Hiroshima Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by Ewingjr98
  • Hiroshima Municipal Stadium as at bottom of map
    Hiroshima Municipal Stadium as at bottom...
    by Ewingjr98
  • Local Customs
    by Ewingjr98

Most Recent Local Customs in Hiroshima

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    Hiroshima Toyo Carp Baseball

    by Ewingjr98 Written Dec 20, 2014

    The Hiroshima Toyo Carp is a baseball team that play in the highest level of Japanese baseball, the Nippon Professional Baseball league. The team was established in 1949, in part to help the city rebuild and recover from the atomic bombing. The early years of the Carp saw no sponsorship and little money for players or uniforms, so it was not until 1960 that the team finally finished above .500 for the first time. Mazda sponsored the team in 1968, and the word Toyo was added to the name as a reference to Mazda's name in Japanese, Toyo Kogyo.

    From 1957 to 2008 the Carp played at a stadium across the street from the A-Bomb Dome in central Hiroshima. In 2009, they moved to the brand new Mazda stadium.

    The Carp has won three Japan Series Championships, in 1979, 1980 and 1984.

    Hiroshima Municipal Stadium as at bottom of map

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    Seto Inland Sea

    by Ewingjr98 Written Dec 20, 2014

    The Seto Inland Sea is at the mouth of the Ota River on the edge of Hiroshima. This large sea lies between the main Japan islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, and it stretches 450 km at its longest, with a width of 15 to 55 km. The area includes some 3,000 Islands, and areas of 10 prefectures. Much of the sea is protected as part of the Setoneikei National Park, which was established in 1934, and is known for is beautiful views of the many steep islands in the calm inland waters.

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    Hiroshima Oysters

    by Ewingjr98 Written Dec 19, 2014

    Hiroshima is the largest producer of oysters (or kaki) in Japan, producing 60-70% of the country's oysters harvested by about 400 oyster farmers. The local oyster industry dates back to the 16th Century, and they gained national fame in the Edo Period. In the earliest days oyster farmers would place bamboo rafts in the mudflats to give the oysters a place to anchor themselves. Today most oyster cultivation is done in floating wooden or bamboo rafts suspended over the mud flats.

    Processing facilities line the rivers in Hiroshima, and on a boat tour you can see piles of scrap shells remaining after the oysters have been shucked.

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    A Buddhist monk

    by globetrott Updated Nov 24, 2014

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    This is one of the mysteries that I could not find an answer for after my stay in Japan, BUT now I am glad to have found an answer in the VT-forum:What is this Person doing? - thanks a lot for the answers !
    It is a Buddhist monk with an alms bowl and bell. Buddhist monks obviously are collecting alms in a different way and different understanding than in other religions: The Buddhist monk is waiting silently for donations without begging, a big hat hides the face of the monk and so the person giving a donation will have no eye-contact with the monk, nor will he receive a thanks or acknowledgement for the donation. As the bowl fills, it's emptied into the bag (with the characters on it) that he is wearing around the neck.

    In Buddhism such a donation is considered as a form of holy generosity; of letting go of the earthly/material. And your donation will come back to you spiritually many times. That reminds a bit of the idea that the moslems have about donations they are giving to beggars: The person who gives the donation is thanking the beggars to have taken and accepted the donation !

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    Did you ever see an umbrella-safe ???

    by globetrott Written Nov 22, 2014

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    Did you ever see an umbrella-safe ???

    Yes, this is an umbrella-safe that I saw in the Oriental Hotel, next to the reception. It looks like there is an umbrella-box for each room of the hotel and when leaving the hotel the guests might take them out with the roomkey or something similar and they put them back when they return. BUT for me the question remains unanswered: will they place the wet umbrella there when they return after a walk ?
    I saw similar umbrella-safes also in other hotels in Japan, BUT nowere else in the world so far, or maybe I simply did not come to the right hotels !
    I had been in Japan for 7 days at the end of February and we had a lot of rain, in Tokio it was even snowing a bit for a short time, but the snow melted away already while touching the ground.

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    Miyajima: make a wish at the temple

    by globetrott Written Nov 22, 2014

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    Miyajima: make a wish at the temple

    This was quite surprising for me as well in Japan: Private wishes and prayers for the gods are written on white papers that will be fixed along a string in the temple, everybody may do so and it was interesting for me to learn that in Japan it is quite usual to believe in more than one religion : Buddism and Shintuism for instance go togeather well.
    Another way to post wishes is to buy small wooden boards, that have prayers or wishes already printed on them !
    Donations that were given as a present to the temple are mostly shown at the entrance of the temples and they are always a good advertisment for the companies who had given these donations. For us tourists they mostly make a great opportunity to take an exotic picture, maybe of rice-sacks or maybe some wine, who knows,they are all very colorful and unique for us anyway, even when you are not able to read any inscriptions.

