Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hiking around Hiroshima! Mitaki Dera!

1839 (localtime)
Hiroshima, Japan
Written in: I very hot, Humid and sticky Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On the 20th of September I started my journey to Hiroshima! There was no way on earth that I was going to be paying the extortionate prices that Japan Rail ask for… so instead I travel for practically free.

How the Japan train system works, is that you buy your ticket to pass the gates and this ticket should be a ticket that will cover your entire journey, and if I was going to do the right way to get to Hiroshima by normal train it was going to cost me around 5000YEN which is around about $60AUD! There was no way this was happening, so at Osaka main train station I bought a ticket that cost the cheapest and is only meant if you are travelling 1 station on the train, and this ticket is 120YEN or $2AUD.

So with my 120YEN ticket I travelled for about 6 hours on the train until I eventually arrived at Hiroshima central station. I jumped off the train here and looked at all the different exits, because my ticket wont allow me through the ticket gates I have to sneak through the gates behind someone, WHILST there are a lot of people travelling through the different gates at the same time.

At Hiroshima there were just too many security guards everywhere, so I got back on the train and took it to the next station down the track, here I got off and saw that it was a lot easier to sneak through the gates.
I made it through! I made it to Hiroshima (not the central station) for only 120YEN. Now, I had to get back to the central station! So at the random station I was at, I bought the ticket that got me to Hiroshima central station and I was set!

I found Erin, my couch surfer in Hiroshima and I was set!

Erin showed me around the bit of the city at night, and it was just great to be in another Japanese city. I was feeling kind of hungry so was taken to a proper Hiroshima style Okanamiyaki restaurant! They do it a little bit different down here! They cook it all in front of your eyes, on this massive hotplate that run down the restaurant, and this hotplate is your plate as well, once they have cooked your food, that literally slide it to you where you enjoy a VERY HOT but really nice Okanamiyaki!

After this delicious plate of food, Erin took me to the A-Bomb dome at night where I took some photos, check them out!

After this we headed on back to Erin’s place where I passed out at a pretty reasonable time, as tomorrow I was up pretty early to check out the beautiful city of Hiroshima!

The first thing on my list to do was to take Erin’s bike and ride it around about 4km North East to do some hiking in Mitaki Dera. It was absolutely beautiful. This unexplored shrine and temple was suggested to my by Erin my couchsufer, and I honestly didn’t know all that much about it. When I got there, I saw a temple (standard) but also a path that just led UP. So being a curious young adult I took it… and it just kept going higher and higher! As I took the path up, dodging the spiders and spider webs everwhere!

So the trail just kept going, so I followed it up, eventually it lead to a big tall… electric tower! I was kinda bummed out as I thought that, this is where the trail ended.

So I climbed up as high as I could of this electric tower to find where this route would take me, I could make out a nice rock to sit on, and there was a type of trail leaded to it, so I continued on the same was as I was going before, and sure enough it lead me this rock.

By this time I was sweating, tired, so I chilled out for a moment or two and had a cheeky banana and continued going up. So by this stage I still had no idea where I was going, but there was still a trail leading UP so I followed it.

After about another 10 minutes if hiking, I finally reached the top. I was a sweaty mess, but it was nice to finally realise where the track was leading to. Once I admired the view and took a few photos I headed back down the trail, dodging big spiders and spider webs as I went. When I made it to the bottom, I went hiking up towards the other temples. It was so beautiful, the temples were all place in the most beautiful locations, as you would walk up the steps, a temple would appear and there would be a running waterfall and everything, and because not many people were walking around, it made the place so peaceful. I walked and walked, until it lead to what I thought was the end. I headed back down to the bottom again, only to realise that there was more to the trail I just hadn’t seen it yet.

So I headed back up through the temples again, and found the little path that heads UP, again. This trail lead me through a beautiful green bamboo forest. I had explored a Bamboo forest in Kyoto, but it was very touristy and although it was nice, the bamboo forest in Hiroshima was absolutely stunning. Apart from the mosquitoes buzzing around my head I would have stayed there for hours!

