Trip Start Feb 03, 2013
Trip End Feb 23, 2013

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Flag of Japan  , Kyushu-Okinawa,
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

We have arrived in Hiroshima, traversed the tram system (with a very lovely lady giving up a seat so we didn't have to struggle with our bags) and have settled into our next ryokan.

While the last one was in an old part of town, in an old building with very new yet traditional interior, this place is in a new building. It is several stories high with a bit of a balcony, a window opening into the next building (which is all of half a foot away... If that) and with a very older style interior. Think floral futon and matching fluffy blanket! (Leo says think multi story maison ikkoku-without rumiko takahashi's characters as we are the only ones here)

As it was still bright out when we arrived we headed to the peace park. I think we timed it perfectly, we walked to the a-bomb dome then through the park just as the sun was setting. These places are amazing any time of the day but with the sun setting behind the a-bomb dome so the light comes through the holes in the building made it all the more haunting.

All of the monuments in the park are covered in origami cranes but the children's monument (google Sadako Saski) has large boxes filled with them. So this evening I will be teaching Leo how to fold origami cranes so that we can add a few more to them.

Dinner tonight was the much previously enjoyed in London okonomiyaki... Only Hiroshima style (two flatter pancakes sandwiching a large amount of soba or udon noodles) Leo went for udon, kimchi and spring onion with his, I chose garlic chips and spring onion. These things came out the size of dinner plates! Huge and very tasty.

As we don't have wifi at this hotel this will be added to so excuse the bizzare mish mash of present/past tense!

Today for valentines day we headed out to the island of miyajima to see the floating torii. The island itself is home to lots of very friendly deer who much to our amusement would chase people round trying to steal whatever took their fancy or could be found chilling out in groups wherever they liked. We even walked past two waiting outside a resteraunt to get people as they walked out.

The many temples and torii were breathtaking and the lovely day we had for it couldn't of been more perfect. The main temple was on stilts in the water overlooking the torii and at high tide looks like it is floating.

The cable car was out of action today so we were unable to get to the top where more deer and monkeys live. Something to go on the list for next time.

We also tried the local delicacy, oysters on the island. Leo had his in ramen, I went for katsu with rice and both were very tasty indeed!

This evening was then spent at a BBQ place with our own little BBQ at the table with chunk of beef fat for rubbing on the grill. We went for the mixed selection so we got a little of most things, veg, chicken, pork and the star of the meal... More kobe beef. It melted it was so beautiful, even the slices that looked more fat than meat were amazing. Will miss that when we come home!

Our last full day today was started off at the Hiroshima peace museum. I don't think I have spent so long in a museum in my life. It was fascinating, frank and very honest from both sides of the story which was not expected.

Exhibits interestingly included secret internal American letters relating to the bombing, a letter recommending research into the bomb from Einstein to the president and 603 letters of protest from the mayors of Hiroshima for every nuclear test from the date if the bombing to the most recent test just 3 days ago.

The models, photographs and other exhibitions comparing Hiroshima before and after showed the destruction caused. The a-bomb dome truly does look the same now as in the photos taken strait after the bomb.

Then you come to the items donated by people, cloths, shoes, bags all with the heartbreaking story of the owner included. The vast majority of these stories were of children killed the same day of the bombing.

There is of course the fallout and the survivors story too. Sadako Satski's story was included in this complete with some of her origami cranes on display. Many years after the bomb was dropped but another reminder of it along with other side effects caused to survivors.

On a cheerier note we then went to see the castle (or rather the ruins of it), climbed the tower which was filled with swords, armour and other cool stuff including the chance to try on a samurai outfit yourself! Another beautiful and very interesting place.

Dinner was at a lovely little noodle place. The people there were lovely and the food was amazing, a simple bowl of ramen, soft boiled egg, spring onion and sesame seeds in small medium or large.

We have now arrived at fujinomiya and have met more lovely people on the way.

So that's an epic post so will leave it here. Over and out.
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Suz on

Fascinating! I hope you're taking lots of photos to show us when you get back!

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