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My guide to Hiroshima and Kyoto, Japan

Japan 2006Your first trip to Japan wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Hiroshima. Somewhere that could be a depressing place to visit remembering what happened there if it weren’t for the fact that the city is now like any other city in Japan. Bustling with life, business and culture. It’s also probably one of the most peace-loving of cities judging by the memorials, the museum and Hiroshima’s general outlook on the world and it’s state.

Peace park is the best place to head so we jumped on a street car on a beautiful sunny day. You wouldn’t think it’s autumn here yet. The park was once a busy business district of Hiroshima before 8:15am on the 6th of August 1945. The area was the Hypocentre of the explosion that took place 600 metres above the ground, flattening everything for 2 miles except for a few buildings that some how remained standing. One of those buildings now known as the A-bomb dome has become a memorial, preserved as it was after the event. Frozen in time. The ruins of a European style government building.

The Hiroshima Museum

Japan 2006

The museum at the park is one of the best I’ve ever been to. A mass of information with English audio commentary telling you all about what happened, why it did and how the city started to rebuild just days after the event. There’s a strong attitude of peace here and strong desire for all countries to decommission their nuclear weapons. You can’t help but agree when you visit. There’s two clocks near the entrance. One showing how many days have passed since that day and another showing how many days since the last nuclear bomb test was carried out. Unfortunately the last test was only 35 days ago. A sad reminder that lessons aren’t learnt quick enough. Still we enjoyed our visit and I’m glad we made the effort to visit the site of one of mankind’s biggest historical events.

A day exploring Kyoto

Japan 2006 We spent today visiting the many temples and shrines in Kyoto. Many of which can be found in the Imperial Palace grounds. A great place to stroll along taking in the sights. The temples are well-kept and well used. Around 50 million Japanese people visit Kyoto every year and it’s easy to see why.

After some souvenir shopping and Sushi for lunch the rain started to fall so we headed back to Hotel number 5. The Kyoto Brighton Hotel. We picked it on name alone and wow it was a good choice. We would have felt guilty for spending the afternoon and evening in the hotel if it weren’t for the fact it’s the best we’ve ever stayed in. The room has everything you could need and is by far the biggest we’ve had all holiday. We finally found a Tepanyaki restaurant too in the hotel which was by far the best meal I’ve ever had. It’s been brought to my attention I’ve mentioned eating quite a lot in these travel diaries. That’s because you eat so well in Japan! Each meal somehow surpasses the meal before. This one was enhanced more so by it being cooked by your own personal chef right in front of you.

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