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February 6th 2016
Published: March 5th 2016
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Incheon was so busy, there were just bodies everywhere. I swear this place gets busier every holiday. I did my self check-in and then joined the extremely long line at the baggage drop. After that I had to join the ridiculously long queue for security and immigration. That took me forever to get through, by the time I got to my gate,they were about to start boarding. I had a seat right at the back of the plane. It had been a while since I flew on a proper airline, so I enjoyed having a comfy seat with some leg room and a feed. We got a small, but nice meal of beef and vegetables over rice. I was gutted that Asiana didn't offer any hot drinks, only water, I was gagging for a brew. The flight was quick. only an hour and twenty minutes. The pilot did seem a bit rough with the plane and it wasn't a very smooth ride.

Hiroshima airport is pretty small. I got through immigration and customs pretty quickly. Then I headed to the domestic terminal to meet my mate. I only had to wait a couple of minutes and she walked through with her bag. Perfect timing! We bought our bus tickets from the machine in the domestic terminal, a return works out slightly cheaper than two singles. I don't know if there is a bus ticket machine in the international terminal, but the domestic terminal is right next door. We headed to and the bus to city was parked right in front of the doors, perfect. The journey to the city took about 45 minutes. I was surprised that this part of Japan reminded me so much of Korea. It had very similar topography to Korea, in contrast to when I visited Kyushu, it had really reminded me of England. The bus let us off at the North Exit of the station so we made our way round to the South Exit. Our hostel was about a minute walk away. We didn't follow the directions correctly, but we got there without getting lost. We were able to check straight in, even though it was before 3 pm. Our room was up on the fourth floor, but there was a lift to take us there. Our room was really nice, very clean, enough space to move about with a tiny en-suite bathroom with a tub.

We were totally starving by the time we left the hostel, so we headed back towards Hiroshima Station to find some lunch. We went into the department store as it had quite a few restaurants. The one we wanted to eat at, which had a good reputation, had a queue a mile long outside. We had both forgotten that it was Saturday, which was why it was so busy. They had said that the wait time would be about 40 minutes, but we were too hungry to wait. So we headed up to the second floor of the station building as there were loads of small restaurants up there. We definitely wanted okonomiyaki, and there were a quite a few places to choose from, all fairly busy. We just chose a random one, I never found out its name. It was pretty small with a bench of seats around the grill and some tables opposite. I ordered a shrimp okonomiyaki and it was really delicious. I was a bit gutted that the shrimps were only small ones, I wanted big, fat, juicy ones. My friend was gutted that her squid okonomiyaki didn't contain any squid and when she asked the waitress about it, was told that it is in there, but ground up as a powder.

We took the tram from in front of the station to Genbaku Dome-mae. The tram was pretty packed, but not too uncomfortable. It did seem to take quite a while as the process didn't seem very streamlined. Genbaku Dome is what comes to mind when I think of Hiroshima. It is such an iconic image. It was the only building that was left standing when the atomic bomb exploded at 8:15 am on 6th August 1945. It is so hard to imagine what happened all those years ago and the destruction that was caused. Now, it is such a peaceful place. We were approached by some middle/high school aged girls. They asked us if we would sign their petition for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Of course, we agreed, the world should be rid of these evil, evil things. We walked around Genbaku Dome, it has been left how it was after the explosion, but it does get some maintenance to keep it that way, as now over 70 years have passed since that day. The hypocentre is to the east of the dome. We walked along and across the river, we stopped at the Children's Peace Monument, where you could ring the bell and pray. There were some beautiful pieces of artwork that had been made with the origami cranes that are folded as a sign of peace.

We continued to walk around the park feeling very sombre. However, we were shocked to see a backpacker wearing a pair of short shorts. It was a cold February day, she must have been freezing the poor thing! We walked around the Flame of Peace and Peace Fountain to the Memorial Cenotaph. We headed into the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The entrance fee is very cheap, only 50 yen, and we spent well over an hour walking around, reading the masses of information, and looking at the displays. The East Wing of the museum was undergoing renovation and I hope I can return one day in the future, as I would really like to see the museum in all its glory. I enjoyed it, but felt that the Memorial Museum in Nagasaki was better. I would like to do this one justice.

