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For breakfast, we stopped by my favourite Japanese bakery called “One Coin Bakery” because everything costs about 100 yen (about $1.00 CAD). They offer many delicious sweets along with Japanese style buns with hot dogs, fried chicken and potatoes, and even one with noodles inside!
The A-Bomb Dome was designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel and was completed in April 1915. At 8:15 am, August 6, 1945, an American B29 bomber carried out the world’s first atomic bombing. It exploded 600 meters above the city. It ripped through the building (and most of the city) killing everyone instantly. In 1996, the A-bomb Dome was registered on the World Heritage List, as it is one of the last remaining building from that time, which is now preserved. It stands as a memorial to the bombing. Standing outside the decrepit building, I can’t even imagine how the survivors must have felt after that day. It’s an odd juxtaposition against the modern city skyline.
Afterwards, Jessica and I walked a few minutes away to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The park is a symbol of hope for perpetual world peace and total abolition of nuclear weapons. It indeed feels peaceful. There, we visited the Bell of Peace, the Children’s Peace Monument, and the Memorial Cenotaph, Peace Flame, and Peace Bell.
At the far end of the park lies Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (200 yen) which holds many artifacts from the bombing and describes the war in detail. It also collects and displays belongings left by the victims, as well as photos and other materials that convey the horror of that event. In total there are three levels which include sections on Hiroshima’s history, video testimonies from survivors, the dangers of nuclear weapons, and more. I find it truly baffling that nearly 92 percent of the city’s 76,000 buildings were destroyed or badly damaged and by the end of December 1945, around 140,000 people had died. According to the museum, “Hiroshima’s deepest wish is the elimination of all nuclear weapons and the realization of a genuinely peaceful international community.” I highly recommend this museum.
Next, the two of us visited the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims. Established by the Japanese Government in 2002, it is a place where one can remember the atomic bomb victims and think about peace. Guests can also search and view photos of the deceased and read a list of their names. It was very somber, yet peaceful.
On our way to Hiroshima Castle, we stopped at the Hypocenter, the exact spot where the bomb exploded 600 meters in the air. Just signified by a plaque, today, it looks like any other street in town.
Hiroshima Castle was established by Mori Terumoto, one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s council of “Five Great Elders”. It is representative of a flatland castle. It is also known the “Carp Castle” since the area where the castle was built was then called oi-no-ura and “Koi” means carp in Japanese, the castle was given the nickname “Carp Castle” in later years. The observation tower at the top is lovely to look out from. You experience a great view of the city. The preceding floors have several displays about the history of the castle as well as some weapons and armour.
In the evening, we stopped at a Jazz club and enjoyed the jam session that was taking place.