Hiroshima - city with big torii gate in their bay!
Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
41Trip End Feb 06, 2010
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Here we are second night in Hiroshima and we woke to an absolutely fantastic day, blue skies and only slightly cool (not as cold as yesterday thats for sure).This morning I went for a run past the A Bomb Dome (for those of you who don’t know what this building is – it was one of the few buildings left standing after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima - another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki). When you are standing there looking at the shell of that building, and at the photo wall showing you the bombed landscape, you cant help but be moved regardless of your beliefs or feelings you have about what happened August 6 1945.
We caught the tram to Miyajima (means Shrine Island) and its Sunday here so thousands of people were making the same pilgrimage for New Years celebrations
We took the massive ferry from the dock over to the island with, I think, the entire population of Hiroshima, there were thousands of people there. Now, many of you know that I came all the way to Hiroshima just to take a photo of the Itsukushima O-Torii (Grand Gate) that is set out in the Seto Inland Sea. A "torii" gate is an entrance to a Shinto shrine. The red Itsukushima Otorii gate, 16m high and 60 tons heavy, stands in front of the Itsukushima shrine pavilions in the sea because people used to access the shrine from the sea. Its two big pillars were made using natural camphor trees between 500 and 600 years old. The gate has existed since 1168, although the current structure dates back to 1875. At low tide, visitors walk around the great columns of the gate. At high tide the vermillion gate seems to float in the sea. It is just beautiful (well it is to me, Bill can take it or leave it and maybe most of you could feel the same but to me, its magnificent and I couldn’t wait to photograph it). It was an almost perfect day to take photos – high tide and only a few clouds (and of course millions of people).
We walked around a bit and took some photos of the some of the shrines on the island and paid our respects at the temples. A good friend of ours is very sick at the moment so I said a prayer for her and wished her a speedy recovery.
On the tram (again along with half of Hiroshima’s population) and back to the hotel for a rest
So we went to the Japanese restaurant in the hotel – Kanso. It was magnificent and even though it cost us over $200aud, we just couldn’t believe the presentation of the dishes. We picked a special menu where they just brought out different dishes for us – we even ate Fugu (Japanese word for Pufferfish) and because it is lethally poisonous if prepared incorrectly, fugu has become one of the most celebrated and notorious dishes in Japanese cuisine (we were quite safe as only specially licensed chefs can prepare and sell fugu to the public. The fugu apprentice needs a two- or three-year apprenticeship before being allowed to take an official test. The test consists of a written test, a fish-identification test, and a practical test of preparing fugu and then eating it. Only about 35% of the applicants pass the test. This, of course, does not mean that 65% die from poisoning; rather they made a small mistake in the long and complicated procedure of preparing the dish. Due to this rigorous examination process, it is generally safe to eat the sliced fugu sold in restaurants).
We should have taken the camera with us because the meal presentations were incredible, its hard to describe the care that was taken to create and present them to us on our table. The waitresses were just so reverent and humble, just such a wonderful experience and this will be one of those special experiences I wrote about a few days ago – we have another to add to the growing collection.
Thats it for today, as the sky was brilliantly blue this afternoon, I retook all the A-Bomb Dome pictures I took yesterday and they look really good so I will attach some as well as the magnificent tori and shrines on Miyajima Island.
Bill and Karyl