When we planned our trip, we tried to limit the period of time we would need JR Passes. We knew we wouldn’t be day tripping from Kyoto too much and that after that we would only need it for a few days, so we decided on our last day in Kyoto, to do a day trip. We thought about Kobe and Okayama, but decided to go to Hiroshima. Firstly, Abby-chan had to build a model of the tori gate at Itsukushima Shrine for school last year, and has always wanted to see it. She, Ewan and Super Sake Boy had been to Hiroshima previously, but hadn’t travelled out to Miyajima. Harper had never been, and Mya and I have, but it was an insanely sunny day we went to Miyajima and my photos were totally blown out, and when both SSB and I had been at the Atomic Bomb Dome, 3 years ago (separately), the Dome was under safety surveillance and was scaffolded. I was a little disappointed when I saw the scaffolding, but in light of where I was, was not going to get too upset about it. So, the general consensus was Hiroshima…
We had an early start, our earliest so far, and still had to run for the bus, which, actually was late. We got to Kyoto, and jumped on the shinkansen (bullet train), our first for this trip. My friends, family and regular readers reading this will know, this was a very exciting day. I LOVE the shinkansen, I love all Japanese trains, but there is something very special about the preciseness, the efficiency, the comfort and the speed of the shinkansen. Not only that, my very special Christmas gift from Super Sake Boy is a little rose gold MacBook, which was gifted specifically to allow me to write on the train, while we are travelling. This was my first real opportunity. I am enjoying every moment of it. Alas, I have gone off on a tangent.
So, getting back to the day, and moving on from the love I have for this little, pink baby of mine, we arrived in Hiroshima and had to change some tickets. So, I lined up, while SSB organised Starbucks for the kids and I waited. Japanese people love a queue. It has been proven that if someone forms a line here, others will join it, even if they don’t know what it is for. I had sent a message before leaving Kyoto to Bijinjapan, a fellow blogger from Melbourne, who I have followed for a while and met last summer, who lives and works in Hiroshima, and very last minute, and unexpectedly, she was able to meet us for lunch. This was a bit of a bonus, as she is knowledgeable and had some excellent advice for our next destination, and she was able to explain some local goings on. She explained the madness around Hiroshima station, which was due to a baseball game. The Hiroshima Carps v the Yokohama Bay Stars. It was a sea of red baseball paraphernalia. The front of the station was lined with people selling baseball bento. We went to a place near the station, and had some lunch and a chat… it was great to catch up.
Bijinjapan dropped us at the tram and we headed off to the A Bomb Dome. A sombre, eerily beautiful place, of reflection and remembrance. I have written about Hiroshima before. Click here to read. The Dome itself is quite unlike any other kind of memorial I have visited. It is imploring of every visitor for peace, for understanding and for hope. It is a very special place. I managed not to blubber like a baby, which I did last time I was here, but was still a little overwhelmed by the sight of this building.
A quick walk through the Peace Park, a look at the gazillions of paper cranes and Harps rang the giant Sadako bell, a bell that tolls for peace, hundreds of times a day. Then back on the tram, and off to Miyajima. The tram was slow, the road was long and time was not something we were blessed with today. By the time we arrived at the ferry, we had an hour to blast through the shrine, pat the deer, take the necessary photos and race back to the ferry. A veritable cyclone of sight-seeing.
I am now sitting on the shinkasen, writing on the beloved pink baby, and will finish here. I know the night is young, but we are headed back to enjoy a final supper with our friends and I want to be entirely present and in the moment.