Atomic Bomb Dome - Hiroshima Castle

People in Hiroshima seem to move more slowly. In Tokyo and Kyoto, they're always rushing to catch the subway trains which generally run so frequently it hardly seems worth it to hurry.

One day in Kyoto when our friends were pointing us in the direction of our hotel, they told us that only local trains stop at the station where we were waiting so we should change to an express train at the next stop. Since the express is always crowded and there are usually seats available on the local, we said we would probably just stay on the local train. They seemed amazed by this prospect.

In Hiroshima there is no subway. People get around on an system of slow-moving electric streetcars. When the tram stops at a red light, it shuts down and sits quietly until the light changes. After the rush of Tokyo and Kyoto, it all seems very sedate.

We had climbed 3 mountains since we arrived in Japan, and we were tired so we planned to spend a quiet day. We slept late, had a leisurely breakfast, and set out to find the Atomic Bomb Dome Memorial.

In my opinion, there could be no monument that is more appropriate. Suddenly it's right there in front of you - just off the busy street, at the edge of a large peaceful park, surrounded by modern office buildings. You stare at it and think, "One terrible day a whole city was suddenly destroyed, but now it has been rebuilt and life is going on."

A short walk through the park brought us to another very fitting memorial - the Children's Peace Monument. The concept for the statue comes from the traditional belief that if you fold 1000 origami cranes, a wish can be granted. The wish in this case is for world peace. The figure on the top holding the crane immortalizes a young Japanese girl who died of radiation induced lukemia. The bronze crane inside hangs from a traditional Japanese peace bell.

On this beautiful Autumn day, the park was full of school children visiting the monuments and museum and old people relaxing in the sun. We had no desire to visit the museum, so we headed off to find Hiroshima Castle.

The original Hiroshima Castle was, of course, destroyed in the atomic blast, but it was reconstructed in 1958. It's now an interesting museum with exhibits on the history of the area.

We crossed over a moat into a park where there was a beautiful seasonal display of chrysanthemums.

After walking quite a distance through the park, we finally came to the reconstructed castle.

Walt opted to take a break so I walked through the exhibits and took some pictures from the top of the castle.

We passed this interesting looking collection of shops as we walked back through the park to the streetcar line.

We also paused to admire this tree which is, according to the sign posted next to it, a survivor of the atomic blast

That night we feasted on one of the foods Hiroshima is known for - Okonomiyaki. A delicious way to end the day.