Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hiroshima - The City for Peace

Hiroshima -The City of  Peace

Hiroshima, the landmark of atomic history, is situated in the Kyushu island of Japan. Even after the monestrous disaster that hit this city in the 1945, this place is at present an excellent autobiography of the salient characters of the Japanese , the patience, will power and hardwork. Today this place stand out where each architecture witnessed by the visitors echoes out the need for peace and harmony.

Peace Memorial Park

Peace Memorial Park
The Peaces Memorial Park is situated at the center of Hiroshima city, the earlier known Nakajima district. This place was the political, administrative, and commercial heart of Hiroshima, home to City Hall, the Prefectural Office and Hiroshima's central distribution facilities. On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb in history exploded directly over this area. In addition to the usual inhabitants, thousands of volunteer army corps members and mobilized students were in the area demolishing buildings for a fire lane. Nearly all of these lives were snuffed out as the entire district vanished instantly. On August 6, 1949, with enactment of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law, it was decided that the entire Nakajima District would be devoted to "peace memorial facilities," and that was the beginning of what is now Peace Memorial Park. The park covers approximately 122,100 square meters. It was designed by Kenzo Tange, a professor at Tokyo University, and three others. Along with the hypocenter of the atomic bomb explosion the park contains a number of cenotaphs and monuments in the memory of the to the victims of the day. The places of interest for visitors at the Park includes the Hiroshima National Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, Peace Memorial Museum and the International Conference Center. The famous A-Bomb Dome is at the north end of the park

A- Bomb Dome

Hiroshima Aioi River and A - Bomb Dome

Hiroshima Atomic - Bomb Dome
The A-Bomb Dome is the skeletal ruins of the former Industrial Promotion Hall. It is the building closest to the hypocenter of the nuclear bomb. It has been left as it was found after the bombing in memory of the casualties. The A-Bomb Dome, to which a sense of sacredness and transcendence has been attributed, is situated in a distant ceremonial view that is visible from the Peace Memorial Park’s central cenotaph. It is an officially designated site of memory for the nation’s and humanity’s collectively shared heritage of catastrophe and its view is so agonizing that anybody would wish for a world without bombing and war.The A-Bomb Dome is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Peace Bell

Peace Bell at Hiroshima Peace Park

The Peace Bell is hung inside a a dome-shape roof representing the universe , which is supported by four pillars The Bell is symbolic of creating a world of peace and harmony, free of nuclear weapons. A lotus pond is built around it and every year around the peace memorial day the lotus flowers are seen to bloom. The Bell is symbolic of creating a world of peace and harmony, free of nuclear weapons.

Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall
for the Atomic Bomb Victims

National Peace Memorial Hall
The Hall is constructed to mourn the the atomic bomb victims and to pray for eternal peace, by understanding the horrors of atomic bombs and its aftermath.The Hall includes a monument to 8.15 the time at which the bomb was dropped over Hiroshima and the Hall of Remembrance a place to quietly mourn A-bomb victims and reflect on peace.

Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound

Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound

This memorial mound is in the shape of an imperial tomb from the Momoyama Period (1583-1600) with a pagoda finial and stones at the top . After the bombing this area was covered with innumerable corpses. The corpses from the river were also brought here and cremated. There ashes of about 70,000 victims lie in a vault that lies under the mound.

Children's Peace Monument

Children's Peace Monument
Orgmi Cranes ad message of Peace
Children's Peace Monument
Sadako Sasaki , an elementary school kid was exposed to the bombing at the age of two, and contracted leukemia ten years later and died. Shocked by her death, her classmates put out a national call to "build a monument to mourn all the children who died from the atomic bombing." With the support of students in more than 3,100 schools around Japan and in nine other countries, this bronze statue that stands nine meters high was build. On the top of the three-legged pedestal stands the bronze figure of a girl holding up a gold-colored "folded" crane. On opposite sides of the pedestal are suspended boy and girl figures symbolizing a bright future and hope. On the stone underneath the pedestal is inscribed, "This is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in this world." Garlands holding together hundreds of cranes made out of origami paper are placed here by the visitors.

Flame of Peace

Flame of Peace
The pedestal was designed to suggest two hands pressed together at the wrist and bent back so that the palms point up to the sky. It expresses condolence for victims unable to satisfy their thirst for water, as well as the desire for nuclear abolition and enduring world peace.

