Long busy day today so this update is a few hours late. Another great autumn day, temperature in the early twenties and sun shining. Packed up again and parked the luggage at the motel where we will return late this afternoon before we catch the train.
New guide today and on a small bus as there are only 14 of us. First stop after a 30 minute drive was the island of Miyajima,considered to be one of Japan's three most scenic spots. The island's most famous attraction is the Itsukushima Shrine and its unusual Torii Gate. This gate is situated in the ocean not far from the shore and stands there under its own weight. Not anchored to the sea bed, it has withstood tidal changes and typhoons for over 800 years. No typhoon has ever overturned it. The current gate is the 8th generation with the timbers being replaced every 100 years or so. This one is now 120 years old and there are no suitable trees remaining in Japan to replace it. As a heritage listed item, the correct type of wood must be used for any restoration.
The shrine itself is a series of large inter-connected buildings and is also built in the ocean tidal area so that at any time there may be sand or half a metre or more of water under the buildings and walkways.
The small village has a great shopping and food street with just about anything available. Deer wander the street but are a smaller and less aggressive deer
than we encountered at Nara but you still couldn't wave anything around, food or paper, or they would be trying to get a feed. The food speciality of the place is oysters and as we crossed on the ferry there were oyster beds as far as you could see.
There are many other facilities and attractions on the island but our time was restricted so it was back on the ferry and bus and back to Hiroshima for the visit to the atomic bomb site of 1945.
The most dramatic site here is the A-Bomb Dome. This building was built in the early 1900s and was one of the few left standing. In the subsequent clear-up, all other buildings were demolished but public opinion resulted in this one remaining, as it was, as a reminder. The building survived as it was almost under the center of the explosion and all the force was downward. The copper dome melted and only its frame and some of the walls remain.
Nearby is the Peace Memorial Park which contains a number of individual monuments including the Children's Peace Monument, a Flame of Peace which is not intended to be an eternal flame but will be extinguished when all nuclear bombs are destroyed, and a Cenotaph for A-Bomb Victims. An interesting design feature is that the cenotaph, the Flame and the A-Bomb Dome are in a direct line.
From the Peace Memorial Park, we then toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which houses an extensive collection of artifacts, photos and animations of the A-Bomb event and the aftermath.
As a follow up to yesterday's photo of an old tram, Hiroshima had trams in 1945 and two of the trams from that time are still operation.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped off to view the Hiroshima Castle which was restored after suffering damage in the bombing. Then it was into the station, locate our Shinkansen train and board for Osaka. Eventually arriving at the hotel at 9:15pm. Almost 11:00pm by the time we returned from finding somewhere for dinner and eating, so that was too late to write this up.
Last day here tomorrow/today. We'll wander around the shopping malls near the hotel and head for the airport.