The Hiroshima prefecture is celebrating a double anniversary this year: 20 years of listing two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Genbaku dome in Hiroshima city and Itsukushima sanctuary on Miyajima Island. This dual event is a unique opportunity to discover the superb Hiroshima prefecture at the end of Honshu's main island facing the inland sea of Japan.
The Bomb A Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial
On August 6, 2015, Hiroshima remembered the 70 year anniversary of the destruction of the city by the first atomic bomb. This date marks forever a turning point in the history of humanity. Genbaku's dome, which miraculously resisted the heat and the breath of the explosion, is a unique vestige of its kind. It is, for every person who comes to collect or experience what is out of the place, a poignant testimony of the atrocities of war, but also a symbol of hope for peace. The dome was also inscribed in 1996 as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. At its inauguration in 1915, this building represented the industrial exhibition center of Hiroshima Department. On several floors, a roof covered roof and partially reinforced concrete walls, it was already one of the city's top tourist attractions. Accoladed to the dome, the Peace Memorial Park is delimited by two streams, the Motoyasu and Honkawa rivers, and many other testimonies of peace are scattered in this triangle of land. The Peace Museum, the Cenotaph of Peace, the Bells of Peace… The excursion goes on to Hiroshima Castle. Destroyed by the bomb, the castle will be reconstructed in 1958. Today it houses a museum on the history and culture of the city. Every weekend, a samurai show is given by local actors. Finally, to make the most of the places, it is advisable to visit it in the spring, because the park surrounding the cherry trees is breathtaking.
In 70 years Hiroshima has risen to one of Japan's most dynamic and festive cities. And also one of those where you eat the best! For example, you can taste local specialties on the terrace of a café on the edge of the rivers, enjoy a sake, taste the famous Hiroshima okonomiyaki, the favorite dish of the premises. It consists of a pancake creeping, seafood, egg and cabbage. Hiroshima offers many celebrations throughout the year. The Golden Week period, from May 3 to 5, combines the celebration of flowers, music and greenery. There are more than 1.5 million tourists each year, in a good child atmosphere.
The Island Inhabited by the Gods
The sanctuary of Itsukushima is located on the island of Miyajima, less than 30 km from Hiroshima, by train or bus, and then by ferry. But the most romantic is undoubtedly by river. A shuttle boat offers a World Heritage Sea Route circuit. And it's on the island of Miyajima, designated as one of Japan's three most beautiful panoramas, that the second UNESCO World Heritage Site is located.
The great O-torii portico and the main building painted in vermillon red, embody the refinement of a thousand-year-old Japan and the essence of Japanese aesthetic sense. The complex is composed of the main sanctuary, Heiden or the flag of offerings and several other secondary sanctuaries, the office pavilion, the purification pavilion, the galleries, all connected by wooden pontoons. Behind this set dedicated to the guardian of the seas is the verdant Mount Misen, and the foreground of Seto's inland blue sea. The Shinto Shrine also celebrates its 20 years of UNESCO World Heritage Registration. On December 6, 2016, the anniversary of this quote, Bugaku dance shows will be given. But this exceptional tourist site attracts visitors from all over the world.
The island of Miyajima has been venerated since ancient times as a divinity, and the first temples date from the life and centuries of our era. It was in 1168 that the sanctuary you will take away from your steps was rebuilt by Taira no Kiyomori, the first samurai to gain power. The particularity of this complex is in its construction partly on the sea, with buildings on piles. At high tide, he seems floating on the water. Torii, for his part, is a few strings offshore. It is 16 m high and relies only on its own weight on the sand. In order to enjoy morning and evening impressions, colors and atmosphere it is recommended to spend 2 nights on the island.
We will also have to experiment with the succulent shells of Miyajima. Cooked barbecues, marinated, grilled, doughnut fries, curry, oysters are tasted with rice and miso soup. The other two culinary specialties of the island are Anago-meshi, the grilled sea eel on rice and the Momiji manju, a maple leaf cake, wrapped with a sweet purée of red beans.
On the road at the back of the sanctuary, you will admire the latched or shikado doors that are one of the distinctive features of the old Miyajima houses. They were occupied by imperial priests and messengers. By then heading towards the Shingon Buddhist temple of Daishoin or the Goju-no-to-to-to-to-to-to-five pagoda of 27 meters, which was built in 1407, you will likely be able to cross free deer. But it's Omoto's park that these deer are the most numerous. Mount Misen grows at 430 m above sea level and is accessed by cable car. It offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Shikoku Mountains in the distance and the Seto Sea Islands. In the evening, a walk in the shopping district of Miyajima Omotesando and on Machiya-dori street where hanging paper lanterns illuminate the storyline of the shops is simply magic.
Saijyo, Japan's Sake Town
Ten minutes of ferry, still a few by train and you are in the city of Saijyo, renowned for the quality of his sake. Saijyo is one of Japan's three top locations for nihonshu brewing. It's a rare opportunity to learn about the manufacture of sake, taste it and eventually buy it. The chimneys of the eight breweries give the city a special stamp, as if the city was frozen in the past. A quiet and traditional atmosphere throughout the year, the small town is transformed once a year in October, the second weekend of the month, in an unavoidable meeting that all the sake lovers of Japan have noted. For a giant tasting…
When? Hiroshima offers a splendid nature and temperate climate in all seasons. Flowering of cherry trees in spring, swimming and water sports in summer, walking in the gypsy nature in autumn, skiing in winter.
Go there. There is no direct flight from France to Hiroshima. First you will have to go to Tokyo, then take a flight to Hiroshima or the Shinkansen high speed train with Japan Rail.
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