It was a rainy, cold Monday morning when I continued my exploration of Hiroshima. My first stop that morning was Shukkeien Garden, a piece of well-sculpted nature in a busy city. The garden was first created in 1620.
As with almost everything of importance in Hiroshima, it was destroyed by the atomic bomb. The sign above mentions that many survivors of the blast took refuge in the remains of the park but died before they could receive medical care; their remains are interred in the park.
About 70 years later, the park was a beautiful, but wet, way to spend my morning. In fact, I spent much more time here than I expected.
There is a lake in the middle, with several ponds, bays and peninsulas designed to make smaller environments in the larger garden. The name Shukkeien means "shrunken scenery". I like the stepping stone-style bridge here.
A normal bridge jumps across another bay, while the path wanders off in the distance.
I don't know the significance of these stone houses. I call them houses because I'm sure birds, snakes, or insects could move in.
There were some nice May blossoms when I arrived.
A random tree leans toward the lake, with the bridge in the background.
Here's a closer look at the bridge. You can't walk over the arch (at least on this day) but a smaller bridge around the arch is provided.
Peninsula and island, side by side.
Each section of the park has a different feel. On this side of the park, it's more mountainous.
A (closed) house is on the back side of the garden. There are three main buildings in the garden - the tea house, a house which was being used to play music, and this one. All three buildings are used as tea houses as needed.
A small stream empties into lake, as a visitor hops across the stone step bridge.
Here's the bridge.
You can generally stroll around the entire lake right alongside the water, though an outer path gives you a better look at the garden.
That doesn't mean there are no flowers along the water's edge.
Looking towards the bridge and the music house.
Another view - bridge, island, and peninsulas.
Did I mention it was raining? Look closely at the giant raindrop and you can see a tree.
I've been to a few Japanese gardens now, and I was impressed with every one.
I've finally circled the lake back to the music house.
An expert at this instrument was strumming away while an elder lady watched from a distance. The music could be heard off and on throughout the quiet park as the sound carried over the lake.
Shukkeien is about 15 minutes from Hiroshima Station on foot or by tram. It's a very short walk from the Shukkeien-mae stop on tram line 9, but I walked in the rain that morning. The gardens open at nine, and close at five or six depending on the season. Admission is only 250 yen, which is a great deal.