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Looking for Mt. Ozuchi

Posted by Heliocentrism on November 6, 2016

Saturday, October 8th, 10th, and 22nd, 2016

All Pictures

Having so much fun “hiking” up Mt. Sanbe and Mt. Misen, I decided to try some real hiking. I would go up the little mountain that the Koriyama Castle Ruins sits on and the baby mountain that is Mt. Ozuchi. Mark was out of town so this would also be a solo hiking trip. While doing research on the trails and just hiking in general, I found out that hiking rule number one is NEVER HIKE ALONE.

But… These weren’t big hikes. I would totally stick to the trail. And I would bring my cell phone with me (a thing I am famous for not doing). Plus I would let someone know where I was going, when I was going to be there, and when I got back. Okay, I forgot to do that last thing. No one knew what I was doing , when I was doing it, or that I got back okay.

I’ll just pick up an English guide. No English guide? Well, I’ll just look at the pictures.

I got to the parking lot of the Koriyama Castle Ruins. I found a post with some guide books inside. I picked up several booklets looking for one in English. Finding none I put all the booklets back and walked to the entrance.

What are you trying to say?

At the entrance to the trail I found a “Do Not” sign under the torii. I can’t read Kanji and I had no idea what the sign said. I stood in front of the torii thinking about what the sign was trying to tell me.

I could tell, from the last line, that the sign was put here by the city of Akitakata. One of the Kanji in the second line could also be found on stop-signs. But that kanji could also mean, “don’t” or “stand”. So the sign could mean, “Don’t Enter”, “Don’t Litter”, “Don’t Leave the Trail”, or “Don’t Enter without Standing and Admiring this Awesome Torri first”.

I figured that if they didn’t want me to enter, they would have put a chain gate across the path. They would have also not had free hiking guides. If the sign was about littering, there would have been a picture of a silhouetted person next to a train can. So, maybe it said something about not leaving the trail.

I looked around for other hikers to see if the sign turned any of them away. My car was the only one in the parking lot. There were only 6 or so parking spaces. I was all alone. I turned back to get a guide booklet. Even though I couldn’t read it, the guide had lots of photos of things to see along the trail. That would at least help me know where I was.

It is kind of spooky being the only person on a hiking trail. I knew I was hiking alone, as in I brought no one with me, but I didn’t think that I would be alone on the trail, just me and the bears. I passed a cemetery which only added to the creepiness.

This must be were all the forest folk hang out.

Twenty minutes into the hike and I found some moss-covered ruins. This moss gave the area a carpeted look. It was so beautiful. I walked around taking photos without having to wait for other hikers to move out of my shot. I took this as a sign of more picturesque things to come.

Suddenly hiking alone didn’t seem like such a potentially bad idea.

I continued along the trail to head up the mountain and bumped into these two signs. I’m not sure what the second one is all about. “Snakes in this forest love teddy bears. Wild boars love ladybugs. Monkeys have clean faces. And, deer love green tea.” That sign made no sense to me on any level.

The first sign, however, was very clear. “Watch out for pit vipers.” I have been bitten by a pit viper once already. It was not in anyway fun. It was very painful and I lost my vision. For about two months I could not read or ride in a car without wanting to throw up.

I started to wonder what I would do if I got bitten by another mamushi, the type of pit viper from the sign. I’ve had several people tell me that one cannot survive a second pit viper bite. I don’t know how true that is. But then I saw this…

Another pretty thing in the forest, pushed thoughts of snake bites aside. I would just watch my steps, keeping an eye out for snakes and other wild life. I headed up the trail hoping for more great photos.

I should have just stopped near the mamushi sign. There was nothing of interest further on the trail. I spent 30 minutes climbing up to the top. The ruins of the castle on the peak were a rock here and a rock there. Plus there was no summit view. There was no clearing at the top to look out from.

I’m sure this is important somehow.

I did manage to find 2 snakes. One was very tiny. I thought it was a worm at first. It was kind of cute. The next one, I found when I was about to go off the trail to see if I could get a view of the city. I was about to step over a pile of leaves when something moved from under those leaves. Out popped a full-grown mamushi.

“Nope, nope. Nope, nope, nope!”

I headed back down the mountain watching every step with heighten vigilance. I was the only person on this mountain. There was no relying on kind hikers to find me or by snake bitten body.

This seems simple enough

Next I drove to the base of Ozuchiyama. I parked my car at, what I think is, an abandoned campsite and followed the trail. The hike to the top of Mt. Kori and back took about an hour total; it was around 11:00 in the morning when I started this new hike.

Something about this trail made me think that not too many people hike up this mountain. But as long as there was a clear  trail I would climb over fallen trees and keep going further. After 30 minutes of hiking I got to the first reference point, the Takamagahara shrine.

As I came out of the forest, to start my climb to the yellow torii on the hill, I found a startle buck. I looked at him and he looked at me. I thought, “One of us should be running away from the other. I hope it’s not up to me; I’m tired.” After a few seconds of this stare down, I pulled out my camera. The deer was a little camera-shy and ran away before I could take his photo.

Many times on a hiking trail, I would come across hikers with bells tied to their bags. I found these people to be very annoying. The bells can be heard even when the hikers are far away. When hiking with a person like this 15 minutes away it can disrupt a quiet peaceful hike for hours.

But at this moment, I understood what the bells are for and I wish I had one. If I were hiking with someone I would be talking with that person. Our voices would alert us to nearby wild life who would keep away. But, hiking alone, I was too quiet.

I tried to make noise. I started talking to myself, but that felt too weird. Without thinking about it, I went from shouting to whispering within a few sentences. I started to clap. I would clap every now and then on the trail for the rest of the day.

After the shrine I followed the sign back to the trail of Mt. Ozuchi. The trail was literally a long mound of dirt that had trail markers and pink ribbons to show the way. I walked for about 20 minutes on the mound trail when I found the next reference point, the turn near a water shed.

You can’t really see what type of water shed it is. There is just a sign for the trail pointing left, a bend in the mound of dirt I was following, and a tiny sign on the ground with the Kanji for water on it.

I kept on keeping on. This time, I had to walk next to the mound instead of on it. There were trees growing on the mound, but there was a somewhat clear path next to it.

