|Hiroshima Streetcars, a collection of old and new|
After immigration we went back to our room to wait to be called a second time, to join our tour bus. There were only 2 tours offered today "Highlights of Hiroshima" or "Miyajima." The second was to take a ferry to a nearby island with a famous shrine and shopping, so we chose the first one. We are glad we did. It was a good tour.
Riding through the city there are streetcars everywhere. Our guide said they are like a streetcar museum, buying old cars from other countries. The first stop was at the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. This is a beautiful park built near the epicenter of the atomic bomb strike. At one end you can see the remains of a building that was partially destroyed. At the other end is a museum documenting the effects of the bomb. In the middle between the two there is a flame that they say will continue burning until all nuclear weapons have been eliminated. The flame is at one end of a pool. The other end has a concrete casket containing the names of all the people who died because of the atomic bomb.
|View from casket of names to Peace Flame|
|One of the few buildings left standing after bomb hit|
After we left the museum we went to the Shukkeien Garden. This is a lovely garden around large Coy ponds. The garden was once part of the grounds of the Hiroshima Castle. The leading distributor of Coy fish donated 200 of them to this garden. It was a lovely, peaceful way to spend an hour. Near the end we had a pleasant surprise. A bride and groom were having their wedding photos taken in the garden and our guide asked them if they would mind if we took their picture too. They consented and all the photographers in our tour group got photos of this nice couple in traditional Japanese wedding attire. What luck!
|Japanese Bride, Groom & Family in the Park|
Our guide gave us a paper folded crane as a parting gift. This is a traditional good luck symbol. Since all the tours left around the same time this morning, they all arrived back at the same time too. The result was a long line to get back on the ship. It took about 10 minutes to make it through the line. We had already invitation to attend a traditional Japanese Kagamawari ceremony at 1:45PM in the ship theater, but arrived on board after it had an begun. In this ceremony, a sake cask is broken with a mallet as a traditional acknowledgement of important guests. We stood in the back and arrived just in time to see the mallet being struck. At the end they distributed paper cups of the sake to anyone who wanted to taste it. I got a cup and gave Ray a taste.
The ship left port about 2:30PM, so we have the afternoon to rest. We can sleep late tomorrow because we don't get to Osaka until afternoon.