Leapfrog Nara

The day we thought we’d go see the big Buddha dawns grey and rainy. It’s been raining pretty much all night, and it doesn’t take us long to decide that traipsing around a deer park in the rain won’t be much fun. Though it’s a shame to miss one of the biggest Buddhas in the world, and the first one that arrived in Japan, with one umbrella between us to cover our heads, it is a quick decision to skip Nara and go straight to Hiroshima.

Last Building Standing

It turns out to be the right call, since by the time we arrive, the rain has cleared and it’s actually sunny. We only have one full day, so I am grateful that we’ve taken advantage of a hotel above the station – the day after tomorrow we just need to roll out of the bed, the hotel, and onto the train. We’ve made use of the concierge service in Kyoto, which has sent our bags to Hakone while we take our day trip. Judicious re-packing has allowed us to use the designated camera bag to pack our necessities, while I carry the cameras. Cool huh? And it’s only cost us ~2000Y, around $25. We’ll do that again; it’s such a blessing to reduce our burden by two full size cases.

We arrive in Hiroshima with enough light left to visit the two key places in the city: The Atom Bomb Dome, and the Castle. Oh, I am sure there is more to see, but these two are key for me.

Getting about is relatively easy, we take a street car to the Dome, which used to be the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall. It was built in 1914, and was destroyed in 1945. The blast flattened pretty much everything else, but the building remained standing at the epicentre of the bomb, and it now stands as a testament to man’s inhumanity: not just the bomb, but what led to the dropping of it.

Sigh – when will humanity stop fighting? I know, I know, I’m an idealist…. I have to remember that mankind is really no smarter than the average yeast cell: we consume everything and die in our own excreta. Anyway, I digress – again.

On a brighter note, we make our way to the castle, located a short distance from the A bomb dome. NO, it’s not the original – that was flattened along with everything else. The restored construct is small but attractive.

We have three more things we must do here; visit the island of Miyajima and see the floating Torii gate, eat oysters, and eat the Okonomiyaka, a Japanese pancake speciality of Hiroshima.

I’m happy to say we’ve accomplished all three, and in that order.

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