We arrived in to Hiroshima station on the shinkansen (bullet train) from Kyoto and set about finding out where our hotel was located. As usual we were using public transport and as usual had to lug our bags out of the station in search of whatever transport we were going to use that day to get to our hotel. In Hiroshima it was the excellent tram system. With some bemused looks from the locals we boarded like the mini circus we have become with all our tents and animals in tow. We are forgiven much once they clap eyes on Elka and Axel.
The tram system here operates this way; you get on through the back door and exit and pay through the front door. We get on through the back door, normally with the buggy, 2 kids and a couple of bags, Lisa will get off with the kids at the front whilst I and buggy will go against the flow and get out the in door. Much easier than making your way through a bus full of homeward bound office workers. They don’t like it but then I get the impression they don’t like much any way that is not done by the book.
We were very keen to visit Hiroshima because of its recent history. We didn’t know what to expect from it, what sort of city grew from its destruction, what were the people like. We were pleasantly surprised. The city is green and leafy with wide boulevards constructed in the years after the bomb.
The iconic A-Bomb Dome is one of the stops on the tramline we had to take into the city centre. This is the stop we took to get to the memorial. We walked past the iconic A-Bomb Dome, which is now a Unesco heritage site and this is the one place you get a miniscule sense of what went on that day in August 1945. It was here we spent some time in reflection on the terror and mindless destruction what had gone on in the past.
Axel kept asking what was destroyed, what had survived, were the flagstones the tramlines set into the originals. We told him probably not, we later saw photographs of the aftermath and yes his flagstones were there, having survived. None of this stopped Axel from having nightmares for three nights after visiting the ’Peace Memorial Museum’, which has some harrowing exhibits documenting the horror of the bomb and its destructive effects on the city and its population. I was struck by one thing, whilst the memorial is very effective in its stance on nuclear weapons and their destructiveness there was very little on the lead up to and reasons for its ultimate use by the Americans.