Well, there was, until there wasn’t.

There was no easily seen trail anymore. I only knew I was still on the path when I found markers, like the one in the photo above or a tree with a pink ribbon around it. When I had gone about 5 minutes without seeing a marker I looked around for one. I felt like I was just walking aimlessly in the woods. It was too easy for me to leave the trail  and not realize it at this point. I headed back to my car. I would come back when I found a better trail to the top of this mountain.

That night I found a new trail. There was a blogging hiker who made a drawing of the trail. From the drawing I learned that not only was there another way up the mountain, but I could drive to the hill-top shrine. It was a 3-day weekend, so I spent Sunday resting up and tried the hike again on Monday.

That Monday, I parked my car near where the smaller car on the drawing is placed and tried once again to get to the summit.

The trail was fine for walking. Most of it was black top that had been reclaimed by the forest. Everything was going well until I came to a fork in the road. “Which way should I go?” The drawn map didn’t mention anything about trail options. It looked like there was only one path to the top.

I picked the way that looked less jungly. I happily walked up the mountain contented that I had made the right decision. Then it happened again; another fork. I chose one at random then made an arrow in the ground with my foot to mark where I had come from. I continued my hike until the trail just ended into untamed forest.

I turned around and walked back looking for the dirt arrow on the ground. Then I went on the other path. It too didn’t go anywhere. I found my arrow again and went back down to the first fork then up the other path.

This time the way looked promising. The trail even opened up a bit like it was expecting lots of hikers to come this way. It zigged and zagged like one would expect a mountain trail to. I  looked at my watch; I had been hiking for about 2 hours and at least one hour on this specific trail. Surely, I was near the top.

I came to another disheartening fork. I had to choose which way to go. I looked at both my options. Then I saw something familiar. “Damn it! Is that my dirt arrow?”

@&$#!!!

I was defeated for the day. I did not want to keep going in circles. I would try again, but I would take Mark with me. That way, if I died lost in the forest, I wouldn’t die alone.

So that the day wouldn’t be a total loss, I when back to the Takamagahara shrine and ate my lunch. As I sat there eating what was supposed to be my celebratory apple, I noticed that I could see the tower at the top of the mountain I could not find.

Twelve days later on a foggy Saturday Mark and I set out for the summit of this stupid frustrating mountain. We drove to the bottom of the hill the shrine sits on and climb to the top. It was a 5 minute hike and at the top, Mark took out his apple and was about to bite into it.

“Stop! What are you doing?”

“I’m eating my celebratory apple.”

“But you haven’t done anything.”

“We’re here, right?”

I turn around and pointed to the tower on the top of Mt. Ozuchi. “That’s where we’re going.”

Mark was not happy.

I took Mark to where I had lost the trail the first time. I also brought with me a picture by picture view of the trail posted online by some Japanese blogging hikers.

With two people looking out for trail markers we easily stayed on the trail. The pictures help a great deal because there are times when the trail doesn’t look like a trail at all.

There is a section where the trail is right next to a fence giving hikers very little space to move. I would have thought that I lost the trail, but according to the Japanese hiking bloggers that’s the way to go.

There were a couple times when the thought of turning around danced in my head. But that started about 1.5 hours into the hike. I also knew that there was another way to get from the summit back to our car. So, overall, pressing forward was the better alternative to turning back.

We kept on the path looking out for a faded sign pointing the way to Buddha rock, a monolith in the forest erected for some reason. When we found the sign it ambiguously pointed to a clearing off the trail. The sign looked like it had been there for a long time. Who knows if it was even still pointing to its intended direction? But we knew we were on the right trail and that the path to Buddha Rock was somewhere to the left.

We went left and couldn’t find a thing. There was no path. Mark thought he saw a monolith and ran down to check it out, but it was just some other huge rock.

I walked around until I found a tree with a pink ribbon. “Hey Mark, I found something!” The pink ribbon led to another pink ribbon and another that led to a rope. I held on to the rope and climbed down the step path.

From Buddha Rock it looks like you are in the middle of thick forest. There is no evidence of any hiking trails or civilization near by. If you stand still and are absolutely quiet, you can hear nothing but the faint forest noises. It’s very creepy.

“Do you think there are any Totoros around, Mark?”

“No. I think they only live in forests in Miyazaki Prefecture.”

It’s that fog that turns people inside-out

Once back on the trail, the tower was only 10 minutes away. We found it and walked past it. The trail picks up on the other side of the tower. We started to walk along the black top road near the tower, when I noticed the bloggers in the photos were not on a paved road. We went back to the tower and walked along its fence to get back on the trail.

We found Kuguriiwa, Passable Stones. Supposedly, even though the gap is very tiny, a full-grown human should be able to fit in the passage. My 5’9″ frame could not. But, the hiking bloggers could.

Then Mark tried his hand at Nariiwa, Sounding Stone. Nariiwa is the stone caught in a gap. It is said that if you can move it and get the stone to make a noise in so doing, you will have happiness. Mark tried with no luck. But, Mark seemed pretty happy just trying.

The top of Kuguriiwa was the highest point on our hike, so we sat down and ate our celebratory apples. Then is started to rain, so we got down and looked for the other trail down the mountain.

This is where it would have helped if I could read Japanese. There is a written explanation on how to find the other trail down Mt. Ozuchi given by the hiking bloggers, but no pictures. There was a sign, but we could not find that particular sign.

Mark was so convinced that the black top road we almost took earlier was the way down, I just followed him. I didn’t think it was right, but he was so sure, I second guessed myself. Besides, walking on black top is so much easier than walking on the obstacle filled path.  That’s when we found the Bear.

On our walk down the mountain we spotted a blue truck. Then we found a man working in a machine moving giant mounds of dirt around. We were going to just walk pass him with a simple, “Kanichiwa!” But, he seemed so surprised to see us.

He stopped us and asked us where we had come from. “Ozuchiyama,” I told him. He still acted like we had just materialized right before his eyes. I pointed down the road we were on and asked, “Takamagahara?” I wanted to know for sure if this road would take us to the shrine near where we parked our car.

