“Peace doesn't have to be a huge thing-- it starts with how we feel about people in our daily lives.” When we think about peace, we tend to focus on the cruel aspects of war, but Mr. Leeper says that we can also feel peace in our daily lives.
Many people visit the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Museum during their trip to Hiroshima learn about war and Japan's history. They often think more deeply about peace. On this trip, after learning about the tragedy of war at the Peace Memorial Museum and in Peace Park, we will guide you to Miyoshi City in northern Hiroshima Prefecture. There you can think about peace from other angles while enjoying the peaceful warmth of Japanese people and culture.
Peace Memorial Park
Travel time : 240 minutes
The trip will start with the basics about war and Japanese history.
Peace Memorial Park and the Peace Memorial Museum are must-see places, but since they are surely places you’ve visited before, our tour plan starts after your visit to these landmarks.
First, we will take you to Kōnu. We will leave from the bus center, which is close to Peace Memorial Park. Four express buses a day go to Kōnu. We recommend taking the bus around 6:00 p.m. after a thorough tour of the museum.
Click here for reference to a Hiroshima City tour that includes the Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum: “The new standard course in Hiroshima, the International City of Peace and Culture”
120 minutes by highway bus
Experience Japanese culture and lifestyle while relaxing after a long day.
This log cabin is a pleasant way to experience the Japanese way of life.
The lodge is located right next to the Jimmy Carter Civic Center. The staff at the facility may not be very good at English, but they are happy to have you visit. After taking off your shoes at the entrance, you will enter a large “tatami” room that can accommodate up to 50 people. On the tatami mats, you can experience what it is like to spend time in a Japanese home, sitting on the floor, then laying out your own “futon”. All the foreigners who have visited so far have been happy they stayed there.
Some of you may find the exhibitions at the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Museum shocking, and some of you may be tired from traveling, so let’s talk for a while, then get some well-deserved rest.
Jimmy Carter Civic Center
Travel time : 60 minutes
Experiencing peace culture by getting to know Kōnu’s connection to U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Naturally encounter local peacebuilding by learning about Jimmy Carter's exchange and peace activities.
Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, once visited the town of Kōnu, which had a population of about 3,000 people. Mr. Carter visited because he was presented with a large bell of that came from Shonganji Temple in Kōnu. The Carter Center was built to commemorate the exchange that began there. There are only two facilities in the world that bear the name of Jimmy Carter. One is in Kōnu. The other is in Atlanta. If you visit the and learn more about President Carter, you will encounter peace culture at a high level.
The town of Kōnu keeps in touch with the people of President Carter’s hometown, Americus, and Atlanta, the capital of Georgia. In Kōnu and Americus people value each other’s differences thanks to President Carter. We want others to experience true cultural exchange and peace.
Coffee & Pasta Amin, Gallery Amin
Travel time : 90 minutes
Enjoy a peaceful lunch along with the works of local artists.
The restaurant and gallery express the kindness of the Kōnu community.
For lunch, we recommend Coffee & Pasta Amin, located right in front of Yasuragiso. A steak lunch made with rice and vegetables from Kōnu, and beef and eggs from Japan, costs 1,300 yen. The restaurant’s gallery displays arts and crafts by local artists, which we hope you’ll take a look at as well. Also, at “Gallery Amin,” where the owner’s collection is open to the public, you can view ancient Japanese artifacts such as Japanese paintings, calligraphy, “maki-e” lacquerware, and Nara’s 100 best “sumi” inks. The manager and staff will welcome you and make sure you have a good time.
40 minutes by car
Miyoshi Mononoke Museum
Travel time : 60 minutes
Meet the “yokai” that have kept the peace in Japanese society!
Delightful monsters have played a role in peace.
This is a profound look at Japanese folk culture.
The Mononoke Museum is home to some amazing “yokai” (supernatural entities in Japanese folklore). In Japanese society, yokai are essential. They share information about frightening things and dangers that unite people in a community. There are ghosts, monsters, and other supernatural characters in the West as well, but few cultures have as many different types of yokai as there are in Japan, with so many different shapes, forms and unique personalities. They sometimes interfere with humans, and sometimes help them, and we like the fact that most have a bit of charm and cuteness. Much mischief can be avoided by saying, “If a yokai did it, then it can’t be helped.” This helps people feel at ease while avoiding conflict. There is an intriguing connection between yokai and community peace.
In Japanese culture, people have happily coexisted with yokai as allies, helping folks avoid conflict and maintain peace in their families and communities.
20 minutes by car
Miyoshi Fudoki no Oka Museum
Travel time : 90 minutes
Hints for sustainable living from the lives of ancient ancestors.
Here you can get a feel for the lives of people who were in profound harmony with nature.
In this theme park you learn about Japan’s Kofun period (from the middle of the 3rd century to the 7th century). The hill is dotted with many real Kofun tombs and restored buildings.
The museum on the grounds displays pottery and artifacts from the Jomon period, which dates back thousands of years. You will be amazed at the beautiful art, utensils, and surprisingly advanced tools from over a thousand years ago.
Modern life is based on mass production and mass consumption. It is time for us to reconsider and recover some of the ways Japanese people used to live with nature. Fudoki no Oka teaches us how to live in a sustainable way.
If we continue to live the way we do now, we will be competing with each other for dwindling resources, creating discord around the world. There is a lot of information here to help us understand how we can make the most of what we have.
Hiroshima is a great place to think about peace. Miyoshi City has a high level of peace awareness, on par with Hiroshima City. After the shocking encounter with the atomic bombing at the Peace Memorial Park and the museum, the warmth of the people in Miyoshi, who care about each and every human being, will make you feel how much better peace is than war.
Miyoshi hosts relatively few foreign tourists, so English language support is still in its infancy. However, non-Japanese travelers are warmly welcomed and come back happy. In addition to visiting the spots presented here, we are sure you will enjoy meeting and communicating with the people of Miyoshi.
Mr. Leeper was born in 1947 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. After serving as a liaison to Mayors for Peace in New York City, he served as President of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation from 2007 to 2013. In 2014 he started the Peace Culture Village (PCV), a non-profit organization based in Hiroshima. He travels between the U.S. and Japan giving lectures on peace.