Located only a short bus ride...
Located only a short bus ride from the center of town, Fudoin Temple is a relaxing spot to spend a short time or a whole afternoon. Being cone of the rare survivors of the atomic bomb, it clearly gives the feeling of an 'original' temple. In the middle of the 14th century, Fudoin temple was designated by the Ashikaga 'Shogunate' brothers, as one of the 60 'Ankokuji' temples paying tribute to soldirs killed in battle.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The Peace Memorial Museum collects and displays belongings left by the victims, photos and other materials that convey the horror of that event, supplemented by exhibits that describe Hiroshima before and after the bombing and others that present the current status of the nuclear age.
Each of the items displayed embodies the grief, anger, or pain of real people. Having now recovered from that A_bomb calamity, Hiroshima's deepest wish is the elimination of all nuclear weapons and the realization of a genuinely peaceful international community.
Hiroshima-jo (also called Carp Castle) was originally constructed in 1589. Much of it was dismantled following the Meiji Restoration, leaving only the donjon, main gates and turrets. What remained was totally destroyed by the bomb and rebuilt in ferro-concrete in 1958. Though it is not the original building, it is very impressive and beautiful (especially during cherry blossom season). It contains an interesting museum, admission fee is Y360 and Y180 for children aged 6-17.
The top of the castle provides a good view of the city.
"Atomic Bomb Dome"
The 6 August 1945 nuclear explosion was almost directly above the building (the hypocenter was 150 meters / 490 feet away), and it was the closest structure to withstand the explosion. The building has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing, and now serves as the reminder of nuclear devastation and as a symbol of hope for world peace and elimination of all nuclear weapons.
"Statue of Sadako"
In 1958, a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was unveiled in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial also called the Genbaku dome. At the foot of the statue is a plaque which reads, This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.
Sadako has become a leading symbol of the impact of a nuclear war. Sadako is a heroine for many young girls. Her story is told in some Japanese schools on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. Dedicated to her, people all over Japan celebrate August 15 as the annual peace and love day.
MIYAJIMA in the Seto inland sea.
"Miyajima: a symbol of peace"
Miyajima is my favourite place in the whole of Japan. I obviously haven't been everywhere but in my 2 years I have made 13 trips to other parts of Japan and have seen 4 out of the 5 main islands. Miyajima is different but don't go there "expecting" it to be really good, take the time to experience the atmosphere and it will be as peaceful and lovely as you make it.
It can be done well in a day trip but alternatively there is enough to discover that you could stay for a couple. If you have the time I would recommend staying at the camping ground on Miyajima (as the hotels are really expensive) and seeing it properly. Every time I go I discover new things and places and would love to have time to enjoy the atmosphere without rushing as we do on sightseeing trips.
I want to tell you about the things that you will see that you may want to ask questions about but which the guide available at the port (which is in English) wont tell you about. I don't know so much myself but have found out a few "whys" to questions in my 9 or 10 trips there! Some of these may be covered in my Japan in Brief chapter too and if you are intersted in the religion of Shinto then check out my Takamiya home page (yet to be finished-sorry!)
I hope when you visit Miyajima you feel the same way I do.
"The Shrine from which Miyajima gets it's name"
It is called Itsukushima Shrine and it was originally built in the later part of the 6th century. It is orange and is regularily renovated and especially when the tide is high, and the shrine appears to float on the water, it is a beautiful sight.
Miyajima means Shrine island and Itsukushima Shrine is built in the middle of a bay. the Tori gate (which is the entrance to a shrine) is at the entrance to the bay where ships would have sailed through to reach the Shrine back in the old times. (A Shrine is the Shinto equivalent of a Buddhist temple.)
"At high tide..."
floating and almost flooding!
"and in low tide..."
when the millions of crabs provide an added attraction!
The famous tori gate(high and dry)
"Capture the Feeling.."
It's a popular place for artists and want to be artists as the scenery is stunning yet peaceful and natural.
"Do you have dreams that need a bit of a boost?"
So many places you go in Japan you have the chance to write your dreams, aims, goals and hang them in order to help them come true. These are the equivalent of Christian prayers and cover any and all subjects from wedding hopes, health and children, exam results...
(They also cost so you are helping the Shrine upkeep at the same time!)
Not the official name but the only thing that springs to mind when you see what looks like ugly advertising stuck on a beautiful Shrine entrance. These are professionally printed and the logo you see on some of the stickers is the companies trademark and the Kanji is representative of someones hopes; a companies name so the company prospers or the name of an actor so .... I'm not quite sure what that means!!
"Protectors of the Scriptures.."
This formidable figure is one of a pair. One has his mouth open one closed. They are refered to as the "immm" and "ahhh" statues. Apart from just being protectors they also teach about Buddhism and the sounds represent the beginning and the end. Everything has a beginning and an end and Buddhist belief is that after the end is the beginning in a continuous circle.
"The nicest place on Miyajima."
I would come to Miyajima just to visit this temple. It is called Daishoin Temple and is up the hill to the east of the port. There is a lovely view of the bay from the temple and being away from the main area I have only ever seen it crowded during festivals.
"The hidden room at Daishoin."
I only found this the last time I visited Miyajima and it reminded me of a cave. The roof is covered with lights and it is filled with small statues. Walk to the back of the temple complex to find it.
It's alcholic and it goes hand in hand with the Shrines.
Throughout Japan you will see small roadside Shrines which look like someone has discarded their unwanted lunch but its actually a large part of the Shinto religion to offer food and alcohol. The Shrines in family houses have Okashi(sweets) replaced frequently as their offerings. The Kanji on the sake barrels in the photo show where the sake was produced and these are stored along a walkway to the Shrine. Sake is a rice wine which is very popular in Japan. It tastes like a weak spirit and can be drunk hot or cold. I like it and it's pretty potent so drink Sake with the Japanese and make some funny stories to tell!
"The top of the mountain.."
The Highest mountain on Miyajima is 530 metres above sea level and has been considered sacred and an object of worship for many years. There is a gondola (called ropeway in Japanese) that will take you up, but don't be fooled into thinking that you have finished when you get to the top by gondola because the best part is yet to come.
Do the walk up to the temples (Where the fire above is)as it's a fairly easy walk (30min) and this takes you to the top of Daishoin Temple where you can opt to walk down via the Daishoin course but even if you are taking the ropeway down don't miss the round trip at the top of the mountain which only takes another 10 or 15 which is really lovely. The huge rocks make for interesting scenery and this is the highest point to get a view of the surrounding area and ports.
Just make sure you get back to the gondola before the last ride which leaves at approximately 5pm. (or you will be walking back down via the Misen climbing path which isn't too bad but it's a fairly steep one hour walk with lots of steps.
"Mt Misen Observatory area"
Some of the cool rocks on the walk up to the temples and observatory.
"A 1200 yr old fire.."
The soot that covers everything in this room is enough to know that this fire hasn't been put out in a long time. By just replacing the wood over this core of heat I don't know the technical reasons for it- (my Japanese wasn't so good at the time!) this fire continually burns and heats the water pot which hangs over the top. Drinking the water is supposed to have some good or healthy consequences but the soot floating in it kept me away! There is not usually many people around to ask but you see a priest and he speaks English find out some more about it.
"Everytime someone visits me..."
Me and my sister who came to live in Osaka earlier this year.