The city of Hiroshima was faced with a life-altering reality after the bombing of August 6, 1945. While persistent struggles lied ahead after the damage, the city’s creative class was determined to make sure that their hometown was able to thrive. Resilient and everlasting, the hibakusha and the citizens are defining the future of Hiroshima on their own terms, preserving their history and calling for an ends to the nuclear crisis. We took our cameras and went exploring through this miraculous city.
If you're unfamiliar with the geography from Hiroshima to Tokyo, there's something you must know. It's about 9 hours away! If you decide to take this trip from Tokyo, I recommend purchasing the Sanyo/Tokaido Shinkansen tickets that will take you to Hiroshima, and it will save you half the time. It's really expensive (18,000 yen/person) for one trip, but it is totally worth it. Plus, Japanese bullet trains are the best! They serve refreshments and have free wi-fi onboard, so time blows by really quick. If there's any other positive incentive, you will even get to see all the other cities as you pass by (Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Shizuoka).
We left Tokyo to catch the Shinkansen around 6 AM to make an appointment with the videographer and associate director for the Peace Museum at 10:30 AM. Once we got to the station, we took the street car to the Genbaku Dome. I was surprised that I was able to recall all of the landmarks despite never having been to Hiroshima, but because of all the intensive research we did for our animated documentary... things just seemed so natural. Although it was difficult trying to navigate around the train station, we eventually got to the dome.
One thing you have to do when you get here is visit the dome. Seeing something that you've visually recreated on camera is amazing. I couldn't get enough of it. Standing on the Aioi Bridge on the Ota River... it was like being in my film all over again.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to get a private tour through the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, where thousands of artifacts, photos, and articles were donated through various individuals that were intended to preserve the memory of the hibakusha and the city of Hiroshima.
Associate Director, Noriyuki Masuda, explained the importance to me of the history and the preservation of these artifacts. I was astounded by everything he had shown me and I couldn't help but get a bit emotional after reading all of the testimonies.
Once our private tour was over, we headed over to Miyajima via train. Some quick thoughts I had on my mind was that Hiroshima has a different feel to it than Tokyo, but I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was. Definitely a lot less crowded, but more suburban. You don't feel suffocated like you're trying to fight your way through people traffic, but Japan isn't really a city where you worry so much about those issues much.
Miyajima is about a 45 minute train ride through the JR line plus a 10 minute ferry ride to the actual island.
I've heard a lot about this place, seen it in pictures, but I never realized what I was in for. Visually, I was ready to be amazed. This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan, and my expectations were met as soon as we set sail. One of the places to stop and visit while you're over here is the Itsukushima Shrine. You'll get the best view of the floating torii and it's one of the most breaktaking views you'll ever see in your entire life.
We ended the day on an okonomiyaki meal and headed to bed. It was truly the best way to experience Hiroshima.