Hiroshima, Japan Port
Hiroshima, Japan Port
It is impossible to think of Hiroshima without also thinking of the devastation the city suffered in the wake of the atomic bomb which was dropped there in 1945. Indeed, the legacy of the darkest period of the city’s history features prominently in many a Hiroshima excursion but there’s plenty of distant history to explore there too, as well as a number of cultural and contemporary attractions to be found along its neon streets.
Hiroshima was founded in 1589 and soon came under the control of the Asano clan of Samurai, who stayed in charge of the area for a good 250 years. Through the Meiji period, which lasted until 1912, the area continued to develop commercially and industrially, becoming a busy port and a seat of regional government. By the time of the Second World War, it was one Japan’s largest and important cities but even so, remained largely untouched by American bombing campaigns. As history shows, this was an intentional military decision and a much more devastating fate was reserved for the city, one which took the lives of 70,000 people. Today, Hiroshima, though a place which will never forget its fallen or its past, is constantly looking to the future and visitors can expect a warm welcome as they explore its cosmopolitan streets.
Sightseeing in Hiroshima
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum is a common fixture on many a cruise excursion itinerary and it’s a place which every visitor should experience. The park of course commemorates the atomic bomb explosion and those who lost their lives in it. Equal parts moving, beautiful and thought-provoking, it is home to a number of statues, sculptures and memorials, as well a fascinating museum which tells the story of the bomb in an unflinching but even-handed manner. During your visit to the park, it’s impossible to miss the Atomic Bomb Dome, the only surviving building from the time of the blast which has been preserved as a poignant reminder.
Another popular attraction is the 17th century Shukkei-en Garden, which was rebuilt following its destruction in the blast to resemble as closely as possible the original garden. In the oriental garden tradition, it’s an oasis of calm where you’ll find ponds, streams and bridges. Like so many places in Hiroshima, it pays tribute to the city’s fallen as the ashes of those who perished there were scattered during the reconstruction, so that the memory of them would live on.
For an altogether different experience, be sure to visit the Hiroshima Museum of Art. As well as works by leading Japanese artists which you might expect, there are also a number of pieces by French masters such as Monet and Renoir.
Shopping in Hiroshima
If a spree in an ultra-modern shopping complex sounds like the perfect way to spend some of your time in the city, then be sure to head over to Hon Dori Shtengai or Pacela, which are two of the city’s main shopping arcades.
Eating out in Hiroshima
Hiroshima is famous for its Okonomiyaki; a type of savoury pancake made with noodles, cabbage and egg and filled with meat fish or cheese. It tastes much better than it sounds and it’s highly advisable to try some while you’re there. With literally hundreds of restaurants to choose from, you’ll have no problem finding exactly what you want, even if oriental cuisine is not your thing.