Hiroshima, Japan – Sobering and thought-provoking

The journey from Kyoto was a trip along the southwest coast by bullet train at an incredible 200mph.

Following the map, we passed Fukuyama and the more famous Himeji Castles. Both are located right behind the stations on the right side of the train.

We arrived in a city that changed beyond recognition on the 6th of August 1945, an event that changed the course of world history.


The bullet train arrived at a very modern station. Apart from the vast array of shops we found in other cities in Japan, our hotel was built on and attached to the station.

This was the perfect location to visit the city and beyond.

We had arranged a guide here, but as the weather forecast for the following day was not predicted to be good, we went by train and ferry with Lily, our guide, to Miyajima.

The transport system was excellent as usual, and our Japan Rail pass also covered the ferry to take us to the island of Miyajima.

The gardens and natural beauty here are enhanced significantly by the famous large Torii gate, which appears to float on water, and the island shrine Itsukushima, which also appears to float on water as the tide comes in.

As predicted, we had our only day of rain on day two in Hiroshima.

We got up early to beat the queues for The Peace Museum.

The museum takes visitors on a gruesome journey showing images and telling stories after the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on the city.

The blinding white flash, firestorm and radiation killed around 120,000 people.

As I write about our time in Hiroshima, I can’t help but reflect on the pointless nature of war. The greed, the idealism, fanatics, the righteous and those who have learnt nothing from the past.

After two world wars, the globe continues in its self-destructive conflicts in the Middle East, Russia and Ukraine, China and Taiwan, and rogue states like North Korea, Iran and militias around the globe.

When the bomb was dropped, few survived, but there was one man who had just gone down to the basement of a building to do some filing. The explosion 550 metres above him flattened and destroyed everything for miles around, but he survived and lived for a further 39 years.

Memorials are dotted all around the peace gardens.

The city today is vibrant and modern, but somehow, our visit to this city felt sad and sobering. It was matched by the cold and rain.

It is time to move on. The next stop is Takayama.