In its early days, Hiroshima was a castle city, where Hiroshima Castle served as both the economic and physical city center. Hiroshima Castle today is a convincing reconstruction of the 1590s original, which was destroyed in the bombing of 1945. Built on a central plain from sturdy concrete, Hiroshima Castle emanates grandeur, boasting attractive wooden exteriors with 5 floors encasing a history museum and panoramic views from the top. In springtime, the grounds are a popular spot for scenic cherry blossom and plum blossom viewing. Hiroshima Castle neighbors the Hiroshima Museum of Art, while the Japanese landscape garden of Shukkeien lies not far to the east. Translated to mean a “garden of shrunken scenery,” Shukkeien is a fine example of landscape gardens. Traditional aesthetics replicate natural formations and scenic views from miniature mountains, valleys, and deep forests, cultivated over the course of centuries. Flowers and trees are reflected in the beautiful central lake, where along the path a number of tea houses offer traditional tea ceremony experiences, breaking up the beautiful route.