The flame has burned continuously since it was lit on August 1, 1964. It symbolizes the anti-nuclear resolve to burn the flame "until the day when all such weapons shall have disappeared from the earth."

Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims

Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims

This monument stands in the centre of the Peace Park. It resembles an ancient arch-shaped house, in part because of the desire to shelter the souls of the victims from the elements. Through the monument you can view the Peace Flame and the A-Bomb Dome. The monument is inscribed with the words, "Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil." The stone chest in the center holds the names of persons who died from the bombing, regardless of nationality. Names are added when persons related to a death make application. As of August 6, 2001, the registry comprises 77 volumes that list a total of 221,893 names.

Rest House

Hiroshma A Bomb Zone Rest House
The Taishoya Kimono Shop, was moved from its old location in Saiku-machi on the opposite bank of river, into a newly constructed building in 1929. This structure was a concrete building unlike the usual buildings made from wood . The building was situated only 170 meters from the hypocenter and on August 6, when the bomb exploded over this building, the roof was crushed, the interior destroyed, and everything consumable burned except in the basement. Despite its proximity, it retained its basic shape because it was solidly built with few openings toward the hypocenter side. Thirty-seven people were working there at that  time. All died except for one man who had gone down to the basement to get documents. He died in June 1982.

The basement room is preserved as it was just after the bomb exploded.

The building has served as the Rest House in Peace Memorial Park since 1982.

Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students

Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students at Hiroshima

During the World War, to make up for the labor shortage, the government enacted the Student Labor Service Act in August 1944. This act required students in middle school and higher grades to perform labor service in munitions factories and similar ones through out the country. Many students were required to participate in tearing down homes and other buildings to create fire-breaks to limit the expansion of fire in the event of air attacks. In Hiroshima City, of the roughly 8,400 students in the national upper level schools, about 6,300 died on the day of the bombing.Most students working at various industries around the city were also killed. This tower was erected in memory of the young children who had laid down their lives for the country, who had forgotten to enjoy their play and childhood.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was established in August 1955. It is dedicated to educating visitors about the aftermath of the world`s first Atomic bomb, that exploded in Hiroshima. The Museum has exhibits and information relating to the world war and, details on the role of Hiroshima in the war up to the bombing, and extensive information on the bombing and its effects, along with substantial memorabilia and pictures from the bombing. By doing so the museum also aims at contributing towards making the world and its people realize the importance of abolition of nuclear weapons throughout the world, and thereby promoting world peace.
The building also offers some marvelous views of the Memorial Cenotaph, Peace Flame, and A-Bomb Dome. It is the most popular of Hiroshima's destinations for school field-trips from all over Japan and for international visitors, too It is  reported that  53 million people had visited the museum till 2005.

Admission  : 8:30 to 18:00 (Last entry at 17:30)
                     8:30 to 17:00 (December 1 to February 28)
                     8:30 to 19:00 (August 1 to 31)

Cost :    Adult 50 yen
             Ages 6-18 30 yen
             Student groups 20 or more are free.


By Train : From Hiroshima Station, take a street car bound for Miyajima or Eba and get off at Genbaku Dome-Mae.

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Popular Sight Seeing Spots

1. Hiroshima - The City for Peace

2. Hakone - A Mountain Resort For All Seasons

3. Tokyo Sight Seeing - Tokyo City tour

4. The Tokyo Sky Tree - Tallest tower in the World

5. Yoshinogari Historical Park - Get Experienced The Ancient Civilization

6. Mount Aso – Active Volcano and World’s Biggest Caldaria

7. Beppu – The Hotspring (Onsen) Paradise

8. Kamakura: The City of Shrines and Temples

9. Climbing Mt.Fuji : Japan's Highest Peak

10. Kyoto Temples and Shrines - The World Heritage Sites

11 The Izu Peninsula

12 Karuizawa : A Mountain Resort for all Seasons

13 Enoshima Island : Beach with a Variety of Water Sports and Attractions

14 Zao Onsen Ski resort and Okama Lake ,Yamagata-Miyagi

15 Mount Takao

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hakone - A Mountain Resort For All Seasons

Hakone - The Abode of  Beauty and Harmony

Hakone is situated in the southwestern part of Kanagawa Prefecture, in Japan, and is an internationally known tourist resort . There would be no foreigner leaving Japan without getting the soothing and embellishing view of mount Fuji and the Lake Ashi-no-ko with their visit to Hakone. All throughout the year Hakone is a favorite spot for visit among the Japanese people, especially for the 30 million plus Tokyoites who would prefer a day off from their busy schedules. This is an internationally well-known holiday resort that includes many renowned hot springs and outdoor attractions. Over the time many unique art museums have sprung up here and they are very popular with the visitors.


