Tuesday, May 15, 2018


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Japanese Tea Garden
By going to Japan in the spring, we thought we would see the cherry blossoms in bloom.  Well, we missed it by a few weeks.  The next best thing was the Wisteria blooming in Fukuoka.  When we arrived at the train station in Kitakyushu it was late, rainy, and cold.  We just really weren’t motivated to travel to the Kawachi Wisteria Gardens so we ended up staying in Kitakyushu and touring the Kokura Castle.

This one was built around the same time as the Hiroshima Castle, 1600, by Samurai Hosokawa Tadaoki.  It also has a moat like Hiroshima but is a much more substantial structure.  There is a museum and tea garden on the Castle property.

Japanese Mobile Bakery

An interesting thing that we learned was that the Shogun (chief of the clan)  had a physician whose job was to go through the Shogun's poo from his Chamber Pot and examine it daily.  What a crappy job.

The grounds of Kokura Castle

Kokura Castle and Moat

Dave Deakyne
David Deakyne
David J. Deakyne
Dave Deakyne

Monday, May 14, 2018

Bunny Island - Ōkunoshima

The Power Plant and Chemical Factory
No Fear Wild Rabbit

Okunoshima was a secret chemical weapons facility from the 1930’s until the end of World War II.  Residents and employees were not told what the plant was manufacturing.  After the war, the Allied Occupation Forces dumped, burned, and buried the poison gas material.

There are storage talk cribs scattered around the island and the remains of the power station and chemical factory.


The most interesting thing about the island is the wild rabbits.  The island was developed after the war as a National Park and rabbits were intentionally let loose.  The rabbits have no natural enemies and have bred like, well, rabbits.  It is like the Galapagos of rabbits.


The Round Trip Train Route

We easily saw 200 rabbits while we walked the island.  They had no fear of humans and seemed quite well fed thanks to the tourism.  Some didn’t even want the carrots we bought and had been carrying since the market in Osaka.  They didn’t run away like wild rabbits.  They mostly just sat there looking at us.


They day we went, the weather was beautiful and there was no shortage of visitors.  If you go there on a cold or rainy day, the rabbits would surely be more interested in the food you bring.

Carrots were a real treat

We took the Bullet Train from Hiroshima to Mihara station and then the local Kure Line to Tadanoumi Station.  It’s a short walk to the ferry terminal and a 15 minute ferry ride to the island.  Ferries run about every hour.


They didn't seem to be too interested in lettuce

On our way back to the Hiroshima Station, we continued on the Kure Line along the coast and got a much better feel for the coast than we did from the Bullet Train.

Dave Deakyne
David Deakyne
David J. Deakyne
Dave Deakyne
Wallingford Dave Deakyne
David Deakyne
David J. Deakyne
Dave Deakyne

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Peace Park and the Atomic Dome

Hiroshima from the top of the Castle
Hiroshima after the atomic bomb

You would never know that an atomic bomb was dropped on this town except for the monuments and parks in the 1 mile radius that was destroyed by the bomb on August 6th, 1945.  Hiroshima is really a beautiful clean city with plenty of tourism, restaurants, and public transportation.


The area around the explosion was totally destroyed except 2 main structures, the Industrial Promotion Hall  (Atomic Bomb Dome) and the Fuel Rationing Union (Rest House).





Atomic Bomb Dome looking from Peace Park

Peace Park is across the river from the Dome and has numerous memorials and gardens in the park.







These are the memorials at Peace Park:

Pond of Peace – encircling the Cenotaph
    Peace Clock Tower
    A-bombed Gravestone – gravestone of Jisenji temple – the temple used to be there
    Peace Fountain
    Monument to the Old Aioi Bridge
    Phoenix Trees Exposed to the A-bomb – also known as Chinese Parasols, these trees have deep scars from the blast. They were moved here from the courtyard of the former Hiroshima Post & Telecommunications Office in 1973.[26]
    Linden Tree Monument
    Hair Monument
    Hiroshima City Zero Milestone
    Peace Cairn
    Stone Lantern of Peace
    Friendship Monument
    Peace Memorial Post
    Peace Tower
    Fountain of Prayer – a small fountain pond
    Monument of Prayer
    Prayer Monument for Peace
    Prayer Haiku Monument for Peace
    Hiroshima Monument for the A-bomb Victims
    Statue of Mother and Child in the Storm
    Peace Watch Tower – indicating the number of days since the A-bomb
    Statue of Peace "New Leaves" – from the words of Dr.Hideki Yukawa – designed, carved by Katsuzo Entsuba
    Statue of Merciful Mother
    Statue of a Prayer for Peace
    The Figure of the Merciful Goddess of Peace (Kannon)
    Mobilized Students' Merciful Kannon Monument
    Hiroshima Second Middle School A-bomb Memorial Monument
    Memorial Monument of the Hiroshima Municipal Commercial and Shipbuilding Industry Schools
    Monument to the A-bombed Teachers and Students of National Elementary Schools
    A-bomb Monument of the Hiroshima Municipal Girl's High School
    Monument Dedicated to Sankichi Tōge
    Monument to Tamiki Hara
    Literary Monument Dedicated to Miekichi Suzuki
    Monument in Memory of Dr.Marcel Junod
    Clock Commemorating the Repatriation of Those Who Chose to Return to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
    Monument of the Former North Tenjin-cho Area
    Monument of the Former South Tenjin-cho Area
    Monument of the Former Zaimoku-cho
    Memorial Tower for A-bomb-related Victims
    Memorial Tower to Console A-bomb Victims
    Monument in Memory of the Korean Victims of the A-bomb
    Monument of the Volunteer Army Corps
    Monument of "Zensonpo"(All Japan Nonlife Insurance Labor Union)
    Monument to Those Who Died From the Chūgoku-Shikoku Public Works Office
    Monument of the Hiroshima District Lumber Control Corporation
    Monument Dedicated to Construction Workers and Artisans
    Monument to the Employees of the Hiroshima Post Office
    Monument of the Hiroshima Gas Corporation
    Monument to the Employees of the Coal Control-related Company
    Monument for the A-bomb Victims from the Hiroshima Agricultural Association
    Monument to Mr. Norman Cousins
    Monument of US POWS {at former Chugoku MP HQ}
Dave Deakyne
David Deakyne
David J. Deakyne
Dave Deakyne
Wallingford Dave Deakyne
David Deakyne
David J. Deakyne
Dave Deakyne

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima at the intersection of 5 rivers
You really can’t visit Japan without going to Hiroshima.  We started out touring the Hiroshima Castle and then went to the Peace Park and Memorials.

Top floors of the 5 story castle
This is the land of Castles, Clans, Samurais, Shoguns and Ninjas.  It’s really not a culture that we are used to as Americans.   It's also an extremely old culture.

The Castle was built in 1590 by Mōri Terumoto of the Mōri clan, 30 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.  

It survived until the Atomic bombing in 1945.  It was rebuilt in 1958 on its original foundation.   
The 'Carp Pond' on the grounds inside the moat

It is surrounded by a man-made moat and is quite impressive for a structure built so long ago.   

Hiroshima Castle surrounded by the moat
Hiroshima is surrounded by 5 rivers and made it a good place from which to defend your clan.

Dave Deakyne
David Deakyne
David J. Deakyne
Dave Deakyne
Wallingford Dave Deakyne
David Deakyne
David J. Deakyne
Dave Deakyne