He had never heard of it. I showed him my map and then the pictures of the blogging hikers. He kept shaking his head. “Oh well,” I thought. I told Mark that we should just keep heading down the mountain and hope for the best. Surely, this road would lead to our car eventually.

The man would not let us go though. He got out of his dirt-mover and started his blue truck. He called for us to join him inside. We didn’t want to bother him or waste his time. A part of us wanted to tell him, “It’s okay. We’ll figure it out.” But, it was cold and rainy and we were very tired from all that hiking.

He drove us down the mountain partway. Then we stopped and changed vehicles. We drove the rest of the way in a black kei-car. The drive down the mountain was long and arduous. I don’t think Mark and I would have made it off the mountain by nightfall if we had kept walking.

The road dumped us out at some random place in town that I did not recognize. We hit a main road that looked sort of familiar. Then we passed a turn that I thought was the way we took to drive to the shrine, but I was not sure.

The man took us to a lady’s house. She had an i-Pad and looked up this shrine we told the man about. She had never heard of it either. Sure enough, there was a shrine called Takamagahara up in the mountain. “Well, I’ll be!” the man said in Japanese. He spent another 10 minutes looking for a road to get us to our car.

“He is a kind man,” the lady told me. “He is,” I agreed. “Do you know his name?” She asked me.

“No. I don’t know.”

She told me his name and she added “Kumoyama”. She switched to English. “Nickname… Mountain Bear.” She smiled and put her hands up curling her fingers imitating a bear. She laughed, “Nice Bear.”

After driving around some more, we came to a place I recognized. I gave the Mountain Bear directions and he took us to our car. Mark and I were very lucky to find this Bear on the mountain.

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • International ATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask what ATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Koriyama Castle Ruins
(吉田郡山城跡)
(Yoshida Kōriyama Jōato)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°40’24.9″N 132°42’34.3″E

Address:

  • 〒731-0501 広島県安芸高田市吉田町吉田郡山

Phone:

  • 0826-42-0070

Websites:

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 17:00
  • Closed Monday

Notes:

  • There are free guide maps available in the little hut. (Picture to the right.) The information is all in Japanese, but it comes with pictures of stuff to look out for.

Takamagahara
(高天原)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°38’31.6″N 132°46’07.2″E

Address:

  • 〒739-1102, Kodacho Kamiobara, Akitakata, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-1102

Websites:

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • 24hours

Notes:

  • Gods are said to descend from heaven to this place.

Ozuchiyama
(大土山)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates:
    • Campsite parking 34°38’31.9″N 132°45’41.0″E
    • Parking near the Shrine 34°38’31.6″N 132°46’07.2″E

Websites:

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • 24 Hours
  • Can, but shouldn’t hiking here at night.

Notes:

  • I rate this hiking 3 out of 10. I don’t recommend this hiking.

Map:

Posted in Akitakata 市, Hiroshima 市, Honshū, Japan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hiroshima Appreciation Day

Posted by Heliocentrism on October 2, 2016

Saturday September 3, 2016

All Pictures

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

We have been living in Hiroshima prefecture for two and a half years now. Mark and I visited Hiroshima a few times when we still lived in Kyushu. But, other than the A-bomb Museum and Peace Park, we haven’t seen any of the other tourist attractions in Hiroshima City.This particular Saturday, I had an appointment in Hiroshima. Since we were there, I thought, “Why not see some stuff?”

After my appointment, we drove to Costco for free parking. Parking at Costco is free as long as there are no baseball games at the nearby Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium. (That is its real name in English.) When there is a game, Costco customers get 3 hours of free parking after scanning their receipt when paying for their parking. Baseball fans have to buy a parking pass to park at Costco or pay the ridiculous cost of $20 per 15-minutes of parking.

There was no baseball game that day, so we parked our car at Costco. Even though you’re not supposed to do that, Mark and I buy a lot of stuff from Costco. We buy all our electronics there, most of our fruit and meat, and almost all our cleaning products. They also have plenty of extra parking on non-baseball game days. So, I don’t feel too bad using Costco for free parking.

Right outside the Costco there are several red electric bikes. They are parked next to a sign advertising them for rent. “Why don’t we take one of these bikes?” Mark suggested. We looked at the instructions that were on the sign. To rent a bike, we needed a transportation card that we did not have.

One of the many Tourist Information Centers around Hiroshima Station

“Let’s go to Hiroshima Station and ask someone at an information desk there about this,” I said. We walked 20 minutes to Hiroshima Station and was directed to a Peacycle office nearby. We filled out some papers and paid 1,000 yen each. We both got a fully charged red electric bike and a map of the city.

Mark and his bird

Mark was in a cultured mood that day, so he took off for the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art. But first we stopped at a 7-Eleven to get a couple bottles of water for our day of biking. We parked next to some other bicycles, turned our bikes off, and locked the back wheels. We were told specifically to be careful where we parked the Peaceles. “Be careful of ‘No Bike Parking’ signs,” the Peacecle lady told us. “If other bikes are parked there, then maybe it’s okay. But try to find Peacele Parking.” Since there were three other bikes parked at the 7-Eleven and it was a quick stop, I wasn’t worried.

With our cold water bottles in our baskets, we headed up the steep hill to the art museum. It was very difficult. I got off my bike and pushed it up the hill. “So much for this electricity assisted bike!” Mark, on the other hand zipped up the hill and I could barely see him anymore.

Halfway up the hill, I looked at the handle of my bike to see how much power the battery had left. It was at 100 the last time I checked. The red-lit numbers weren’t there. “Wait a minute, this thing is not even turned on,” I exclaimed with relief. I turn the power one and set it to max.

I got back on the bike and peddled. There was a strong tug up the hill. “That’s why Mark was going so fast. He remembered to turn his bike back on after the 7-Eleven.” The ride up the hill was a lot easier. I still had to put some effort into paddling. But, it felt more like biking up a much less steep hill.

One of many Peacecle spots

Outside the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art we found the Peacecle parking our map promised us. I was afraid that I would not be able to distinguish my bike from the other red Peacecles, so I left my water bottle in the basket.

In the museum we bought tickets and tried to appreciate some art. Honestly, I think most of the art there was boring. There were a few things I liked; like a painting done with only thumb prints and one display of post cards. But, I personally, don’t have a deep love for art.

