Hiroshima

Our stay in Hiroshima was around 36 hours- 2 nights and 1 full day.

We got our hotel with air miles after struggling to find anything central for under $350/ night.

The hotel was centrally located, but a nondescript “business” hotel.

Once checked in we took a wander to orientate ourselves. We grabbed some okonomiyaki ( local dish and highly recommended ) which was a combination of pancake, cabbage, fried noodles, egg and meat or fish. Perfect and exactly what we needed.

After that we had a couple of drinks and practiced our karaoke in a claustrophobic and very warm room.

The next day we started a self guided walking tour around the city which started at the peaceful and Tim Burton-esque Shukkeien Gardens (shrunken gardens). The gardens were heavily damaged in ’45 but became a refuge for victims. It was restored and re opened to the public in 1951.

Hiroshima Castle: 10 minutes walk from the gardens, curiously made of wood and occasionally guarded by Samurai.

Even the Samurai are friendly in Hiroshima

Atomic Bomb Dome: the epicentre of the bomb and kept in the same physical state as Aug 6 1945.

The Cenotaph

Throughout the visit, I think the most moving aspect, at least for me, were the videos and recordings from survivors recounting memories of the horrific day that changed theirs, their friends, their family’s and the world forever.

We were so struck that despite this horrific act which killed 150k of their people, the Japanese response is to seek peace, not vengeance.

Their request for the world to stop the development and testing of nuclear weapons is clear and they make no apologies to highlight the date of the last nuclear test and the guilty country: USA in December 2017, if your curious.

For dinner we found a local place for dinner. With all the signs in Japanese, we went in clueless of the menu but were greeted by an enthusiastic chef who explained the menu, seated us and quickly served an appetiser of a large snail (around 3” in size).

It did not taste of chicken, nor was it tender. It had a uncomfortable crunch to it and I’m ashamed to say that half of mine ended up in a Kleenex.

The rest of the meal was amazing with sashimi and a fish head soup. The chef become our new BFF.

Next stop: Osaka.

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