Hiroshima and Miyajima December 2012

As you all know, I went to Fukuoka again last December with my family. This time, we skipped the touring part, shopped til our hearts couldn’t take it anymore, and stuffed ourselves with the best ramen in the world. Well, not exactly. Being history geeks and travelers at heart, we dedicated one day of our trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima. We’ve already been to Nagasaki, so naturally Hiroshima was a clear choice for our next destination.

It only takes about an hour to go to Hiroshima from Hakata Station via Shinkansen, which surprised me a bit since it took us longer to go to Nagasaki despite it being geographically nearer Fukuoka. Apparently the train from Fukuoka to Hiroshima is so much faster than the one we took before.

Where I spent an hour sleeping like a baby. It was exceptionally wet and cold the day we decided to go out of Fukuoka. Just our luck! I’m starting to think I have the worst luck when it comes to traveling because the weather was just as bad in London and Paris when I was there. The weather was perfect the day before and the day after, but we couldn’t schedule this later because of the year-end holidays. Most places would be closed, and of course Shinkansen tickets would be impossible to get because a lot of people would be going home to their respective homes (if outside Fukuoka, or even Kyushu) in time for New Year’s.

Passed by these factories while on the train.

Finally arrived at Hiroshima and headed straight to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or the Atomic Bomb Dome or Genbaku Dome.

This building is what remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, and at present, is one of Japan’s most important landmarks. Since the bomb came from almost directly above the building, it wasn’t completely destroyed. Now it serves as a reminder of the nation’s hope to rid the world of war and nuclear weapons.

The 1983 replica of the T-shaped Aioi bridge, the aiming point for the bomb. The shape was easily recognized from the air, so it was an easy target. The fact that they had the clearest weather the day of the bombing pretty much sealed the city’s fate.

After the years of struggle after the atomic bomb, Hiroshima has successfully rebuilt itself. It looks so peaceful, you wouldn’t even expect that something so intense hit them at one point in history.

Sadako (not of Ringu fame) on top of the Children’s Peace Monument. I already mentioned her being *the* post-atomic bomb Japanese icon of hope in my Nagasaki post last year, but she is actually originally from Hiroshima.

She was two years old when the bomb hit. She was only able to live until age 12 because she heavily suffered from the after effects of the atomic bomb. It wasn’t all that bad though. She persevered and kept a positive outlook until her death. So inspiring!

Also one of the symbols of Hiroshima advocating world peace. Every 6th of August, they hold a ceremony here to memorialize the victims of the bombing.

An old watch that was found after the atomic bomb. The Peace Memorial Museum was packed with tourists from all over the world, wanting to know the whole story behind this very dark part of history. I won’t spoil it for those who have plans to visit this place in the future. The experience is quite inexplicable, especially the part where they interview the survivors about the tragedy that they witnessed with their own eyes. Not only were their homes destroyed, but most of their loved ones were also killed by the bomb and its radioactive effects.

A model showing how the area around the T-shaped bridge looked like before the bomb.

A model showing how Hiroshima looked like after the bomb. Everything was completely wiped out save for some structures that were near the epicenter.

In the museum, there were very graphic pictures and videos relaying Hiroshima’s story to those who went there to hear it.

A shadow of a person was imprinted on these steps as the bomb fell on the city.

Some survivors lived up to see the city rebuilt, but suffered from the most grueling sicknesses brought by a lot of factors, this black rain included. I couldn’t take pictures of the pictures of the victims because they were too graphic. :(

Depressing stuff aside, the Japanese are really something. Sadako was a wonderful example of how they continued on living despite what happened to them. As the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, one school boy encountered a rescuer and asked him to give his notebook to his family as he already knew he was dying. Some of the personal effects of those who died are still displayed in the museum. Not primarily for the tourists, but for the owners’ descendants to be able to claim them one day.

The rain made the visit to the museum and the park so much more saddening. T_T

To lift our spirits up, our tour guide Hiro (also the same tour guide from last time ‘cause we absolutely love her) brought us to a special restaurant.

The walk was long and difficult because it was raining like no tomorrow, but it was all worth it.

BECAUSE IT WAS OKONOMIYAKI TIME! All caps because I love okonomiyaki.

My friends would laugh at me and say that I love all Japanese food anyway, lol. I can’t help it if everything is just so good, and I surprisingly feel like I lose weight in Japan even if I eat a lot. This sorcery, I don’t even

Concert stickers as restaurant decoration.

Just a few days after this one, Kanjani8 performed in Kouhaku for the first time. Congrats Eito!

My brothers and a ton of wall scribbles. People from all over the world have written messages here, so it was fun to make out what they all probably meant. There were some familiar band names written too, but I’m not so sure if they were legit written by the artists themselves or just by fans haha hopefully the former

Kinoshita Yukina, Gekidan Hitori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Tamori-san! No English subtitles, I promise! I’m afraid I love Japan too much that I recognized them instantly lolol much thanks to Arashi no Shukudai-kun and Music Station from years ago :D

Best okonomiyaki ever! <3 We ordered two different kinds – one that used soba noodles and one that used udon noodles.

Walked around the city again after lunch so we can burn all the yumminess that we ate and get to our next destination!

The ferry station from Hiroshima to Miyajima.

Was greeted by this deer as soon as I landed in Miyajima! OMG, MEMORIES OF NARA! Ugh, bring me back to 2009 when I went on a Tokyo-Kyoto-Nara-Osaka tour. Back then I didn’t shoot in RAW because I didn’t have enough memory space so now I need to take more pictures hahaha EXCUSES T_T

Miyajima means “Shrine Island” so it’s the more popular term, but it’s originally called Itsukushima. By this time the rain had gotten so much worse so I don’t have any pictures of my outfit that day for Lookbook. I am not going to sacrifice my camera for some outfit pictures!

Something that never changes every time I go to Japan: transparent umbrellas.

I could totally imagine how much prettier this place would be in autumn with all the fall foliage! Or spring with all the sakura!

The famous Miyajima floating torii, which is one of Japan’s three best sceneries. One down, two to go. I’m not totally sad that I didn’t catch it on high tide, when the water makes it look like it’s floating, because it only gives me more reason to come back here one day.

Foggy mountains and the Itsukushima shrine from afar.

The Itsukushima Shrine is built on stilts because it’s built so close to ocean that it can get covered by the water at high tide if it weren’t.

The floating torii view from the shrine.

Father and son.

One of the streets near the exit of the shrine. Looks straight out of a movie. Looove!

Japan’s “it” girl! Takei Emi endorsing Maquillage. She is so pretty I doubt she even needs to use all that make-up lol

Dropped by Oyster ‘Kakiya’ 牡蠣屋 which is supposedly one of the best oyster bars in the island. TEARS! Because these were sooo good it puts all the oysters that I’ve eaten in the past to shame.

Oyster overload at a random stall. Don’t forget to try out the oysters in Hiroshima!

Late afternoon-almost evening in the shopping street in Miyajima. So pretty even if it was freezing! I didn’t buy anything (was saving my money for some shopping at Tenjin Core) but I enjoyed just looking around for nifty souvenirs and street food.


Aww, time to go back to Fukuoka. I would say that one day in Hiroshima and Miyajima is enough, but I wish I could’ve stayed an extra day to explore more places. I checked out their Facebook page, and OMG GOOD JOB PROMOTING HIROSHIMA! I would totally go back based on the pictures and write-ups they regularly post there. Or maybe I’m just biased. <3 If it were only possible, I’d fly to Japan once every quarter.

Fukuoka post and My Own Fashion Week (MOFW) featuring Japanese brands coming up next! Posting the second travel entry after all the look posts!