visited the beautiful Shukkeien Garden. The name of the garden means ‘shrunken-scenery garden’ as mimics miniature sceneries with valleys, mountains, and forests. The garden is on the Hiroshima Castle grounds which were built in 1620. It was so peaceful to walk around and the little teahouse gives great vantage points to enjoy its views.

 

Hiroshima Castle was originally built in 1589, but was destroyed by the WW2 ABomb. Some of the castle grounds have been rebuilt in the original style, where other parts have just been left to their foundations. It was quite a quick walk through the castle and not a lot of information to read.  If I ever went back I would probably prefer to do a guided tour to understand its story.

 

After all the walking we were quite hungry so we headed over to the Pacela Mall for lunch. The building itself is 11 floors and has nice views of the city, which you can enjoy from the restaurants on the 7th and 8th floor. We had the most amazing lunch at HanaAkari~Nagomizen. This had to be one of my favourite meals. I had Sashimi and Tempura and Marco had the Fried chicken and salad. Both our meals came with rice, miso soup, pickles, chawanmushi and warabimochi. It was all really good. After Marco enjoyed dessert from a French bakery. 

 

A-Bomb Dome or the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is the most iconic building in the city. It is all that remains of the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall and was one of the few buildings that weren’t completely eviscerated by the A-bomb. It serves as a reminder to Hiroshima’s sad history. There is a sadness here that you can only feel when you see the devastation that was caused and imagine the horror of it all.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is in the heart of Hiroshima and was formerly the political and commercial sector of the city. The 120,000 square km surrounded by both the Ota River and the Motoyasu River and is adjacent to the A-Bomb Dome. The park is 120,000 sq km and features the Peace Bell, Children’s Peace Monument, Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

 

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was one of the best museums I’ve ever visited. It was easy for foreign to explore and understand the stories that needed to be told. The devastation left in the wake of the A-bomb was absolutely heartbreaking and is really conveyed through the exhibition. It has a powerful message of peace and to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

 

In the evening we did a bit of window shopping on Hondori Avenue, in Hiroshima Downtown. This busy pedestrian arcade stretches for half a kilometre and is lined with shops and restaurants. For dinner, we went to Goemon Horikawa-cho. We had the Hiroshima Oysters, Pork, Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki with squid and pork. Everything was really delicious, fresh and relatively fast.

 

The next day after hotel Japanese breakfast, we walked to Hiroshima Downtown again to enjoy the views. For lunch, we stopped at the food court at Hiroshima station. I had Takayuki and Tekkadon (tuna sashimi on rice) and Marco had Changan (fried rice) and Hiroshima Ramen. The food was good quality and tasty.

 

Finally, it was time to go home. We took Bullet back to Tokyo and flew home. But first our last means. I had my favourite, Unagi Kabayaki (eel on rice) with Miso soup, Pickles and Matcha tea. For dessert, I had a Hiroshima speciality, Momijimanju. Even the airport had fantastic food.

 

Thanks for coming on my Japanese journey. I hoped you enjoyed my pictures and don’t have too much food envy. If you get the chance to visit this amazing country, I hope you can enjoy it as much as we did.

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