I have no idea what any of this means.

I like living near art museums. I like that there are people around me who love art. But for me personally, I just don’t get art in general and I find most of it to be boring.

On my first day back to work at one of my many, many schools, a coworker asked me about my summer vacation. I told her about my camping trips and asked about her holidays. She beamed with excitement, so much so that she forgot all her English.

She mumbled something about a tower as she ran back to her desk. I sat at my desk wondering what was going on while she searched her bag. Then she pulled out a brochure and handed it to me.

It said, “Hiroshima Orizuru Tower”. It was a new building near the A-bomb dome. Though, it calls itself a tower, it is only 13 floors tall. But, it offers a 360 degree view of Peace Park and downtown Hiroshima.

The A-bomb dome on the left and the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower on the right

In the “tower” there is a floor where you can use a touchless computer to make an origami crane. By waving your hands in the air in front of the screen, you can fold an origami paper somehow. There is also a gift shop on the first floor. I found a website that boasts that any Hiroshima related souvenir can be found there.

The Hiroshima Orizuru Tower had opened in July, but its grand opening wouldn’t be until September 23rd. I wanted to see this new building before its grand opening, but there was a huge problem.

The admittance fee was 1,700 yen. That’s roughly $17 US. In Japan I find that often vendors have an overly inflated view of the value of their product. This was such an example. Mark and I didn’t want to pay $17 to go to the top of an eight-story building to look at the same downtown Hiroshima that we’ve seen hundreds of times before. The gift shop sounded interesting, though.

We bike to the new building and was greeted by many “No Bicycle Parking” signs. We circled the building and found an underground bike parking lot, but it cost a flat rate of 500 yen per day. It cost 1,000 yen to rent a bike; we didn’t want a 50% parking fee. “What did the Peacele lady say about free parking?” I asked Mark.

Mark pulled out the Peacecle map. “She said that there were many Peacecle spots where we could park for free,” Mark muttered as he tried to figure out our current location on the map. Sure enough, there was a Peacecle spot across the street from the overpriced “tower”.

We parked our bikes and as newly formed pedestrians, we crossed the road back to the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower byway of the underground shopping mall. We walked through the restaurant area of the underground mall then up to the sidewalk in front of the new building.

The Hiroshima Orizuru Tower did look shiny and brand new. At the entrance stood four uniformed women handing out flyers for the “tower”. They were dressed like flight attendants. Mark and I each got a flyer and we walked in.

Inside, we were greeted by ten more attendants. Some of them were about to hand us each a flyer, but stopped when they saw that some other attendants had already gotten to us. “Why are they advertising this building to people who are already in the building?” I asked Mark. “Doesn’t it sound impressive to say, ‘One hundred percent of the people I gave a flyer too entered the building,’?”

“I have to admit, that’s some good statistics!” I said. “But, maybe a ticket for this ‘tower’ wouldn’t cost so much if they didn’t hire so many people to do such pointless jobs.” I looked around, not only where there about 10 attendants there, but there was also about 8 clerks too. There were all standing around waiting for someone to sell a ticket to. While we were there maybe 2 or 3 people bought tickets. There were other attendants waiting by the elevator and some by the roped off area. There were more attendants than tourists by far.

We walked into the gift shop wondering what Hiroshimic surprises awaited us. I picked up the first thing that caught my eye. It was a very small, very cute jar of strawberry jam. “This is adorable!” “It has a not-so-adorable price tag,” Mark griped. I looked at the price label; 1,200 yen. “Twelve bucks for what is essentially 4 servings of jam!?” I gasped. I carefully returned the tiny jar to its spot on the shelf.

I looked around the store. It was part gift shop part overpriced grocery store. You could buy things like silver pens that don’t say Hiroshima to highly overpriced jars of miso soup paste that also don’t say Hiroshima on them. There were expensive boxes of omiyage and Carp paraphernalia that did say Hiroshima, but most of the stuff in the shop could be bought at a grocery store for a lot less.

We walked out of the “tower” feeling poor. I looked at Mark and asked, “Who buys anything from in here?” “I don’t know. But if I had a friend who told me they went to Hiroshima then handed me a jar of miso soup paste, I’d think my friend was a weirdo.”

My very Japanese lunch (Hiroshima Orizuru Tower flyer for scale)

We went back down to the underground mall to look for a restaurant. We chose one that seemed very Japanese. I know, we’re in the middle of Japan. Even the Italian restaurants seem very Japanese.

Once filled up with tempura, sashimi, miso soup, and other Japanese side dishes, we got back on our bikes and headed to Hiroshima Castle. Just about every city and town in Japan has a castle. They all pretty much look alike.

Hiroshima is A-okay!

When you live in Hiroshima prefecture, everyone asks you the same two questions, “Have you been to a Carp game?” and “Have you see Hiroshima Castle?” When I say, “No,” to both, I get gasps. If they were southern bells they would swoon right in front of me. It’s just un-Hiroshimic to have, not only, never been to a Carp game, but also to have never visited Hiroshima Castle. I might as well say, “I don’t drink water and I think sleep is completely overrated.” That would make more sense to a Hiroshiman than someone who just did not like the Carp and didn’t care that much about Hiroshima Castle.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been drinking Hiroshima water for years, but honestly, Hiroshima Castle was the best castle I’ve ever seen in Japan. There are lots to do and see there. You have Hiroshima Castle itself, whose tickets are appropriately priced. There are the castle grounds; they’re huge. Then there is a shrine.

In front of the shrine is a little souvenir shop that sells specialty ice cream. I wanted to try the raw chocolate flavor and Mark wanted the sake soft serve. There was a long line for the ice cream, so Mark and I went to see what was going on at the shrine first.

There were two cars parked on what looked like freshly raked pebbles. Whenever I see cars where I really don’t expect a car to be I like to exclaim, “I could have just parked here!” But these cars were not illegally parked. I saw a Buddhist priest waving something on and around the cars. The cars were immaculately cleaned. They were either brand new or had been detailed. Their owners had brought them to the temple to be blessed.