Anyway, so the path lead UP, and although I had a rough idea that this path would take me to the same place as the other trail, it didn’t bother me. The hike itself was so much fun that I headed all the way back up to the top, to see the average view again. But for me it wasn’t so much about the view, it was more about the walk up, and more-so for the walk back down through that beautiful bamboo forest.

By the time I had left Mitaki Dera it was lunch time, and I was hungry after all this hiking, so even though, I had some of Erin’s delicious curry in my bag, I still headed to the local ‘Family Mart’ and bought a cup of 2 minute noodles, and demolished them.

After my satisfying lunch, I took Erin’s bike and boosted off down to the Peace Park and the A-Bomb Dome.

It took me a while to find it, but once I got my bearings I was sorted, I firstly road around the A-Bomb dome just admiring it and reading the local information that they placed around the Dome. It was astonishing that this building still remained. I read that a great majority of the city was completely wiped out due to the A-Bomb that hit Hiroshima.

After I admired the A-Bomb dome, I went across to the Peace Park, where there is a museum, park and several memorials dedicated to all the people that lost their lives during the bombing.

As I road my bike through, I rang the (huge)Bell of Peace as loud as I could that signifies World Peace, as I continued through I saw a memorial that I had read about previously. This memorial was dedicated to the young Sadako Saski, who is a young girl that died from the radiation of the bomb. She believed that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes she would be cured. To this day, people (mostly children) from around the world fold cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed near the statue. The statue has a continuously replenished collection of folded cranes nearby (wiki). From here I walked opposite the memorial and watched a flame that will stay ignited until the last Atomic Bomb has been defused… Pretty touching stuff.
I took a few more photos and then went inside the museum.

I have said this before, and I’ll say it again… I had a rough understanding about what happened during WW2. It left me shocked, it was absolutely brutal what happened to all the 80,000 that lived in Hiroshima during that time and eventually another 100,000 due to the radiation, even know there are traces of the Atom Bomb in the water!

 The museum did a great job in explaining the whole situation. What shocked me the most was the reason ‘why’ Hiroshima was bombed... it was due to it being a sunny day. There were 4 choices of cities that America wanted to drop the first nuclear bomb with Kyoto being one of the others, and the reason why Hiroshima was targeted was because of the good visibility…! So brutal.

There were so many gruesome imagines that made me physical sick, I’m not going to go into any details, but it’s quite shocking what war actually is.

By the time I had finished in the museum it was getting late, I think I may have spent around 2 hours in the museum reading all the different pieces of information and what not. From here I jumped back on Erin’s bike and boosted off around to the Hiroshima castle.

I found my way into the inner walls of the castle, paid my entrance fee and headed straight to the top floor so I could catch the sunset of Hiroshima.

In the Hiroshima castle there were a dozen Australian High School kids running around, I finally bumped into their teachers and they told me that the kids were spending 10 days in Japan.

The sunset wasn’t great, but I was asking the 2 teachers about why they were still teaching Indonesian as a language in our school curriculum, one of the only answers they gave me was that “it’s and easy language to learn”… such a very very poor answer!

The sun had set, and it was time to head down and check out all the different exhibits of Samurai swords and armour. It was pretty cool.

By the time I had left the Castle it was dark, and I was planning on meeting Erin at the A-Bomb dome for some food!

And great food it was, I was pretty wiped after all my hiking and biking, so when we got home I just passed out.

I needed my sleep as tomorrow (Saturday) Erin and I were heading to the island of Miyajima to do some hiking! My legs are going to be sore!

A-Bomb Dome!

The lake running through Hiroshima!

The Electricity tower i climbed up!

This is the view when i climbed up!

A great rock!

The sketchy trail!

The steps leading up to the temples!

The bamboo forest!

Very True!

Near the a-bomb dome!

The A-Bomb dome!

The A-Bomb dome another angle!

The bridge im standing on, survived the blast... but now is replaced.

The A-Bomb dome from the bridge!

The Bell of Peace! I RANG THIS GUY!

This monument is dedicated to the girl that died because of the after effects of the bomb.

Kids make these to show!

The A-Bomb museum 

The time since the last bomb was dropped 24518 days!

The view of the city from the castle!

The castle!

The castle at dusk!

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