When I know I have to go through immigration for entering a foreign country, I always get a bit nervous. Did I bring everything with me? Did I properly check the entry requirements? The list goes on, but thankfully there was not ever an issue with this so far. The same applied to my ferry ride from Busan (South Korea) to Fukuoka (Japan). Everything went smoothly and after arriving in Fukuoka, I took the the high speed train from Hakata to Hiroshima. (While the name of the port is Fukuoka, the name of the train station in the same city is Hakata and it took me a while to wrap my head around the fact, that this city has two names!)
On the next day I visited Mijamyi island and hiked up to Mount Misen. The island is known for its torii gate from Itsukushima-Jinja shrine, which is rising out of the water. It’s one of Japan’s most visited tourist spots. This is not surprising, as in 1643 it was declared to be one of the three most scenic sights in Japan by the Japanese philosopher Hayashi Gahō. While there were quite a number of tourists, it was still nice to sit next to the water, looking at the shrine and finishing my breakfast which I had brought along.
Mount Misen is the highest mountain on the island and reaches 535m. I thought this would be a great opportunity to try out my new light-weight hiking boots, which I had especially purchased for this trip. I started walking up and while 535m is not so high, the humidity level was very high on that day. Honestly speaking, I do not remember when the last time was that I had sweat so much as on this hike. After an hour I made it to the top, but unfortunately there was still a lot of mist and the view was not very clear.
I hiked back down and went for lunch, as by then I was starving. By the time I headed to the ferry, the mist had gone and one could see the mountain top clearly from below. I’m sure the view up there must have been amazing.
After a long shower and dinner, I went to see the Peace Memorial Park which was very close to my accommodation. It was already dark and thus nice to walk through the park with all the lights on. The next morning I visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which is also located within the park. Both the park and museum have been built after the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945 during World War II. I walked through the museum with the audio guide and found it to be a very moving experience, at times depressingly heartbreaking.
The bombing, its impact and Hiroshima’s build up afterwards are very well documented and displayed. For me it’s an experience which is hard to put into words, as none of them do it justice. The personal stories and artefacts only scratch the surface of what it must have been like. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a place I will certainly remember and visit again. While it is not covering a light topic, it conveys an important message about world peace.
Until next time,