A Heavy Start
Today, we visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the monuments in Peace Park. Many of us were heavily impacted by this experience, agreeing that visiting Hiroshima puts the devastation caused by the first atomic weapon in perspective because such a massive amount of destruction is difficult to understand.
Adventures in Miyajima
After an undoubtedly heavy start to the day, we took a tram ride to the other side of Hiroshima to see the Itsukushima Shrine. This shrine is famous for its gate, which lies partially submerged in water. Pictures of this gate are world famous as the gate's stark, laquered orange contrasts with the blue sea and lush green mountains. Students had two hours to roam around this UNESCO world heritage site. During this time, some students chose to go shopping at various souvenir stores, interesting cafes, and street vendors. Others ventured to climb a 1,500 foot mountain that presented beautiful views of the surrounding area.
Hula Dancing and Japanese Food
Once the two hours of free time were up, we made our way back across Hiroshima and to one of the outlying villages to visit Dan Friedrich, one of Professor Kopf's former students, at his brother-in-law's temple. Once we reached the temple, slightly late because of a delayed tram, we were treated to a lecture by Dan, Japanese-style hula dance, and a delicious dinner of various vegetables, pickled eggs, tea, rice balls, and other local delicacies. The hula dance and meal were put together by the kind ladies of a local women's club. At last, after a full day, we took the last tram back to Hiroshima and went promptly to sleep.
Our only full day in Hiroshima had its highs and lows. It was busy as we went from realizing the terrible realities of the atomic bombing to having a fantastic time visiting a local shrine and temple. Although there will be many more adventures on this trip, this one will always stand out to us.