Monday, 26 December 2016

Hiroshima, Japan

After breakfast in the hotel we walked up to Hakata train station in Fukuoka to catch our bullet train to Hiroshima. Taking my first ride on a bullet train in Japan was one of the things I was looking forward to about our holiday in Japan and it didn't disappoint.

We got to the station well in advance of our train, and standing on the platform, the first thing I noticed was just how many bullet trains there were. They aren't some sort of special service a couple of times an hour, but were constantly zipping in and out of the dedicated bullet train platforms.

The second thing that struck me was the precision of everything, there were lots of clear signs telling you where to stand for your carriage / seat number, the trains stopped perfectly in front of the platform edge doors and it goes without saying that all of the trains were on time.

The only thing that would have made the experience better would have been a speedometer in the carriage so we knew how fast we were travelling.
Hiroshima sports dome
After unsuccessfully managing to find a locker for our luggage at the train station (a bit of a theme during the holiday), we dropped of our bags in our Air BnB apartment and then set off for a walk around Hiroshima.

Full of tourists and emotion we initially didn't spend too much time in the Peace Park, instead starting our sightseeing of Hiroshima just to the north of the park.
Hiroshima castle
We spent some time in the grounds of Hiroshima castle which was convincing reconstructed in 1958. We didn't go into the castle itself, but wondered round the grounds and looked inside a temple inside the grounds which seemed to have the Japanese equivalent of a christening taking place.
Shukkeien garden.
After the castle we wondered across to the Shukkei-en garden. We arrived with only half and hour before the garden closed, which was just enough time to have a look round. It was a tranquil and pleasant space, largely free from the large number of tourists that seemed ubiquitous in the rest of the city.

My photos of the garden don't really do it justice, but it was a lovely space. We saw quite a few tiny crabs scurrying along the paths as we made our way round the eastern side of the garden.
Becks in the park
For dinner we started our routine of decision that beset us every time we wanted to find somewhere to eat in Japan. We'd wonder up and down the road staring cluelessly at each restaurant, then down a side street and possibly one more before finally choosing somewhere to eat for no good reason other than we stood outside it. And to think we consider ourselves decisive people most of the time!
Becks at the counter
On this occasion our indecisive shuffle led us to this Hiroshima style okonomiyaki restaurant. We were shown to two prime seats sitting at the counter of the hot plate where we got to see the chef making our okonomiyaki right in front of us. (Although Becks went rogue and was the only person in the place to have noodles instead.)
While I really enjoyed the theatre and atmosphere of the restaurant my okonomiyaki  did get a little same-y but the end of the dish. It probably missed all of the delicate subtleties of the dish.....

My Hiroshima style okonomiyaki
After dinner we went for a walk round the Peace Park before heading back to our apartment for the night. It was much more tranquil now that all the tour groups and day trippers had left which gave us time to appreciate the park much more than you could during the day.
A bomb dome

Restaurant address:
3 Chome-3-5 
Ōtemachi, Naka-ku, 

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