Day 8 is another day when we plan to maximise our JR Pass and we have planned to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima. I added these two places in our itinerary not only for its distance, also we wanted to try Hiroshima’s style okonomiyaki. And while there, we might as well visit The Great Torii at Miyajima. Initially, we had planned to spend a night at one of the ryokan in Miyajima; however it just didn’t work out with our overall itinerary. So, it would just be a day trip then.
We started today early again hoping to have enough time at Hiroshima and Miyajima since the last ferry service from Miyajimaguchi is 4.10 pm. We took the shinkansen from Shin-Osaka and the ride was about one and an half hour to Hiroshima. Hiroshima itself is a fairly big station, and once we exited the ticketing gates there are many “Hello Hiroshima” volunteers. These people will help tourists for directions and how to get to points of interest. As we must have been so easily identified as tourist, one of these volunteers helped us out with directions to go to city centre and recommended an okonomiyaki restaurant in the area.
We took an electric railway ride as per our guide to Hatchobori and from there we walked around the area using the Google map. We could not find the recommended restaurant, so we ended up going into one restaurant that seemed pretty busy with locals. Must be a good sign, right? We tried two types of okonomiyaki here and both were really good. They were different to the Osaka style, in which they have loads more vegetable here plus they are not served with mayonnaise although you can always ask for it if you want to.
From here, we walked to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996. It was a nice park as are many other parks in Japan, but seeing the Atomic Bomb Dome was really something. How the whole city was completely destroyed during WW II and look how advanced it is now, is amazing. Gotta admire the dedication and discipline of the Japanese! The park covers massive ground and it will easily take hours to wholly explore the area, which we didn’t have such time for. So, we took the free bus back to the station (note it is not free per se, but is covered by JR Pass).
From there, we took a train ride to get to Miyajimaguchi station and headed to the ferry wharf. The ferry services between Miyajimaguchi and Miyajima is frequent and served by two ferry companies, namely JR and Matsudai. The ferry ride was only 10 minutes each way and here we are at Miyajima. You would be able to see the Great Torii from the ferry ride towards Miyajima.
We happened to have only about 2 hours in Miyajima to make it to our reserved shinkansen back to Osaka. In that short span of time, we could not possibly able to do much in Miyajima. I had wanted to take to cable car to the top of the hill but that would not be enough time for this. So we only explored the market and walked to the beach nearby The Great Torii. It was low tide while we were there so the base of the six pillars of the torii are visible. Had we spend the night at Miyajima, I’d love to come by early in the morning during high tide to see it floating on the sea.
Anyway the market were busy, there are a lot of stalls selling Miyajima’s most popular snack: momiji manju and oyster. Momiji manju is maple leaf-shaped cake with various fillings, such as red bean paste, matcha, blueberry, cheese, custard and few others. Some stalls even sell deep-fried version of this cake, which we didn’t get due to the long queue. Oh, you will not miss a giant wooden rice paddle in the market as well. At first, I wasn’t sure what is the paddle supposed to be, was it an oar or something else. Then when I read some travel stories about Miyajima that the city is well-known for its rice paddle. So, you’ll see many stalls selling mini rice paddles souvenirs here as well.
What we ate on Day 8
Because it’s going to be a fairly long ride to Hiroshima, we got some ekiben for breakfast in the shinkansen. Shin Osaka has massive options of ekiben and all them looks delightful! I can happily buy one each day and will never get the same one for maybe few months or even a year. I find the kids ekiben more interesting for the packaging and had hoped to get the Hello Kitty one, but sadly they were not ready yet.
What else to have than the famous Hiroshima style okonomiyaki while in town? We forgot the name of that famous okonomiyaki place in Hiroshima and for some reasons just Google search just failed us. In the midst of all confusion, we saw this restaurant that many locals went right in. So, we gave up on going to Okonomi-mura and instead came here.
We tried one of the original and the other with udon, both with pork. The udon one is a little too heavy and for that we prefer the original one better. In general, okonomiyaki here is really loaded with vegetables as you can see in the video below – it’s quite different to Osaka style. Our okonomiyaki was tasty and full of flavour, it is already rich without having to add mayonnaise. Although if you prefer it with mayonnaise, they can also accommodate the request. Total spent for lunch was ¥2,400 and that was super filling!
These are what we bought at Miyajima market:
As for dinner, I was still aiming to get the Hello Kitty ekiben, and thankfully when we got there, I got one of the last two left! Mission accomplished, yay 🙂
And hubby got another okonomiyaki from a shop close to our AirBnb.