Japan trip report part 3 - Hiroshima

Old Apr 14th, 2006, 06:51 AM
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Japan trip report part 3 - Hiroshima

The four of us caught the train from Kyoto to Saijo (30 minutes from Hiroshima). This time it was about five hours and four changes of train. Evan and Katy were traveling on student passes, and could not take any express trains.
We arrived in Saijo and the kids got their bikes out of hock, and walked us to our hotel. I had goofed on the reservations. There is a Green Hotel in Hiroshima; Evan wanted me to make reservations at the Green Morris Hotel in Saijo. The young woman at the desk was very helpful and was able to get us one room for the night, and then another for the next three nights. She also called the Hotel in Hiroshima and Evan explained about the mix up. I really hoped they would only charge us for the one night. (I havenít found out yet Ė Iím waiting for the credit card statement). The Green Morris was really nice; there were vending machines (of course) in an alcove off the lobby, including a beer machine. There were also laundry machines Ė we planned on using these, but never did. The hotel provided nightshirts too, which was a really nice extra touch.
We met Evan and Katy at Evanís dorm. After the tour, we walked to an okinamiyaki restaurant called Qu. It was really cool. They were playing old Beatles music, some of which I hadnít heard in years Ė but I remembered all of the words. The okinamiyaki was fantastic. If we had more than a day or two left, weíd have gone back there.
We finally got to go to the YouMe store that Evan had been talking about Ė I thought he was saying Umi. Gerard scored he bought his first sake to take home, two bottles of really high-end sake.

Friday, March 24 Ė Miyajima
We had to check out and then check back in. In the Japanese tradition of not charging on credit cards, they had us pay for our room last night, but they didnít charge us for this room until we made the switch.
We took the train from Saijo to Hiroshima and got off to take the tram. After Evan read the signs, and I double-checked the guidebook I kept with us, we realized we should have stayed in the station and just switched trains. When we headed out of the station at Miyajima, we realized we were going to have our best weather yet for our day on the island.
Gerard bought two of the biggest oysters Iíve ever seen from a stand on the side of the street for 500yen. Then we boarded the ferry which was covered by our JR pass. In the bay you could see all of the oyster rafts, and the giant Tori that stands out in the water.
We bought food and fed the deer, then toured the shrine. We ended up behind a wedding procession. I managed to get a few pictures of the traditionally dressed bride and groom, as well as the priest.
We wandered through town and managed to get a little shopping done before heading up the mountain. We decide not to take the overpriced tram and instead headed for the park. We walked quite a way up the mountain on the park trail. It was nice to get away from all the people for while. When we headed down we realized that shops were closing (it was 4:30), so we quick made some purchases and headed for the ferry.
That night we ate at a place where the sushi comes around on a conveyor belt. We had to wait almost 40 minutes for a place at the counter, but Gerard told me it was worth it, best sushi heís ever had. He ate 17 plates Ė two large pieces of sushi per plate. Our group had more than 30 plates of food and the bill was less then 5000 yen.

Saturday, March 25 A Bomb dome and Peace Park
We got an early start and ended up eating at the bakery in the station. Bakeries in Japan have as many savory items as they do sweet. We took a train to Hiroshima, then the tram to the A bomb dome. It was amazing to see.
We walked through the park, rang the Buddhist bell for peace, and stopped at the memorial for all the children who died from the bomb, and the thousands and thousands of paper cranes. We took a few pictures at the cenotaph, but nobody wanted to stand in front of it and smile, so we took pictures just of the peace memorial and the A bomb dome.

We toured the museum. The first part was interesting, the second part became too much. I couldnít read one more story about a 13 year old who died, while looking at her burned clothing, although it seemed to me that the point was not to ascribe blame, but to make sure never happened again.
We ate lunch and walked to the Sukkei-en Garden. I loved this place it was absolutely beautiful. We took tons of pictures, and fed the carp and hand fed the turtles with shrimp wafers Evan had purchased on the way.
Back in Saijo a young girl dressed up in a giant tweedy bird costume lured us into a restaurant. Really. Katy and I ducked across the street to make some last minute purchases at the Fujiama Grand department store.

Sunday, March 26
We were picked up by Evanís host family Ė he didnít live with them, but he did an overnight stay a few months ago and heís kept contact with them.
They took us to the Tennenji tower. We took the tram up to the top and walked down. We stopped at the Temple Saikokuji on the way down. We stopped at a ramen restaurant Ė and I tried to pay for lunch, since we were having dinner at their house, but no dice.
They took us to their home that was enormous, especially for a Japanese home. There we had a Japanese style barbeque on their, it was very different from American style. I gave the last of our postcards to the family, and the last key chains to the three boys. They presented us with a bottle of sake when we left. It made the key chains and postcards seem paltry to me, but I understood their Japanese hospitality.

Monday, March 27
Evan and Katy took the train with us to Hiroshima and helped us buy tickets for the shinkansen. We had decided that we had enough money left and the trip would be too long otherwise. Our train was ready to arrive soon, so our goodbyes were hurried. That was probably good, since we wonít see Evan again for another five months.
The ride on the shinkansen was great. We arrived at Tokyo station and navigated our way to the NEX for Narita. We hadnít realized this was a reservation only train, but we got away with it with our JR passes. I also thought the conductor figured we didnít know any better, and we were already on our way on a non-stop train. We took a cab to our hotel Ė the Radisson, since we had just missed the bus.
The hotel was nice, but it was very strange to see so many Caucasians and hear so much English after two weeks. When we sat down to dinner Ė at 4:30PM Ė our train pulled out of Hiroshima at 9AM, I realized the waitress had given us forks. That was a jolt. It was the first time that had happened in two weeks also.
We flew out of Narita the next day. I canít wait to go back.
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 04:03 PM
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Loved your reports, angethereader! Wonder how long till you'll go back??

and MAF-please go away.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 06:22 AM
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Thanks lcuy!
With emd in Japan I wasn't sure anyone was reading my posts.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 08:51 AM
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Actually, there was quite a bit at the museum about Japan's wars and the build up of Hiroshima as a military city.
They also talked about the Korean forced laboreres. I thought the picture was pretty balanced.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 09:50 AM
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I'm reading your posts We're about three months away from our trip and I am just starting to look through trip reports/other posts and take notes. We'll be following a similar route to yours. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 02:18 PM
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I just got back home from Japan a couple of hours ago and am enjoying your trip reports.

So you guys took the Tokaido and Sanyo main lines, local trains, all the way from Tokyo to Hiroshima? What a trip. And then the shinkansen on return!
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 04:46 AM
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Yes, it was quite a trip. I actually enjoyed it in some ways, just because the experience was so unique.
It also helped me appreciate the shinkansen!
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