It was important to us to take a trip to Hiroshima while in Japan, so we spent half a day there on our way to Itsukushima.
Once off the train, we spent some time wandering around the city. Knowing the history, it was difficult to conjure up an image of what modern-day Hiroshima would look like, though I think we were both surprised by how metropolitan it was.
Walking up to the Peace Memorial is a sobering experience; you turn the corner off of a modern city street and approach the Atomic Bomb dome – frozen in time and a constant reminder of the horrific consequences of war, while simultaneously serving as an international symbol of peace. The museum was also heartbreaking and definitely worth a trip.
We continued south on an afternoon train to Miyajima. In the morning we took a quick ferry ride to Itsukushima, a small island in Hiroshima Bay known for it’s giant Grand Torii Gate and fairly aggressive free-roaming deer.
We wandered along the beach and through the small streets, dodging deer headbutts and intermittent downpours. For lunch, we had okonomiyaki, a famous Japanese pancake.
After a jam-packed week and a half of travel, we moved into the slower-paced finish to our Japanese adventures. Next up: to the hot springs!