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Asking for input from non-history buffs

Nebraska City...
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Asking for input from non-history buffs

My boyfriend and I have one week for leisure travel in May and have an itinerary to visit Kyoto, Nara, and Hiroshima. We then travel to Tokyo, where he will be at a conference for a week and I have the luxury of more sight-seeing! We are working in a day trip to Nikko before his meetings begin.

In evaluating cost/benefit, the round trip cost of transportation and a day tour to Hiroshima is quite expensive. From the reviews I've read, it appears people spend a couple of hours there and find it solemn and informative. But, is it worth it for a day trip from Kyoto? I recognize the historical importance, but would like unbiased input as to whether or not it is a "must." Thank you!

NYC
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1. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

If you don't have a rail pass it would be about 40,000 JPY round trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima (for 2 people).....personally I wouldn't go just for that - it might be different if you were going to continue on to Miyajima and stay over there or something like that.....

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

I would skip Nara and add more time in Hiroshima, but that is certainly a minority opinion.

If you add Hiroshima to your trip, a rail pass may become feasible, which could affect what you do on the rest of your trip. Definitely do a comparison of the cost of a pass vs. the cost of individual fares.

I have been to Hiroshima several times and find the Peace Memorial Museum to be a meaningful experience, and I would encourage all American tourists to go there. The city is a place of great tragedy, but also a place of survival. The last time I was there, the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art had an exhibit about what it means to be a Hiroshima resident, when most of the world associates your hometown with annihilation. If you're in Hiroshima for a full day, you will have time to go to Miyajima for a few hours, which qualifies as good traditional sightseeing.

Kyoto will give you an experience of traditional Japan.

I would recommend Hiroshima not to learn history, but to experience something about how war affects a community.

SF
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for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
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3. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

It depends on where you are landing. If you land in Tokyo & use the 7day JR Pass, then the trip to Hiroshima & Miyajima ferry become free rides as the individual shinkansen tickets cost of RT Tokyo-Osaka is about the same as the 7 day JR Pass . Even if you land in Kansai KIX, the rides from Shin-Osaka-Hiroshima toTokyo is about the same as the 7 day JR Pass but having JRPass is much more convenient (no need to buy a JR ticket for each ride) with additional coverage for the Miyajima Ferry, Osaka/Nara & Tokyo JR train rides. It is a bit rushing but If you can squeeze in Nikko, it is an additional free ride. You can do the math by visiting hyperdia.com.

Kanazawa, Japan
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4. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

If you're not a history buff, and therefore WW2 events in the city don't interest you, then there isn't really much reason to go all the way down there. Since the city was flattened, there isn't much in the way of "traditional" streetscapes or buildings, and if that is your interest, Nara and Kyoto are better. Don't let anyone make you feel you "must" go there, whether as an American or not. There are no "musts" in Japan. Or anywhere. If you have the rail pass, then it's no extra cost, of course. In that case I would go. But since it appears to be not your cup of tea, don't go merely as you feel you must, or from some sense of misplaced guilt.

London, United...
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5. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

It was important to me to visit the sites of one of the biggest tragedies/atrocities in history, the events at Hiroshima shaped the world for the following 50 years.

Whether it is "worth it" is subjective. I could happily give up a day looking at yet more temples in Kyoto to see a site of such significance. Saying that, if you are only planning to spend 2 hours there then I would not bother.

I would spend a night there, you could then visit the dome and museum at a more leisurely pace, perhaps visit Miyajima or the Mazda factory and even take in a baseball game.

Kanazawa, Japan
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6. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

Of course if you like you can always stay in Tokyo, which was also the site of one of the biggest mass slaughters of the war.

Guildford, United...
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7. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

IMO there is little of interest in Hiroshima. Anyone who is interested in being horrified by the mass slaughter of WW2 would be better advised to visit Leningrad (now St Petersburg) where around 2 million people died or Stalingrad (now Volgograd) around one million. Compared to these both Hiroshima and Tokyo were small scale.

Nara is well worth a visit.

Kanazawa, Japan
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8. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

Leningrad etc. aren't so much slaughter as death. A fine line, true.

SF
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for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
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9. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

Yes, LondonBob, sadly & inhumanely, there are many places of atrocious mass murdering took place around the world during the past wars and even today still continuing, i.e. Africa.

What differentiates Hiroshima/Nagasaki from other places is that you can still see the silhouettes of innocent civilians baked in the concrete who completely evaporated instantly by A-Bomb & many civilians who survived had years of agonizing physical & mental torturing knowing they are dying from cancer by radiation exposure where as other places have been sanitized & only photos or structures remain.

Hiroshima or Nagasaki should be on everyone's Bucket List.

Kanazawa, Japan
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10. Re: Asking for input from non-history buffs

I'd suggest Nagasaki over Hiroshima. Once you see the A-bomb stuff, Hiroshima has little of interest, but Nagasaki has a lot more to offer.