DAY 3: SATURDAY 16TH NOVEMBER 2013
Day trip to Hiroshima & Miyajima Island via shinkansen from Shin-Osaka!
Early start to the day again as it is a 90min (i.e. 1 and 1/2 hour) shinkansen ride, not forgetting that I need to take 1 stop from Osaka to Shin-Osaka (where the shinkansen station is) as I have reserved a seat on the Sakura 549 departing Shin-Osaka at 0920 Hrs …..
Left hotel around 0830 Hrs (if I recall correctly) …… this is how Osaka Station City looks early in the morning.
Managed to find a place to have a quick breakfast. Its Deli Cafe again, this time round another branch right in the middle of the station (near the South exit I think) …… After the lousy breakfast that I had on the train the day before, finally a proper one (well balanced with bread, salad, coffee) – all for 560 JPY only! Excellent deal indeed!
Now I fully understand why breakfast is the most important meal of the day – from a health & mental viewpoint. It sets the tone for the day!
Reached Hiroshima around 1100 Hrs. Took some time to figure out where to go as the station exits are split into 2 sections – the bus station side and electric streetcar side i.e Hiroden. As always, the 1st thing to do when reaching a new place/city is to make a beeline for the tourist information counter for maps and directions ……
Was planning to get a day pass for the electric tram/streetcar but the man who attended to me at the counter advised that I could just take the sight-seeing loop bus i.e the Hiroshima Meipu ru-pu – which is covered by the JR Pass! Since the bus comes in 1/2 hour intervals, and its just 15 min close to the next bus at 1130, decided to have an early lunch before heading to the Peace Memorial Park with quite a few attractions to cover.
Spotted the famous Takaki Bakery (recommended by a blogger) right across the other side of the station (the electric tram side) …. Crossed over and got myself a stick of their speciality – breadsticks with saussage. It was yummy! Also made a mental note to get some bread before the return trip back to Osaka ……
Explored further and went down to level 1 of the station, and found a row of restaurants beside the souvenir shops for lunch. Decided to have Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki for lunch and managed to find a restaurant that serves exactly that, and which wasn’t too crowded as well (since its pretty early at 11-plus) ……
The Osaka version of the okonomiyaki is usually more well-known. However unlike the Osaka version, the Hiroshima version differs in that the layers of the ingredients (batter, cabbage, pork, yaki soba noodles, seafood) are added separately in layers during the cooking process as versus to being mixed together. Of course, I ‘broke’ the layers and mixed them together and added the sweet sauce before devouring it :P. As mine was the house special (with seafood) – it was 1270 JPY. Despite the various celebrity endorsements (which means that restaurant can’t be that bad), however wasn’t that enthused about okonomiyaki after all …… Think it is a matter of personal tastebuds as I found the batter to be too omelette heavy (not a fan of omelette to begin with). Guess it is something good to try in a foreign country – but give me my ramen anytime anyday!
But still, it was a pretty big portion and filling lunch in preparation of the walking and sight-seeing later on. Finished lunch and caught the 1200 Hrs Loop Bus. 4 stops later (a very fast 10 to 15 min ride, smooth traffic all the way), I reached my destination – the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park!