Travel to Hiroshima and Himeji
Saturday, August 23, 2008
After resting for a night we started our travel in Japan by going toward Hiroshima and Himeji. It was a cloudy day. We got out of our Hotel Okuuchi Osaka and went to the near by Awaza Subway Station in Green Line and bought a multi-use subway pass for ¥ 3000 and used it to get two more individual tickets for ¥ 230 to get to Shin-Osaka (New Osaka) station. We first traveled to Hommachi station in Green (Chuo) Line and transferred to (Midosuji) Red line and arrived in Shin-Osaka.
At Shin-Osaka (only here the Shinkansens Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama come and not to the Osaka station) we took JR Shinkansen Hakari #453 train at 9:11 AM going toward Hakata. In about hour and half we arrived in Hiroshima JR station. At the station we took travel guides from the Information station about Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and A-Bomb Dome. Hiroshima tourist sites are connected from the JR Station by tram (aka Street Car). We took the tram number #6 and reached the Peace memorial park in about 20 minutes (Genbaku-dome-mae).
We spent about an hour going around the A-Bomb Building, Peace Memorial Park, and Eternal flame all located on either side of the Motayasu-gawa river. Then we turned back to the tram station and took the Street Car # 2 and got back to Hiroshima JR Station.
From there we took Hikari Railstar # 460 around 12:50 PM to Himeji and arrived there at 1:50 PM. At Himeji we saw one beautiful palanquin at the JR station. It looked very similar to the carriage that are prevalent in India for carrying deities from the Hindu temples. We walked out of the JR Station and it started to drizzle a bit. We quickly saw the special bus that took people to the Himeji Castle and paid ¥ 180 and took it the Castle. It was probably the fourth stop.
The rain stopped but it remained cloudy and slippery. We bought the tickets for the Castle and started to climb the winding path. We saw beautiful bonsai-like trees in the castle grounds. Almost all the important structures were made of wood. We stopped at couple of places to take rest since drinking (even water) and eating were not allowed. There was no electrical connection and hence no a/c or fan inside the palace. The raining and cloudiness in addition to the hot climate made it hard for us to climb all the way to the top. We stopped at three floors from the top most floor and headed back. We bought some souvenirs at the shop on the front of the palace.
We took another Hikari Railstar home that evening. The legs were bit sore at the end of the day. But it was well worth it. Another thing we noticed was that there were no public water fountains anywhere to be seen. They were not there even near the public restrooms. So if you are traveling during summer pack lot of water or buy them at the shops.
Himeji Castle ticket is shown below: