The Most Peaceful Place in the World: Hiroshima

View from Miyajima towards Hiroshima - sunset & torii rising from the water

The View from Miyajima Island, Japan

People often describe the view from Miyajima Island as one of the most beautiful in Japan. A softly curved Torii, a scarlet figure similar to the symbol pi, rises out of the water. Its calm background: layered mountains and the ferryboats that cross from Hiroshima.

A friend once invited me to write about a place I loved and how it inspired me, while this week’s #FriFotos chose “monuments” as its theme. Both invitations made me think of the same spot. This quiet corner of the world, the waterfront on Miyajima Island.

It’s tranquil now, with its rows of stony lanterns and gently lapping shore, but in 1945 it witnessed one of the worst events in history. The Enola Gay baptised the world into a new level of fear and horror when it dropped the world’s first atomic bomb, killing 80,000 in a single day and thousands more through injury and disease.

A Bomb Dome Hiroshima - Industrial Promotion Hall

A Lone Building Preserved as a Monument in Hiroshima

This horror became synonymous with the word Hiroshima itself.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park - Man takes photo of the A dome

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

How could such an act become inspiring?

Today’s Hiroshima reveals a clean city with efficient trams, schoolchildren in uniform, shopkeepers, parks and all the trappings of a healthy, happy place.

Peace Monuments - Hiroshima - Rainbow origami cranes for children

Rainbow Origami Cranes – Symbols of Hope & Peace

Today’s Hiroshima shows the power of healing.

The Peace Memorial Park uses monuments, rainbow origami and commemorative services not only to remember the dead but also to promote peace. The flame that burns doesn’t blaze for vengeance and it doesn’t seek retribution. It burns as a symbol of peace.

Across the water, on Miyajima Island, it’s easy to get swept up in the congested tourist port, weighed down with geisha shoes, rice scoops and calligraphy-licked trinkets.

Yet when the sunlight fades, these monuments provide quiet inspiration.

And even a glimpse of peace.

Row of stone lanterns on Miyajima Island

The soft silence of peace on Miyajima Island

 

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6 Responses to The Most Peaceful Place in the World: Hiroshima

  1. Sophie April 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    What a lovely, evocative post, Abi.

  2. Serena April 11, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    i agree with Sophie, that’s sound good. very good!

  3. Jeremy Branham May 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    Probably the place known for the biggest destruction by mankind in history. So glad to see they have rebuilt and moved on but not forgotten. I am sure they never will!

  4. David May 14, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Hiroshima has become one of my favorite places in Japan, not only for Miyajima, but also for its people who are the nicest and most fun people there are in Japan (yep, more than Osakans).

  5. Abi May 19, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    I certainly found it a peaceful and inspiring place – not at all what I had expected!

  6. Mark September 23, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    Yea, lets forget that we had to drop a bomb on them less than 100 years ago…

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