We began our day with a long transit on Zodiacs to the morning’s destination for exploration, the beautiful Japanese island of Miyajima. The world-famous, vermillion, overwater torii gate is just a short stroll from the dock, and we were astonished to find an even more beautiful Shinto shrine complex behind it. In addition, a massive Buddhist temple located just uphill from the water delighted all who visited.

In the afternoon, the ship repositioned to the nearby port of Hiroshima. We were greeted by a fireboat display and a full brass band on the dock, but the jubilation did not last. We loaded onto coaches and paid a visit to the site of the first atomic weapon detonation as well as the museum and monuments erected as a symbol of peace. A somber and reflective mood persisted through the rest of the afternoon. It’s one thing to read about the destructive power the US unleashed on Japan almost 80 years ago, but it’s quite another to visit the site in person. We finished the day with dreams for a peaceful future.