After witnessing the cars being blessed, Mark and I saw that the ice cream line was gone. We bought our ice cream and sat on a bench on the grounds. We enjoyed our ice cream cones in front of what was the military headquarters a litter over half a century ago. That building, which is only a few rocks here and there now, is partly what made the American’s want to drop an atomic bomb on it during WWII.

Then we went to the castle. Pictures are not allowed inside. The only exception are the costume area and the lookout at the very top. At the lookout area we could see the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower. It didn’t look all that impressive.

Our tour of Hiroshima was over. We cycled back to Costco and returned the bikes. Then we went inside Costco and bought a barrel of body wash, a crate of mangoes, and half a year’s supply of toilet paper.

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • International ATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask what ATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Hiroshima City Rental Cycle Peacecle
(広島市観光レンタサイクルぴーすくる)
(Hiroshima-shi Kankō Rentasaikuru pi ̄ su kuru)

How to get there:

  • There are many bike stations throughout Hiroshima City.

Phone:

  • 0120-116-819

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

Once you’ve rented a Peacecle, don’t pay to park it. In Hiroshima city parking, even for bikes, is usually not free. But there are many Peacecle spots throughout the city. When you pick up your bike, take a Peacecle map with you so you know where you can park the Peacecle for free.

Hours:

  • All bike must be returned by midnight.

Notes:

  • You might have to register at 1-day pass counter the first time you rent a bike.
  • These bikes are electric bikes.

Hiroshima MOCA
(広島市現代美術館)
(Hiroshima-shi Gendai Bijutsukan)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°22’57.1″N 132°28’20.1″E

Address:

  • 1-1 Hijiyamakoen, Minami Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 732-0815

Phone:

  • +81-82-264-1121

Websites:

e-mail:

Cost:

  • Adults: 370 (280) yen
  • College Students: 270 (210) yen
  • High School Students: 170 (130) yen
  • 65 and over: 170 (130) yen

Hours:

  • 10:00-17:00 (last admission 16:30)
  • Closed Mondays, year-end and New Year holidays

 

Notes:


Hiroshima Castle
(広島城)
(Hiroshima-jō)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°24’05.4″N 132°27’34.7″E

Address:

  • 21-1 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0011

Phone:

  • 082-221-7512

Websites:

 

Cost:

  • Free entry except to Castle Tower.
  • Admission fee to Castle Tower:
    • Adults 370 yen,
    • Senior citizens (aged 65 years and over)
    • High school student 180 yen

Hours:

  • Mar – Nov 9:00-18:00 Admission ends at 17:30
  • Dec – Feb 9:00 – 17:00 Admission ends at 16:30

Map:

Posted in Hiroshima 県, Hiroshima 市, Honshū, Japan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Christmas Visitor

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 19, 2012

December 22, 2011 – January 2, 2012

All Pictures

playing cards at home

Our agenda for today: 1. Go to an ATM, 2. Get a Burger, 3. Take a shower.

Tom made plans to come to Japan for Festivus/ Christmas since February 2011. Last year, Mark stayed at Tom’s place a couple of times, while getting his visa for Japan at the Japanese embassy in Seoul. They also spent last Christmas together because Mark was having some huge visa issues. I think they even had a huge Festivus party where Mark aired all his grievances against the Japanese immigration policies.

We met Tom a few years ago when we lived in Seoul and did some traveling and free biking with him. Tom still lives in Seoul, but I don’t know if he still uses the free bikes there.

So Mark and I, who are on a tight budget have been saving our pennies,.. one yen coins, for the occasion. But, when we asked Tom what sites he wanted to see while in Japan, he said he just wanted to chill out and hang with us.

We said, “Really, there’s nothing at all you want to see?”

Tom – “Well, okay, just Hiroshima and something in your town.”

So Mark and I thought that since Tom just wanted to hang out, what we would do is to take Tom to all the restaurants in town Mark and I always wanted to go, but didn’t because we are saving money. I had about four restaurants in mind, plus some we had already been to.

Playing big titris at Park Place

For the “something in our town” we took him to see Mount Aso. There is really nothing to see in Oita except for Park Place, the biggest mall this side of Kyushu. And yes, we did take him to see Park Place.  There we ran into some of my students. I introduced them as, “my husband and a friend from Korea.” My students looked quite confused.

Students – Pointing to Tom “husband” pointing to Mark “韓国人”

Me – “No.” Pointing to Mark “husband” pointing to Tom “friend from Korea”.

They gave me funny looks, but smiled and walked away after the standard “nice-to-meet-chu’s.”

You’d think it would be warmer near a live volcano…

So rather than writing more about places I’ve already been to and blogged about before, some more than once, I will just write about the two unique events from this vacation.

Look at all his winnings!

Event #1: Tom Plays Pachinko.

Tom wanted to celebrate finally having money in Japan. Before he left Korea, Mark and I told him that getting non-Japanese bank cards and credit cards to work in Japan is very hard. But, he was running late when going to the airport in Korea and thought that he would just get some money at an ATM at Fukuoka airport.

That did not work. He called his card company and they tried to help him, but the ATM he needed was not at the airport. He didn’t have any yen and could not even pay for a subway ride to the train station. He was stuck at the airport.

Tom in Hell

Frustrated, he called me to tell me that he would just take another flight back to Seoul. That was when some lady, who overheard him talking to his card company earlier, handed him a 10,000 yen note (equivalent to a hundred dollars). When Tom asked the lady for her address so that he could repay her later, she told him to, “just go to Oita, and later, do something nice for someone else.”

For his next few days Tom had been calling his card company trying to figure this whole thing out. In the mean while, Mark and I paid for all his stuff. We weren’t sure if Tom would ever get any money in Japan. But, we didn’t care if he did. Tom had been so hospitable to Mark when they were in Korea earlier in the year.

Then one day someone from the card company asked if Tom had tried the 7-11 ATM. We went out to try it, and it worked. Well, first Tom tried it and it didn’t work. Then he called the card company again and they thought about it and figured that Tom might have asked for more cash than the daily limit. After that it worked.

The moral of this story is, if you go to Japan call your bank and ask what ATM’s you can use, then bring a bunch of cash.

“I’m tired from all this winning.”

So, the day that Tom finally had his own cash, he wanted to go to a pachinko parlor. So we went.

