Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hiroshima & the extraordinary Peace Park...

I had such limited time but simply knew I had to do Hiroshima - firstly I realised it was something I could not omit from my trip to JP, without a doubt it would be an exceptional memorable experience; secondly, via Kyoto the journey via bullet train is 1 hour 45 as opposed to 4 hours from Tokyo- a big incentive obviously. And thirdly - last year I was fortunate enough to do the PR for a beautiful play called Sadako, created by Jaqueline Dommisse and the late Peter Hayes from the Hearts & Eyes Collective...a truly beautiful piece of theatre using Japanese style bunraku puppets (created by Janni Younge) and telling the moving tale about little Sadako Sasaki and the 1000 paper cranes. It really impacted me and believe it or not, that was the beginning of my dreamings of Japan. I can hardly believe I was there - standing in awe at the various monuments to Sadako who died from leukemia (radiation fallout), and seeing the various memorials to global peace - an unforgettable experience. The memorial remembers areas, not only people and children - everything that was blown into obilvion when the bomb dropped on 6 August 1945 - the park covers 122000m2 in a neighbourhood of the Nakajima district. A blessing for me was that the cherry blossoms (Sakura) were out, properly, covering the tree branches like thick balls of cotton wool...my best.... I never expected to see them and I'll never forget this day, on so many levels.

The A Bomb Memorial...a UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 1996. May we never (again) experience a nuclear explosion...

Walking across the river towards the park...the Sakura in full bloom..

The Children's Peace Monument...that's. Sadako holding a crane aloft...

I rang the bell attached to the golden crane inside the monument...

The Cenotaph monument to the A Bomb victims, some 220000 people lost their lives that day, and thousands more afterwards...

Memorial Tower, dedicated to mobilized students (see www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp for more)...

Looking down from the bridge, the A Bomb memorial at left...

New life and hope in the foreground, and in the background the remains of a terrifying time...

I was so blessed to see the Sakura out in full bloom as well...totally unexpected and what an incredible feeling to walk beneath them....they are unique and quite magical to me...

Paper origami cranes, as per what you can see in the tower image, hanging behind the statue (mobilized students pic)...

Directions: Once you get to Hiroshima station (on the JR Line), take the South exit and head for the number 2 or 6 tram (costs 150Y) and get off at the A Bomb done stop, about a 1.5km ride. Any probs, head for the ? Which is information- they are so helpful, as always, all over Japan.

 

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