Dag 17: Arriving in Hiroshima
So, today we finally left Osaka behind and headed to the train station for our trip to Hiroshima. The last destination of our study tour. We finally arrived at our hotel around early afternoon, where we discovered that we could not check-in yet. Because of this, we left our luggage at the reception and headed out to discover the city. This proved to be quite easy as the hotel is located on a very central spot; the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and its Museum are just across the building and are visible from most of the hotel rooms.
So, some people decided to go at the local Zoo (eventually found themselves in Shukkeien garden), while others found a nice spot and enjoyed some cold beer next to one of the city’s six rivers. The rest tried to find a place to have lunch and one person actually stayed at the hotel lobby to ardently work on his thesis (Hi Marteen! :* ).
Personally, my group dinned in a “Italian ala Japanese” restaurant and then went to the Shukkeien garden too. I have to say that the garden is very beautiful! It was created in 1620 by Ueda Soko, a local tea master, as a garden around his estate. On 6th of August 1945, the garden was destroyed completely by the atomic bomb as it is located within close distance (1.5 km) from the Hypocenter (point where the bomb exploded). Following the end of the war and the beginning of Hiroshima’s restoration, the Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education oversaw the repairs in the garden and its restoration to its prior condition. I would definitely recommend it as a place to visit!
In the evening, opportunities to experience something new appeared in abundance. First, it is important to mention that baseball is apparently very popular in Japan. Second, the national championship’s season is at its climax, the play-offs. And Hiroshima, first time in the play-offs in many years, was playing against Tokyo. As you can imagine there was a lot of excitement in the air! There were screens broadcasting the game everywhere!
We decided to experience the unique atmosphere by trying a local delicious food named okonomiyaki (really gooood!!!) and later by going for a pub crawl. It was not so easy to find places where you could enjoy a (cheap) drink without ordering food or paying extra charges, but we kind of managed without “crying with a hat on” later ( 😛 ). In any case, we were able to follow the game from different places and to witness Hiroshima winning 6-1! Like typical Europeans, we expected an after-party in the city. However, the Japanese surprised us once again by being quite sober (not literally. We did run to some drunk businessmen who advised us to go to bed……). Well, this was the first of seven games, so they might get into a party mood after more wins.
In any case, Hiroshima appears to be a lively city with a nice vibe and beautiful spots. Let’s explore it some more!