Everyone put 1,000 yen (~10 bucks) into their machine. Once it spat out a bunch of shiny balls into our baskets we started to play. Mark was the first one to lose all his money balls. He was out within 10 minutes of playing. I hovered the drain for about 30 minutes, then I was out.

Then I looked at Tom. He had 2 baskets filled with shiny gold balls.

Me – “Oh my god Tom, are you winning?”

Tom – “I guess.”

Me – “How are you doing this?”

Tom – “I don’t know. That lady told me to hold this nob like so and tap this button like this. Balls just keep fallin’ out.”

Me – “Wow. I lost all my balls.”

Tom – “Feel free to play with my balls. They’re very shiny!”

Mark and I continued to play, grabbing hand-fulls of Tom’s balls. We tried to copy what Tom was doing, but it didn’t work for us.

“I won some dessert and novelty coins!”

When Tom finally got tired of playing, or actually, when Tom started to lose, we stopped. We looked around for someone to help us turn in the balls. An employee ran over to us and poured his balls into a machine. It printed out a receipt.

The lady pointed to another woman behind a counter. He gave the receipt to her. She handed Tom a red bean cake and a small case with some weird coins. Tom was delighted with his prizes. We were happy for him.

We headed towards the exit with thoughts of dinner. Our friend just won some strange coins from a pachinko parlor. Who would believe that?

Then a guy in uniform ran after us. We turned to look at him, wondering what was going on. I mentioned wanting to use the bathroom as we were walking out and thought that he was showing us where the facilities were.

He took us through the casino and out a different door. There was no bathroom out that door, but he pointed to a little window. It looked like a teller’s window for a very shy clerk.

Is this another ATM?

All you could see was a pair of women’s hands. The uniform guy gestured for Tom to put his coin case through the window. The coins were taken and cold hard cash replaced it. Tom got 5,000 yen. He won actual money!

We all agreed that money was better than strange coins.

in front of Miyajima’s Torii

Event #2: Itsukushima Shrine – OMG are we in a line?

We went to the Itsukushima Shrine on New Year’s day. The shrine is on an island called Miyajima near the city of Hiroshima. It has an iconic gate where tourist gather to take photos. It is also a place where many religious Japanese go on New Year’s day to pray and ask god, or whoever for favors.

in the crowd

It was beautiful and crowded; so very crowded. We were just walking along one of the streets as the crowd of people gradually got thicker. We stood there for about 15 minutes slowly making our way forward when we realized that we were in a line for something. We had no idea what it was, but if this many people wanted to see it, it must be good.

It ended up being the Itsukushima shrine itself. After this Mark and I and Tom split up. Tom wanted to take photos of things and Mark and I wanted to get some omiyage, or souvenirs, for our co-workers.

It was nice, but because of the crowd we felt a bit intimidated. The Japanese are generally known for their politeness, but crowds are always the exception. We spend a lot of time hiding out in a nice, but highly overpriced well heated coffee shop. It was nice, almost empty, but the prices were steep.

I recommend going on a non-religious holiday.

To Tom!

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank toaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Beppu Hell Onsen
(Beppu Jigoku)
(別府地獄)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 33°18’57.2″N 131°28’10.8″E

From Oita City –

  • Head north on route 10.
  • Turn left on route 500. (The turn is just before the Las Vagas pachinko parlor.)
  • Keep on 500,
  • then turn right at the light after the intersection with route 218. You should see lot of steam rising from the ground.
  • Park anywhere that’s reasonable.
  • Six of the Hell osens are within walking distance of each other.
  • There are two others that are about a 5 minute drive from the directions given above.

By Bus –

  • Take bus #2, #5, #9, #41, or #43 from JR Beppu Station to the Umijigoku-mae stop

Address:

There are 8 Hell Onsens. Seven of which, are within a walking distance from each other. The other two are a bus or car ride away. Please ask at the ticket counter for bus information.

  1. Oniishibozu Jigoku (鬼石坊主地獄)
  2. UmiJigoku (海地獄)
    • 別府地獄めぐり
      日本
      〒874-0000 大分県別府市大字鉄輪559−1
      0977-66-1577
  3.  Yama Jigoku (山地獄)
  4. KamadoJigoku (かまど地獄)(Cooking Pot Hell)
    • かまど地獄
      日本
      〒874-0045 大分県別府市御幸5
      0977-66-0178
  5. Oniyama Jigoku (鬼山地獄)
  6. Shiraike Jigoku (白池地獄)
  7. Tatsumaki Jigoku (龍巻地獄)
  8. ChinoikeJigoku (血の池地獄) (BloodOnsen)
    • 別府 血の池地獄
      野田778 Beppu, Oita Prefecture 874-0016, Japan

Phone:

  • 0977-66-1577

Website (Blood Onsen)

Download:

Cost:

  • 400YEN each or
  • 2,000YEN for all 8

Hours:

  • 8:00 – 17:00
  • Go to Tatsumaki-Jigoku (the onsen with the geyser last if you’re running out of time because this one stays open later so that visitor can see the geyser blow at the end of the day.)

Notes:

  • It might not be worth a trip all the way to Beppu just to see this. But if you are in Oita prefecture, why not?
  • You cannot get into any of the hell onsen. There are a couple that you can put your feet into, but no full body soaking.

Kitahama Termas Onsen
(北浜温泉/テルマス)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 33°17’09.5″N 131°30’18.5″E

By Car –

  • Drive to Beppu at way of route 10 which is also route 52 through downtown Beppu.
  • It’s along route 10/52 and across the street from a pachinko parlor; what isn’t in Japan? The nearby landmarks near would be Beppu Central Hostipal and a short swimmable section of beach.

By Public Transportation –

  • Go to Beppu Station.
  • Exit through the east end of the station.
  • Head east until you reach route 10.
  • Then go north on route 10 until you pass Beppu Central Hospital.
  • Cross the street and look out for the osen.

