20 November 2012

Travel Diary: Hiroshima/Miyajima, Japan

The next destination I clearly remember going to was Miyajima (real name is actually Itsukushima) which is located about an hour away from Hiroshima. It took us about an hour and a half to reach JR Hiroshima station via the Shinkansen and cost us about 7,500JPY one-way ($90AUD) from Himeji Station.

The one thing that fascinated me upon arrival to this city was that they had something called "streetcars" and it was literally just like a tram. It's like an electrical powered train-like vehicle that's operated on the roads. Seriously, I only heard that Melbourne was the only city with trams LOL But traveling on the streetcar was quite convenient as it took us towards our hotel area too!

To use these streetcars there's three types of passes available: 
150JPY ($2AUD) one way fee (pay as you exit, this is NOT a pass but this option is available)
600JPY ($7AUD) for an all day pass not including Miyajima Ferry
840JPY ($9AUD) for an all day pass and Miyajima ferry access inclusive
2,000JPY ($22AUD) for a two day pass with Miyajima ferry boat and ropeway access.

We caught the streetcar towards our hotel to drop off out luggage and catch the #2 streetcar heading towards the direction of Miyajima Port. It was about an hour to an hour and a half just to reach the port, I think it's also where the streetcar terminated so you can't miss it. Catching the ferry was an easy process and took about 5 minutes to reach the island.

What I found fascinating about Miyajima is that although it is a small island, people actually do live there! I didn't explore enough to find people's houses but we did take a walk along the main shopping district and headed towards the Itsukushima Shrine where it is famous for the torii (Traditional Japanese Gate, refer to the first image).

going onto the ferry

A view from the mainland of Miyajima
There's two types of transport ferries towards Miyajima that I noticed. There was one that was part of the streetcar and there was one run by JR. Once we set foot on Miyajima Island, finding a map of the island wasn't so hard. Just make sure to find the "information booth"before exiting the port.

The first thing we noticed when we stepped out was pretty much "Oh shit, there's more deers" LOLOL we were already terrified from Nara so...to see more deers here was like oh mann! But nevertheless, Miyajima was serene and beautiful.

Trying to read a map

Met a Samurai!

Itsukushima Shrine
After we were done with the shrine we just followed the path and headed towards the Miyajima Public Aquarium. It was a small two-storey aquarium. It was fun and they have a little rock pool where you can actually touch and play with some of the species. I still find the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan the best aquarium. I mean they had a freaking whale shark!! Awesome thing ever!

Finding Nemo tank!
We managed to catch a sea lion show. It was super cute and not to mention that the sea lion keep was über cute too ;) The sea lion was pretty much making facial expressions like poking its tongue out, grimacing and waved!

After we were done on the island, it was getting dark and we were all starting to get hungry. We were determined to get some Okonomimura for lunch since it was a recommended dish to get in Hiroshima, but as soon as we got off the streetcar we noticed a yakiniku restaurant that was cheap. It was a buffet advertised at 1,990JPY ($23AUD) per person! We were standing outside smelling the meet and couldn't resist. But first we made sure to check into our hotel to freshen up a little. In the end we chose a different buffet which was about 2,490JPY ($28AUD). It didn't matter, all you can eat beef galubi meat and other meat...we went crazy!


After filling our tummies with awesome meat we decided to head to Round1 to play some games and take purikura.

UFO Catcher toys we won!
The next morning we were able to wake up early enough to check out and grab some Okonomimura! The difference between Okonomiyaki and Okonomimura is the the fact that Okonomimura has a flour base, shredded cabbage and noodles on top with regular topping. Okonomiyaki has the cabbage mixed in with the flour and cooked together.

Yuka's seafood Okonomimura

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