Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hiroshima Navigator

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The city of Hiroshima, in western Japan, has redesigned the Hiroshima online sightseeing site “Hiroshima Navigator” (www.hiroshima-navi.or.jp/en). It features information about sightseeing spots, information about accommodation, shopping, restaurants and more.

With six beautiful rivers flowing through it, Hiroshima is called the City of Water. The origins of the City date back to 1589 when Mori Terumoto, a feudal lord, built Hiroshima Castle (also referred to as Rijo, or Carp Castle) at the large delta of the Ota-gawa River. (The current castle was reconstructed after the original was destroyed by an atomic bomb during the war.)

Because the delta resembled a large island, the area was called “Hiroshima,” or ‘wide island’ in Japanese. The town was the seat of the Mori and Fukushima families, and later of the Asano, who laid the foundations of Hiroshima’s further development as the most lively castle town in western Japan.

Upcoming events in Hiroshima:

Hiroshima established the Hiroshima Art Prize in 1989. The purpose is to recognize the achievements of artists who have contributed to the peace of humanity in the field of contemporary art, and through contemporary art aim to appeal to a wider world and the spread the “Spirit of Hiroshima,” which seeks everlasting world peace. This prize is awarded once every three years. The winner of the eighth Hiroshima Art Prize is Yoko Ono. An award ceremony will be held in July. At the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, a special exhibition about Ono will start from July.

The Peace Memorial Ceremony is held on Aug. 6 every year. The ceremony starts at 8 a.m. Many visitors come to the peace memorial park to attend the ceremony in early morning. At night, a Lantern Floating ceremony will be held. Originally, lantern floating is an event to mourn for the departed souls. But in this Lantern Floating ceremony, participants float their lantern not only to mourn for the souls of the victims by A-bombing, but also to promise to make efforts toward the realization of world peace.

In late October, the Hiroshima Food Festival will be held in Hiroshima Castle and the Central Park featuring various foods from all over Hiroshima prefecture. Many stalls are opened at the site. From the end of October to the end of November, the fall foliage is at its finest in Hiroshima. Miyajima is famous for foliage sighting as is Hijiyama park and the Mitakidera temples and in the northern part of Hiroshima scenic areas such as Sandankyo Gorge and Taishakukyo Gorge.

See the Naka’s Travel Service Japan Tours page for information on package tours to Hiroshima and other parts of Japan. There is more information about Hiroshima on the Hiroshima Navigator page at http://www.hiroshima-navi.or.jp/en/ or from the Japan National Tourism Organization page at http://www.japantravelinfo.com.