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    Miyajima: Holy deer

    by globetrott Written Nov 22, 2014

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    Miyajima: Holy deer

    This was a surprise for me as well: In India you will find Holy Cows and in Japan this kind of deer is considdered to be a holy animal in Japan ! And that is the reason why you will find them in and around many shrines and temples, they will be walking where-ever they want and they are always begging for food and posing for photos. In some places you will be able to buy special cookies for them and these clever animals are waiting close to these food-stands for their meals. Sometimes it is quite hard to get rid of them but they always make a good photo !
    They also might get quite pushy, when they smell a cookie in your pocket and they will not go away untill they got it ! Deer are thought of as sacred in the native Shinto religion because they are considered messengers of the gods.

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    The nuns of Itsukushima Shrine

    by globetrott Written Nov 22, 2014

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    The nuns of Itsukushima Shrine
    For lots of centuries it was not allowed to enter the island for women at all ! That was changed in the 20th centrury and now there are even nuns in the temple of Itsukushima Shrine. These nuns are wearing special costumes and they dont like to have their photo taken,this is why you better take your photos with a tele-lens. In most cases their reaction is to turn around and walk away, as soon as they see a camera.
    Mostly you will not see any of the nuns walking around the temple, but they are sitting in a kind of kiosk, where they are selling religious articles and there you might be able to take a photo like i did from a big distance and a 600mm lens.

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    Watch a wedding in Itsukushima Shrine

    by globetrott Written Nov 22, 2014

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    Watch a wedding in Itsukushima Shrine

    Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima is the most popular place in Japan for a wedding in the traditional style and couples from all parts of the county book them a long time in advance.
    We were lucky that just in the moment when we came to Itsukushima Shrine a traditional japanese wedding took place and while we missed the ceremony itself we could at least see the bride and the groom and the riksha that took them away afterwards.All of that looked so very special like in a movie because of the wonderful traditional costumes and the special place, it also was something special for the local people and everybody was taking photos.

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    Sadako Sasaki

    by IreneMcKay Written May 10, 2014

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    Sadako Sasaki was a little Japanese girl who lived in Hiroshima. When she was two years old, the US Army Air Force dropped an atomic bomb on her home town. The explosion blew her threw a window, but she survived.

    In November 1954 when Sadako was eleven years old, she developed swellings on her neck and behind her ears. In January 1955 purple spots started forming on her legs. She had developed leukemia as a result of the A-bomb radiation.

    Doctors told her devatated family that she only had a year to live, but Sadako did not want to die and she remembered an old Japanese story, The Legend of a Thousand Paper Cranes. The legend stated that anyone who folded one thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako wanted to wish for life.

    On the 25th of October 1955 Sadako died. She had folded 644 paper cranes before becoming too weak to fold anymore. Her classmates folded the remaining 356 cranes in honour of her memory.

    You will see strings of paper cranes hanging on the peace memorials of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are also statues of Sadako near her school and in the Peace Park in Hiroshima.

    Sadako Sasaki Statue
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    Remembering the past: hoping for the future

    by toonsarah Written Dec 11, 2013

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    Near the Atomic Bomb Dome we saw several displays set up by local people – some artefacts from the devastation caused by the bomb such as these roof tiles (photo two), posters campaigning for peace and some old photos of Hiroshima at the time, both before and after the bomb. This area just on the fringes of the Peace Memorial Park seems to have become a venue for individual local people who are keeping the memory of what happened on that day alive to express their feelings and, in some cases, share personal experiences with visitors.

    One of the displays held a rack of paper flyers promoting a blog by the son of parents who survived the attack (his mother being pregnant with him at the time), in which his mother describes the events of that day and the subsequent death of her father, his grandfather. This is a simply told, powerful first person testimony: My Father's sixth of August, 1945 in Hiroshima. The blogger, Mito Kosei, now works as a volunteer guide at the Peace Memorial Park showing English-speaking visitors around. I have read since our visit that he used to work at the museum but now prefers to work independently as it gives him more freedom to campaign against all forms of nuclear activity.

    Mito is one of the hibakusha, which translates as "explosion-affected people", as he was affected by the radiation in utero. Wikipedia explains:
    ” The Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law defines hibakusha as people who fall into one of the following categories: within a few kilometres of the hypocenters of the bombs; within 2 km of the hypocenters within two weeks of the bombings; exposed to radiation from fallout; or not yet born but carried by pregnant women in any of these categories. As of March 31, 2013, 201,779 hibakusha were recognized by the Japanese government, most living in Japan. … Hibakusha are entitled to government support. They receive a certain amount of allowance per month. About 1%, certified as suffering from bomb-related diseases, receive a special medical allowance.”

