We awoke in Hiroshima to the rainiest day ever! And this is coming from someone who grew up in Glasgow.
No photo can do justice to the extent of rain that we endured. However since we were in one of Japan’s most historically significant cities we explored nevertheless. Historically significant, of course, due to the devastating tragedy of the atomic bomb at the end of WW2 on 6 August 1945. Three days later Nagasaki faced the same fate.
We walked to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The park is located around the hypocentre: the spot where the bomb detonated. The area was not redeveloped but dedicated to peace following the bombing.
Within the park is the A-Bomb Dome – this is also the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. When the bomb exploded, it was one of the few remaining standing buildings and exists to this day.
We also saw the Children’s Peace Monument which is in memory of the thousands of children that died as a result of the bombing. This is represented with a statue of Sadako Sasaki holding an origami crane above her head.
Sadako Sasaki was exposed to radiation as a result of the atomic bomb at the age of 2. Nine years later she was diagnosed with leukaemia. Japanese tradition states that those who fold one thousand paper cranes are granted a wish. Sadako started folding origami cranes with medicine wrappings and any other paper she could scrounge. Her wish was to have a world without nuclear weapons and to get well again. Sadly eight months later she passed away. Nowadays children all over the world send paper “peace” cranes to the monument in remembrance and to spread a unified message against nuclear weapons.
As you can see in the photo, there was a school trip at the memorial carrying out a ceremony and paying their respects when we were there.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a worthy visit. It tells the story of the bombing, gives survivor testimonies, explores the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and spreads the message of “no more Hiroshimas”.
The combined tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagaskai killed at least 129,000 people, devastating both cities. It is remarkable to see how Hiroshima has been rebuilt from ashes and witness the strong message of peace embodied by the city.
After a sobering morning we moved on to see more of city. Lunch was had at Okonomi-mura which has been described as a “food theme park”.
Inside there were lots of okonomiyaki restaurants which consist of large hot plate bars surrounded by stools.
We chose a stall and ordered the okonomiyaki speciality served here. They cook it up there and then in front of you. It was like witnessing food magic.
First they made pancakes.
These were piled high with cabbage, seaweed, beansprouts, spring onions, tempura pieces, shrimp and squid.
These were flipped and flattened. Noodles were also cooked (mine were the udon noodles on the end).
The pancake and toppings were expertly popped onto the bed of noodles. Then next thing we knew, she was frying up some egg!
The noodle side of the construction was placed on the egg and flipped egg side up. She then proceeded to top it with a coating of a speciality okonomiyaki sauce and a sprinkling of dried seaweed, sesame seeds and ginger. This resulted in the following delicious masterpiece!
A trip to Okonomi-mura is a must. It was honestly delicious and almost just worth watching the amazingly talented chefs work their magic.
Next stop Kyoto!