On our way in the fast train to Hiroshima.
My little room in our ryokan in Hiroshima with traditional tatami mats on the floor and my rolled up futon bed.
A little monument in Hiroshima. The city has been completely rebuilt since the a-bomb devasted it at the end of the second world war. Its a really clean, cool place. And they have trams too!
The peace park in Hiroshima. We arrived on August 6th, which was the day, in 1945 when the US dropped an atom bomb on the city. The entire city was virtually leveled and I think over 200,000 people died as either a result of the inital blast or of the radiation. The Museum is really full on and quite moving, definitely worth a visit.
The monument to Sadako Sasaki, the little girl who, while dying of Leukemia as a result of radiaton from the a-bomb, started making 1000 paper cranes, in the hope that a cure might be found. She died before she could finish all of them.
Her classmates then completed the 1000 and each year kids from around the world make paper crans and send them to her monument in Hiroshima. You can see some of them in this photo.
The dome that stands in the peace park which was just a couple of blocks from the hypercenter of the blast. The US chose Hiroshima mainly because the size and topography of the city was well suited to observe the destructive power of the a-bomb.
For the anniversary of the a-bombing kids make lanterns which are put around the peace dome. Families come down and take photos of their kids in front of the lanterns.
They also light lanterns with messages written on them and float them down the river, which was really beautiful. We sat on the edge of the river for ages just watching them float by.
We had okonomiyaki for dinner which is basically a pancake with noodles, bacon, shrimp, egg, sprouts, cabbage, mayonaise, 'special sauce' and other cool stuff. These ladies fry it up on the hot plate then slide it down to you. There were two whole floors of tiny okonomiyaki bars at this place we went to in Hiroshima, and most of them were packed.
Here's my half eaten okonomiyaki...
Miyajima Island, which you get to via a 30 minute tram ride, then 15 minutes on a ferry, was probably my favourite part of the trip after the karaoke, the bands and the beer. This is the Grand Shinto Shrine Archway. The island has a monkey park, a ropeway cable car thing, heaps of deer and a bunch of amazing shrines and casles. We arrived just as the sun was setting.
Another shot of the island. Its a popular place in autumn when all the maple leaves turn gold and red. Alas we were there in the stinking August heat, and the place was dead.
The Itsukushima Shrine which sits out over the water.
One of the castles on the island.
Ben spooks one of the deer.
The deer are a little nuts, one of them ate Michelle's map straight from her hand while we were asking it for directions. A bunch of Japanese teenagers looked on in horror. This sign warns that while the deer enjoy eating maps, they don't like it when little girls try to put flowers up their bums.
The gentle Deer-Master sprayed them with water so they wouldn't attack Michelle again as we went down the steps. He sure loves those deer.
Before leaving for Kyoto we went to the Hiroshima Castle. It's actually a reconstruction of the original which was destroyed by the atomic bomb blast in 1945. It houses an amazing historical museum with an awesome weapons and armour section.

Next stop, KYOTO >>>>>