Akiyoshidai Cave – Japan Travel (Guest Post)

On Saturday morning, the Cooper family and I loaded into the family car and drove from Hiroshima for about 2 hours to the Akiyoshidai Cave, Japan’s largest and longest limestone cave. After a short break at a gas station, we made it to the Akiyoshidai Cave! Or at least the parking lot relatively close to the Akiyoshidai Cave.

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Akiyoshidai is yet another cool place that I didn’t get to see in person. Take a look at my friend’s recollections. Please take a look at the original post to see all the photos! https://guyandgalphotoblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/akiyoshidai-cave/

By Rachel Kitai (Guest Blogger)

Rachel Kitai is a traveler and an artist, see her work here: http://rachelkitai.com/

On Saturday morning, the Cooper family and I loaded into the family car and drove from Hiroshima for about 2 hours to the Akiyoshidai Cave, Japan’s largest and longest limestone cave. After a short break at a gas station, we made it to the Akiyoshidai Cave! Or at least the parking lot relatively close to the Akiyoshidai Cave.

After we parked, there was a long walkway of sorts lined with shops on either side. These shops were full of rocks, gems, magnets, keychains, phone bangles, and more. There was one restaurant with a display of their food in display cases and an ice cream shop. The ice cream shops sell primarily one ice cream flavor with and then you choose what kind of syrup flavor or jimmies you want on top. At the end of this walkway was the ticket booth to buy the tickets to the cave.

We walked the 1 km of the cave and came up the other side after a very long flight of stairs. In reality, the entire cave is 9 km long but only 1 km is actually open to the public.

Unfortunately, I had to go to the bathroom and the bathroom on the other side was actually a bunch of holes in the ground. I really wish I had googled how to use those types of bathrooms online or that they kept a how-to pamphlet in the stalls. Regardless, I figured it out and I peed in a squat toilet. Unfortunately (again), there was no soap or paper towels and I was not prepared as I normally was with hand sanitizer. Whatever – life goes on; I survived. And we made our trek out and above the cave to get back to the parking lot.

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Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan (Guest Post)

The Children’s Peace Monument (just below) was built in dedication to all the children who died as a result of the bombing. The sculpture is based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki (佐々木禎子), a young girl who died after the bombing due to radiation. She truly believed that if she folded 1,000 cranes, then she would be healed…

By Rachel Kitai (Guest Blogger)

One last post from Rachel Kitai about Japan. Please visit her blog to read more about her travels in Japan, Europe and the USA the original post also has some beautiful photos: https://guyandgalphotoblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/hiroshima-peace-memorial-park/

Rachel is a traveler and artist, please see her art here: http://rachelkitai.com/

After visiting the Hiroshima Castle, we biked over to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The Coopers started by playing a game of keep-away while I photographed them and kept an eye on Alex.

Once we were finished playing, jumping across rocks, and building imaginary forts, we made our way to the center of the Peace Park. Our first stop was the A-Bomb Dome, also named the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Before the bombing, this area was a thriving commercial area and this building, the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, was the only building in the area that remained standing after the bombing. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s currently being audited/checked to ensure that it’s not structurally unsafe. Apparently, four years to the day after the bombing, it was decided to make the downtown area a peace memorial instead of redeveloping it.

There are several other memorials/statues in the area in honor of specific groups of people. The Children’s Peace Monument (just below) was built in dedication to all the children who died as a result of the bombing. The sculpture is based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki (佐々木禎子), a young girl who died after the bombing due to radiation. She truly believed that if she folded 1,000 cranes, then she would be healed. Around the statue were thousands and thousands of folded paper cranes. Children from all around the world send their folded paper cranes. There were several clear plastic boxes stuffed full of cranes. It was beautiful. I was so mesmerized that I forgot to take a picture. Sorry, guys.

The monument below is the Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students. Around that time, thousands of students were “mobilized” to help with the war effort by completing primarily factory work. This was built to honor nearly 7,000 of those mobilized students that were killed in the bombings.

Pictured below is the Memorial Cenotaph. It is made entirely of concrete and has the names of every person who was killed by the bombing. If you look in the center of the picture, below the arch, you can see the Peace Flame (eternally lit) and the A-Bomb Dome. Written on a plaque in front of this arch is “安らかに眠って下さい 過ちは 繰返しませぬから” which was translated as “Let all the souls here rest in peace for we shall not repeat the evil.”

While thoroughly exploring the area, Aly and I each sipped on a Fuzzy Navel. When finished, we went to an underground shopping center to eat an amazing lunch/dinner. We started the meal with a huge mountain of a salad topped with a perfectly poached egg. Aly and Will weren’t fans of poached eggs so I scooped that off the top and ate my salad drenched in the delicious yolk of an amazingly tasty egg. Then, we ordered a bunch of stuff and shared it between all of us – a seafood pizza with pesto, an amazingly good Japanese bento box, and some other stuff that is clearly being overshadowed by that poached egg and seafood pizza. It was so good ya’ll.

After eating our fill, we biked home in the dark. It was so lovely. While biking, we were singing “I got my tight pants on..” but a few minutes into it, I changed the lyrics so that it was Wyatt wearing the tight pants. “Everybody sees Wyatt in his tight pants. He’s got his tight pants. He’s got his tight pants on.” Wyatt giggled non-stop. I was kinda scared he was going to fall off his bike. He kept on trying to sing, “Aunt Rachel has tight pants…” which just didn’t work but A for effort, Wyatt.

Aly and I went to a grocery store while the boys went back to the Cooper home and it. was. glorious. Czechs aren’t really into snacks… well, they are but it’s just chocolate and candy; Like, it’s impossible to find decent crackers anywhere. I’m way more into the savory. This store had so many savory snacks. I wanted to buy them all. They had so much seafood, guys! SO MUCH. And it actually looked good. I miss good seafood – not ridiculously puny shrimp that look like they layed out in the sun for too long but huge prawns. That’s right, they were so big they have to be called something different. And scallops and lobster and such beautiful goodness. I think I bought only one or two snacks though. And then we biked home with grocery bags hanging from our handlebars.

Hiroshima Castle – Japan Travel (Guest Post)

Our Sunday officially started with a bike ride to Hiroshima Castle, only a few blocks away from the Cooper home. It was so refreshing to ride a bike again. Hiroshima, the city, is actually quite flat and it’s easy to get around on a bike even if you’re out of practice (like me).

Not being able to visit Hiroshima was one of my biggest regrets. Take a look at Rachel’s original post for gorgeous photos of the Hiroshima Castle! https://guyandgalphotoblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/hiroshima-castle/

By Rachel Kitai (Guest Blogger)

Rachel Kitai is a traveler and artist, check out her art here: http://rachelkitai.com/

Our Sunday officially started with a bike ride to Hiroshima Castle, only a few blocks away from the Cooper home. It was so refreshing to ride a bike again. Hiroshima, the city, is actually quite flat and it’s easy to get around on a bike even if you’re out of practice (like me).

The entire Cooper family rode our bikes to the castle and then Aly and I went up and around to view all the displays. One floor alone was just about the evolution of toilets in Japan. That was…fascinating. Another floor described the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and I was extremely impressed by how…diplomatic the English text was. I don’t mean “diplomatic” in a bad or negative way. The tone of the text was just very factual without any judgment. They literally just said exactly what happened and how it happened and how it affected everyone else. I was so very impressed.