JSPS Quarterly
No.41 2012 Autumn Topics

Introducing Japan: Hiroshima

By Dr. Qiao-Hui Fan

Hiroshima A-Bomb dome

A-Bomb Dome

I am currently living in Saijo located to the east of Hiroshima, about a 35-minute train ride from the center of the city. If you like Japanese sake, I suggest that you make Saijo part of your visit to Hiroshima. The roads here take you back in time to a place where following chimneys leads you to some of Japan’s oldest sake breweries. The visitor is free to drop in and take a sip.

Giant torii gate of Miyajima

Giant torii gate of Miyajima

Peace Memorial Park and Museum
Located in Japan’s Chugoku Region, Hiroshima has a population of around 1,175,000. Hiroshima is world famous for the anguishing experience it suffered when at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945 an atomic bomb destroyed a 2-kilometer swath of the city, killing tens of thousands of people outright. To commemorate this monumental event, a Peace Memorial Park was built in the center of the city. Every year, it attracts around 1.5 million visitors. To learn more about the city we live in, my wife and I decided to go to this famous park. After visiting the A-Bomb Dome, Children’s Peace Monument and Rest House, we went to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. I can vividly recall the feelings that came over me when I entered the building. The sad music and extremely somber atmosphere evoked in me a sense that I was myself experiencing the horrible calamity that had befallen the city’s people. All of the watches on display are frozen in time at 8:15. Letters written by such great scientists as Albert Einstein are also preserved for posterity. Perusing the museum’s remnants and depictions of that cataclysmic event gives one a stark sense of the awesome power of atomic combustion, along with a deeper appreciation for world peace-and the life we enjoy today.

Hiroshima on the map of Japan

Miyajima Island
I also highly recommend going to Miyajima, a small island less than an hour’s boat ride from the Peace Memorial Park. It is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float upon the sea, and Itsukushima Shrine, which is built over the water. We found Miyajima to be a really romantic spot. Although it can be crowded with tourists during day, the place becomes much quieter and peaceful in the evening. On the island, we enjoyed tasty foods, a depth of Japanese culture and history, and a touch of nature including wild deer. You might also want to take in this special place when you come to Hiroshima.


JSPS Quarterly No.41 2012