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Hiroshima and Miyajima

Hiroshima is renowned for its phoenix city status and has truly risen from the ashes, with tree-lined boulevards, friendly locals and tram system which lend a laid-back European feel. This cosmopolitan vibrancy astonishes many on arrival bearing in mind its tragic history, which is paid homage to by the beautifully orchestrated Memorial Peace Park.

The lively city is home to a bustling Downtown, great nightlife and a thriving food scene – try Hiroshima’s speciality, okonomiyaki (a savoury pancake), a surprisingly delicious and skilfully cooked snack, cooked right in front of you on a hot plate. The Peace Park comprises an evocative museum, the Atomic bomb-damaged dome and various moving memorial sites, and the memory of the children who were affected here is immortalised by a vast origami-style crane, sitting high on a beautiful landmark.

As well as being a sombre and sobering reminder of 1945, and ultimately spreading a plea to end nuclear combat, the Memorial Peace Park focuses on the future and stresses the importance of human nature’s positives, togetherness and compassion, so a visit here is not wholly disheartening. The Memorial site’s central dome is, of course, moving in any season but is especially poignant when viewed between the cherry blossoms in spring. In the nearby Shukkei-en, one of our favourite gardens, you may catch herons landing in the water between ornamental bridges.

Picturesque Miyajima, home to the iconic floating red torii gate, is a short train and ferry journey away from Hiroshima. As soon the sacred Itsukushima shrine comes into view from the ferry deck, it’s no wonder that it’s recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site and famed for being one of Japan's three most beautiful views. This landmark is truly astounding in the throes of golden evening light at high tide, when the iridescent water glows. A tranquil atmosphere emanates from the traditional stone lanterns, as well as the surrounding rural landscape, in which deer peacefully stroll along the seashore. With many hiking routes and spectacular views around the sleepy island’s rolling hills, it is the perfect destination for keen walkers. If experiencing traditional Japanese culture sounds tempting, one could stay at a ryokan here to luxuriate in a natural hot spring and enjoy a gourmet kaiseki meal.

Hiroshima has an array of useful transportation hubs, with bullet train access around Japan and a local airport. We recommend flying via Tokyo for an unforgettable bird’s-eye view of Mount Fuji!

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The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.
Rudyard Kipling

We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
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Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
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Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
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Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
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