Our last full day in the south of Japan and we had dedicated this whole day to visit Hiroshima. Again we planned to get up early but the late night watching Japanese television hit us hard once again. We finally made it out to the train station to board the bullet train for the first time. Reaching speeds of 300km/h this was one of the many trains that I wanted to go on. Cutting the three hour trip in a normal ‘super rapid’ train down to an hour and a bit gives you a good idea of the speed difference.
The train cabins felt like we were in a plane as they were so spacious.
The train is so well designed that traveling at full speed feels likes 100km/h in our car, and vending machines and toilets were available on every one of the eight carriages. It only made a few stops from shin-Osaka to Hiroshima and spent a lot of it’s time in tunnels so there wasn’t too much sight seeing as I thought was available because I grabbed a window seat.
Asking a few questions on which tram and how to pay for the trams we were soon set to head to the center of the city. As soon as we got there the first thing we did was hire bicycles, only costing around $12 AUD for a whole day, the bikes were motorised too so peddling tiny inclines made it a breeze. I mapped out where to ride and where to visit before we even landed in the city so we were quickly riding away to each destination. The best things about riding a bike in Hiroshima or Japan rather is that there are literally no hills, no helmets, the footpaths are huge and you’re suppose to use your bikes on them unlike Australia.
After we picked up our bikes the first place we visited was the Former Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium. It is now not used anymore but it still attracted quite a bit of attention. Around the baseball stadium was the Children’s Planetarium and the Hiroshima Green Arena.
It was a very peaceful place, we were greeted by two girls playing the guitar and singing lovely songs by the side of a few statues. The next photo shows the old baseball stadium from the Hiroshima Green Arena.
Our next route was north towards the Hiroshima Castle, getting a bit lost following my map we asked directions which lead us underground where bikes were allowed which made traveling around the city traffic-free.
We didn’t enter inside Hiroshima Castle because it was 300 yen per person for this tiny castle, instead we were just outside and explored all the parks that were around it. It attracted quite a few tourists but not as much as the next place we visited.
We retraced our path and cycled towards the A-bomb Dome. The name says it all, this was one of the buildings that is still standing after the 6th August 1945 bombing.
There were quite a few tourists and a lot of Japanese people who are obviously are not from the area having a look, taking photos and embracing in deep conversations.
We crossed the bridge over to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial the place was littered with flowers and monuments mainly invoking peace and no war.
The A-bomb dome from across the river. Next picture shows the peace flame (I think it’s called) It will only be extinguished once all nuclear weapons are disposed of in this world.
We rode around and took many more photos, it was quite a sad place but it had a good very peaceful atmosphere as everyone is just sitting around the edges just having quiet conversation with a lot of elderly coming and visiting the memorial. There was a memorial museum that we paid to enter. At only 50 yen it was an offer too good to turn down.
The tour was exceptionally well done, you basically walk through a time line of what happened and detailed images and stories about particular people and how it affected the city and the country as a whole. Many of the pictures and statues were quite graphic, I had a read and touch of most of the things on show but I think Chloe felt a bit sad walking through as most others did as well.
It was 5pm and we had to return our bikes. We walked through the streets and from what we just saw in the tour and what we’re seeing now it was amazing how they had rebuilt their city in such a short period of time. The night life was bright and alive, we honestly thought this city would be a quiet and small little place much like Brisbane but with the amount of shops and skyscrapers we were just thinking what Tokyo would be like if this was Hiroshima.
The sun was setting and I was worried we might miss the last bullet train as we didn’t have a timetable. We caught a tram back to the train station and booked our reserved seats on the bullet train. We had about half an hour to spare so we just walked around and bought snacks. We decided to head up to the train platform early and wait for our train, upon reaching the top we saw a bullet train marked for Shin-Osaka. We quickly ran on as the doors closed and sat in our seats, talking amongst each other saying how lucky we were to even get on this train and critising the ticket office for giving us the wrong time.
The train left and oddly it moved quite slowly and bumpy. The ticket inspector came past and inspected our tickets only to explain to us in very little English that we had caught a normal ‘express’ train not a bullet train. Finally realising why this train was early the bullet train that we were suppose to be on overtook us in a blink of an eye. We were okay with being on this train back home but only did we realise after the ticket inspector told us this train would take 3 hours and we wouldn’t get home till about 9:30! She told us if we got off at the next stop and waited for the next bullet train we could be home in half that time.
After more train changing and waiting in the close-to-zero degree temperature we were finally on a bullet train back to Shin-Osaka. We didn’t have a late night as we planned to catch an early train to Tokyo the next morning.