Hiroshima Japan Attractions
Things to see in Hiroshima
What to see in and around Hiroshima? The first thing that springs to mind is probably the devastating images of a completely destroyed city after the atomic bomb hit the city on August 6 1945. However predictions that the area would be inhabitable after the destruction proved wrong, and after world war 2 great efforts were made to rebuild the city and restore many of the historical monuments.
Today Hiroshima is very much alive although its grim history stays with it and shouldn't be forgotten. It's a decent size city although small for Japanese cities and has a population of around 1,2 million people.
When visiting Hiroshima it would be a shame to miss the beautiful island of Miyajima which can be reached within an hour by ferry and train, so here's a guide to Hiroshima's attractions as well as the nearby MIYAJIMA sacred place.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
The Peace Memorial Park is the most visited sight in Hiroshima and is a very prominent part of the city. It is a large park of more than sq meters and its main facility is the PEACE MEMORIAL MUSEUM. Visiting the museum is a very emotional experience as the exhibit displays the stories of human loss and suffering in the aftermath of the bombings, as well as the events of the day, Aug 6 1945 when the bomb hit and changed peoples lives forever.
The "Genbaku - domu" the Atomic Bomb dome is probably Hiroshima's most famous landmark, and is the only remains of the former industrial hall which was used to promote Hiroshima's industries. Today the dome is listed as a UNESCO world Heritage site, and every year a memorial ceremony is held at the park on the day of the bombing.
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Miyajima is one of my favorite places to visit. It is a beautiful island which can be easily reached by train and ferry from Hiroshima. Its official name is Itsukushima because of its famous Itsukashima shrine, but is more commonly known as Miyajima literally "shrine - island".
Its most famous landmark is the enormous floating Torii gate which is placed on the sandbanks of the Itsukushima shrine, and sits in water depending on the tide.
Miyajima is a magical place to visit and boasts quite a number of attractions:
ITSUKUSHIMA SHRINE Apart from the distinct floating Torii gate the Itsukushima shrine complex consists of a prayer hall, a main hall and a noh theater stage. The buildings are sitting on pillars above the sea and are connected via boardwalks.
It's fascinating to watch the changing of the tide, and it's advisable to spend the entire day (or stay overnight and watch the illumination of the shrine & Torii gate) so you can experience the shrine with and without water. In low tide you can walk out to the gate which is quite a popular thing to do. The shrine gives the best impression when appearing as floating during high tide.
DAISHO-IN TEMPLE is located close to Itsukushima shrine and is Shingon Buddhist temple. The complex features a variety of buildings and statutes and there's a hiking trail to leads to the highest point of the island MOUNT MISEN directly from the temple grounds.
MOUNT MISEN offers spectacular views of the inlets and Hiroshima city, and you might even get to see wild monkeys and deer (seem to be quite a few deer on the island)! There's more temples on the way, so making your way to the 500 meter summit is well worth it.
SENJOKAKU PAVILLION The Senjokaku hall dates back to 1587 and is located just behind the Itsukushima shrine, and although it was never fully completed its wooden structures are quite impressive.
There are many walking trails on the island as well as small shops and restaurants making it a pleasant place to spend time.
Shukkeien is a beautifully laid out garden with tea houses, little bridges and ponds and is well worth a visit. It's a popular attraction with more than 180000 visitors annually, and when visiting the garden you feel like you have stepped in to a different world.
The garden's history dates back to 1620 when a new "Daimyo" Feudal lord named Nagaakira Asanu entered the scene, and the establishment of the garden began. It was built by Ueda Soko, his retainer and master of tea ceremonies as the garden of Nagaakira's residence.
The garden was destroyed by fire during the bombing in 1945, but reopened in 1951 with ongoing restoration in progress.
Japanese Gardens - Design your own!
Hiroshima castle was destroyed like the rest of the city during the bombing, but the restoration particularly due to its extensive use of wooden materials makes the reconstruction fairly authentic. The castle is also known as the Carp castle and is five stories tall. There's also a shrine as well as a main gate on the grounds, and it was originally built by feudal lord Mori Terumoto in 1589.
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