From Tokyo (Shinjuku) to Hakone-Yumoto: 1 hour and 25 minutes by Limited Express "Romancecar"
By express train: 1 hr. and 50 min.
From Tokyo (Shinjuku) to Gotemba, Togendai,
By Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus (All seats reserved): approx. 2 hr. 10 min.

Hakone Sekisho

Sekisho (Hakone CheckPoint)
Inside the Hakone Sekisho
Hakone Sekisho, is an important site which reveals the history of transport and communication during the Edo period, around 140 years back. During this period it was very difficult for travelers to go over the steep slopes of Mt. Hakone-yama. To ensure the security of the today Tokyo area, during the 17th century, a place called Sekisho was set up for officials to conduct strict checks on travelers. The Hakone Sekisho site reveals buildings and structures like Kyoto side standby place (Kyoguchisennindamari ), where the travellers waited to be inspected, space for shooting range for guns and arrows (Yabe), tools used to arrest criminals (Mitsudogutate) , with a museum depicting typical lifestyle of the office and the officials and other inhibitants of Hakone Sekisho.

Admission: 9.00 – 17.00
Adult – 500 yen, Children  -250 yen

Hakone Open Air Museum

Hakone Open Air MUseum

Hakone Open Air Museum
 Hakone Open-Air Museum is the first of its kind in Japan. It is a spectacular ground for approximately 120 works by well-known modern and contemporary sculptors. Visitors get an lifetime experience , viewing the decorative, and highly thematic works of artists like Rodin, Maillol and abstract and paintings and sculpture of Taro Okamoto. The museum reveals the works of one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso at its rotating display at the Picasso Pavilion. The museum also has a wing which is the largest world collection of the famous English sculptor and artist Henry Spencer Moore who is best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures. With its 5 exhibition halls , space for children to play and hot springs for footbath, the Hakone Open Air Museum is a splendour of art and natural beauty.

Admission : 9.00 – 17.00
Adult – 1600 yen, Children 1100 yen

Lake Ashino-ko

Hakone Lake Ashino-ko

A visit to the Lake Ashino-ko which is often referred to as the Hakone Lake will take the visitors on a 40 minute cruise on a pirate shaped sailing vessels. The ride on the Lake is also famous for viewing the Mt Fuji and on day with a clear weather the view of Mt Fuji from the vessel would be mind capturing. The ride from Togendai Port to Hakonemachi Port gives a picturesque view of the caldera lake, with the surrounding mountains and the floating vermillion shrine gate or Toriof Hakone-jinja shrine at the lake’s edge. The Lake Ashino-ko was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption that took place about 3000 years ago.

Hakone Lake and Cruise
Using the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise, passengers can travel to art museums, hot springs (onsen), historic sites and other attractions along the lakeshore. The Hakone Sightseeing Ship cruise now has four ships on Lake Ashi., The emerald green painted Vasa is and decorated with ornately sculpted woodwork.The Royal is inspired by the 17th-century French sailing warship Soleil Royal. This red ship, with a double-decker promenade and observation deck, feels like a floating palace on the lake.The Frontier paddlewheel ship is modeled after the 19th century American paddlewheel steamers that plied the Mississippi River in those days .The Victory, which went into service in 2007, echoes its namesake, that famous 18th century British warship and veteran of many sea battles. Children mostly enjoy the cruise and its spacious ride getting them into an act and play of being the pirates.

