I did it. Because I had two free days in a row, I took the chance to visit Hiroshima!
I knew that I wanted to do something, but I had no idea where to go. The shinkansen train is very convenient and connect Kyoto with Hiroshima in just 1 hour and 40 minutes. The problem is not the distance, it’s the price. I would probably travel every possible day with the shinkansen if it wouldn’t be that expensive. One way from Kyoto to Hiroshima costs around 11.000 yen, which is approximately 90€. Crazy! It is definitely cheaper than going to Tokyo, but still. I really asked myself if it is worth it to see Hiroshima. I am not extremely interested into the museums and the history of the atomic bomb. Therefore, I just didn’t know if I should go or not. Furthermore, the train ticket is not everything you have to consider. The food, the subway, the accommodation, the entrance fees, just everything costs! But well, on the other side I don’t know if I will ever be back in Japan. Now I am here and have the chance to discover the country.
Therefore, I went, after doing my laundry and taking a shower, to the subway and from there to Kyoto central station. I bought the ticket right at the Shinkansen ticket office and took the next train available to Hiroshima. Super easy and convenient! It is every time a special moment when the Shinkansen arrives at the gate. The train looks just from another planet. So cool! The train ride itself was so relaxed and went by very quick. And there I arrived, in Hiroshima.
The weather was incredible. It couldn’t have been better. When the sun is out, I am happy anyway. At the train station I bought myself lunch to go. My first stop was the Shukkeien garden. The garden was just a 20 minutes-walk away from the station. I loved the city from the first second. I definitely felt immediately the difference between Kyoto. The whole atmosphere is different. It is hard to describe, but that’s how I felt.
The garden was beautiful! Such a peaceful, relaxing and calm atmosphere. The perfect start for a trip. After I entered the garden a bunch of school kids came to me and asked if I would have time to answer a view questions. I couldn’t say no. The kids wanted to practise their English, which I really wanted to support. They are coming from a smaller town in the countryside, where they never have the possibility to speak English with foreigners. In Hiroshima are so many tourists. Therefore, many school classes are doing school trips to learn about the history of Japan, as well as to practice their English.
After a while walking around the park, I sat down to eat my lunch. Hiroshima is popular for Ango, a special kind of fish. The lady on the station recommended the Ango Sushi and OMG, it tasted super delicious and just melted in your mouth. One of the best Sushi I’ve ever had so far! The food and the view and the atmosphere of the garden were amazing. I really enjoyed it just sitting there. In general, is the Sushi in Japan so different to what we can get in Europe. That’s definitely something I will miss when I am back home!
After walking a little more around the garden, I headed to Hiroshima castle. Hiroshima is super easy to discover by foot. You don’t have to think about how to get from A to B. You just walk! The castle is beautiful and very nice located. This area was completely destroyed from the atomic bomb. The castle was rebuilt after the tragedy and nowadays there is a museum inside. I went inside, just to see the view from the top, which is beautiful. Similar as Kyoto has Hiroshima a lot of nature. That’s what I love about these cities. It is just the perfect combination of city life and beautiful nature.
From the castle park I walked to the Hiroshima peace park, probably the most popular tourist destination. On my way I passed by a shrine and some museums. I even met a German guy, who travelled on his own as well. When travelling alone, you meet so many people. I feel like people are much more willing to talk with you, when you aren’t in a group. Anyway, this guy was super weird, but he went (unfortunately) the same way as I did. Therefore, we visited the peace park together.
When I first saw the A bomb building, it was a quite weird feeling. That was the first moment, that I could imagine what has happened here. Such a tragedy! So many people just sat down at the river to see this iconic memorial. On the 6thof August people come to float lanterns on the river in order to think about what happened that date. I wished I could see the spectacle.
The park itself is full of memorials. Each of them is beautiful. There was a museum as well, summarizing the history of the Atomic bomb and all victims. Hiroshima is now considered as the city of peace. That’s definitely the feeling you get here. But Japan in general is a really peaceful country.
It was just 2 pm and I kind of already saw everything that I wanted to see. The only thing that was missing was the shopping district and downtown Hiroshima. Therefore, I walked through Hondori street to see all the shops and restaurants, that Hiroshima has to offer. But at the end I ended up at a Starbucks. I wanted to eat dinner already, but most of the restaurants opened at 5:00 to 5:30pm. Therefore, I just used there Wifi and drank a tea.
For dinner I definitely wanted to eat Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a very popular dish around Japan. But there are two kinds of Okonomiyaki. The most common one is the “Osaka style” Okonomiyaki, which you can get in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and everywhere else. The other kind is the “Hiroshima style” Okonomiyaki, which is apparently the best version you can get. Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake. Normally all ingredients are mixed up together and grilled to a pancake. In Hiroshima the Pancake consists of many different layers. There is usually a base of noodles (Soba or Udon) on the bottom, a layer of egg, a pancake layer, cabbage, pork, seafood, and other fillings, another pancake layer, okonomiyaki sauce and a variety of toppings. There are so many different options, but that’s the most common one. I have no idea if that’s the right description, but I think it should be.
Okonomi-mura shows, how popular and important Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki is. It is a building with tons of Okonomiyaki stores. 4 floors with Okonomiyaki stores makes it hard to decide where to eat this speciality. Every stand looks similar incredible. At the end I just chose the one, where many locals already ate. That’s most of the time a good sign. The Okonomiyaki was very delicious. But I can’t say if I really like it more than the one, I ate in Tokyo.
After the filling dinner I went to the accommodation I booked for one night. I decided to sleep in a capsule hotel, which is a cheap and easy option throughout Japan. I really wanted to experience it once in Japan and I was really impressed. I mean, I slept already in so many hostels, which is kind of the same thing. But that capsule hotel was amazing. The staff members were very nice, it was incredible clean, super quiet, just the perfect option for a night! You have to take off your shoes before entering the capsule hotel. That alone shows how clean this place is. Because of the capsule, everyone has their own privacy and don’t get bothered by other people sleeping in the same room. I really liked it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to people who are afraid of being in tight rooms.
The night wasn’t the greatest I’ve ever had in my life, but it was okay. It was a good feeling to sleep a night in a different environment! Hiroshima was definitely worth to see, but I was even more excited for the next day!