Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Shinkansen to Hiroshima (aka The Ice Cave)

Up early and feeling adventurous, S and I caught a cab to Shin-Osaka station for our bullet train adventure to Hiroshima.

Just figuring out the train line and buying a ticket was enough of an adventure to start with. I had told S we needed to buy a JR pass for our travel prior to arriving in Japan but S' 'expert' traveller friends insisted it was a waste of money! After forking out the equivalent of $500 for 2 return tix to Hiroshima, S was wishing he had of listened to me.

Lining up on the platform for the Shinkansen, we queued to the left of the reserved car sign which made sense. The train arrived exactly on time and upon boardingw e couldn't believe how luxurious the seating was. Easily better than Starclass flying with personal footrests etc. We found out 20 mins later that we were in the wrong carriage and that this was first class travel - our ticket didn't suffice. So we reluctantly vacated the carriage and headed towards the general public carriage... it was a bit of a come down but still far superior to Australian public transport.

We spent the whole 90 minute odd trip gazing out the window in fascination and were almost sad to arrive at our destination and get off the train. We were even sadder when we got off and felt the weather hit us! It looked sunny and quite nice outside but no kidding, it was like stepping out in Siberia. Rugged up in my layers, I was still completely unprepared and feard getting frostbite to my extremities. Teeth chattering I insisted we keep moving and pulled out my map to orientate myself towards the Hiroshima Gardens.

Much walking (and much complaining from S) and feeling warmer I stopped to check the map and realised we had somehow completely bypassed the gardens but were almost at the Castle & Temple so we decided to press on and skip the gardens.

After exploring the Castle and Temple grounds, the Peace Memorial was on our agenda but rather than stuff around in the cold trying to find our way, we cheated and caught a taxi. Turned out to be a good choice as the Memorial seemed to be a bit of a trek.

Touring the Memorial and its museum was a humbling experience:

the Children's Memorial

the last building standing (it was almost directly under where the bomb was dropped)

We finished our day in Hiroshima looking for somewhere to eat but ran out of time as we couldn't agree so I had to settle for Maccas to go ... but just look how conveniently they pack your food (my drink and all is in there perfectly arranged).

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