    Leaving the Atomic Bomb Dome you can cross the bridge and enter the Peace Memorial Park, but before doing so there is one monument that lies just outside the park and is worth seeing, the Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students

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    Paper cranes

    by toonsarah Written Dec 11, 2013

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    Wherever you go in the Peace Memorial Park you will come across these origami folded paper cranes. They are left in their thousands at the Children’s Peace Memorial, but also at many of the other monuments, and we were given some by several of the school children we met, as mementoes and in thanks for the time we spent talking to them (see my Favourites tip). The cranes are a symbol of peace, and the reason for this can be traced back to Sadako Sasaki, the young victim of the atomic bomb whose memory inspired the Children’s Peace Memorial. Sadako was two years old at the time of the bomb. She survived the blast, despite being flung out of a window, but in 1954 developed leukaemia. She was hospitalized in February 1955, and given, at the most, a year to live. While in hospital she started to fold the traditional origami paper cranes so beloved of the Japanese. Her aim was to make a thousand, as an ancient Japanese story promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. One version of her story says that she didn’t manage to achieve this, having made “just” 644 before her death in October of that year. However, her school friends completed the task on her behalf and all thousand cranes were buried with her. But an exhibit in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (see this account) asserts that by the end of August 1955, she had achieved her goal and continued to fold more cranes.

    Whatever the details of Sadako’s mission, she has inspired several generations of Japanese children. Her legacy is a custom that brings colour to the memorials here and provides a visible reminder of the thousands that pay tribute to the victims. It is also a custom that has travelled the globe. When we were in New York some years ago we visited St Paul’s Chapel, a small church that stood almost in the shadow of the Twin Towers, but miraculously escaped any damage. In the months following 9/11, it served as a refuge for rescue workers, a triage centre for victims, and as a beacon of hope for the city. It is now a place of remembrance and among its exhibits are paper cranes sent by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a sign of their empathy with their counterparts in New York – a wonderful manifestation of Hiroshima’s commitment to world peace.

    Next to another of the park’s major memorials, the Cenotaph

    Paper cranes in St Paul's Chapel NYC
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    Paper Cranes

    by pure1942 Written Sep 14, 2010

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    The Crane has become an unofficial symbol of Hiroshima since the story of Sadako Sasaki became world famous.

    Sadako Sasaki was born in Hiroshima in 1943 and was only 2 years old when the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Sadako survived the blast but several years later in 1954, she started to develop a rash on her neck. 3 months later the rash worsened and purple lesions started to form on her legs. She was diagnosed with a form of leukaemia and was hospitalised in February 1955, with under a year left to live.

    Following a vist from a friend, who told Sadako of an ancient Japanese tradition, which said that anyone who folded 1000 origami cranes would be granted one wish, Sadako set out to fold 1000 paper cranes.

    Some say that Sadako managed to fold over 600 paper cranes before her death, while her friends and family finished the thousand after her death and buried them with her. However, the accepted truth is that Sadako did indeed reach 1000 cranes but continued folding the cranes until her death in October 1955.

    Today origami cranes from all over Japan and the world continue to be sent to the Children’s Monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park and the thousands upon thousands of cranes on display around the monument are a moving symbol of children’s solidarity with Sadako and all the other child victims of the atomic bombings in Japan.

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    Stamps

    by Rabbityama Written Oct 14, 2005

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    When you are finished touring the Hiroshima Peace Museum, you may notice that there are some stamps like the one in the picture sitting out. These stamps are very popular in Japan. The Japanese will often stamp brochures or pamphlets, and you can do this too if you have any from Hiroshima. Also, if you have/bought any books, you may want to stamp the inside cover. I never saw anyone stamp there hands, so that may not be something they do. These stamps are not only in Hiroshima. I found that many museums or tourist attractions have them, as well. I always enjoyed stamping books and other materials from the place where the stamp advertised. It's a fun and unique type of stamp collecting!

    Hiroshima Museum Stamp
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    Traditional wedding

    by Ines28 Written Jul 10, 2005

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    When visiting Miyajima, we were very lucky to witness a traditional wedding at the Itsukushima-jinja. That was particularly interesting as the ceremony was held in the open shrine and everybody could watch. The guests were all well-dressed, the women wearing beautiful kimonos. The bride was dressed in a white kimono with a large hood, the face being nearly invisible. What was familiar to us was the exchanging of rings at the end of the wedding, but the music played was really strange!
    After the wedding we were so lucky to be able to take some "family pictures" of the whole wedding party.

    Wedding
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Hiroshima Local Customs

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