Address:

11-1, Kyo Beppu

or

別府市京町11-1

Phone:

  • 0977-24-4126

Websites:

Cost:

  • Adult – 500JPY
  • Kids – 250JPY
  • You can bring your own towel, razor, or what have you, or you can rent them.
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and soap are free.
  • Parking is free

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 22:00
  • Admittance ends at 21:00

Notes:

  • This is a co-ed onsen, so you must wear a swimsuit when you go outdoors. You can go naked in the gender segregated areas.
  • Every now and then they change the gender of the locker rooms. So don’t head off to change in one direction that was the lady’s area the last time you came.
  • You will need to have a 100 yen coin to put your shoes in a small locker in the main lobby. Everyone must have their own locker and you will get your coin back when you retrieve your shoes.
  • Give your shoe locker key to the front desk clerk and he or she will give you a corresponding key to the lockers in the gender segregated area. Put your stuff in that locker.
  • Take a shower. Put on your swim suit and head outdoors.
  • There is also a sauna and a bucket of freezing cold water that you can torture yourself with.

 Mount Aso 
(阿蘇山)
(Asosan)
Komezuka
(米塚)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°53’12.7″N 131°05’03.0″E

From Oita City by car –

  • Take route 10 south. Follow 10 to Inukai.
  • Then get on Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose).
  • There are 2 Route 57’s. If you get on the wrong one it doesn’t matter. They both basically* go the same place. One is just more windy than the other.
  • *Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose) will end somewhere in Onomachi Tanaka. When this happens just head north on route 26 to route 57 (Higo Highway).
  • Once you’ve left Oita Prefecture and you’ve passed the windy mountain area look out for route 111. Take a left onto route 111.
  • For Aso Mountain take route 111 all the way to the toll road, where 111 ends. You can then take the cable car up for 1,000YEN round trip/ person or drive up the toll road for 560YEN/ car.
  • For Komezuka turn right onto route 298. You should see Komezuka in 1 kilometer.

Website:

Cost:

  • Cable Car Ride – 600Yen one way, 1,000Yen round trip
  • To drive up to the top – 560YEN per car

Hours:

  • The toll road and cable car to Mount Aso are open 9:30 to 16:30 when the weather permits.
Videos:
about volcanoes:

Notes:

  • Don’t go in the winter to avoid the chances of you going all the way out there only to find that it’s closed due to snow.
  • It is recommended that people with asthma, bronchitis, or heart disease should not go to the top of Mount Aso.

Hiroshima
(広島市)
by bus

How to get there:

The bus stop for this bus is across the street from the Tokiwa near Oita Station, in front of the Forus.

Website:

Cost:

  • Oita to Hiroshima – 5,700YEN or
  • 4,750YEN with a group discount

Hours:

  • Bus leaves Oita at 10:09 and gets to Hiroshima at 16:12

Notes:

  • There is a bathroom on the bus.
  • The ticket for this bus ride includes a boat ride from Kyushu to Honshu. But you can buy tickets for the boat alone.

K’s House

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°23’33.0″N 132°28’25.7″E

The nearest Station is Hiroshima Station.

Address:

1-8-9, Matoba-cho,
Minami-ku, Hiroshima city,
Japan 732-0824

Phone:

  • +(81)-82-568-7244

Website:

e-mail: hiroshima@kshouse.jp

Cost:

  • Depends on the room, but Dorm rooms are 2,500YEN/ night.

Hours:

  • the doors are lock after a certain hour. I don’t remember what time.

Notes:

  • No free parking, but there is paid parking nearby. Ask about the cheaper weekend parking areas.

Hiroshima Peace Park
(広島平和記念公園)

How to get there:

  • 34°23’34.1″N 132°27’08.1″E
  • Take the tram #2, 3, 6 or 7 to Atomic Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome-Mae)
  • This will put you right in front of the dome.
  • From there you can cross the bridge and head south to see the park, the museums, and other monuments.

Address:

  • Memorial Hall

1-6 Nakajima-cho,
Naka-ku, Hiroshima City
(in the Peace Memorial Park)

広島市中区中島町1番6号(広島平和記念公園内)

  • Peace Museum

Peace Memorial Museum
1-2 Nakajimama-cho,
Naka-ku, Hiroshima City
730-0811, Japan

Peace Memorial Museum
広島平和記念資料館 啓発担当
住所:広島市中区中島町1-2

Website

Cost:

  • Most are free.
  • The Peace Museum cost 50Yen to enter.

Hours:

  • The park is always open.
  • The museum and hall’s times are 8:30 – 17:00.
Videos:

Itsukushima Shrine
(厳島神社)
(Itsukushimajinsha)

How to get there:

  • 34°17’45.2″N 132°19’11.7″E

There are 2 main non-driving methods to get to the shrine.

1. Take the train to Miyajimaguchi Station then hop on a 10 minute ferry to  Miyajima (170Yen). You can just walk to the shrine from there.

  • This is the cheapest option, but not the quickest.
  • For crowed days, like New Year’s day, this is not a very good option. The crowd is huge and everyone is pushing their way on to the boat.
2. Take the boat from Peace Park. It costs 1,900Yen on way. But, don’t toss your ticket when you get to the island. When you show your old ticket you will get a discount for your return trip (1,500Yen).
  • Link for Schedule
  • The more expensive option, but it’s really easy.
  • No crowd. The boat can only fit a few people.
  • But, because the boat is small, tickets do get sold out.

Website:

Cost:

  • 350Yen to enter the temple

Hours:

  • It’s a temple, so I don’t think there is an official closing time, but monks do need to sleep…

Downloads:

Notes:

  • There are tons of temples on the island. Most of them up hills. Some up the mountain. There is even one, Sankido, that warships ogres.
  • You can take a cable car to the top of the mountain for some great views (1,800Yen round trip).
  • There are lots of deer just freely roaming the island. There are signs that say that they love to eat souvenirs and passports. That’s sounds implausible, but you never know.

Map

Posted in Aso 市, Beppu 市, Hatsukaichi 市, Hiroshima 県, Hiroshima 市, Honshū, Japan, Kumamoto 県, Kyūshū, Miyajima 町, Oita 県, Oita 市 | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Peace

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 14, 2011

December 27-28, 2010

All Pictures

Off to catch a bus to Hiroshima

The backpacking rookie

This was my nephew’s first time going on any type of backpacking trip. Though it was a very short trip, it was still fun seeing him experiencing Japan. I think he enjoyed it because he kept running off the take pictures of stuff or to ask questions of passers by.

