City of renewal




Hiroshima is a most charming place to visit. Strolling around this culturally rich city and its environs you'll find many examples of elegant architecture tucked away within quaint, traditional communities. Although the Japanese have long embraced the digital age, they exhibit a wonderful skill for tastefully blending the ancient with the modern. Here, sites of religious and historic significance are always well maintained, looking just as they must have done centuries ago.

And next month, when the cherry trees blossom, is one of the best times to visit this impressive country.

The 1,500-year-old Itsukushima shrine in Miyajima makes for a great pilgrimage. Its outstanding architecture won it a place on the World Heritage list. The shrine has withstood many severe storms but its inner sanctum, where the spirit house sits, remains amazingly untouched.


Omotesando Shopping Arcade (Hiroshima)Omotesando Shopping Arcade is on the way from Miyajima port to Itsukushima shrine. You will pass souvenir shops and restaurants. One thing you shouldn't miss are the famed grilled oysters of Hiroshima, although they're a bit expensive _ 1,000 yen for four oysters (around 80 baht each). Add some lime and you will find they are wonderful, indeed.


Hondori is a famous shopping area in Hiroshima city. This colourful arcade is packed with shops selling goods ranging from fashion items to discount shops where every piece of item is priced at 100 yen.


It is a heart-breaking stop in Hiroshima. The museum tells the horrors of the atomic bomb and its casualties. Visit this museum, and you will hate war, I promise.

Paper crane (Hiroshima) It is not unusual to cry here. When I was taking this picture, of tiny paper cranes made by Sadako Sasaki, the exhibition room was filled with sobs of visitors. Exposed to radioactive radiation, Sadako developed leukemia. Confined to hospital she folded paper cranes in the hope that she would get well one day. That day though never arrived.


Shinichi Tetsutani was three years and 11 months old, riding his tricycle in front of his house when he suffered severe burns spawned by the atomic bomb. He died the same night and his father felt he was too young to be buried in a graveyard. So he buried Shinichi in his backyard along with this tricycle. Forty years later, his father dug up Shinichi's remains and transferred them to the family graveyard.

This elegant bridge in Iwakuni city, Yamaguchi prefecture, spans the Nishiki River. The wooden structure of five arches is an example of brilliant engineering going back to the ancient times. The arches were built using metal straps and clamps resulting in a structure of incomparable workmanship. It is one of the three most famous bridges in Japan.

You may feel awkward walking naked before taking a dip in this hot spring. But Yubara onsen in Okayama will make you feel good. Here, the hot spring sits by the Asahi River. You can admire the beautiful river while relaxing in the warm water no matter how cold the weather is.

Going to an onsen is a new thing for Thai tourists. But once tried, they would love it. This group of Thai tourists dressed in traditional Japanese attire pose for the camera after they found that wearing colourful attires, eating superb cuisine, staying in traditional guestrooms and going naked to the onsen was indeed an excellent experience.

Okayama is known for growing some of the most delicious fruits Japan has to offer visitors. There are many farms, some like the Fruit Forest Hirata offer all-you-can-eat on a visit.  Tourists can enjoy a real feast by buying a package at this farm that allows them to explore and eat all they can at its strawberry plantation. Costing 1,400 yen per person, all they get is 30 minutes to whet their appetites. The farm owner says the colder the weather, the higher the prices of fruit as more fuel is needed to keep the farm warm.

A few kilometres west of Okayama city is the ancient town of Kurashiki whose beautiful houses, white walls and black tiled roof, line canals flanked by trees. The small picturesque town is redolent with nostalgic atmosphere.


Bangkok Airways operates two flights a week from Bangkok to Hiroshima. Thai tourists require visa to enter Japan. For more information, visit or call 02-207-8500. 


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