It was a long sought trip back to Japan. And after some planning and re-planning and re-planning again, we finally got our trip sorted out. We decided on doing things our way with some guidance from online itineraries and reviews. And while we had to cancel our trip to Nagano, we were still going to enjoy our June holidays.
If you are going to be travelling between prefectures, or just having long distance travel in general, I would definitely recommend getting the JR Pass. The shinkansen alone cost upwards of 10,000 Yen per person, per trip from Tokyo to Hiroshima. Shorter trips cost less, and taking local trains or overnight buses would be cheaper, but it will take a day to get there. We did the JR Pass and we managed to clock a lot of hours using the shinkansen. Those trips alone have made the Pass a worthwhile investment while we were in Japan.
So, first stop, Hiroshima. Let me just say that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. There were a lot of English speaking Japanese staff at stations and shops. There will be misunderstandings every now and then, but you will never really be without a helping hand. I can say that for the major stations and cities, though I can’t say to what extent the farther you get away. Still, it won’t hurt to learn a bit of Japanese before going.
We spent eight hours on a direct flight from Singapore to Japan and after a hop-on-hop-off affair on the Tokyo Monorail, we spent another five hours on the shinkansen to get to Hiroshima. You would think that it was tiring, but you’d be surprised. It was tiring, but it was sort of relaxing at the same time. The shinkansen rode smoothly and the seats were quite comfortable. In fact, you have more leg and shoulder room on a shinkansen than on an economy flight. I fell in love with the shinkansen that day.
We reached Hiroshima and met up with relatives. We had dinner at a Yakiniku restaurant and gained a kilo each on the first day (all except Matthew). Unfortunately, the kids were sick and they were unable to stay longer. We didn’t even get to play. The night didn’t go to waste though. Luckily we were able to go back to the A-bomb dome at the Hiroshima Peace Park. This was one of Matthew’s itineraries. Even though we were here the last time we visited Hiroshima, the Peace Park at night is something else.
There’s something about the cold evening breeze and the quietness of the night at the Peace Park. And while the A-bomb dome is lit up, it was lit just enough to give it ambient lighting. It enhanced the visual of the remains of the building and gave it a sad but peaceful aura. It was beautiful. We didn’t have anything that we wanted to do in particular there, so we just had Matthew enjoy his night and we enjoyed walking through the cool breeze in Hiroshima’s streets.