Spring in Japan: Hiroshima’s Peace Pagoda

This spring break I went to Hiroshima for 3 days.  This was my first solo trip, it went along with my New Year’s Resolution.  Because everyone was busy doing their own thing, I thought it would be a good opportunity to see how it would turn out.  Also I’ve heard a lot of good things about Hiroshima.  Plus, it’s only an hour and half away from Osaka by Shinkansen so it’s not too far!

After checking into the hotel, I decided to check out the Peace Pagoda. Apparently it was built in 1966 to commemorate the loss of the victims from the atomic bomb. It also contains gifts of Buddha’s ashes from the then Prime Minister of India and the Mongolian Buddhists (thanks Wikipedia)! It’s the giant silver tower that you can see on the south side of the JR Hiroshima station.  I heard that you are able to get a beautiful view of the entire city from the top so I went to take a look.  I happened to run across a couple of shrines along the way: the Toshogu and the Kinko Inari shrine.

 

Entrance of the Toshogu Shrine.

Entrance of the Toshogu Shrine.

Toshogu Shrine.

Toshogu Shrine.

To the right of Toshogu Shrine is a path that leads to Kinko Inari Shrine.

To the right of Toshogu Shrine is a path that leads to Kinko Inari Shrine.

Entrance to Kinko Inari Shrine

Entrance to Kinko Inari Shrine

Time to climb.

Time to climb.

The way to the Peace Pagoda is somewhat confusing.  You’re supposed to pass the Toshogu Shrine and go behind Kinko Inari Shrine, following some steps.  The steps themselves were really painful; they were uneven and every time you took a step, the bottom half of your foot would sting due to bottom part of the step sticking out while the front was a small pit of sand:

 

With a really rocky bottom and an uneven top, these steps were a pain.

With a really rocky bottom and an uneven top, these steps were a pain.

Time for a little rest.

Time for a little rest.

The steps degrade as you climb higher.

The steps degrade as you climb higher.

Inari.

Inari.

...yep.

…yep.

 

You would think that the steps would lead you to the Peace Pagoda but that’s not the case.  After passing another small shrine you are given various, narrow and rough paths (with no steps) to choose.  There is no indication to where they go.  The first path I took led to nowhere:

Yep, I'm lost.

Yep, I’m lost.

"Is this the top?"

“Is this the top?”

The second path I took led me to the middle of the woods where it seemed like no one had ever laid a foot there.  I ran into a hiker who greeted me; the way he was dressed told me that I was probably not going the right way.

I finally took another path that led me to the Peace Pagoda.  I hadn’t expected the difficulty of the hike from each path so by the time I got to the top I was worn out and sweating a lot.  What awaited me at the summit though was completely worth it.  A nice statue of the Buddha, sakura trees everywhere and one hell of a view of Hiroshima:

 

Yay, I made it!

Yay, I made it!

The sakura were in full bloom.

The sakura were in full bloom.

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I could've been here all day.

I could’ve been here all day.

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Such a great view.

Such a great view.

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Worth the hike.

Worth the hike.

By the time I got down it was evening so I just took a walk around the city and went to bed early to prepare for the eventful day tomorrow.  If you’re ever in Hiroshima and get a chance, you should go to the Peace Pagoda as well as the shrines below it.  The hike is a little tough but the view makes it worth it.

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One response to “Spring in Japan: Hiroshima’s Peace Pagoda

  1. Pingback: Spring in Japan: Miyajima | The Space Between Two Worlds

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