Alex taking a photo of the sea

The trip started out with us not knowing where the bus stop was. I knew which block the stop was on, but I didn’t know the exact location. Makeeya got a guy working at a nearby Starbucks to help us. We found it with plenty of time to catch the bus.

exploring the ferry

We knew the departure and arrival time, but everything else was a mystery to be discovered along the way. When we stopped somewhere near Bungo-Takada for what I thought was a rest stop. We were actually waiting to board a ferry.

The sea was rough and if I had looked out at the waves I could have made myself seasick. I went up stairs where the padded seat were and laid out to sleep. I could almost pretend that I was a baby being rocked to sleep by an overly aggressive mother.

Alex watching his okonomiyaki dinner being made

It was night by the time we got to our hostel in Hiroshima. We had to leave for Kyoto at noon the next day, so we wanted to wake up early to see the sights. We decided to get something to eat then go to bed early.

Hiroshima-Style Okonomiyaki

Grape ≠ Grapefruit

The lady at the front desk recommended an restaurant a few blocks away from the hostel and gave us a map. It was pretty easy to find.

No one there spoke English, but fortunately they had an English menu. It had all the dishes written in both English and Japanese. We picked what we wanted to order and pointed to it. The waitress would then look at the corresponding Japanese translation. It’s a great system.

But there was a mis-translation in the drinks section. We all ordered the pomegranate-grape drink on the menu, only to be given grapefruit juice. We tried to explain to them what happened, but there was no use. I ordered Calpis instead.

Ok, the name is horrible, but the drink itself is divine!

Alex is ready to eat.

I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t eat chicken.

My mom is a vegetarian which makes eating in Asia a bit of a challenge. In most Asian countries the people do not eat a lot of meat, but there is a little meat in everything, even the kim chee has prawns in it.

I am not a vegetarian, but many of my friends who are, have told me how hard it is to eat in most restaurants in Asia. When they ask what dishes have no meat the waitors usually recommends a chicken or seafood dish. The concept of not eating anything that has ever had a mother is complete baffling to many Asians. This is why many western vegetarians living in Asia quickly fall in love with some India/ Nepali restaurant near their apartment.

So before we went to the restaurant I, on my mom’s behalf, ask the hostel receptionist to write a note to the waitress. I asked that the paper say that my mom was vegetarian and will not eat chicken, fish, beef, pork,… Even with the paper, we still had trouble ordering my mom’s food. They read the paper and thought, “This must be a mistake. How is this even possible?”

wow tatami…

Just like my home

We took a Japanese-style family room in the hostel. This meant that we would sleep on futons placed on the floor. The gang was delighted to try out sleeping in a traditional Japanese way until I told them that the accommodations would have them sleeping in the same fashion as they had been sleeping at my place. The only difference would be that now the sheets match.

The A-bomb detonated above this building

Now we just want peace.

The next day we went to the area of Hiroshima where the first atomic bomb was dropped.

While on Christmas break during grad-school in England, I visited my sister in D.C. She took me to the section of the Air and Space Museum at the Dulles Airport. They had the Enola Gay on display. In case you don’t know, that is the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

I walked up to it and touched it. It was cold. It didn’t look scary like one would expect something that had killed so many people in such a short time would. It looked goofy and awkward as if it were hiding it’s true nature.

I wondered how Enola Gay, the mother of the pilot, felt when she heard about her namesake. Did it bother her? Did she wonder what on earth was her son thinking? How would I feel if someone named a bomb dropping plane after me?

A picture from museum of bodies in the river after the bomb dropped

It is a somber place. I don’t have to tell you how I felt walking around Peace Park in Hiroshima; you can imagine it for yourself.

I was surprised at how things were portrayed. I’ve visited many war memorials and monuments dedicated to fallen soldiers and civilians. There is usually some finger pointing that shows though. This one places no blame on anything other than the war. To me it said that it doesn’t matter who was right or who was wrong, having an atomic bomb dropped on your city for whatever reason, justified or not, is not a good thing for anybody and that peace should be more valued by every country.

All Pictures


 

Hiroshima
(広島市)
by bus

How to get there:

The bus stop for this bus is across the street from the Tokiwa near Oita Station, in front of the Forus.

Website:

Cost:

  • Oita to Hiroshima – 5,700YEN or
  • 4,750YEN with a group discount

Hours:

  • Bus leaves Oita at 10:09 and gets to Hiroshima at 16:12

Notes:

  • There is a bathroom on the bus.
  • The ticket for this bus ride includes a boat ride from Kyushu to Honshu. But you can buy tickets for the boat alone.

K’s House

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°23’33.0″N 132°28’25.7″E

The nearest Station is Hiroshima Station.

Address:

1-8-9, Matoba-cho,
Minami-ku, Hiroshima city,
Japan 732-0824

Phone:

  • +(81)-82-568-7244

Website:

e-mail: hiroshima@kshouse.jp

Cost:

  • Depends on the room, but Dorm rooms are 2,500YEN/ night.

Hours:

  • the doors are lock after a certain hour. I don’t remember what time.

Notes:

  • No free parking, but there is paid parking nearby. Ask about the cheaper weekend parking areas.

Hiroshima Peace Park
(広島平和記念公園)

How to get there:

  • 34°23’34.1″N 132°27’08.1″E
  • Take the tram #2, 3, 6 or 7 to Atomic Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome-Mae)
  • This will put you right in front of the dome.
  • From there you can cross the bridge and head south to see the park, the museums, and other monuments.

Address:

  • Memorial Hall

1-6 Nakajima-cho,
Naka-ku, Hiroshima City
(in the Peace Memorial Park)

広島市中区中島町1番6号(広島平和記念公園内)

  • Peace Museum

Peace Memorial Museum
1-2 Nakajimama-cho,
Naka-ku, Hiroshima City
730-0811, Japan

Peace Memorial Museum
広島平和記念資料館 啓発担当
住所:広島市中区中島町1-2

Website

Cost:

  • Most are free.
  • The Peace Museum cost 50Yen to enter.

Hours:

  • The park is always open.
  • The museum and hall’s times are 8:30 – 17:00.
Videos:

Maps:



Posted in Hiroshima 県, Hiroshima 市, Honshū, Japan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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