Located in the Japanese region of Chugoku, Hiroshima will be forever known to the world as the city where the first atomic bomb was dropped. And although the release of the atomic bomb is an unfortunate event in history; today, the city reminds us of the cruelties of war and the immeasurable value of peace. After the city’s deep wounds from the World War II healed, Hiroshima took on a new role over the past decades. The Japanese city now stands as a global peace center, and is one of the top spots to visit in the country.
The Peace Memorial Park is the most popular tourist spot in Hiroshima. The park can be found at the heart of the city, and it occupies a large area. Surrounded by green landscape, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park has a prevailing tranquil atmosphere and is home to more than 300 beautiful cherry trees. It also houses important buildings and monuments that commemorate the people who died during the war.
These structures include the Memorial Cenotaph, the Statue of the A-Bomb Children, the Peace Memorial Museum, and the A-Bomb Dome. The A-Bomb Dome is a very symbolic building in the city. This is a special place where thousands come to offer prayers of peace. The structure’s value to the city and to the world has become priceless; thus it is designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was built to appeal to the world in terms of eliminating nuclear weaponry. The museum has two main sections: the east building and the main building. When you head over to the east building, you will find films, exhibits and documents which highlight how Hiroshima dealt with the A-bomb aftermath. The main building, on the other hand, showcases the destruction left by the atomic bomb in the city.
Another prominent World Heritage Site in Hiroshima is the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island. Originally built during the 6th century, Itsukushima is the only shrine on the planet which features a torii-gate and shrine building right in middle of the sea. Because of its outstanding architecture, this scenic shrine on the island is one of most photographed sites in all of Japan. You can easily find a postcard that features this landmark. Other tourist sites to visit include the Mazda Museum, Hiroshima Castle and Shukkei-en Garden. Both the castle and garden were destroyed during the atomic bomb attack. But they were reconstructed marvelously to be enjoyed by the new generations.
While in Hiroshima, do not forget to visit its vibrant downtown area, especially the Hondori Street. This half a kilometer pedestrian arcade is always bustling with its slew of shops and restaurants. It is also in a convenient location as it is very nearby the Peace Park. Just parallel to Hondori is another popular street named Aioi dori (Aioi), which is the main traffic street, but is also home to big department stores.
If you get hungry while exploring the downtown, why not try Hiroshima’s version of Okonomiyaki, which is a pan fried dish made of batter and cabbage. Many restaurants offer this regional food on their menu, but one dining neighborhood that surely specializes in making Okonomiyaki is called Okonomi-mura.