Hiroshima means ‘wide island’ but it is not an island. It is 70 years since the atomic bomb was dropped on the city. After a visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, situated on a small island between rivers, and seeing the museum and other monuments, I strongly recommend you visit another island, Itsukushima (Miyajima).
I must warn you that it can be a very traumatic experience to see the display in the museum. Of course it is worth the visit. I don’t think anyone can stay pro-nuclear bombs after that. Seeing charred lunch box and tricycle that belonged to the children who were burned alive reduces you to tears and the images can haunt you.
Itsukushima is an island in the Seto Inland Sea. The access from Hiroshima city is easy, 40 minutes by train and further 10 minutes by ferry. It is the other World Cultural Heritage site along with Atomic Dome in the city.
The contrast between the two sites is beyond words. As you get closer to the island by boat, the huge red torii gate in the water gets bigger and welcomes you. The shrine, jutting out onto the sea, is serene and beautiful. When the tide is low, you can walk around the gate and the shrine. A lot of deer welcome you, asking for some food (I got a piece of paper snatched from my pocket). After paying the visit to the shrine, you can visit souvenir shops and enjoy eating Momiji manju (maple leaf shaped sweet) or climb up to the hill behind.
Whenever I visited the island, it was like a revelation and redemption for me. I felt hope once again for humankind, who created such an inspiring and spiritual place.