It may have been three years since I was last in Hiroshima but fact is that it’s actually been over four years since I spent any time of significance in the city. That last visit was very much an in-and-out job as I was kind of just passing through on some local train travels in the western region of Japan.
Taking a dog on the Shinkansen (bullet train), or any train for that matter, is not easy so I was initially a little reluctant to travel all the way over to Hiroshima for the New Years period but my wife was keen to see her family and let the two dogs meet each other once again so who was I to argue with that! A lot of time was devoted to our two dogs so lets start with a collage (below) of moments at home with them.
My father-in-law loves Mount Gokurakuji, and it’s a place we’ve been to a few times now but of course Maron had never been there so we wanted to take him there and let him wander freely around the summit. He got more than he bargained for though as when the car neared the top it began to snow which is something he had never experienced.
Mount Misen on Miyajima gets all the adulation in Hiroshima Prefecture but this mountain, lying just a couple of kilometres north of Hatsukaichi Station, is a wonderful place. It roughly translates as heaven temple mountain and is a tranquil and peaceful area full of many stone statues.
We stopped off at Miyajima Service Area (below) on the way home. The snowfall was only in the higher points of Mount Gokurakuji so it was fine closer to sea level. Such places are quite different to their British counterparts (known as service stations) as they are full of food stands and souvenir shops as well as dog runs and this one had a fair bit of open space to walk the dogs. There was also a large red torii gate with nice views of the Seto Inland Sea and Miyajima itself.
Later that same day I took the tram into the city but alighted a few stops earlier to see the A-Bomb Dome (below) for the first time in about five years or so.
The aforementioned post also gave details about the current situation regarding Japan’s most famous pizza vending machine!
From there I walked north going past Hiroshima Castle…
…en-route to Shin-Hakushima Station. The Astram Line station part (below) is a pretty cool-looking structure but I was there to take the Kabe Line north to visit an unstaffed station which will appear on Tokyo Fox way down the line!
The following day we went to Kairoyama Park (below) but sadly it’s overgrown a bit on the peak (only about 50 metres high!) that the views aren’t as I remember! The tennis court didn’t look in such condition either!
The last time I went to Miyajima was when my parents visited back in May 2016 so I thought I’d go again as there was a part which I had always bypassed and wanted to see. That’ll appear in a separate post at a later date. This was on New Years Eve afternoon by the way and it was pretty busy despite the lack of foreign visitors due to the ongoing pandemic. It also seemed like there were less deer too!
What I certainly wasn’t expecting to see was the famous floating torii (below) under construction. I wasn’t looking out for it really on the ferry but that may explain why I didn’t even catch a glance of it! It seems it’s actually been renovated since June 2019 and is expected to be finished this year sometime.
The New Year period is the big thing in Japan and perhaps as close to the western Christmas in terms of it being a time generally spent with family. There are all manner of customs and to be honest they’re not that exciting. Eating traditional seasonal food osechi (below) is pretty good though I do get quite bored of it after it reappears on the table for the following meals! Cocoa certainly didn’t get tired of it though and chewed his way through the outer box with glee!
This particular selection included about 50 different types of food and such a thing is usually consumed from January 1st onwards but this time we started it on New Years Eve. We didn’t eat too much though as we had to save room for toshikoshi soba (below) noodles. The word toshikoshi means to climb or jump from the old year to the new and so on New Years Eve most Japanese people eat this albeit probably a bit later than when we had it!
New Years Day was actually spent on the beach, and I can’t say I was ever expecting that! We walked the dogs along the coast beside the Seto Inland Sea on a pleasant sunny morning.
The first photo below fooled quite a few people on Twitter on Instagram when I posted it but the other picture shows the real situation!
After a lot of eating over the New Year period I felt like I needed to do a bit of exercise and so the challenge of climbing down and then back up 28 flights was taken on.
I wasn’t running or trying to do that initial one as fast as possible but the following day I repeated the feat and went down in 3:04 minutes and up in 4:59 minutes.
We actually passed by this shrine (below) on New Years Day in the car on the way back from the supermarket and saw some ridiculously long lines of people waiting to do the custom of hatsumode. We had no intention of ever doing it that day due to the continuing threat of coronavirus so returned the following day when the queue was far shorter.
The final full day started off with a short trip to Agekurayama Kenko-undo Park which is just east of the city centre and has some fine views of both that and the Seto Inland Sea.
Click here to read ‘Dining Out: Hiroshima’s Cheapest Meal Is A Really Filling And Delicious One’
Click here to read ‘Bringing In The New Year Japanese-Style’
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Things To Do In Hiroshima City Once You’ve Done The Big Two!’
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Day Trips In Hiroshima Prefecture’