Traveling to Hiroshima, Japan, is about a 45 minute train ride from Iwakuni and it is the closest and largest city to us. Hiroshima is a place I never expected I would visit and I was initially very surprised to see how large of a city it was.
Visiting the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Memorial Park was both an emotional and learning experience for me. When I initially laid eyes on the Atomic Bomb Dome, I was speechless. It’s a skeleton of a building and one of the only structures that was left standing, as it was located closest to the epicenter, the spot of the bomb detonation.
What is left of the building, which I learned used to be the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, was surrounded by lush grass and a beautiful landscaped park. It was hard to imagine that almost 72 years ago, the memorial I was standing at and the surrounding, bustling city, was almost completely destroyed.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, but we did go to the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims. At this memorial, we saw photographs and listened to short stories from survivors from that day. Hearing the stories was extremely upsetting but gave me a whole new outlook on this event in our world’s history.
After visiting the memorials, we walked around the downtown area, checking out different shops and eventually found a little cafe to eat at, which ended up having a separate vegan menu!
Our last stop before taking the train home was the Hiroshima Castle. The castle was a short walk from the Peace Park that took us past a beautiful pond filled with turtles and Koi fish! The castle itself was absolutely stunning and had been transformed into a museum containing historical artifacts, photographs and stories. From the top of the castle, we got an incredible 360 degree view of the city.
We are lucky to only be a 45 minute train ride away from Hiroshima because we still have so much more of the city to explore, but the sites we had a chance to visit on our first trip were definitely worth it.
Check out the short video below of our day trip to Hiroshima!