|Hiroshima/ Fukuyama/ Miyajima (August 23 - 27)|
Hiroshima & area
We had great difficulty getting acceptable rooms in Hiroshima.
Actually we had difficulty getting any rooms. Most hotels were full.
I think there is something we do not understand about Japanese hotels. It is very difficult to get a room or combination of two rooms for 5 people. The first night in Hiroshima, we had two rooms (a double and a room with two singles). The second night we were in a Japanese style room with 4 beds. Try as we might, we could not get a cot or extra futon in either hotel.
We came to Hiroshima to see the A-bomb museum, but found much more than that. It is a very young and lively city. We went to the Children's Museum (similar to the Pacific Science Centre, or a small scale Ontario Science Centre), and had a swim in a huge outdoor swim complex. Hondori Street, the main shopping area is a street with no car traffic, and we spent quite some time wandering through looking at the people. It was packed. Mark & I have also become Carp fans (the Hiroshima pro baseball team). We ate at Okonomi-mura - a four story building filled with 30 mini-restaurants that all served the same one dish: a buckwheat pancake filled with 'stuff' including a fried egg. All of major attractions were within easy walking distance.
We gave up trying to stay in Hiroshima after two nights and moved to Fukuyama. We found the cheapest hotel of our visit to Japan there (it even had a cot), and yet it was only half an hour away from Hiroshima by shinkansen. With our JR rail passes, it was an easy commute.
The next morning, we went off to Miyajima, an island near Hiroshima with the famous floating shrine. We took the ropeway (cable car) to the top of Mt Misen. Actually not the top... I walked the last kilometer to the top only to find... a vending machine. You really can't go anywhere in Japan without finding them! The kids enjoyed the deer and the Japanese Macaques that roamed free.
The next morning, we left for Nagano hoping for cooler weather at it has been consistently around 30 C since arriving in Japan. Read about Nagano...