Two days remembering and touring temples.
Saturday 24 August 2019 - Sunday 25 August 2019
Saturday 24 August
The ship arrived at Kochi at about 7:00 am and everyone was woken up by large taiko drums being blasted over a sound system from the wharf. We were on that side of the ship and was interesting to see hundreds of passengers standing on their balconies wondering what on earth was going on.
The check out process was quick and painless which was not surprising given we were the only people leaving the ship. A quick taxi ride to the station and then the Nanpu 10 from Kochi to Okayama. This was a very scenic train as it wound its way the through the mountains of Shikoku Island. The route followed rivers most of the way until it reached the more developed northern part of the island.
A quick change at Okayama onto the bullet train to Hiroshima, arriving right on time.
More rural Japan.
Crossing the Inland Sea.
Our train from Okayama to Hiroshima.
Once we found our hotel and settled in, we went for a walk back through the Peace Park. This is a quite, reflective and very special place, commemorating as it does the tens of thousands of victims who dies that day.
The Atomic Bomb Dome.
The Atomic Bomb Dome.
The Flame of Peace.
One of the many memorials at the Peace Park.
The Cenotaph for the victims.
A late lunch and an afternoon nap completed things.
In the evening we walked back through the Park to the Hondori Shopping Street. This is a covered over, pedestrianised street (quite common Japan we discovered) teeming with shoppers, diners and those just having a walk.
Hondori Shopping Street.
The Atomic Bomb Dome.]
The Flame of Peace.
Dinner was in a small ramen noodle place in an alley off a minor street off the main shopping street. Probably never find it again but that is how you sometimes find the best food (and ice cold Asahi).
Sunday 25 August
After a traditional Japanese breakfast as McDonald's, we caught the train to Miyajimaguchi. This is the main jumping off point for the ferries to Miyajima, one of Japan's most scenic places. The train and ferry were included in the JR Pass we had bought and all up was a 40 minute journey, 30 minutes on a train full of tourists and a 10 minutes on a ferry with the same tourists on it.
The O-Torii viewed from the ferry.
You can imagine the disappointment when we saw that one of Japan's most photographed objects was covered in scaffolding as it underwent restoration.
Never mind, we made the most of it and had a good walk around the shopping areas, along the waterfront, through the very impressive Itsukushima Shrine, up a hill to the deserted Tahoto Pagoda and along towards the aquarium.
Omotesando Shopping Street.
Look, a deer.
The locals resting.
Locals and tourists.
The ferries coming over from the mainland.
The O-Torii (The Grand Gate) with the tide out.
Itsukushima Shrine and one of the many pagodas.
A bridge going somewhere.
The bridge to somewhere.
A view over the village.
The stream coming down the mountain.
The Five Storied Pagoda.
One of the many buildings on Miyajima.
A tree by the temple.
The view back towards the mainland.
The tide was coming in late afternoon and we finally got an idea of what it is supposed to look like.
The tide is coming in.
This is what the gate is supposed to look like. (c) Jordy Meow of France.
Back to the city, bought some Icoca Transport Cards to use on the street car system in Hiroshima and the public transport systems in other cities (a great idea) and the obligatory afternoon nap.
Dinner was at a local okonomiyaki restaurant. These are pancake type dishes with multiple layers of (starting from the bottom) batter, cabbage, sprouts, bacon, seafood, noodles, egg, sauces and spring onions. The toppings can personalised along with the type and hardness of the noodles. They take a while to cook as they slowly reduce from a pile about 15cm high to a condensed pancake about 3cm high. The staff cook them on the main grill and them bring them over to you to keep warm on the hotplate on your table.
They are awesomely tasty, especially with the ice cold Asahi that accompanies most Japanese meals.
Awesomely tasty okonomiyaki.
One for me and one for you.
Cooking the okonomiyaki.
The local okonomiyaki restaurant.
The hotel / hostel we were staying was very clean and tidy and small but did suffer from rather thins walls. Right outside our room was a common area for the dormitory residents. They were noisy and at 11:30pm I had to wander out and ask them politely to keep the noise down. At 12:30am, I stuck my head out the door and was less polite. They obviously could not read the sign on the table they were sitting around (in Japanese and English) that asked them to keep the volume down after 10:30pm.