…Part II of our Labor Day Weekend trip! (Read previous post for Part I)
Nick and I once again took advantage of Japan’s bullet train to get to Hiroshima. Once there, we checked into the Hotel Granvia Hiroshima, which was also located in a prime spot right by the train station. And it was another lucky day for us, they had a double room available and upgraded us out of the standard twin beds!
To see the torii gate was the real reason we went to Miyajima Island, but the beach and the deer were what made it my favorite thing we did the entire weekend. From the minute we stepped onto the ferry, the water’s breeze whipped around us, giving an inviting slight chill…a glorious feeling after walking around for two days in record breaking heat! (It was reported in the local newspaper… “Temperature hits record 39.9C in Kyoto Prefecture on Sunday, marking the highest temperature ever for September in this country (Japan).” That’s almost 104 degrees, and in September no less! Lucky us!...Not!!!) So the wind and breeze were very much appreciated, and I already knew it was going to be a great evening.
After our ice cream cones, Nick and I walked a bit further into the island (being followed by deer) to get a closer look at the torri gate, and see the Itsukushima Shrine. Around the edge of the shrine was a little beach, where we were able to sit in the sand and watch the sun set around the torri gate….picture perfect! Beautiful scenery, amazing weather, friendly deer at our side and on vacation in a foreign country, just holding hands and hoping time would stand still…it doesn’t get any better than that!
We got lucky and ended up walking into a place that had exactly what we were looking for! (Again, with the signs in Kanji, you just never know what you are walking in to!) A little Japanese man shuffled up to us and asked if we wanted to be seated…? “Of course!” Then the waiter walked up to us looking confused…”you speak Japanese?” she said. “No,” we say. She looked concerned and it appeared we were about to be told to l leave. We started to feel defeated, thinking we are about to be kicked out of the restaurant, which by the looks of the inside appeared to be a popular place among the locals! Then, all of a sudden a middle-aged man tells the waitress he will interpret for us! SCORE! He did just that, ordering us each a meal of fresh eel, rice and miso soup (for those of you who don’t know, eel is cooked, not raw and it is Nick and my favorite kind of sushi!)! Delicious!
The Sake, with Nick's Sake glass...for some reason, I got a plain glass, but Nick got this glass in the shape of a chicken!!!
The next day, our last day, Nick and I got up early and checked out of the hotel so that we could do plenty of site-seeing before we had to board the Shinkansen and go back home.
We then took a train car to the part of Hiroshima that was bombed during WWII. Before we even exited the train, we could see the famous “A-Bomb Dome.” It sits on the edge of the Peace Memorial Park, as a standing memory of what happened on that fatal day in 1945.
As we walked into the Peace Memorial Museum, Nick informs me that they had welcomed their 60 millionth visitor just the day before... He was bummed he couldn’t be that “special” visitor. That was when I asked him, “well, did they get a prize or something?” He goes, “no, I just think it would be cool!” Oh Nick!
We spent quite a long time in the museum. It is very extensive and detailed. We didn’t have time to look at everything because they go into great detail about all the effects that the bomb had on the people of Hiroshima as well as a Japan as a whole. Nick and I couldn’t miss our train and our stomachs were telling us it was lunchtime, so after a few more pictures (I don’t exactly know if it was legal to actually take photos in the museum, but we did it anyways) we headed off to find one more meal.
With our bags in tow, we found a little eatery inside the train station and sat down to try what they had to offer. Unbeknownst to Nick and I, the place we picked to eat at was an okonomi-yaki restaurant…again, we had been told to try this while in Hiroshima because it’s one of their “famous specialties”! Okonomi-yaki is a Japanese pizza-pancake made on an iron griddle. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "what you like" and yaki meaning "grilled." They are made with various ingredients, depending on the location. This place in particular specialized in oysters…bonus, cause that was our third and final thing on the list that we were told was a “must eat” while in Hiroshima!!!
The men grilling our meal...
As you can see from the menu, it is quite a mixture…I was not at all in like with this crazy food…breakfast and lunch mixed into a pizza/pancake, with seafood??? Gross… sounds like it?…well it was! Actually that is only my opinion cause Nick loved it, (not surprisingly) he actually ate all of his and half of mine!