Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hiroshima Day 4 - Shukkeien

(Back dated to 5 May 2009)

I was still full from the okonomiyaki the night before, so I skipped breakfast and let myself sleep in a little. I'd packed the night before, so after brushing my teeth, changing, etc., I only had a few things to put away and I was ready to go. With all the omiyage, my luggage was pretty heavy, so I decided to splurge on a taxi ride to the station (even though it would've only been a 10-15 minute walk).

At the station, I dumped everything but the essentials into a coin locker and headed out for Shukkeien, a garden near the station. In my pre-departure planning, I hadn't actually planned to go to Shukkeien, but since I'd already looked through the Fukuya book selection, I didn't really feel like shopping (what was originally on my itinerary).

I wasn't expecting the admission fee, but since I was already there, I paid for the (slightly discounted) combined park and Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum ticket. And I'd have to say it was quite worthwhile. The park was really a nice, relaxing walk and I took a ton of pictures. And it was really huge!!

The Art Museum was pretty interesting, too. They had an interesting mix of domestic and international artists displayed; they even had a Dali painting!

On my way back to the station from the Art Museum, I stopped at Family Mart to buy some onigiri and drinks for dinner on the train ride back. I wandered around the Fukuya B1 food section a bit (and bought gelato!) and then wandered around the Asse (store) as well.

It was still pretty early, but I was tired of walking around and ended up collecting my stuff from the coin locker and going into the Shinkansen area a bit before 12pm. Thankfully, unlike Kyoto Station, they had a decent waiting area and I was able to sit down (on a chair!) and just chill for 20 or so minutes before going up to the platform.

Then it was a long set of train rides back.

Oh, and remember how I'd parked at the onsen next to Misawa Station? Well, I've done it before and never had a problem, but apparently they've gotten wise to the trick and I found a yellow "please don't park here" sign taped to the driver side window. Thankfully it wasn't an actual parking ticket (which it definitely would've been in Toronto or any big city), so I was able to say "OK, I'll take the Towada-Misawa Totetsu next time" without having to pay for the lesson learned! ^^;;

And that was the end of my Hiroshima "hitori tabi." After the trip, I've got to say that Hiroshima is now my #1 ranked travel spot in Japan, and Hakodate has been pushed down to #2. The thing is, it's a really convenient/easy place to travel around for English speakers. Pretty much everything--transportation, attraction, etc. information--is available in English and it's a small enough city that you can easily walk to any of the major attractions within the city center within 15 minutes. And Miyajima is easily accessible by a combination of streetcar/bus/train + ferry.

Of course, the clincher for me, as I've indicated previously, was finding Sankanou. It's probably my favourite restaurant in all of JAPAN right now! If I lived in Hiroshima, I'd probably go there at least once a week! As it is, I'm planning on writing a letter to the Master-san, and trying to work my schedule/budget so I can go back at least once before going back to Canada for good!

[Edit: After reading the comment, I realized I forgot to post the link for my Facebook album photos!! Here it is: Shukkeien Park.]