A Walk Down Memory Lane

In April I was able to journey back to the town I called home from 1997 to 1999, Hiroshima.  The experience was more magical than I could have hoped for.  While the sights and sounds may have changed greatly, it was amazing how many places remained the same and how many memories came back.
Hiroshima Street Car Then
Hiroshima Street Car Now
I stayed in a hotel only a few blocks from where I lived as a kid, Hotel Sun route on Heiwa Avenue (which I highly recommend, it was perfectly located and close to the street car).  I visited the convenience store next to my old bus stop where I used to buy candy before school.  I went to Andersen's and got a cheese roll, which was an adventure because the bakery moved.  I sat on a bench at Peace Park during Hanami and remembered how early people had to get there to save a glorious plot of picnic space for their friends and family.  I even navigated the bus system up to my old school, it's almost like it stood still in time over the past 20 years.  That bus ride up the mountain still makes me car sick...
Hiroshima International School Then
Hiroshima International School Now
The city of Hiroshima has aged in such a graceful way over the past 20 years.  It brings the life of a big city, but still has history and amazing culture to experience. 
Shrine Downtown Then
Shrine Downtown Now
Here are some of my favorite places, I hope you can visit some day!
Peace Park-
There is so much to see and feel when you visit Peace Park.  I greatly enjoyed being able to walk around the nearly empty park around six in the morning (that jetlag), when you are there that early it is like you have the park to yourself.  The surrounding really encourages deep thought; about peace, the world, history, and even yourself.  I spent a good hour sitting on a bench, with some birds close by, just reflecting on my life while embracing the nature and beauty of the park.
Cenotaph Then
Cenotaph Now
Throughout the day you will see many people visiting the Atomic Bomb Dome, I even saw a few people painting it in the sunlight.  It was also very humbling to walk through the park at night and see the Atomic Bomb Dome lit in a sea of darkness
A-Bomb Dome Then
A-Bomb Dome Now
The Children's Peace Monument is also in Peace Park.  The monument was built to mourn all the children that died from the atomic bombing, and is surrounded by brightly colored paper cranes that people around the world fold to place at the monument.
Children’s Peace Monument Then
Children’s Peace Monument Now

The Hondori is filled with shops and restaurants, and is perfect for rainy days!  It is a lot of fun to visit in the evening when everyone is out of work.  My favorite place to visit is the arcade, it was nine glorious floors of video games and claw machines!
Hondori Then
Hondori Now

Hiroshima Castle-
Hiroshima Castle is an amazing piece of history.  I highly recommend dedicating a few hours to visiting the castle grounds and going into the castle.  The castle is full of historic artifacts and provides a breathtaking view of the city once you reach the top floor.
Hiroshima Castle Then
Hiroshima Castle Now

Miyajima is my favorite place to visit in Japan.  Maybe it is because of the memories I have, but I really think it is because it is such a beautiful place.  There are tons of shops, lots of great food, and momiji (cakes filled with bean paste, or even cream cheese!).  It's a little nature haven away from the big cities, and allows you to slow down for the day.  Plus the fact that it is full of nature wins in my world.  You can hike up Mt. Misen, or if you would rather go to the top without the work you can ride the cable cars.
Miyajima Then
Miyajima Now
The island also is home to several friendly deer.  But be careful!  The love to eat bags, and paper, and clothing.  The island also used to be home to monkeys, but when I asked about them everyone said they moved away.  I asked how, since it is an island, but no one knows how they managed to move away.  Maybe they swam away, can monkeys swim long distances?
Mt. Misen Monkey Then

This is just a tiny collection of what Hiroshima has to offer.  I spent five days exploring Hiroshima in April, and it was not enough time to see everything I wanted to.  But now I have a reason to go back and see how the city has changed once again!
Hanami Then
Hanami Now

All photographs were taken by myself or my family.

Amanda Brennan