Hiroshima Travel Blog› entry 49 of 111 › view all entries
We headed towards the train station that morning to activate our Japan Rail Pass and to get our tickets for the train to Hiroshima. After a short while filling in some forms and showing our passports we were presented with our shiny new Rail Pass which was reminiscent of the Golden Ticket from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (but silver).
We headed to the reservations counter where Fab tried out his Japanese and with great success was able to get some reservations on the next train to Hiroshima. We headed to the platform and waited for our bullet train to arrive. We were on the Hikari bullet train and as it pulled into the station we were quite excited by the prospect of travelling on the high speed Shinkansen.
It was easy to find our comfortable seats and loaded our rucksacks onto the spacious overhead luggage racks. Moments later, and within seconds of the scheduled train departure time, we set off. A stweardess entered the carriage, bowed and said something to the passengers before pushing the refreshments trolley through the train carriage, and bowing again before exiting. We were so surprised by how sincere and respectful she had been - it made me feel embarrassed thinking about the staff on UK trains and how they treat the passengers!
We arrived in Hiroshima station and alighted from the train. The weather was very humid with a horrible drizzle in the air and it was quite miserable. We found our hostel and checked in. We were in a 6-bed dorm but there was only one other person staying in the room with us and he wasn’t there when we arrived so could shower and change in privacy.
Once all our chores were done we headed out into the drizzle again to see what Hiroshima was like. The grey towering buildings dominated the landscape and the sky was white with cloud. We found a dry spot under some trees over looking the river and sat and chatted for a while. At this stage I felt that Japan was a real disappointment, with constant rain, grey skies, concrete monstrosities and very high prices. I wanted to know where the ‘incredible’, ‘fantastic’ Japan was hiding and why I didn’t feel it yet.
We walked across the bridge over the river and looked at the city. This place was completely destroyed after the A-bomb and yet it had been rebuilt and was a thriving city.
We crossed the bridge and walked down the narrow streets where we noticed bright lights and lots of people all around. This was the entertainment district. Restaurants, shops, bars, pachinko parlours and more lined the way, and women wearing brightly coloured yukatas could be seen meeting with friends and going about their evening.
We headed back to our hostel to discover that Japanese mosquitoes were the most horrible that we had encountered so far. I had huge hard lumps all over my legs from where they had swollen, and they were insanely itchy. We also noticed how clear Fab’s ankle tan line was, which was very entertaining. I insisted that he buy some flip flops and reveal his feet to the world to avoid the skin coloured leggings look he was sporting!
We had a good night’s sleep ready for our day at the Memorial Museum.