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