Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our Class Trip To Hiroshima And Miyajima

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For our class trip in the Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS), our adviser Yoshida-sensei brought us to Hiroshima. There were three classes all in all in our batch, and the other two classes went to Kyoto. Yeah, we were the only ones who went to Hiroshima. At that time, I did not know I will be living in Osaka for the latter part of my training, so I was really jealous of those who went to Kyoto. I told myself that I will go to Kyoto someday (thank god it happened).

Oh don't get me wrong, Hiroshima is a beautiful city and I fell in love with it. In fact, the nearby Miyajima is considered as one of the three best views in Japan. It was just that I did not know much about Hiroshima at that time, except that it was the city bombed during the world war 2.

Hiroshima is around 4 hours from Yokohama via the shinkansen (bullet train). We boarded the train in Shin-Yokohama station, and had brief stops at Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Okayama and finally Hiroshima.

Nozomi 15 - our shinkansen to Hiroshima (taken Jan 16, 2008)

I was not feeling well during that time, so I kinda slept on the whole trip and was not able to see Mt. Fuji as we passed by. :-(

At around 1pm, we arrived in Hiroshima. My first impression of Hiroshima is that the roads are wider compared to Yokohama and it was less crowded. Well actually the word Hiroshima literally means "wide island" so yeah it lived up to its name. I also noticed these trams running around the city.

Trams (taken Jan 16, 2008)

Then, we checked in our hotel, Hiroshima Grand Intelligent Hotel. I got the room in the corner so my room was actually bigger. Oh and I loved my toilet. Yes, those high tech Japanese toilet complete with heater and sounds! Oh and by the way, I found a blog about toilets. If you have time, you can check it out. Our Awesome Banyo :D

My toilet (taken Jan 16, 2008)

After we left our bags, we started our tour around Hiroshima. First stop, the Atomic Bomb Dome or A-Bomb Dome. This is the only standing structure after the Hiroshima bombing during the second world war.

A-bomb dome (taken Jan 16, 2008)

Then, we proceeded to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which was built in commemoration of the bombing. This place is just so serene and sad... It just reminds us of the destructive powers of war. There are really no winners in war.

Cenotaph for the victims and you can see A-bomb dome in the middle of it (taken Jan 16, 2008)

What was left of Hiroshima after the bombing ... (taken Jan 16, 2008)

We ended our tour here. When we got back to the hotel, we rested for a while and went to a ramen place to eat our dinner. After that, my friend and I decided to try some authentic Hiroshima okonomiyaki, so we went off again and looked for a good okonomiyaki place. Since we were too full (talk about gluttony haha), we were not able to finish the whole okonomiyaki.

Hiroshima Okonomiyaki (taken Jan 16, 2008)

The next day, we had tours around the Mazda Cars Factory, Incineration plant in Naka and the Hiroshima Castle.

Mazda sports car (taken Jan 17, 2008)

Hiroshima Castle aka Carp Castle - this is just a replica of the original one as it was destroyed during the atomic bombing (taken Jan 17, 2008)

Then, off we went to nearby Miyajima. To get there, we rode the train and transfered to a boat. We stayed in a ryokan or Japanese style inn and were served authentic Japanese dinner. yummmmmmmm. This is also where I experienced my first onsen (Japanese public bath). I did not want to go in at first, but because all of my girl classmates were going, I decided to join. Thank god I did! It was such a fun and relaxing experience.

JR Boat, from Hiroshima to Miyajima (taken Jan 17, 2008)

Our dinner yummm (taken Jan 17, 2008)

Then, on the last day of our trip, we went to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Itsukushima Shrine and finally saw its ever-famous floating Torii gate! It was low tide when we got there, so you can actually can get close to it. Then, we walked around Miyajima. We wanted to ride the cable car to get to the top of the mountain, but because of our schedule, we could not.

The floating torii gate (taken Jan 18, 2008)

Wild deer roaming around Miyajima (taken Jan 18, 2008)

Five storey pagoda (taken Jan 18, 2008)

We got back to Hiroshima before lunch and made it on our shinkansen back to Yokohama. It was really a fun and memorable experience. Loved Hiroshima! Loved Miyajima! :D

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