I took the shinkansen from Kumamoto to Hiroshima which is where I spent two days before flying home. I stayed at the Hotel Sunroute which was perfectly placed for access to anything and everything you could want to see and do in Hiroshima. The transport links were really great, but I treated myself to a couple of taxis. Of the 9 currencies available on my trusty travelex money card, the Japanese yen isn’t one of them. Having not figured this out until just before I went to Japan (not my most efficient moment), I was very panicked about how much money to take as it would be difficult to just add and subtract money from the card. I ended up getting 71,000 yen from Eurochange for about £500, and ended up with about 15,000 yen left at the end of my trip, so ‘treat yoself’ mentality kicked in, and I had taxied to the bus station on the way home, and took the river cruise to Mijiyama island.
I went to Mijiyama island the second day I was in Hiroshima, it was beautiful!
The shrine in the water was a popular spot on the island, but I still felt peaceful and calm near it. I felt those things pretty much the whole time I was in Japan to be honest, but particularly during my time in Hiroshima.
The river cruise I took there and back left from the Peace Park which was only 15 minutes walk from my hotel. It took 45 minutes each way, but watching the landscape change and having a little snooze on the boat was lovely.
As mentioned, my hotel was only 15 minutes from the Peace Park in Hiroshima. That is where I spent my first day in the city mostly, the museum is right next to the park, as is the atomic bomb dome pictured. Having been to Ground Zero in New York, that is the place I first thought of when I went to both the museum and the park. There is certainly an eeriness, a calmness, and senses of pain and loss that both places share. However, perhaps due to it being more recent, there was an aggression and anger to Ground Zero I felt, that wasn’t present in the Hiroshima museum or Peace Park. In Hiroshima, there was just a plea for worldwide peace so an atrocity such as the A-bomb they suffered could never happen again.
Around the corner from the dome is the Orizuru Tower. Orizuru are origami cranes that are symbols of peace in Japanese culture. At the top of the Tower you can form your own crane, write your prayers on it, and then stand on a glass platform to drop it down a glass box attached to the mirror. My severe vertigo meant I did not last very long on that platform whatsoever.
Of all the places I visited on my whirlwind tour of Japan, Hiroshima was absolutely my favourite. It was incredibly peaceful around the whole city, you couldn’t help but be calm, relaxed, and hopeful. I also found this really great little restaurant that was built around the importance of gyoza.
From Hiroshima I flew back to Birmingham via changes in Tokyo and Munich. I flew with Lufthansa and had a really great experience with them! My jetlag was also bearable enough that Alex and I enjoyed a lovely time in London last weekend, however, I have considerably crashed somewhat at the tail end of the week, and my dissertation is looking at me, and my motivation is waning… Until the next adventure!