Located in Honshu Island's western region, Hiroshima has the makings of a bustling rural metropolis. The spread of towering office buildings is set aside the town's tapestry of many temples and shrines, as well as notable sites of the grandiose Hiroshima Castle and the UNESCO-listed Peace Memorial Park. The city's shaded lanes and welcoming izakaya (Japanese pubs), as well as its warm locals, inspire a feeling of belongingness in tourists. No doubt, Hiroshima is the picture of an ideal home, but all this opulence is eclipsed by its blood-curdling past which embedded the city's name in history.
World War II broke out and changed the face of the previously thriving port town from a commercial powerhouse to a military shipping dock. Events took a turn for the worst in the fateful morning of August 6, 1945, when the US dropped the world's first atomic bomb. The Japanese vowed never to forget the gruesome events and put an end to all nuclear weapons.
Today, Hiroshima has recovered from the ravages of war, erecting the Peace Memorial Park which houses several shrines and cenotaphs to honor and remember the nuclear attack's victims. Definite destinations are the Children's Peace Monument, dedicated to the inspirational Sadako Sasaki (a victim of the nuclear attack), and also the Peace Bell and the Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound.
Majority of the sights in Hiroshima center on the 1945 holocaust, and there are more exhibits and memorials found outside the Park, such as the schools-turned-galleries Honkawa Elementary School Peace Museum and the Fukuro-machi Elementary School Museum. Those who want to get away from the view of suffering and death showcased all over town can go to the photogenic Shukkeien, an idyllic Japanese-style garden and the Mitaki-dera, a temple known for its three waterfalls ideal for a weekend afternoon stroll.
Before leaving town, food-trippers may want to try Hiroshima's famous okonomiya, commonly dubbed as Japanese pizza, which is a hodgepodge of noodles, shredded cabbage, and meat fried and served right in front of the customer.