Hiroshima – Japan

A medium sized city on the western edge of Japan which was almost unknown to the rest of the world until World War 2. On August 6th 1945 America turned Hiroshima into a living hell by dropping the first of 2 nuclear bombs onto Japan.

Most visitors come to pay their respects to those lost during those dark days by visiting the Hiroshima Memorial Peace park. At the centre of the park is the Flame of Peace, a flame that will burn every second until nuclear bombs no longer exist in our world and all humankind vows never to allow such devastation to enter the world again. I sincerely hope we live to see the day when the flame is switched off and a peaceful world exists.

To learn more about the bomb and the events leading up to and after the attack visit the Peace Memorial Museum, there are parts you may find distressing but it’s the only way to truly understand what happened in Hiroshima and why history should never be allowed to repeat itself. (Entrance costs ¥200.)

Most of Hiroshima’s buildings were turned to ash during the explosion, though a few did survive (barely). The A-Dome, just across the river to the peace park is one of those buildings, it has been kept exactly as it was after the bomb to show the devastating effects and to remind the world what happened here. The dome was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Other Things To Do:

After all the emotions that come with visiting a place like Hiroshima, you’ll probably want to sit quietly an contemplate the world we live in for a while, a good place to do this is the beautiful and tranquil Shukkeien Garden, where you can stroll around the 16th century lake or sit and reflect under one of the cherry blossom trees.

If you have more time in Hiroshima the castle is a great place for a birds eye view of the city with its 5th floor observatory. Inside the castle the museum explores the origins of the castle city. Hiroshima Castle was originally built in 1589 then rebuilt during 1958, entrance costs ¥370 or you can walk around the gardens for free.

Getting There:

Hiroshima is on Japan’s famous bullet train line, you can get there from Shin-Osaka in just 1 hour and 45 minuets.

Where To Stay:

We booked the Hiroshima Court Hotel for £25 per night on Hotels.Com, the rooms were huge compared to others we’ve had in Japan and had private bathrooms (rare for this price range). The hotel was great and it was within walking distance to the train station as well as all the attractions in Hiroshima.


Mt Fuji – Japan

Mt Fuji – November 2015
The symbol of Japan to many people, the countries number 1 tourist attraction and its surprisingly difficult to get there using public transport. I had 1 day to visit Mt Fuji and after extensive online research, looking at online maps and different modes of transport etc. I finally decided that it would be easier to join an organised tour from Tokyo city centre.

I booked using the Viator.com app, which had a number of different options. I went for a mid-range tour which also included a de-tour to the local Lake Hakone. The bus left from a major bus terminal in Tokyo, it was easy to find and right next to a subway station. First stop was a fancy hotel at the base of Mt Fuji for a Japanese Brunch and a few photos.

Then the bus continued to about half way up the mountain, we had an hour here to walk around, take photos and visit the gift shop.

On the way back to Tokyo there was a de-tour included in the tour price, the bus stopped at Lake Hakone where we enjoyed a 30 minute boat ride to the bottom of Mt Hakone, and a cable car ride to the top of the mountain. It was really foggy so the view from the top wasn’t that great, but Mt Fuji can be seen in the background on a clear day.

The tour was a full day and the bus dropped us back in Tokyo, close to a few major subway stations. The day was fantastic even if the weather wasn’t. I really enjoyed letting someone else worry about planning the day and enjoyed a laid back and hassle free day.

All entry fees and meals were included in the price. Continue reading “Mt Fuji – Japan”


24 Hours in Tokyo

Tokyo – November 2015
On a recent business trip to Japan, I was lucky enough to tag on a few personal days onto the beginning. Even though I don’t really do solo travel, it wouldn’t make sense not to make the most of this rare opportunity. Knowing that I only had 2 nights in this amazing place, (before being stuck on an industrial estate for a week) I cram packed my itinerary before leaving to UK to make sure I hit the ground running, I give myself a full day in Tokyo.

I bought a tourist ticket for the subway system from the information stand in the airport, it was really easy, they speak perfect English and it meant that I didn’t need to worry about carrying a load of change. The subway was very reliable and there were plenty of trains, the route was extensive and covered the whole city. If you have ever been to London, New York or any other cities where they subway runs on a colour system, then you will be fine. All the routes are in English as well as Japanese.

My first stop was the Tokyo tower, it didn’t open until 9am so I had to wait outside for a few minutes, which was fine, it was surprisingly warm for a November morning. My view from the top wasn’t great but on a clear day you can supposedly see all the way to Mt Fuji. There is a food court inside the tower where I had breakfast (Pizza, blame the jet lag!). Food was ok but just a typical chain type food court.

I hadn’t planned to visit the Yoyogi Park but it was a warm morning and close to my next stop Takeshita Street. I ended up spending a few hours in the beautiful park and getting completely lost. It was a great place to people watch and relax. Takeshita Street was another great place to people watch, with lots of trendy shops and a great atmosphere.

I caught the next subway to Sensō-ji temple and braved the crowds to get a good view, there are some nice gardens and smaller temples surrounding the area. I was there on a Saturday and the massive food market made me regret a poor breakfast choice. I nearly fell asleep here but luckily it was 3pm and time to check into my hotel. (Separate blog post on staying in a capsule hotel.) after a nap and quick shower I was ready to head back out for the evening.

I wanted to see the famous Shibuya crossing and but didn’t linger to long, I made the Government building my last stop for the day. Its free to visit the top floor observation deck and its open till late. By the time I got there all the crowds had gone and it was relatively quiet.

Finally, I called it a night and went back to the hotel, thoroughly exhausted and my feet killing me. I didn’t even undress before passing out on the bed. I had a great day in Tokyo and will certainly be returning with Sean one day.