Hiroshima + Miyajima, Japan

Hiroshima + Miyajima, Japan

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"The rainy season is coming early" we heard people say when we reached Hiroshima. And so it was, wet and a little grey but not without bursts of bike-friendly sunshine. The melancholy weather reflected our mood as we made our pilgrimage to the Atom Bomb Memorials that for many are synonymous with this city. But we walked away feeling quite positive after chatting with school kids who were eager to talk about the future and a lasting peace, even if it was part of their homework.

We watched student groups, bow respectfully toward the concrete cenotaph which perfectly aligns to frame the Peace Flame and the A-Bomb Dome and marvelled at the thousands of paper cranes (symbols of peace) sent in from around the world. Hiroshima residents continue to be vocal on nuclear abolishment in the wake of Japan's recent tragedy and this is even more prescient in a world where someone is constantly beating a war drum.

In a strange way, Hiroshima reminded me of Belgrade (my home town), maybe because of the numerous rivers and wide boulevards that traverse it, or perhaps because of its wounded history.

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We were also eager to venture out on the water. Miyajima Island, a short ferry ride away, is an oasis—but a busy one. Sure the tourists all know about its 'floating' Torii gate, but if you hop on a bike rental you can be alone in the hills of Mount Misen in minutes. Maybe not exactly alone, but free of people.

The most numerous inhabitants of Miyajima are tame deer, which wander, graze and nap in every which corner. Deer are thought sacred in the Shinto religion because they are considered messengers of the gods. In the past, the inhabitants of Miyajima Island were forbidden to till the ground, give birth, die or be buried on the sacred ground. Even today there are no hospitals or cemeteries on Miyajima Island.

Biking along the Kyobashigawa river
Biking along the Kyobashigawa river
Bridge over the Kyobashigawa
Bridge over the Kyobashigawa
Warehouse-sized sushi train restaurant, surprisingly delicious (and cheap!)
Warehouse-sized sushi train restaurant, surprisingly delicious (and cheap!)
Hiroshima's Nagarekawa shopping district
Hiroshima's Nagarekawa shopping district
Wrestling poster in Nagarekawa
Wrestling poster in Nagarekawa
Ruins of the A-bomb Dome
Ruins of the A-bomb Dome
Over 70,000 people were killed instantly in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima
Over 70,000 people were killed instantly in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima
Sculpture commemorating the death of 12-year old Sadako Sasaki, a symbol of the impact of nuclear war
Sculpture commemorating the death of 12-year old Sadako Sasaki, a symbol of the impact of nuclear war
Thousands of paper cranes, send from all over the world as a symbol of peace
Thousands of paper cranes, send from all over the world as a symbol of peace
Ken with our new friends who needed help with their English homework
Ken with our new friends who needed help with their English homework
Students bowing in respect at the Hiroshima Memorial Park
Students bowing in respect at the Hiroshima Memorial Park
Another beautiful sewer
Another beautiful sewer
The rainy season begins
The rainy season begins
The view from Hiroshima castle
The view from Hiroshima castle
The rainy season has it's benefits
The rainy season has it's benefits
Ferry ride to Miyajima
Ferry ride to Miyajima
The infamous red gate in low tide
The infamous red gate in low tide
Parking the bikes for a better view
Parking the bikes for a better view
They are everywhere!
They are everywhere!
Miyajima view
Miyajima view
An unlikely friendship
An unlikely friendship
The Miyajima beach is a popular spot for gathering crabs and other sea food
The Miyajima beach is a popular spot for gathering crabs and other sea food
Pet deer? Maybe we could make it work.
Pet deer? Maybe we could make it work.
Japanese washi tape & whiskey

Japanese washi tape & whiskey

Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima, Japan