The last time I've been out of the Kansai area in Japan was 2005. Every visit to Japan since then and since moving to Japan, we've stayed in the Kansai area. Well, the Walkers visit and a cheep two day JR West Pass that was on offer, provide the chance to travel further. We decided we'd go to Hiroshima which is about 310km away from Kyoto. To let you know what a good deal it was, the Two Day Pass gave unlimited travel on all JR Trains/Buses/Ferries including all Shinkansen (“Bullet train”) services (including the Nozomi, which the Japan Rail Pass doesn't allow BTW). It also allowed us to make seating reservations on four trips. All this for 12,000yen per person, which is about what a one way fare to Hiroshima on the Shinkansen normally costs! We were able to go to Hiroshima and back on the Nozomi Shinkansen, the regular JR from Nagaokakyo to Shin-Osaka was covered, the train ride out to Miyajima ferry terminal, and the return to ferry trip to Miyajima. Then we used to the pass again the next day to go somewhere else, which I'm planning to write about in the next entry...
Well, it was my second visit to Hiroshima, the last time being in 1999. All I can say is that was just as moving experience as the last time, probably even better with the Walkers to talk about it with. I think that every school in the world (yes this is very idealistic, but there is surely enough money in the world if the will is there) should come to Hiroshima for an excursion. To taste for themselves the stupidity of armed conflict in it's ultimate form (nuclear weapons), I think that might be the best education for many.
After visiting the peace dome (left), the peace park and the peace museum, we had the traditional Hiroshima-yaki lunch (savoury pancakes made from egg, pork, cabbage, yaki-soba (kind of noodle) and flour, topped with mayonnaise and BBQ type sauce). After lunch we headed out to Miyajima (which was my first visit there) to see the famous floating shrine (right) and catch the cable car up the mountain. I think I saw more gaijin (non Japanese people) in Hiroshima and Miyajima than I have since I moved to Japan last year!
Catching the Shinkansen back to Shin-Osaka at twilight while eating eki-ben (Boxed food from the train station, normally an assortment of rice, pickles, and meats (commonly fish and other seafood)), brought back memories (for Ritsuko and I) of 2005 and prior.