Hiroshima is a strange place. No one goes to Hiroshima without thinking about the history, the atomic bomb that completely obliterated the city in 1945. It seems like a long time ago, but it’s only been 68 years. As of last year, there are 210,830 hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombing) recognized by the Japanese government. 210,830 people who were alive when it happened. There are many hibakusha who live in Hiroshima, so even now, the scar is still healing.
It’s hard to believe that 68 years ago this city barely existed.
But if somehow, you didn’t know about the atomic bomb, you’d never even know it happened looking at Hiroshima today. The city is beautiful and vibrant and doesn’t seem much different from any other city in Japan.
We stayed at Hotel Granvia in Hiroshima, only because I wanted a hotel as close as possible to Hiroshima Station. Usually I tend to pick modern-looking boutique hotels, but hey, this one is conveniently attached to the station. The hotel was fine, but it was sort of fake-grandiose in the way that I think old people like. And for some reason, the bed had a radio with NHK programmed into it.
All the requisite toiletries, as per usual at a Japanese hotel.
I love that Hiroshima has streetcars!
Random dessert to fortify us for the walk to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
I only took two photos inside. You can take photos inside the museum, but it seemed kind of wrong. There are some really heart-wrenching and horrifying exhibits — lots of actual pieces of clothing from children who died in the explosion and from radiation poisoning afterwards. Graphic models of the victims, with clothing and skin melting off. I sometimes feel a bit immune to exhibits like that because of all the Holocaust stuff I deal with as part of my job, but it was quite heavy.
I was pleased that the museum is pretty politically neutral in all its text, and the main focus of many of the exhibits is the need for peace and elimination of the world’s nuclear weapons. But still, I’m not sure how I would feel viewing the museum as an American.
The red ball shows where the atomic bomb detonated over the city. Everything was flattened except the few buildings left standing.
The memorial outside the museum.
The area around the museum is a very pretty park, the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park.
Not too far from the museum is the most famous and tragic Hiroshima icon — the Atomic Bomb Dome. The Dome was the only building left standing near the hypocentre of the bomb.
This was the Dome before the bomb, then called the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall.
This is the Dome after the bombing.
Aside from minor structural repairs, the Dome has been left mostly as-is since 1945.
Looking around at Hiroshima, everything that happened is almost incomprehensible.
To end this entry on a lighter note, here’s some Hiroshima ramen I ate — probably the worst ramen of my life. Not the worst in terms of how it tasted, but because it was just… so bad for you. See those blobs that looks like they might be tempura bits? They’re fat. Large blobs of fat. See the meat? It’s fried. I did not finish this ramen but if I did, I may have suffered a heart attack. Never again, Hiroshima ramen.