Day 6 (December 26th, 2014)

It’s trav­el day again. We took the Shinkansen to Hiroshi­ma. We were only brought to the sta­tion and then we could con­tin­ue with­out guid­ance. The Shinkansen departs at a sep­a­rate plat­form, which is not­ed on the tick­et. In addi­tion, the sec­tion in which the suit­able wag­on stops is writ­ten there. You just queue up there and wait. The train arrives exact­ly on time, you just have to get into the car and look for your seat. The train also departs on the minute. This works even if you do not under­stand Japanese.

A Shinkansen bul­let train

In the train itself there is quite a lot of space. A per­son with a kiosk car comes along reg­u­lar­ly. You can buy some­thing to eat and drink. It is very com­fort­able and well orga­nized. The train needs about 2 hours for the 360km long distance.

Arriv­ing in Hiroshi­ma we were picked up by a new tour guide. First she took us to a nice restau­rant with typ­i­cal japan­ese food. Many busi­ness­men also had lunch there. You had to take off your shoes and got slip­pers. If you went to the toi­let you had to change your “restau­rant slip­pers” for toi­let shoes and change them back afterwards.

The food was excel­lent, every­body got a tray with nice­ly arranged food in dif­fer­ent pret­ty bowls, in addi­tion rice and of course miso soup.

Lunch - Beware, what looks like vanil­la pud­ding is none 😉
Unser Hotel

After we had checked in at the hotel, we imme­di­ate­ly went on with the sight­see­ing tour.

First we vis­it­ed the cas­tle in Hiroshi­ma. It is a mul­ti-storey build­ing built in pago­da style. Orig­i­nal­ly built in the 1590s, the cas­tle was com­plete­ly destroyed by the atom­ic bomb­ing in 1945. The repli­ca, built in 1958, now serves as a muse­um for the his­to­ry of Hiroshi­ma before the Sec­ond World War. You can try on a samu­rai cos­tume there if you like. The cas­tle was very sparse­ly fur­nished, with few chests or stools. Quite in con­trast to the cas­tles here in Europe.

After that we went to the “Atom­ic dome”. This ruin was a trad­ing cen­tre, which was near the epi­cen­tre of the atom­ic bomb explo­sion on August 6th, 1945. It has been par­tial­ly destroyed and now it stands up as a memo­r­i­al. Most oth­er build­ings in Hiroshi­ma at the time of the atom­ic explo­sion were made of wood and were com­plete­ly destroyed. To see the ruins was quite dis­turb­ing. Unfor­tu­nate­ly at the time of our vis­it it was sur­round­ed by scaf­fold­ing for renovation.

Near­by we vis­it­ed the Peace Memo­r­i­al Muse­um. Many fates of the inhab­i­tants of Hiroshi­ma are described, as well as the exact sequence of the atom­ic bomb explo­sion. Sev­er­al exhibits lay half charred in a dis­play case, among oth­ers a clock that had stood still and thus for­ev­er shows the exact time of the explo­sion (8:16 am). We rarely expe­ri­enced such a silence in a museum.

The build­ing stands in a park, the Hiroshi­ma Peace Memo­r­i­al Park, which also con­tains the Atom­ic Memo­r­i­al (a large con­crete arch) and below it the “Eter­nal Flame” in mem­o­ry of the cat­a­stro­phe. If you look through the arch with the Peace Memo­r­i­al Muse­um in your back, you have a good view of the “Atom­ic dome”.

Hiroshi­ma, almost com­plete­ly destroyed in 1945, is now once again a flour­ish­ing metrop­o­lis. Apart the his­tor­i­cal sites, noth­ing reminds one of those times. In this city there are also many shop­ping arcades with shops and restaurants.

Wide green strips and pedes­tri­an paths run along the large mul­ti-lane roads on the right and left. Again, many areas were dec­o­rat­ed at the turn of the year, there were exten­sive colour­ful light instal­la­tions with fairy tale fig­ures, ships and animals.