Hiroshima & Miyajima
Hiroshima and Miyajima offered some of the most enjoyable and some of the most sobering parts of our journey. Hiroshima as a city and as a people have gone through more than we could ever imagine, and the city serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of our thoughts, words, judgment, and action. I personally think that everyone should visit Hiroshima at least once in their lifetime to build an appreciation for peace and the fragility of humanity.
There is a great deal to do beyond the Peace Memorial and Museum, like the Mazda Museum, and there was a Ramen Festival while we were there - and pigging out on ramen is exactly why we went to Japan.
Miyajima is a tiny resort village with gorgeous views, domesticated deer that roam the streets, and small communities steeped in history. It was breathtaking, and we took a cable car to see several other islands from the top of the mountain.
A tip: While everyone encourages travelers to visit Nara for the deer, I had a much better experience with the deer in Miyajima. The difference? In Nara, you're encouraged to buy deer biscuits, these tiny crack cookies that the deer will hunt you down and trample you for. They will bite you and step on you. Not a joke. Their hooves are covered in mud and their teeth are sharp. They're assholes. They care zero percent about your DSLR and 100% about eating their deer cookies. In Miyajima, tourists are encouraged NOT to feed the deer, so if they approach you for a gentle pet or set their head in your lap so they can rest in the sunshine it is a much more docile, genuine moment.