Hiroshima is worth visiting though it can be done in a day trip – we stayed here overnight but we could have spent the extra day in Kyoto instead.

There are two things worth seeing in Hiroshima, as a tourist – the Peace Museum which brings out vividly the trauma and tragedy of the first ever atom bomb that was dropped on a city as part of a war.  There are two places that I have visited over the decades that I found profoundly moving: one was the Dachau concentration camp near Munich where tens of thousands of Jews were exterminated and the other was Hiroshima.

There are pictures of the devastation that resulted and remnants of what was left whether in the way of buildings or personal effect and in some cases actual personal effect like clothes, toys, etc. Then there were numerous pictures of some who were killed and/or disfigured. By the end of 1945 – the bomb was dropped in May of that year – approximately 140,000 people were killed either as a result of the bomb or the after effects. There were graphic images of people who drank what was described as “black rain” – they drank it because of sheer thirst – except they did not know that the rain was radioactive and it resulted in their deaths.

While we walked amidst the hundreds of others who were visiting the museum, a Japanese woman who looked to be in her late 30s’  or early 40s’ began to sob next to us. Mini instinctively placed her arm around her but could not say anything to her given that she did not speak English. Later as we were seated on a bench in the museum, this woman approached Mini and said something that we did not understand and then ended her conversation with one word of English: “welcome”.

The other thing worth seeing in Hiroshima is the Peace Garden – which is a fairly sizable park – with remembrances of the bombing. The main attraction – if that is the right word – is that one can see the Atomic Dome from the park. The Dome was a prominent building in Hiroshima in 1945 which was substantially devastated when the bomb was dropped.

Devastation after the bomb was dropped including the Atomic Dome

Atomic Dome Description

“The atomic bomb exploded at a height of 600 meters, 160 meters to the southeast of the Atomic Bomb Dome. At the time, the building was the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. At the moment of detonation, the blast exerted 35 tons of pressure per square meter and created a fierce wind speed of 440 meters per second. The building absorbed the powerful explosion and heat, and burst into flames. Because the impact of the blast came almost directly overhead, curiously the thick outer walls and the steel dome escaped complete destruction. However, the people who were inside at the time died instantly and the interior of the building was completely gutted by fire. Although the exact time is unknown, the building with its exposed steel dome began to be referred to as the “Atomic Bomb Dome”.”

Atomic Dome as it exists today

After a lot of controversy the city decided that this remnant from the bombing should not be demolished but remain as a reminder of what the bomb had wrought. It was controversial because there were those who did not want any reminders of that tragic event.

The hotel we stayed at was the Hotel Dormy which was located close to the museum and the park. It was a nice hotel but it was our first experience with really small rooms and that took some getting used to – the room was very complete in all respects but it was tiny perhaps a size of 180 sq feet in total into which there was a double bed, a small desk, a full bathroom including a tub and shower, a full sized commode in this very small bathroom, a bidet, a sink outside the bathroom, a fridge and a television. Interestingly all of the controls for the room – lights and even the air conditioning was located on a console on the headboard. There was even a couple of plug points one of which was a USB charging port. Small problem: the plug point was for two pins and my laptop charger had a ground pin as well. Fortunately, the reception at the hotel loaned me an adapter which made the two pin outlet into what was effectively a three pin one!

We stayed overnight in Hiroshima and left the next morning for Kyoto.

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