Admission : 9.00 – 17.00
Cost – 970 yen 


Hakone Owakudani
Owakudani, the Hell Valley , is a volcanic valley in Hakone where a number of active sulphur vents and hotsprings can be experienced. It was created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone some 3000 years ago. The air has a sulphurous odour and the environment is filled with vapour and carbondioxide spewing out from almost everywhere. Owakudani is famous for eggs hard-boiled in the hot springs,which when consumed increases longevity by adding seven years more to your life. Visitors can take a long stroll upwards towards the crater area where one can watch the eggs being boiled in trays dipped in the hot spring water around.
 Admission : 8.30 – 17.00

Hakone Muesum of Art

Hakone Museum of Art- Images of the Japanese Gardens
Hakone Museum of Art
Hakone Muesum of Art is located in the Gora district of hakone. It exhibits a collection of oriental art of Japan which included medieval Japanese ceramics from the Jômon period (10.000B.C-200B.C) through to the Edo period (1615-1867).This museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens which depict the seasonal beauty of Japan throughout the year. These gardens are famous for the Bamboo gardens of the winter and the Moss gardens of the spring. At Shinwa-tei one can enjoy the traditional tea while scrutinizing the earthenware inside.

Admission : 9.30 – 16.00
Adult – 900 yen, Children -400 yen

Hakone Ropeway

Hakone Ropeway through the sulphur mist
The Hakone Ropeway,is the longest in Japan and the second-longest in the world . It covers a distance of 4,035 m between Sounzan and Togendai, Gondolas carrying 13 passengers rise up into the sky once every minute. The trip from Sounzan to Togendai on Lake Ashi, symbol of Hakone, takes 30 minutes. The large windows of the Swiss-made cabins allow visitors to observe the all embracing panorama of Hakone’s mystic and natural settings. The magnificent scenery with its sea of trees and mountain slopes and the valley makes it hard to believe that Hakone is just a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Owakudani, one of the stations along the way, offers magnificent views of Mount Fuji and hot springs. At its highest point, between Sounzan and Owakudani, the ropeway is 130 meters above the ground. The large crater is visible below with its heavy sulphurous fumes rising up to reach the heights. Proceeding to Ubako and Togendai, the ropeway offers grand views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji behind Mount Kami, with the scenery reflecting the changes of the seasons. The Hakone Freepass is an economical and convenient way to enjoy an excursion in Hakone using the Hakone Ropeway.

Hakone Tozan Cablecar

Hakone Tozan Cablecar
The Hakone Tozan Cablecar runs 1.2 kilometers between Gora and Sounzan, with a difference in altitude of 214 m. The Swiss-made cable cars, climbing the hills, have large windows through which visitors can enjoy ever-changing picturesque panorama of Hakone throughout the four seasons. The major sightseeing stations covered are Gora Park, the Hakone Museum of Art and the Hakone Sounzan Museum and also for people staying at Japanese inns and private recreation facilities. The trip between Gora and Sounzan takes approximately 9 minutes. The Hakone Freepass is an economical and convenient way of traveling in Hakone on the Hakone Tozan Cable car.


Mountain Railway (Hakone Tozan Train)

HakoneTozan Train
Hakone Tozan Train
The Hakone Tozan Train is a mountain railway that is cherished by travellers planning a visit to Hakone. Not only does the line have minimal impact on the plant and animal life of Hakone, which is registered as a national park, the long tunnels and steel bridges along the line are part of its appeal. During their trip, travellers can get a close look at Hakone’s beautiful nature. Also the travellers can experience the authentic technical implications of a train journey on the steep slopes and sharp curves. There are also superb views from special points, especially from the Deyama Bridge, looking down 43 m to the riverbed. Visitors will be interested to know that a cow bell is rung to announce the train’s departure because Hakone Tozan Railway is a sister railway of the famous Rhatische Bahn in Switzerland.The trip from Hakone-Yumoto to Gora takes approximately 40 minutes.
Admission: 9.30 – 16.00
Adult – 410 yen, Children -210yen

Hakone Free Pass

Hakone Route Map
Hakone Freepass is a discount excursion ticket offering full coverage of the popular sightseeing destinations in Hakone. Hakone Freepass includes return transportation on Odakyu Line, a ticket allowing you to get on and off freely within a specified area, and discount admission to various attractions in the area. Valid for 2 or 3 days. With Hakone Freepass, you can also ride 7 types of transport in the area, such as the Hakone Tozan Line and the Hakone Ropeway, allowing you the freedom to thoroughly explore Hakone. Enjoy your trip to Hakone with the convenient and economical Hakone Freepass.

Hakone Free pass Details

2 Day Pass 3 Day Pass
From Shinjuku Station 5000 yen 5500 yen
From Free Area (Eg Odawara Station)3900 yen 4400 yen

Hakone More Photos