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Hiroshima

While it is probably most famous for being devastated by a nuclear attack at the close of World War II, the city is not morose or bitter about its past, and instead promotes peace and understanding.

Every year on August 6, a memorial service is held to commemorate the victims of the atomic bomb in 1945. Thousands write messages of peace on paper lanterns that are lit at sunset to float down the river past the iconic remains of the Atomic Bomb Dome . Anyone can join the lantern ceremony.

A short ferry ride from the mainland, Miyajima is one of the most visited areas in Hiroshima Prefecture
Home to Itsukushima-jinja, which appears to float on the water when the tide is in, people flock to the island in their thousands every year. The shrine is one of the most photographed places in Japan.

The island itself was once considered so sacred that it was separated from the shrine so no one would spoil the sacred ground. This is why the entrance to the shrine, a huge red wooden gate, is also constructed offshore.

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