Hiroshima / Miyajima (Japan)

 

We took the Sakura Shinkansen high speed train from Osaka to Hiroshima and the journey was an absolute breeze.  These high speed train rides are just so comfortable. However, there is a downside as they get you to your destination way too quickly.  This might sound odd coming from a person who has been traveling around the world for the past few years.  But, I usually despise transportation days and I can’t stand flying.  I hate the entire process from leaving for the airport thru immigration arrival into a new country.  Additionally, we usually have to take overnight flights between countries and it’s inevitable that we arrive to the destination tired as shit.  However, travel days within Japan were a pleasure and I actually looked forward to being a passenger on Japan’s JR Rail Shinkansen trains.  I could easily go on joyrides throughout the country every day, admiring the scenery and never even get off the train.  The JR Rail Pass that we purchased allowed us unlimited travel on all JR trains for a 21 day consecutive period.  The seats on the trains are fitted for a king, the bathrooms are spotless clean.  I really loved the lady rolling her cart thru the aisles selling food and bowing to us every time she entered and exited the train car.  Not a word is spoken among the passengers on the train cars and it reminded me of meditation rooms…..pure silence.

 

Hiroshima is known for its oysters and the big food item is Okonomiyaki.  It is sometimes referred to as Japanese ‘soul food’ and it’s basically like a Japanese pizza pancake.  The way that okonomiyaki is cooked and the ingredients added to it vary depending on the region in Japan.  Similar to selecting toppings on a pizza, okonomiyaki eateries often invite you to make your own savory pancake/omelette.  The base ingredients are egg, cabbage, taro root and the okonomiyaki batter.  Just like an omelette, the real flavor comes from the addition of the meat, seafood, cheese, green onion, kimchi, bonito flakes, cabbage, fried egg along with your choice of noodles: either thin yakisoba or thick udon noodles.  The whole ordering process is unique and watching the chef cook it all in front of you on a grill, Benihana style, made for a fun eating experience.

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Our three night visit to Hiroshima allowed us to take in the two big world heritage sites.  We visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park where we were able to visit both, the Peace Museum and the A-Bomb Dome.  During the final stage of World War II in 1945, the United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It was kind of eerie standing next to and viewing the A-Bomb Dome where it has been left ‘as is’ following the bombing.  The museum shows the devastation caused by the atomic bomb in detail.

 

MIRAJIMA –

On our second day in Hiroshima, we took the train & short ferry to Miyajima Island which served as a good place to unwind outdoors, in nature after an emotional visit to the Peace Museum.  The big activities on Miyajima were to eat, hike up Mt. Misen and visit the shrines and temples.  The other big activity on Miyajima was to cool out with the deer that roam all over the island.  While in Hiroshima, I wanted to take in a Japanese baseball game to check out the popular Hiroshima Carp baseball team.  The entire city goes absolutely bonkers over the Carp baseball team.  On game day, the entire local population have their red Carp jerseys on and you can see the camaraderie among the fans.  Unfortunately, baseball is the one and only sport that Barbie hates, so no baseball for Big Doug.  I will try to drag her to a game when we return to Tokyo, where we have booked a return visit for another nine nights to close out our five week trip in Japan.

 

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