Spring in Japan: Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park and Shukkeien

After visiting the Mazda Museum, the rest of my final day in Hiroshima involved going to Shukkeien and talking a last walk around the Peace Memorial Park.  Shukkeien is a garden right behind Hiroshima’s Prefectural Art Museum.  It does cost some money to get inside but it’s too much and it’s worth it.  If you like Japanese gardens, you will love Shukkeien. Better yet, going when the sakura are in full bloom was a great bonus for me.

One thing that surprised me was how many newlyweds and professional photographers were there.  Apparently the garden ‘s scenery is so nice that a lot of couple choose it to get their photos taken.  The couples themselves are in traditional Japanese clothing and combined with the spring scenery, I can only imagine how great the pictures turn out.  Once I realized I wasn’t the only person who wanted to take a picture of them, I followed suit in sneaking some photos:

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After taking what seemed like a million pictures, I headed towards the Peace Memorial Park.  The Peace Memorial Park is one of my favorite parks ever.  There are various monuments dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing.  The name does the park justice; you can’t but feel at ease when you’re walking through this gorgeous area.  I took many pictures here as the scenery was just beautiful:

The A-Bomb dome, aka the only building that was left standing after the atomic bomb hit.  It was very surreal.

The A-Bomb dome, aka the only building that was left standing after the atomic bomb hit. It was very surreal.

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You could easily spend a day here but I was limited to about a couple of hours.  Luckily I had already walked around it the first evening which was nice but it definitely had a different atmosphere to it. Here are some photos of that evening:

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Finally it was time to go home.  I had been having quick, late lunches the entire time I was there and my last day was no exception.  I decided to just eat at McDonald’s at the station.  A middle aged Japanese man sat next to me and suddenly asked “Excuse me, how long does it take to get to that mountain?”  He was referring to the mountain that had the Peace Pagoda which was visible from the window from where we were sitting.

After telling him it takes around an hour, he sighed “Ah, no time.”  This started our brief conversation of our travels.  The man liked talking to me in broken English mixed in with fluent Japanese.  What amazed me though was the story of his current trip.  The man was traveling all around Japan by motorcycle.  He had started from the north and was working his way to the south.  It had been a whopping two weeks since his journey began.  I hope I can be as cool as him when I reach that age.  It also reminded me you can’t judge a book by its cover—the man looked really plain and yet he was doing this crazy trip.

This meeting was a nice way to wrap up my trip to Hiroshima.  The man was comfortable traveling by himself and so was I. I’m glad I went on this trip because it showed me you don’t have to be with someone to enjoy a vacation.  If I was traveling with someone I probably only would’ve done half the things I did.  Now if I have to travel by myself, I won’t be afraid in doing so.

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