Japan: Hiroshima & Kobe
December 17, 2019
JAPAN (DAY 4 to 6): HIROSHIMA & KOBE
DAY 4: KAGOSHIMA TO HIROSHIMA
I grew up fascinated with history and the World Wars. Hiroshima was a must for me, and therefore, our next stop.
Our train was scheduled for mid-afternoon, and Kagoshima was experiencing heavy rainfalls, so we spent the morning taking in the views from the hotel restaurant while sipping on tea.
Japan Rail was great and had us in Hiroshima in about 3 hours. After grabbing a taxi at the train station, we made the short drive to Candeo Hotels Hiroshima Hatchobori. Again, pajamas were set waiting for us when we arrived.
Japanese hotels know how to go the extra mile. The hotel is immaculate, and the service friendly.
We walked around Hiroshima, stopping at Hijiyama Park for a city view.
Growing hungry, we soon became on the hunt to find a good okonomiyaki restaurant to try. Both Hiroshima and Osaka have had a long-standing debate on which of them prepares it the best. We had to weigh in on it for ourselves!
After a quick google map search vs. our TripIt flagged restaurants, we landed on the doorstep of Nagata-ya. With eyes bigger than our stomachs, we both ordered one each along with some sides. It was a LOT of food…we definitely could have split one.
Still battling jet lag, we made our way back to the hotel.
DAY 5: HIROSHIMA & UBE
Before most of the city had awoke, we had already made our way to the Atomic Bomb Dome as well as the Peace Memorial.
It was difficult not to become watery-eyed as I looked in awe at the paper cranes surrounding the Children’s Peace Monument. These were left at the site to honour the thousands of young lives lost in the aftermath of the atomic bomb being dropped in the city August 6th, 1945. As a child myself, I read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes many times. It was surreal to be there and to pay my respects in person.
Next stop was the Gokuko Shrine and Hiroshima Castle before walking to the Shukkeien Garden. We then jumped on a JR train to Ube to visit a Park with the same name as my family name. Not the greatest choice on our itinerary, but I had to see what it was all about, and we made the most of it!
Determined to fight the jet lag, we stopped at Tropical Bar Revolucion for a night cap and a game of Jenga. The guy running the bar was super friendly and helpful. He had lived in Canada for a few years, so was quite familiar with the Canadian culture. He was able to provide recommendations for the next stops in our journey.
Inevitably, “a” night cap turned into one or two more.
DAY 6: MIYAJIMA ISLAND & KOBE
We spent the morning at Miyajima Island to explore the grounds and see the Itsukushima Shrine. Our JR Rail Pass included the ferry to the Island.
We chose the one-way ticket to go up, and then slowly made our way down by foot. The views of Kobe were stunning at every level of descent (even despite an accidental detour)! And by the time we reached the bottom, we were ready to eat!
Coming recommended, we called to make reservations at Wakkoqu. We then spent that hour and a half pretty much in complete silence.
We were mesmerized with the different ways our itamae (chef) sliced and prepared each part of the Kobe beef. And then, each bite sent my taste buds in all different directions! It was a meal that deserved our full focus and attention.
It was a meal I will never forget…
To end our night, we stopped in for a drink at a local Jazz bar Sone, before Garage Paradise for some live RnB and Soul. After a bottle of wine, we had the other patrons up on the floor with us, dancing!
- Shiroyama Hotel, Kagoshima https://www.shiroyama-g.co.jp/
- Candeo Hotels, Hiroshima https://www.candeohotels.com/en/hiroshima-hatchobori/
- ANA Crowne Plaza, Kobe https://www.anacrowneplaza-kobe.jp/en/
- 7Eleven has great snacks for on the go! Try the Onigiri (rice balls) wrapped in seaweed, and filled with a variety of different things
- Instant ramen noodles from 7Eleven – Leave lots of room in your suitcases to bring back – it’s made by a Michelin Star chef, and it’s DELICIOUS! http://www.eatingwithkirby.com/2018/05/michelin-starred-tsuta-ramen-instant-vs-the-real-deal-review.html
- Kit Kat – Japan makes a variety of flavours (my fav is the matcha), and can be found at most convenient stores around Japan
- Ekohiiki http://ekohiiki.com/
- Okonomiyaki – Hiroshima and Osaka debate who has the better one. Try http://nagataya-okonomi.com/
- Tropical Bar Revolucion https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g14129387-d3598416-Reviews-Tropical_Bar_Revolucion-Naka_Hiroshima_Hiroshima_Prefecture_Chugoku.html
- Yakigaki No Hayashi http://www.yakigaki-no-hayashi.co.jp/english/
- Garage Paradise (live R&B) https://garage-paradise.com/
- Sone Jazz Bar https://travel.gaijinpot.com/sone-jazz-bar/
- Wakkoqu (Kobe beef) http://www.wakkoqu.com/english/index.html
- Portable pocket WiFi rentals are available from any major train station or airport https://tokyocheapo.com/business/internet/rent-wifi-router-japan/
- Soca In Japan – if you’re looking for a Carnival experience, plan your trip around Tokyo’s Japan Soca Weekend schedule
- Tattoos – it is important to understand the Japanese culture around tattoos. Out of respect and tradition, places such as onsens, may not allow guests with tattoos to use these Japanese hot springs https://blog.gaijinpot.com/how-to-onsen-if-you-have-tattoos/
- TripIt is a great tool for organizing your trip and building an itinerary that fellow travelers can view and contribute to
- Viator is a great site/app to have when picking tours/excursions! They are organzied, easy to find, and often have quicker access to sites when you are with them https://www.viator.com/
- Gokoku Shrine
- Kagura Folk Art
- Hijiyama Park
- Hiroshima Castle
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial
- Miyajima Island
- Shukkeien Garden
- Japan Rail Pass – looking into the 7, 14 or 21 day passes depending on how many cities you are traveling too while there https://www.japan-rail-pass.ca/jr-pass