In Hiroshima we were picked up at the station by Taka, our lovely friend and host. He took us to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park, and the Atomic Bomb Dome – all memorials and exhibitions teaching us about the tragic events of August 6th 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It is all very tragic and thought provoking, and it seems impossible that Hiroshima has been rebuild after this. None the less Hiroshima is today a lovely city with a number of great initiatives to promote world peace – and it is definitely worth a visit!
At lunchtime Taka asked us if we eat okonomi-yaki. We had no idea what that is, but when Gitte was assured there would not be fish in it we said that we would like to try it out. And so we did. It turned out to be a pleasant mix of cabbage, pancake, and soba noodles and officially okonomi-yaki is now our favourite Japanese food! 😍
We spent the afternoon on the UNESCO site Miyajima Island known for its “floating” shrine entrance. To cater for our nature craving Taka also took us to the top of Mt Misen (by ropeway of course – Japanese seems to prefer everything with a taste of shuttle bus 😀), the highest point on Miyajima, with amazing views of Japan’s Inland Sea even though it was getting a little foggy.
In the evening we went to Taka’s house in Hatsukaichi, about 30 minutes by train southwest of Hiroshima. Here, we met his lovely wife, Aya, who had prepared dinner for us. Over the next days we spent some of the best hours of our trip so far chatting with Aya and Taka in their kitchen. We learned how to make a Japanese bed, practiced Japanese manners, learned the differences between the three different writing-systems they use in Japan, watched the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Japanese TV, and got to know both Aya and Taka much better. We really enjoyed this opportunity of having local hosts and making new friends 🙂
During our stay we also went to Rabbit Island (Ōkunoshima), a rather small island with about 700 rabbits, ruins of a poison gas factory from Second World War, and ruins of fortresses used in the Russo-Japanese war. A truly fascinating visit even though it rained heavily all day. We also checked out Megahira, a Japanese ski resort, and found Danish pastry in a big food court and bakery called Andersen, which seems to be a Danish inspired company based in Hiroshima. Check it out – we did not know how famous Denmark is out there, but in Hiroshima they seem to love Danish pastry and Hygge! 😉
On our own we went to a traditional Japanese onsen – basically a spa based around a hot spring. Lastly, we happened to come by a samurai show. The picture below tells everything 🙂
This pretty much forms the end of our stay in Japan. Today we headed to Hakata, the port city connecting Japan to South Korea, and we are soon moving on to the Winter Olympics. However, before we leave Japan there was one thing that Ulrik simply had to try: Shinkansen, the Japanese high speed trains. So our trip from Hiroshima to Hakata (about 280 km) was done in just one hour including one stop. From now on it seems we will only travel slower 🙂