atomic bomb dome

★Kansai to Chugoku★ Hiroshima City and Miyajima in a Day

4:13 PM

I wouldn't say that I've grown tired of Kansai. That, quite frankly, is just not possible. But as Shota and I start to discuss plans of going to live in another country, I have realized that I better get out to see more of JP while I can. It’s been something of a bittersweet conversation. It will be a relief not to be surrounded by the daily squeals of pop idols and a blessing to be able to catch good TV when it comes out instead of whenever someone decides to license it here (this goes double for movies, ESPECIALLY independent films). But I would be wholly dishonest if I said I wouldn’t miss living here.

Hiroshima & Miyajima

Atomic Bomb Dome
Now, during a trip to my high school’s sister-school in Kanagawa Pref., we had the chance to travel around Japan for a week after home-stay. As a result, we got to see cities like Nikko, Kamakura, Yokohama, Nara, Kyoto, Himeiji, Hiroshima, and Miyajima, but, as it tends to go with group tours, time is limited and we were kind of rushed about.

So I've recently taken to revisiting some of these spots for a more quiet, or you could even say intimate, look around. The experience is also much different when you can communicate competently with the locals (and you're more likely to take chances on unknown trails/foods).

Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students
For this road trip, I was traveling with my mother and her boyfriend, and since we’d all been to Kyoto last time, we decided to travel a little further out to Hiroshima and Miyajima in Chugoku. For everyone besides myself, Shota included, this was their first time in Hiroshima.
BUT we also wanted to make this into a day-trip (bad idea), so we didn’t have the time to enter the HiroshimaPeace Memorial Museum. Instead, we went to see the Atomic Bomb Dome, and then we took a walk around the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall forAtomic Bomb Victims.

We also visited the Children's Peace Memorial,where people offer 1000 cranes for a world without nuclear warfare, and the Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students.

Ferry to Miyajima

It’s been 12 years since I last visited Miyajima, and it still looks like I remember it. Well, maybe it looks a little better because I didn’t have to worry about not having enough money or losing track of my mates.

Otori and Miyajima
After wandering out to the Otori to make a wish to become billionaires (or at least to be rid of college debt) we headed up to Toyokuni Shrine, the largest structure on Miyajima, and the Five-Storied Pagoda.

The unfinished Toyokuni Shrine! Yay Toyotomi Clan from Osaka-kuni :>

I’ve always been a huge history nut, but found Japanese history a bit cumbersome (it feels like the eras never end) but I recently had a chance to get to know the Sengoku Period better and thus, my love for Itsukushima Shrine has deepened that much further (also, yay Mori Clan). Sadly, thanks to Koei-TECMO, I now have a very warped view of what the men and women of the Sengoku Period looked like (almost certain suji-mori wasn’t in back then).

Anyway, one of the best parts about the shrines and temples on Miyajima is that you can walk around them, and the entry fee is very reasonable. We didn’t have the time to wander through with Mum (we were cutting it close to ferry time), so I’ll just save that for a later trip.

Itsukushima Shrine and the Otori from the ferry.

There were also more tourists now than there were back then, but we were also visiting during the weekend. It’s probably less lively on weekdays. Also, the last ferry back to the mainland is quite early, so if you’re looking to spend a significant amount of time on the island, you’ll need to either arrive earlier in the day, or plan to stay overnight (which I am definitely planning on doing again soon!).


To Hiroshima

The Expressway!
From Osaka/Nara/Kyoto/Hyogo, the easiest way to get to Hiroshima is by car, via the express way, or by bullet train. All rental cars come with car navigation or a car navi you can rent, but it can be a bit of a pain to search for the destination through the navi, so I would suggest having an address on hand or the phone number of the location. Also, most car navigation systems disable navigation functions with the car is in motion or not in Park, so be careful when trying to change the destination on the fly.

Taking the bullet train to Hiroshima is very easy as Hiroshima Station is one of the stops on the Tokaido/Sanyo/Kyushu Line. Unfortunately, unless you come from a JET budget or just don’t spend your money on anything else (or have a pass), taking the 2 hour trip on the bullet train is quite expensive (about 10,000 yen one way). Some cheaper options would be an express or night bus, which are pretty nice from what I hear. A quick Google search on prices has night buses starting at 2,800 yen, which is quite the deal, and saves daytime travel time so that you have more time for sightseeing.

To Miyajima
The ferry port for Miyajima is about 30 minutes by car from Hiroshima City. There is plenty of parking near the ferry, along with a couple hotels and some souvenir shops (but I think the better souvenirs are on Miyajima). There’s also a car ferry, if you need to take your vehicle with you, but otherwise, you can choose from 2 ferries to get you to Miyajima.
By train, it’s about another 30 minutes of travel time from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station on the JR Sanyo Line.

I have a ton more photos, but I will be posting those to the We <3 Kansai tumblr only as it seems my Google drive is almost at it's max (oops). I'll have another day-trip to the Sea of Japan coming up soon-ish, so drop by again sometime! :>


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