Shukkeien Garden

We had been thinking about catching the train to Hagi (known for its pottery) or Tsuwano (where there is another shrine with tunnel-like torii gates), but it would have taken quite a few hours just to get there and back and our desire for adventure had been pretty much sated. I mentally added that trip to the list of things we might want to do next time, and we consulted the local tourist guides instead. In the end we decided to go to the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum and Sukkeien Garden which is right next to it. In fact, you can buy one ticket which will admit you to both places.

After spending a couple of hours admiring the museum's collection, which included works by Dali, we wandered over to the garden. I didn't realize it at the time, but Shukkeien means 'shrunken-scenery garden'. The landscape it is modeled on is Xihu in Hangzhou, China. The original construction of the garden dates to 1620.

The garden is only 1.2 km from ground zero of the atomic blast so all of the structures were destroyed and the vegetation was burned with the exception of one tree. Survivors sought refuge at the garden site, but many people died of their injuries and were interred there. In 1951, the garden was reopened to the public although it was still in the process of being restored.

This was the view at the entrance to the garden.

The garden is centered around a large pond with this interesting-looking bridge.

We took these pictures as we walked along the path that circles the pond.

Then we sat for awhile enjoying the peaceful ambiance.

Before leaving the garden, we couldn't resist purchasing a small bag of koi food from a dispenser near the bridge and creating a riot among the inhabitants of the pond.

I had avoided going to Hiroshima on previous trips to Japan. I thought that I would feel unwelcome there, but I didn't feel that way at all. The general feeling seemed to be more of the phoenix rising from the ashes than that of dwelling on the devastation of the past. I enjoyed our time in the area and plan to return in the future.