I’ve been putting this off for a while, but I feel like it’s finally time that I finish off my blog series on Japan. After going from Hokkaido down to Tokyo and then the Kansai region, my last stop was Hiroshima. It was a nice, relaxing way to end the almost month-long trip.
I arrived into Hiroshima late fairly early in the day, which I planned so that I could see Miyajima Island (Itsuku-shima). Miyajima is supposedly one of the most scenic locations in Japan and a so-called Island of Gods. I spent a fair half of the day from morning to late afternoon here just walking around the entire island. The Great Torii and Itsukushima Shrine are often regarded as the most well-known attractions, and they’re hard to miss given that the ferry passes right by them on the way from Hiroshima. I’d definitely recommend a day-trip to the island if time permits, as you’ll probably be able to catch the high-tide and low-tide as I did. At high-tide, the Great Torii and shrine appear to float on water for some great photo opportunities, while at low-tide, you can actually walk down and right up to each of them.
Between the morning high-tide and late afternoon low-tide, I also got to explore a bit of the old town, but I was feeling a tad adventurous, so I hiked up some way to Mount Misen on an unmarked trail. I was following a few of the nature walk routes when I spotted a climbable rock formation which I followed up. I then proceeded through a multitude of thickets as I moved further up the mountain until I got to a decent vantage point some distance between the road and the summit. Unfortunately, most of the view was obstructed by trees, though it was unique in its own right.
Having spent most of the day on Miyajima Island, I came back to Hiroshima to explore Peace Memorial Park at sunset, followed by some of the shopping districts. One thing I’ve come to love about Japan is how many of their shopping districts look the same regardless of the city. It’s usually a long street, with part of the street covered by an arched roof. It’s a highly characteristic look that I’ve come to associate with Japan. Of course, I also dropped in to a bookstore to pick up a copy of DX.4 which was released the previous week. I actually gave myself a bit of a scare at first when I couldn’t it with the rest of the DxD volumes, but then I shuffled around to the front of the aisle and found it along with the other new releases.
The city of Hiroshima had a distinctly different ‘feel’ to it than the other cities. Personally, I think it’s the effect of the A-bomb. Hiroshima was one of the cities to suffer such a tragedy, and that has really affected the people living there and what they’ve done in rebuilding the city. To be honest, a major part of the city feels like it could be part of Peace Park. It’s kept immaculately clean and the colour of the surroundings is simply gentle. Peace Boulevard (Heiwa Ōdōri) is probably my favourite road because of the feeling that fills you up as you walk down it. The museum is definitely worth a visit as well, it’s one of those places that feels incredibly solemn, but remains firmly positive. Having studied the book “Hiroshima” by John Hersey as part of extension English in high school, many of the survivor stories and remnants really resonated with me.
I finally made my way towards Hiroshima Airport around midday for my flight home in the afternoon. Hiroshima Airport was rather small, isolated, and quiet, but it gave me the chance to see more traditional Japanese houses that are characteristic of the countryside. As I headed home, I was already beginning to reminisce on the journey so far, and all the experiences that I was so grateful to have. I would return in a heartbeat, but it’s time for me to save up again.
Let’s wrap up with a few personal top tens 🙂
Top Ten Most Commonly Heard Words
- Arigatou Gozaimasu (Thank You)
- Dozou (~Please)
- Sumimasen (Sorry)
- Hai (Yes)
- Yabai & variations of it (Dangerous/Bad/Oh shit)
- Sugoi (Amazing)
- Daijoubu (It’s okay/fine)
- Kowai (Scary)
- Okyakyusama (Customer/Guest)
- Oniisan (Do I even need to tell you? Surprisingly, most of the time this word was directed at me, and not to an actual blood-related oniisan)
Top Ten Locations
- Hiroshima’s Peace Boulevard
- Kyoto’s Gion District
- Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park Area
- Osaka’s Dotonbori
- Miyajima Island
- Lake Toya Area, Hokkaido
- Himeji Castle
- Furano, Hokkaido
- Kagurazaka, Tokyo
Top Ten Foods
- Ramen (especially Hakata)
- Japanese Curry
- Cold Soba
Who will be doing vol.23 and vol.24
No change in plans at the moment. I will translate them when they become available to me.
Did you visit aokigohara forest?
No, I only explored metropolitan Tokyo, I didn’t go as far as Mt Fuji.
Thanks for sharing your experiences!
Got a couple of questions for you regarding your trip:
1. How important is it to know (at least a bit of) Japanese to get around, communicate with the locals, etc.? Would knowing just English be enough to have a good time in Japan?
2. How did you plan the trip? Did you just google “places to visit in Japan” or did you talk to some people who live/been to Japan and asked for their first-hand experiences, or something different entirely?
1. Yes, knowing English is enough to have a great time in Japan, especially if you do your research beforehand. If you have something like Google Maps or an offline maps app on your phone, getting around should be no problem, and even if you do get lost, it’s likely that a passerby will be able to help you. Although many people in Japan know little/no English, they often will offer to help if you look even a little lost. Communicating with locals is often limited to basic interactions without Japanese, but that can actually be part of the fun and experience of being in a foreign country. Knowing a little bit of Japanese can help in reading signs, getting around more easily, and perhaps being able to use a few common phrases, so I would recommend that, even if you only start a month before going there.
2. If you’d like, I can send you a copy of the Excel spreadsheet that I used to plan and budget my trip. I used a combination of online searching and asking people who have been to Japan to plan out my trip in general. Talking to others who have been to Japan helped in knowing about some lesser-known places to visit and places that might have been disappointing, or some general tips. Most of my trip research came from reading online travel guides, sample itineraries, blogs, and sites such as tripadvisor. After getting an overall view of everywhere I wanted to visit, I drilled down to get details and to plan out how to go from place to place. It’s also a good idea to leave a few spaces in your itinerary if possible as you may hear about particular festivals, events or places that you didn’t anticipate, so you can fit them in. Also, if you stay in a hostel, it’s great to have a chat with other people staying there to know where they’ve been/plan to go to give you more ideas for your trip.
Hope that helps! If you want a copy of my spreadsheet or any other info, I’m all ears 🙂
Top!!! You are translating Highschool DXD 23 and DX 3 & 4?
Ishibumi says 24 is near in november ?
Haha, no. DX3 is currently being translated by daniel Yang. I’ve no plans for DX4 at the moment.
Oh really!!! Thanks to Daniel also 😀 maybe in the future DX 4, Highschool 23 and DX 3. And maybe Highschool 24 also.
I love your translations. Thanks!!!