Miyajima & the Hiroshima Bombing Anniversary

6 08 2009

Today was the annversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. We attended the Ceremony at 8am in Peace park where prayers were said and a bell was tolled at 8.15am, the exact time the bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. The Japanese Prime Minister Aso, the Hiroshima governor and 2 UN Representatives spoke at the ceremony. Doves were released and a new scroll with updated names of all that died in the blast was placed in the memorial.

After the ceremony we caught the streetcar to Miyajima station (60minutes), then ran to catch the ferry to the island (10minutes). We walked past many deer, one ate part of our map (yum, paper), then we walked through Itsukushima shrine and took photos of the O-torii out in the sea at high tide (10.30am). There were lots of little crabs in the mud flats around the temple walkways. We hiked up Mt Misen which is about 580m above sea level. It was stairs the whole way and it was soooo tiring, sweaty, humid and hot. It took about 90 minutes to hike the whole way up to the peak. We couldn’t be bothered walking all the way down again so we took the cable car ropeway down the mountain. Around the cable car station were monkeys and deer. There were baby monkeys and mother monkeys, grooming monkeys and even monkeys grooming the deer. The descent on the cable car was steep, then we walked through the ‘Maple Park’ where a deer was eating a newspaper.

We wandered down Omotesando shopping street and saw the World’s Largest Rice Spoon which was 7.7m long.

Then we caught the ferry and tram back to the A-bomb dome. We wandered past some other monuments including the A-bomb mound (that contains the ashes of 70,000 people) back to the museum so Benno could buy a t-shirt and the Japanese book Shanti (about the girl who made 1000 paper cranes when she was dying at age 10 from atomic-radiation induced lukemia). We bought pink paper for a lantern for 600Y then made dinner back at the hostel.

We returned at night to the Peace park to put our lantern (with our wishes for peace written on it) in the water. We had to line up for about 1/2 hour or more as heaps of people had lantern wishes. Luckily we brought snacks of sugar-coated potato to eat while we waited.

After the festival we ate red bean and chesnut sweets from Takayama with iced tea then had cold showers to wash off all the sweat from our Mt Misen hike.