Miyajima & Hiroshima

Trip Start Feb 02, 2011
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Backpackers Miyajima Hatsukaichi
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Japan  , Hiroshima,
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The cards aligned over Thanksgiving to give Jack and I a 3 day weekend. Wednesday of that week was Japan's Labor Day, and Thursday & Friday are our regular days off. 

We took the opportunity to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima. Tuesday night we met after work in Namba and took an overnight bus. It departed at 11 PM and dropped us off at Hiroshima station around 6 AM the next day. Our hostel was in Miyajima so from there we took a train 20 minutes down the coast to reach it. We checked it, grabbed breakfast and decided to spend Wednesday exploring Hiroshima. 

Wednesday was rainy and chilly. It seemed a fitting tone for a visit to the city best-known for it's suffering at the end of World War II. Nonetheless, the city - decades later - is alive and thriving and aims to now stand as a symbol of peace. Most striking in the center of the city, along the canal, is the A-bomb dome. It was left standing in it's semi-destructed state and has been untouched since 1945, as a reminder of that day. 

The Peace Memorial Museum was really moving. The first section of the museum dealt with the background of the war, overall in Japan and specifically in Hiroshima. It was intriguing hearing a Japanese perspective on WWII, and I learned a few new ideas (to me anyways) about the politics involved. Overall, I felt an un-biased - albeit solidly pacifist and pro nuclear disarmament - perspective was given. Surprising to me on a personal level was a letter from Einstein to President Roosevelt advising him about the bomb. I was surprised to see the return address, Einstein wrote to him from Long Island! 

After the Museum we checked out a local speciality -- okinomiyaki. Each region in Japan has their version of this egg-cabbage-noodle pancake-like food. Hiroshima's is particularly well known. We were hungry when we arrived at the restaurant, and were happy to find them quite filling. 

That night we headed back to our hostel to catch up on sleep and chat with other guests. After a nice pizza dinner, we made friends with an Australian guy who decided to join us on our trip to Miyajima the next morning. 

Miyajima is perhaps one of my favorite places in Japan so far. It's a small island, known for the wandering deer, delicious oysters and a "floating" shrine. We were lucky enough to visit on a nearly perfect fall day, and catch some beautiful fall colors in the leaves. We also tried some momijimanju -- a maple leaf shaped sweet and a local speciality.

That night we were treated to a Thanksgiving dinner at our hostel. A human resources/food supplier for the US Marines stationed in Hiroshima, happened to be friends with the hostel's owner and brought turkey, stuffing and gravy -- real AMERICAN food to be had. The well-intended hostel owner - Hisa - however, thought that turkey sandwiches were the traditional Thanksgiving fare. So in addition to turkey we had LOTS and lots of bread. 

And now for the pictures.. 

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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