After a few days in Tokyo, we headed down to Hiroshima for the day. Hiroshima was a must for me on this trip. In order to fit it in our itinerary, we made a stopover there on our way to Kyoto. We bought tickets for the Nozomi train so we could be there in a few hours. We could've used our Japan Rail Passes for this journey but since we were pressed for time, we paid the extra money. It was one of two times we had to buy tickets separate from our rail passes. Also, warning: this is a picture heavy post!
Our train left around 6 a.m. and with one quick stop, we would be in Hiroshima by 10:30 a.m. The train station was so quiet in the morning, right before the infamous Japanese rush hour started. Alex was hypnotized for most of our walk inside the train station, looking around and taking it all in. We found an open stall and picked up some bento boxes for breakfast. The ladies were so nice and helped us pick out two out of the 50 options they had available. The ride was so beautiful as we headed to the southern tip of the country.
Let me just say that it rained every day we were in Japan. We were even in the middle of a typhoon at some point. We were always wet and cold. It was really annoying. But on this day, as we arrived in Hiroshima, it was sunny and 80 degrees! It was such a gorgeous day.
With your Japan Rail passes, you can ride the JR loop bus for free! It goes around to all the main attractions in Hiroshima. We put our luggage in a locker at the train station and hopped on the bus. We went straight to the A-bomb memorial. On our way there we were astonished at how big this city is. It makes you realize how resilient human beings are in the face of adversity and how quickly we can learn and move forward.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is huge! They have a memorial for virtually every group that died that day. We walked around the memorial into the afternoon, saw a million cute kids on field trips and then hopped on the bus again and headed to the Hiroshima Castle.
A lot of castles, temples and pagodas in Japan burned down and were later rebuilt. Sometimes up to 5 times. But the Hiroshima Castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb. The current building is a hollowed out replica with a neat museum inside and observatory with a view of the city from above. It was worth the admission.
We headed back to the train station to catch our train to Kyoto and in typical Muriel fashion, I was hungry. We spotted a small ramen place under an escalator in the train station. I have no pictures but I could tell you that this one-man shop was the best ramen I had in Japan. Period. I still dream about it. I have no idea what the name of it was either. One day I will be back.
After that amazing ramen, I slept the whole train ride to Kyoto. It was so magical.
Have you been to Hiroshima? How did you feel when you were there?
Pictures taken on October 2013. All photos were edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. Get them here!