Friday, June 30, 2017


Prior to my last week at work, I made plans to embark on an adventure to Hiroshima. It was an impulsive decision, and I knew it would be exciting knowing the place had been in my list this year. (The Nagoya trip with T and Amber last May was supposed to be a Hiroshima trip but due to the long hours of travel --not good for kids, we chose Nagoya which is half the travel time). As much as Hokkaido was my initial plan but distance and budget considerations will only allow me to defer Hokkaido to an unknown distant time in the future. 

I chose Hiroshima because of its history. 

Hiroshima is located West part of Japan. I traveled via Shikansen (Nozomi super-express, roundtrip: 35,800 JPY). Expensive compared to via airplane but shinkansen takes you to the city center; thereby, less queue and transportation transfers. Tokyo to Hiroshima = Travel time took 4 hours.

I actually did not have any specific timetable of plan but I do have a list of places I wanted to see. By chance, Line 2 of Hiroden Hiroshima streetcar stopped at Genbaku Dome-mae which is just across Atomic Bomb Dome.

It was a cloudy Sunday and surprisingly, tourists were not many.
The structure was secured with iron fence and there are CCTV cameras installed at each corner. So this angle is one of the closest that a visitor can see.
What interested me is that this building was once a commercial exhibit hall, and the only structure to remain standing despite the major damage while the surrounding structures were totally destroyed by the bomb.

Most visitors at that time were junor high students. The building at the background is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It was unfortunate that I was not able to get in because it was closed for renovation and expected to re-open next year.

On the same day, I hastily headed to Hiroshima castle. This is the entrance that leads to it.

Finally, the obligatory selfie. The castle itself was actually a replica, and its current location is not the original spot. I was running late (nearly 6pm by the time I arrived), so I didn't bother going in. I had this tendency to panic at 'last minute' and 'closing time'. 

(I digress). Not sure if it is panic attack or there could be a proper term for this specific behaviour. I began to observe this behaviour around highschool. Remind to self: look it up. 

Not satisfied with the close-up shot, I had to walk around farther for a dramatic view.

Hiroshima's pride, Okonomiyaki.
An officemate of mine suggested me to try Hiroshima's version. Osaka's version (widely known to most) is sans noodle.

Hiroshima Hondori Street. It is a typical arcade full of shops, cafes and boutiques. This type of street is common among Japanese cities and towns.

Unlike major cities in Japan, Hiroshima does not have a subway. Besides bus, taxis, and JR operated train lines, they have innercity streetcars called Hiroden. Hiroden is easy to use and most stops take you to the nearest tourist spots. It did not take long for me to get familiar with its routes because the instructions and maps are easy to follow.
The one day pass was a cost-saving considering the starting fare rate is 160 JPY. 

This is the older model of streetcars in operation. 

This is the greener and newer model. Similar to the ones in Amsterdam. 

On the third day (my last day), I was supposed to just walk around Shukkei-en but managed to sneak Hiroshima Museum of Art into my schedule. My shinkansen schedule was at 3:17pm, so I alloted enough time in the morning for more sightseeing. 

The museum has a collection of artworks by European artists. I was surprised they have several paintings from Picasso, a few from Renoir and one from Van Gogh. My favorite was from Stanislas Lepine . I am not a huge fan of landscapes (more of a portrait fan) but that specific painting took me to his story. 

I think landscapes are harder to paint compared to portraits because there are a lot of factors to consider such that it covers a lot of objects and each must be given some effort to appear consistent with the rest. 

After the museum, I headed to Shukkei-en.

Shukkei-en is a Japanese garden that dates way back. It was said that some of the bomb survivors took shelter in this garden, and some unfortunately died and later buried here.


One of the many pathways around the park.

Hiroshima Carp is the name of Hiroshima's baseball league. Summer is baseball season in Japan and don't get me started how fanatic and loyal the Japanese are to their home teams. In Chiba, we have the Chiba Lotte Giants.

Hiroshima was memorable and a trip worth it. It was the farthest prefecture I have visited by myself in Japan and it was a pleasure to have seen its wonders.

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