Around 70,000 people died when the atomic bomb exploded and another 70,000 had perished due to the effect of radiation by December 1945. The bomb destroyed everything (bar the A Dome) within a two kilometre radius of the hypocentre. There were lots of pictures of the area after the blast and people fleeing. There were also a lot of people's personal effects. It was very sad and touching to read about what happened to them. Some were never found, and their families only had these possessions of theirs, to remember them by. Others made it out of the area, but died later due to the effects of radiation. I was surprised at the large number of young people that had died. There were lots of school uniforms and school paraphernalia. I learnt that many junior high school students had been mobilised to demolish buildings to create fire lanes. I could see the full force of the blast as there are artifacts like iron shutters that had been bent by the blast. The black rain looked scary, I was imagining the damaged that it had caused to people, animals and vegetation.

I also learned more about the paper cranes that are a symbol of peace. A young school girl named Sadako Sasaki, who was two when the bomb went off, later developed leukemia, as a result of the explosion. She entered hospital and was given a year to live. While in hospital, a fellow patient told her of a Japanese legend. This legend stated that if one was to fold 1,000 paper cranes they would be granted a wish. Sadako Sasaki folded well over 1,000 cranes, around 1,400 I think, she used material she could find in the hospital. Sadly, She died on 25th October, 1955. But I think it is such a lovely story of hope and positivity.

Hiroshima Castle didn't look too far away, so we headed in that direction. Although it was too late to enter the castle, why does everything close so early? We decided to take a walk around the outside. The walk was really nice, we walked around the moat. The castle looked very pretty, we saw its reflection in the water, I tried to capture some pictures of it, but it never looks as good as real life, or maybe it's just my crappy photography skills. Also the sun was starting to set behind the castle, so it looked even prettier. I still think that all Japanese castles look the same, the only thing that seems to vary is size. This one was quite small. We kept walking and ended up walking all the way back to Hiroshima Station, and onto the hostel, it took a while but not too long. I was surprised as it was about ten stops away on the tram, but the walk didn't tire us out too much .We also stopped at a Family Mart to get a coffee. I forgot all about the cheap 100 yen coffees that convenience stores do. A good budget coffee for those who need their caffeine fix without spending a fortune at a proper cafe.

For dinner we headed out to get some sushi. My mate knows that I love cheap, 100 yen a plate conveyor belt sushi, so she looked up the nearest place online. There was a place, one station across on the train. We wondered if we could walk there, but feeling too tired and thinking we might get lost, we took the train instead. I like that our hostel is so close to the train station, it means everywhere is easily accessible. We took the train one stop to Tenjingawa Station. It was so quite outside of the station, it totally reminded me of that random place we went to find sushi in near Kamakura. We took a wrong turn, but quickly discovered our mistake, so headed n the right direction. The restaurant was about a five minute walk from the station.

Kappa Sushi is located on the first floor, so we headed up the stairs. This place was big, and as it was a Saturday night pretty busy. We took a number, but didn't have to wait too long to be seated. I was excited to try this chain, as I hadn't been there before and wanted to see how it compared to others. Kappa Sushi was pretty good, I loved their crab chawanmushi, so good. They had lots of sushi that was similar to Sushiro, I did really enjoy their paella sushi, something a little different. The stuff on the conveyor belt looked a little dry, but the stuff that we got made to order looked fresher. It also came out hurtling out on a train. So awesome! Some of the stuff on the conveyor belt looked like it had been sitting there for a while, as some looked dry. My friend doesn't like picking off the conveyor belt as you don't know how long it has sat there, so we ordered a lot freshly made sushi from the touchscreen menu above our table. Feeling full and very tired, we headed back to the hostel. I was ready for a long sleep.

Additional photos below
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Kappa Sushi
Paella SushiPaella Sushi
Paella Sushi

Kappa Sushi

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