The majority of tourists visit Hiroshima for two main things: the atomic bomb site and the Tori gate off Miyajima Island. We honestly had little expectations except that we would likely get depressed hearing about the war, so when we did our research and found that there isn’t a huge amount to do here, we were seriously questioning whether 2 nights here was a little too much. Thankfully though, it was just right. Here’s what we got up to.
Hiroshima Carp Baseball Game
Whenever we travel, we try to catch at least one sporting match if we can, and baseball has been a game we’ve never seen live. So we jumped at the chance when we found out the top of the table team were playing in their home stadium. Online ticket resellers were selling tickets for a minimum of US$140 each which seemed excessive. So we walked to the stadium 5 hours before the game and scored two tickets for 2200 Yen each (US$20). It was a 6pm start and the locals are mad supporters knowing the words to every chant and almost everyone wore official gear with their favourite players names on the back. It was an amazing experience even though the home side lost 0-4.
Some tips on those going to a game:
– bring a poncho if rain is expected or purchase an official one for 500 yen
– bring your own snacks as food is pricey
– you can’t bring bottles in however there are stations outside the entry which offer free cups for you to pour your drinks into
You can’t help but stare at this building and think just how lucky you are that you will likely never have to experience an atomic bomb like the Japanese this. The bomb was detonated approximately 600 metres above this site and managed to kill somewhere between 150-200,000 people. This is a number difficult to comprehend.
Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
A beautiful and symbolic building dedicated to the victims of the bombing. It is absolutely heartbreaking when you head into the room with all the images of the victims and see just how many young children were killed.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
A ‘straight to the point’ kinda museum which really highlighted the lead up to the bombing, the immediate effects and the devastating after effects. There were some visually disturbing images of severe burns and injuries, but sometimes you need to see these things to get a better understanding of the suffering these people endured. It makes you think just how incredible they are to be able to rebuild their entire city with very little remnants of the war remaining.
Getting here is relatively simple; take a 25 JR train from Hiroshima Station down to Miyajimaguchi Station, then walk 5 minutes to the JR ferry terminal where you will take a 10 minute ferry to the island during which you will get your first glimpse of the gate.
Make sure you head here toward high tide so you can walk up to the gate when you first arrive, wonder the island for a few hours and later find it ‘floating’in the water. The island has a lot of native deer and after putting my backpack down for less than a minute, I found a deer rummage through my bag in search of some snacks. There is plenty of street food which lines the main town – check out our recommendations below.
We stumbled upon this little joint on our way back from buying the baseball tickets and my oh my were we glad we did. This is a family run business open since 1992 run by a husband and wife duo who speak little English but enough to explain to you their menu and to make you feel right at home. You get the option of Soba, Spicy Soba or Udon noodle base (we loved the Soba). Try to get a seat right in front of the grill to get the true experience. The couple delicately layer all the incgredients on top of each other and after an entertaining 15 minutes lunch is served. To say this was mouth-wateringly delicious is an understatement. Make sure you visit this place!
The oysters on the island are considered some of the best in the country. They come grilled, deep fried or curried in fried donuts. We opted for the grilled option which was 4ooyen for 2 large pieces. They were succulent and juicy just the way we like them.
Maple Leaf Cakes
There are dozens of stores on Miyajima island selling these delectable pockets of heaven. They are small palm-sized maple leafs shaped sponges with special fillings. Each store offers different fillings for different prices varying between 90-150yen. Our favourites were: red bean, cheese and strawberry cream.
Congur Eel Steam Buns
There’s only one store that sells these and you can’t miss them. When you take your first bite it tastes rather bland, but with each bite the flavours get stronger and the hint of spice creeps through.
Well that’s a wrap on the southern-most city we’ll be visiting on this trip. On to the next.
Til next time
Ann & Jason xo