Visiting Hiroshima Peace Park & Museum
A more thoughtful video for you this time: a day trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum, and the iconic Atomic Bomb Dome.
It certainly wasn’t an easy place to visit, but I’m definitely glad we went. It’s hard to hear the name Hiroshima without thinking of what happened there, but if I’m honest, I didn’t really know very much about it beforehand. It’s where the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped, instantly wiping out the entire city.
The museum is pretty full-on, with photos, parts of buildings, items that were there and even clothes from survivors. When you learn about what happened, it’s amazing that anyone survived. The black rain that you can see in the video is an image that will stay with me in particular. It must have seemed like the end of the world. To think of everyone going about their daily lives when such a tragedy happened – it’s hard to take it in.
I didn’t film too much in the museum, because it didn’t feel appropriate. It’s strange being somewhere like that as a tourist destination – but it’s good to make people aware of what happened, so it never happens again.
Why Are There Paper Cranes in the Peace Park?
Towards the end of the video you can see a memorial with thousands of origami paper cranes. They’re in memory of a girl who was two years old when the bomb was dropped. She later developed leukemia and was in hospital with a short life expectancy. She believed that if you make 1000 paper cranes, you’re granted one wish. Her wish was to survive, so she spent all her time making hundreds of origami cranes.
It’s a really poignant story, and paper cranes have become a symbol of hope and the will to carry on and survive. People all over the world send paper cranes to Hiroshima, and they’re displayed in the Peace Park. They look so colourful – strung together they look like carnival decorations, so it feels like they really do represent hope and life.
How to Get to Hiroshima from Kyoto
If you have a Japan Rail Pass, Hiroshima is a good day trip from Kyoto or Osaka. We stayed in Kyoto, so took the bullet train (shinkansen) from Kyoto to Hiroshima. We visited Hiroshima and Miyajima in the same day, but you could spend a whole day in each place. Our visit to Hiroshima felt very fleeting, and there’s more to explore in the city, including a castle. It’s also where okonomiyaki originated – I wish we’d tried some!
With a Japan Rail Pass, the fastest bullet train you can take is the Hikari. It’s the same as the fastest train (Nozomi), but it stops at more stations. The trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima is about 2 hours. If you get up early, there are a few direct trains from Kyoto to Hiroshima. We left at 8am (which is early for us!) and got to Hiroshima at 9:58am.
You can check train times on Hyperdia, which is a really useful site. It’s just like the Trainline but for Japanese trains, and it’s all in English. They have an app, but you’ll need data or a pocket wireless to use it in Japan.
For some reason, direct trains are only in the morning (this may change, so check the times!). On the way back you’ll need to change at Shin Osaka. Depending on the time, you can either get two shinkansens, or one shinkansen and a local JR train, which is a little slower. Changing trains is fairly straightforward and nothing to worry about. Hyperdia will even tell you which platform you need to go to.
How to Get to the Peace Park and Museum
An easy way to get from Hiroshima Station to the Peace Park is with a tourist bus called the Meipuru-puru. It’s named after a maple leaf, which is a symbol of the area, and has the cutest mascot!
There are two routes, orange and green – both go to the Peace Park, and there are announcements in English so you know where to get off. It also goes to other tourist attractions – you can check the route here. Best of all, if you have a Japan Rail Pass, the bus is free! The bus stop’s easy to find outside Hiroshima Station.
We walked back to the station from the Peace Park. It’s walkable but it’s not a particularly quick walk (just under 2 miles) and seemed like longer in the heat!
More Japan Videos
Subscribe to Cakes with Faces on YouTube for lots more videos from Japan. There are a few more from Kyoto and then we’re on to Tokyo! Next up is Miyajima, which was absolutely beautiful and one of my favourite places we visited!