April 11th, 2016 - Day 9 - Docked at Hiroshima, Japan

We woke up cruising by small little islands along the way to Hiroshima.

We had breakfast at the Terrace Café.

This morning Jim was not able to download the LA Times as while we are in Japan there is satellite usage restrictions in Japanese waters.  The Japanese government restricts the transmission of C band signals while sailing within 12 nautical miles of the Japanese coast. So there is no Internet/or telephone access from approximately four hours prior to arrival into Japanese ports, during the stay, and four hours after sailing.

John Kerry and other G7 foreign ministers are here in Hiroshina today. They arrived yesterday to begin talks on global hotspot issues. This is the first visit to the atomic bomb city by US Secretary of State and we are here on the second day of the conference.

Pat went to an Enrichment Lecture with Harry Chittick:  Street Photography - Capture the experience not just the place in the Insignia Lounge this morning.  It was interesting although a lot she already knew it was a nice refresher course.  Best advice Pat heard was to use your eye, mind, and heart to make your picture come alive.

Today we have a mandatory face-to-face inspection with Japanese immigration for all guests in the terminal when we arrive.  It is interesting as no one is allowed to go back on the ship until everyone has gone through immigration.   

We are on a tour today of The Highlights of Hiroshima.  Our guide is Yukiko.  There are 1.2 million people in Hiroshima.

Hiroshima means "Wide Island". The oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima because it was the first to bloom again after the explosion of the atomic bomb in 1945.

Hiroshima lives today as an example of the triumph of the human spirit, having been the site where the first nuclear weapon was used in war.  On August 6, 1945 the B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay unleashed the atomic bomb on the citizens of Hiroshima, and what is today the Peace Memorial Park  is Ground Zero.

We drove to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park which was approximately a 30 minute drive. We visited the park with the Atomic Bomb Dome.  The explosion destroyed most of the city and left only a few concrete and steel structures still standing.  The ruins of the Hiroshima Prefecture Industrial Promotion Hall is now a UNESCO world heritage site referred at as the Atomic Bomb Dome.

The Children's Place Monument which is also called the Statue of the A-Bomb Children, honors the thousands of children that were killed.

The Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound contains the ashes of tens of thousands of victims who were too badly burned to be identified.

The Cenotaph is shaped like an ancient tomb and holds the names of the dead.

The Flame of Peace is visited daily by monks offering prayers and burning incense.

We went into the Peace Memorial Museum which shows the history of the Hiroshima atomic blast and the effects are on display in this museum.  There were photos, audio testimony and artifacts that bring the horrific event to life in every graphic detail.

Because of the G7 conference there were hundreds of armed police present. They were in the building next door to the museum.  We had to walk by the police on our way back to the bus as our bus was not able to pick us up where they had planned because of the security.   Because of the age of the people on our cruise there were several that complained about having to walk back to the bus. Pat told Jim that they're just a bunch of grumpy old people always complaining about something.

We then drove approximately 15 minutes to the Shukkein Gardens.  Construction of the garden begin in 1620 but in 1945 it was destroyed by the atomic bomb.  It has been restored to its condition prior to the bombing.  It is modeled after the famous West Lake in Hangzhou, China.  There were Plum trees, azaleas, cherry trees, sculpted gardens, paths, ponds, bridges, waterfalls and bamboo groves.  It was a beautiful garden and we saw a couple getting photographed in Japanese wedding attire.  It was a very serene and beautiful garden.  We enjoyed our time there.

We had dinner in he Grand Dining Room.  Jim had for his appetizer crispy Pasilla of scallops with virgin sauce over sweet fennel.  He had cream of sweet potato soup with chorizo fritters and for his main course he had tornadoes Rossini with sautéed Foie Gras, fried Lorette potatoes and Perigourdine sauce.  Pat had cauliflower pana cota with artichoke salpicon, tomato coulis and poblano chili aioli.  Pat had black beans and quinoa salad with Ligurian olive oil and lime.  Her main course was Mahi-mahi with lemon sauce. For dessert we split a lime sorbet.  We enjoyed our dinner.

We sailed off from Hiroshima on our way to Kobe, Japan.