Text and photos by: Freya Weichselbraun
Today we spent our day in Hiroshima. In the morning we got onto the ferry that brought us to the island Miyajima. We managed to catch a first glimpse of the Otorii (great Torii) from the ferry before we disembarked onto the island. This was quite the contrast compared to Tokyo, where we had previously spent our time, as the island is surrounded by mountains that are covered in trees. Even though it was the middle of December, most trees were green with only a couple of bright red maple trees dotted around the mountains.
After a short walk along the seaside, during which the history of the shrine was explained, we reached the Otorii. Luckily, the tide was low and we could walk to it and see it up close.
We continued on to the Itsukushima Shrine. Inside we had a tour where the place of shintoism in the life of Japanese people and the history of the shrine were explained. Generally speaking a shinto shrine is visited during happy occasions, such as the birth of a new child. By the time we were done, the tide had already risen anew and the Otorii was floating in the water. After another short ferry ride back, we had a particularly tasty lunch at a nearby restaurant. A delicious treat were the oysters, which are a specialty of Hiroshima, and which were in season at that moment.
From there we made our way to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. While walking through it, we were told about the events that happened during and after 6 august 1945. What was, however, the most emotional and eye-opening experience, was the lecture of an atomic bomb survivor. She told us her story from a perspective that made us imagine how it must have felt being in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped. Together with the museum exhibition I found that we were given a lot of important additional information than what we normally get taught in school. I believe that this is something that everyone needs to experience to better understand what atomic bombs do to people.