Hiroshima station is the biggest station in Hiroshima which is located in west Japan. This station has many lines such as JR Sanyo Shinkansen, JR Sanyo main line, JR Kabe line, JR Kure line, JR Geibi line and Hiroden tram. To give you an idea about the use of Hiroshima station, roughly 175,000 people use this station in a single day.
Hiroshima city is one of the provincial cities in Japan and the biggest town in the Chugoku Shikoku prefectural area. As for Hiroshima prefecture, it has many sightseeing spots such as Hiroshima peace memorial park, Hiroshima castle, Miyajima Island, Shukkeien Garden and Okuno Island. Hiroshima peace memorial park and Miyajima island are also well known world heritages.
According to a survey from Trip Advisor in the year of 2013, which asked its non-Japanese users “where was the best place to visit in Japan?”, the Hiroshima peace memorial museum was ranked No.1 and Itsukushima shrine was No.4. Moreover, Trip Advisor ranked Itsukushima shrine for No.1 and Hiroshima peace memorial park for No.2 as the best place to go sightseeing in Japan in the year 2015.
There is no doubt that Hiroshima is one of the best sightseeing places in Japan. Next I would like to talk about the sightseeing spots that I just mentioned.
Hiroshima peace memorial park could be known as the most important park in the city because this was the spot where the Hiroshima bombing took place during World War II. Currently there is a monumental bomb dome, peace memorial museum, peace memorial hall, peace bells, and many more monuments. The bomb dome was originally built as Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall in the year of 1915. On the 6th of August in the year of 1945, the catastrophic atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima city with an explosion wiping out most of the city. However, the skeletal structure of this building was still intact in spite of nuclear explosion. This dome still stands in the same place, same condition as the year of 1945 and was registered as the world heritage in the year of 1996.
A Peace memorial ceremony is held at the Hiroshima peace memorial park on the 6th of August each year. The Japanese prime minister, Hiroshima prefectural governor and the Secretary-General of the UN give speeches along with peace declaration`s, that follows with a ringing of the peace bell during the ceremony. This date has become one of the most important days in Japan when people take time out to pray for Hiroshima.
Miyajima Island is located in the south-west of Hiroshima prefecture. You can get there on ferry from Ujina port, Hiroshima peace memorial park port or Miyajimaguchi port. This island is considered a spiritual island therefore are many deer roaming freely throughout the island. Why are there deer on this spiritual island? That’s because in Japan, deer are considered as messengers of the gods. The name Miyajima means “Shrine Island” in Japanese, and the reason this island is spiritual is because there is the Itsukushima Shrine located along the island. This shrine was first built in the year 593 and the Itsukushima Shrine is very unique because the shrine and “Torii” gate are standing in the sea, so when the tide is high, it seems like the shrine is floating on the sea presenting a beautiful scene. This shrine has been registered as a world heritage in the year 1996 and also is regarded as one of the three most beautiful spots in Japan. Miyajima Island not only has the Itsukushima shrine, but there is also Senjokaku (constructed for a Buddhist library and chanting sutra), a Five storied Pagoda and a Two storied Pagoda. Furthermore, Momijidani Park (autumn leaves park) and the aquarium on Miyajima Island is another popular spot to visit. In addition to that, a water fireworks festival is held in August every year. This fireworks festival is popular because the fireworks are launched from off the shore of Itsukushima shrine’s Torii gate, so you can enjoy the fireworks and world heritage scenery at the same time.
A very easy access, Hiroshima Castle is in the center of Hiroshima city. The castle construction was completed in the year of 1591, and was registered as a National Treasure in the year of 1931, however it was destroyed in 1945 by the atomic bomb. After that, the castle was rebuilt in the year of 1958. Now the inside of the castle is its own historical museum with a park that circles the castle.
Shukkeien Garden is located on the north side of Hiroshima castle. This traditional Japanese style garden was built for Ueda Nagaakira who was the feudal lord of Hiroshima in the year of 1620. This garden was built by a famous “Master of the Tea Ceremony”, Ueda Soko. Since the year of 1940, this garden has been opened to the public. As the meaning of Shukkeien is “shrunken scenery garden” in Japanese, this garden represents the natural landscapes of mountains, valleys, rivers, and the four seasons. Since this garden was built by a master of the tea ceremony, there are many tea houses in the garden and tea ceremonies are held every month. Shukkeien garden is also famous for cherry blossoms in Hiroshima so you can enjoy the garden at any time, but especially in spring.
Okunoshima Island is also called “rabbit island” because there are about 700 rabbits who live freely around the island that only has a circumference of 4.2km. It takes about 2 hours from Hiroshima city, but the island is popular among not only Japanese but also tourists from overseas. The island is inhabited, but there is a village which has a hotel and camping site. Moreover, the island is a leisure island, so there are also swimming pools, tennis courts, and beaches. There aren’t many places like the Okunoshima Island.
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