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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Japan Day 9: Hiroshima

We took an early Shinkansen in the morning from Kagoshima Chuo Station to Hiroshima Station, which took about 2,5 hours and came with no additional cost, thanks to our Japan Rail Pass. We had looked at the timetables online and as always, we didn´t reserve a seat and went to the non-reserved wagons and had no problem finding seats. The Shinkansen is not only fast, but also very spacious and comfortable. In Japan, also the conductors in trains are especially polite and even take a bow, when they enter a wagon.

We basically had planned to concentrate on the Kyushu Region  due to our limited time on our Japan trip and then go to Kyoto and depart Japan from the Osaka Airport. Hiroshima was therefore a stop between those two and we had reserved a hotel for just one night, as we wanted to continue the next day to Miyajima Island for also one night and go from there to Kyoto.

From Hiroshima Station we walked with our luggage to our nearby hotel, the APA Hotel Hiroshima Ekimae. We couldn´t check in yet, but they took our luggage and so we walked back to the train station, where also the tram departs. We bought a day ticket for the tram at a machine in front of the tram stop and then squeezed inside, at is was quite full. Of course, we wanted to see Hiroshima´s main point of interest, the Peace Memorial Park with the Atomic Bomb Dome, which is a World Heritage Site. But first we exited the tram after six stations at the Tatemachi Stop and walked to the south towards the Hondori Shopping Street, which basically leads to the Peace Memorial Park, when you follow it to the west. The Hondori Shopping Street was busy and the whole city feels busy, crowded and a bit hectic. But that may be in direct comparison to the Kyushu region, where we just came from. While we almost never saw European or American travelers in the Kyushu Region, in the Hiroshima region and later also in Kyoto there seemed to be many. We just went inside some shops and did some window-shopping.


We entered the Peace Memorial Park over a bridge, walked around inside the Park and took a look at the Peace Memorial Museum, the Flame of Peace, the Children´s Peace Monument and later the Atomic Bomb Dome and also listened a bit to some kind of boyband, who made music at the river, to the delight of some smitten teenage girls.


 
 

From the Atomic Bomb Dome we walked to Hiroshima Castle, visited a small museum at the entrance and also watched a bit of a small historical live-show there, though we didn´t understand a thing. We bought some ice cream inside the castle park and my friend learned, that green soft icecream isn´t necessarily green tea ice, but can also be wasabi. After he got rid of the horrible tasting icecream ( I tried too...), we continued to the castle but were not in the mood to go up. The castle didn´t look bad, but we somehow liked the ones in Kumamoto and Shimabara much more.


We took the eastern exit of the Castle Park and walked straight to the Shukkeien Garden, a nice garden inside the city with all the skyscrapers. We didn´t have too much time because we were there just before closing. But we managed to walk around the lake and I got some nice photo opportunities. 


From the Shukkeien Garden it was just a short walk to the east and over a bridge to get back to the hotel. At the APA Hotel Hiroshima Ekimae we checked in and the room was o.k. It had everything you need, was clean and relatively cheap. But we were already so used to an Onsen, that we really missed one there and were already looking forward to the next hotel on our journey. 


We then walked to the train station, entered a shopping center there and soon found a supermarket to buy our dinner. Originally we had thought about taking a side trip from Hiroshima to Kurashiki or Onomichi, but we simply didn´t have the time. We soon went to bed and were already excited for the next destination: Miyajima Island.

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