Much has been written about Hiroshima, and while of course the main interest for everyone visiting the city is the A-Bomb Dome, the atomic bomb museum and wonderfully named "Peace Park", after months in grungy Osaka, the thing I noticed most about Hiroshima was that it was incredibly beautiful.

This is not something that Japanese cities usually are - sure, they are clean and there might be parks and gardens, but in very different states and most cities are terribly drab and grey during the day except for a few sparkly shopping streets.

Somehow, Hiroshima managed to escape this, although all buildings in the city had to be rebuilt after the bomb blast didn't leave much more but the Atomic Bomb Dome that has now become the symbol of the city. Sure, there are ugly grey skycrapers and malls like in every other Japanese city. But mainly, there is a lot of green, I think Hiroshima is the greenest city I have ever visited - even those in supposedly tropical paradises didn't have this many plants, trees and parks. Which is ironic, because after the bomb, many people claimed that no trees would grow here for at least 100 years. Yet another example how Japan rocks at recovering from catastrophes!

What I enjoyed best about my days in Hiroshima (after Hiroshima style okonomiyaki - I mean, fried noodle filled pancake, think about it!) was walking along the lush and surpisingly quiet river banks and discovering the many tiny shrines built and cute caf├ęs set up along them.

Which cities were more beautiful than you expected them to be?

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