Hiroshima- Peace Park and Castle

5 08 2009

We slept at K’s House Hiroshima, a fantastic youth hostel that was very well priced, clean and had lovely bathrooms and kitchen area with English speaking staff. We had blueberries and porridge for breakfast and after a late start, caught the tram to the A-bomb dome and peace park. There were lots of people, incluing some monks making peace chants/prayers. The A-bomb dome is one of the few buildings that remained partially standing after the atomic bomb as it was very close to the hypocentre so the blast hit from above. It used to be an administrative building but now is a memorial. We wandered along the river through peace park, past the eternal flame and the childrens’ memorial with thousands of paper cranes on display. We visited the Peace Museum and spent several hours looking at the displays. We saw pocketwatches stopped at 8.15am (the time the bomb was dropped), models of the city before and after the bomb (when everything was flattened), wax models of people after the blast in tattered clothing, red burns and dripping skin, examples of building damage (such as melted roof tiles) and a human shadow on the steps of the bank (around where they were sitting the stone was bleached white by the radiation). The saddest stories were of high school children who had been conscripted to work in the city doing demolishion of buildings to provide fire breaks in the case of air raid bombings. Their charred bento and tattered clothes were on display. Some of them walked home to their parents, only to die the next morning from severe burns (the temperature was 3000 degrees 1 second after the blast) and radiation damage. The city was in flames for 3 days after the bomb and over half the population died while the survivors suffered from cancers, burns and radiation damage.
Near the the peace park was a MOS burger store so we had lunch of grape soda, chips and a rice burger then returned to the hostel to use the internet. In the afternoon we walked around some gardens and saw the Chinese gardens in Hiroshima. Then we visited Hiroshima-Jo castle (a replica since the original was destroyed by the bomb) and played dressups with the samurai armour and cotton robes that were there. Then we walked past a Catholic chapel in Hiroshima that was holding peace prayers..

It was hot and humid so we ate icecreams on the way back to the station to go to the supermarket to get things for dinner. We had dinner of noodles and veg with soysauce and garlic at the hostel, made bento for tomorrow, checked the tide times for Miyajima island and did a load of washing and drying before we ran out of clean clothes.