Text and photos by: Konrad Boehm
We spend the third day of the program in Hiroshima. We started of with a visit to the Shintoist Itsukushima Shrine. It is beautifully situated on an island in the south west of Hiroshima. Its one of the most iconic sites in Japan and anyone with the slightest interest in this country has probably seen a picture of the red Tori gate standing in the water of the shore. After a short introduction to the code of conduct in Shintoist temples we explored the ground together. We also had some time to wander around the surrounding area and have a look at neighbouring temples. One could easily have spend a whole day there to soak in the peaceful atmosphere of this sacred island, but as we were on a tight scheduled we had to leave the island before lunch.
After having a taste of the delicious oysters produced right of the shore we went to the memorial sights of the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The people of the city have done a great effort to commemorate the victims of the nuclear bomb and to emphasis the importance of world peace and nuclear disarmament. After the memorial park with its multiple monuments we visited the memorial museum. There we had the honor of listening to the account of a survivor of the bomb dropping. She shared with us her personal experience and once again stressed the need of a joined global effort for nuclear disarmament. Hearing a first hand account of the incident and seeing some artifacts showing the destructive power of the bomb was a very valuable experience, as you get a concrete idea of the human suffering caused by the indiscriminate mass killing by use of nuclear weapons. And it also prevents one from accepting easy justifications of the attack, in the way of portraying the use as a reasonable measure to end a horrible war as quick as possible.
With this our day in Hiroshima came to an end and we took the train to our next destination – Kyoto.