Golden Week, Part 4: Hiroshima

It was still rainy in Kyoto on Wednesday, April 30, so Mom, Bro, and I decided to beat the rain and take a day trip to sunny Hiroshima! This was the one leg of our Shinkansen journey that we had not purchased tickets in advance for solely because we didn’t know which day would have the nicest weather; however, it all turned out OK (albeit expensive for me – 24,000yen ($240) return, yikes!) and we managed to buy tickets and get reserved seats on the very next train out of Kyoto!

We made it to Hiroshima!

We made it to Hiroshima!

The Shinkansen from Kyoto to Hiroshima took about two hours; we didn’t get there until almost noon, but the weather was perfect, so it was totally worth the trip! We boarded the street car outside the train station to take us to our first stop – the Hiroshima Peace Park and A-Bomb Dome. We were surprised to find the Dome only a few metres from the main street!

Hiroshima's awesome street cars. So convenient!

Hiroshima’s awesome street cars. So convenient!

The Dome and Peace Park felt sad – we actually didn’t take many pictures here (and especially no selfies) because it just didn’t feel right. However, it was incredibly beautiful. They even had a display of thousands upon thousands of paper cranes. I’m so glad we got to visit.

The Atomic Bomb Dome. Words can't describe seeing it in person.

The Atomic Bomb Dome. Words can’t describe seeing it in person.

The Atomic Bomb Dome up close.

The Atomic Bomb Dome up close.

Some of the thousands upon thousands of paper cranes.

Some of the thousands upon thousands of paper cranes.

A jizo (guardian of children) statue that survived the bombing.

A jizo (guardian of children) statue that survived the bombing.

The eternal flame with the Atomic Bomb Dome in the background.

The eternal flame with the Atomic Bomb Dome in the background.

Despite our saddened moods, we were hungry, and lucky for us we found an Italian restaurant at the entrance to the park. It was such a quaint place! The food was amazing, so we stuffed our faces to cheer ourselves up while overlooking the park.

The quaint Italian restaurant. I highly recommend eating here!

The quaint Italian restaurant. I highly recommend eating here!

On our way back through the park, we went into the museum to use the washrooms, only to get invited to make paper cranes! A guide who spoke great English taught us how. We then wrote messages of peace on the wings of our cranes and gave them to the guide – what the museum does with them, I don’t know – and the guide gave us hers as a keepsake. I really, really enjoyed this part of the trip!

Although we planned to get a river cruise down to our next stop, the Miyajima/Itsukushima Shrine, the cruises had actually stopped running earlier that day – seriously, Japan, does everything have to close early?! Instead, we made do with the street car, and then took a ferry across to Miyajima.

I'm just guessing, but I think, maybeee, this is where we get the ferry to Miyajima... Haha! (In case you can't read Japanese, the signs basically scream MIYAJIMA HERE over and over.)

I’m just guessing, but I think, maybeee, this is where we get the ferry to Miyajima… Haha! (In case you can’t read Japanese, the signs basically scream MIYAJIMA HERE over and over.)

On the short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima!

On the short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima!

Unbeknownst to me or Mom, Miyajima is actually pretty developed as a tourist town and has streets upon streets of shops – and deer! The deer were incredibly friendly and docile. We spent a long time taking pictures with the deer before we even made it to the main attraction – Itsukushima Shrine – haha!

A deer chillin' in the streets - no big deal!

A deer chillin’ in the streets – no big deal!

Deer!!

Deer!!

Itsukushima is actually one of the “Three Views of Japan.” Unfortunately, we happened to get there in time for low tide, so the torii didn’t appear to be floating. However, that did mean that we got to walk straight up to the gate, place a coin on it for good luck, and then walk around the ocean floor! It was still breathtakingly beautiful and worth the long trip down.

Walking to the shrine!

Walking to the shrine!

Itsukushima Shrine!!!! I can't believe I actually got to see it in person!

Itsukushima Shrine!!!! I can’t believe I actually got to see it in person!

Bro, me, and Itsukushima!

Bro, me, and Itsukushima!

Adding our coins to the torii gate!

Adding our coins to the torii gate!

It's so pretty! I couldn't stop taking pictures!

It’s so pretty! I couldn’t stop taking pictures!

Putting our hands in the Pacific Ocean!!!

Putting our hands in the Pacific Ocean!!!

We did some quick souvenir shopping, but of course everything closed early (darn it, Japan!) so we didn’t stay long.

The shop-lined streets of Miyajima.

The shop-lined streets of Miyajima.

Unfortunately, we missed the last river cruise back to Peace Park (sorry, Mom!), so we took the ferry back to the mainland and got a train straight to Hiroshima Station. We walked up to the ticket booth, immediately got tickets for the next train back to Kyoto (how lucky were we?!), and boarded the train, getting back in Kyoto shortly before 9pm. It was a busy day, but it was wonderful! I’m so glad we got to visit Hiroshima and check yet another item off my Bucket List! :)

Bye, Hiroshima!

Bye, Hiroshima!

P.S. For the record, I think Hiroshima was the most beautiful city that we visited. So, so beautiful!

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