As spring break was going to end soon, my Japanese girlfriend and I decided to do a trip to Hiroshima, as I hadn’t gone yet. First, we headed towards Hiroshima Castle. As we came close, the view towards the castle simply mesmerized me as the castle itself looked incredibly beautiful and its size was huge. It was surrounded by a body of water on all four sides, which made it somewhat of an island, for security purposes back in history, where only one bridge connected it to the rest of the vicinity. The five-story castle stands at a whopping twenty-six and a half meters and its structure is that of an upside down triangle, as the floors progressively got smaller, forming a peak in the tallest point of the castle. I didn’t have to pay admission fee as international students entered for free.
Once inside, I specially took an interest in the castle since it was designed to be a Samurai museum. In the first two floors, they had videos of the history of the castle and its importance due to its location. They also had replicas of the style of living in ancient times, such as living rooms and traditional style kitchens, and model sizes of the whole area of Hiroshima. What’s interesting about the castle is that the rivers and moats formed a natural barrier to the castle. They also had an area we could access which was the designated area where Samurais could throw rocks down a slope to stop enemies who would be climbing up the castle stone base. Right next to it there was a little window overlooking the surrounding water canal, where combatants would use their bows to attack anyone who wanted to climb to castle grounds. In addition, they even had an area where one could dress in traditional Kimono and even in Samurai armor and take photos. In the top floors, they had displays of several Samurai artifacts such as armors, important letters from feudal lords that shaped the history of the castle, helmets, and a wide display of Samurai swords, Katanas. There was even a Katana which we could wield. It was chained so its mobility was constrained, but it felt nice to hold it and feel the weight. Lastly, at the top floor there was a roof of sorts where we could observe the view to our surroundings and a nearby park.
Peace Memorial and Atomic Bomb Dome
To conclude, our last stop for the day was the Peace Memorial and the Atomic Bomb Dome. We got there by street car, which was a new experience for me. It seemed to me quite strange as I just associated it with a small train, but in the street. That really is the best way to describe it. The Atomic Bomb Dome was really impressive since it was located in the hypo-center of where the atomic bomb actually dropped and the only standing building from that time. Furthermore, once inside the museum, one could see actual artifacts left over from the bomb such as clothing. I was surprised and shocked when one of the exhibitions displayed a piece of asphalt that had the outline of a body imprinted on it. Such distinction was made just when the bomb exploded and the lighting cast a shadow of the body over the asphalt.