After a morning filled with the beauty and calmness of nature it was time for me to get a bit of a history. I took the streetcar back into town which took a good 45 minutes, but not quite peaceful enough for me to sneak a nap. Conveniently, the A-bomb dome has it's own stop so it was extremely easy to find. This was likely the most tourist trap portion of my trip, I was soon surrounded by westerners, but I felt that it was a must see, especially since I didn't retain much from my high school history classes.
The park, monuments, museum and memorials were all very well done. Viewing history through actual places, rather than textbooks made a much more significant impact on me. There were paintings created from survivors which was obviously the most moving part of the museum, giving feeling and emotion where textbooks could never do so.
After spending hours in and around the park,both tired and hungry, I was ready to find what I came for - Okonomiyaki. My brother raved about this dish after he came home from Japan and argued that it was much better than the Kansai style, so after having and enjoying that I figured this one must be good. I received a few different recommendations but the closest, and what I expected to be easiest to find, was Okonomi-mura, an area with roughly 25 vendors selling the same thing. It took a little while roaming the streets but soon I was there and selected a booth with two nice women, to be honest none of them were busy as it was only 5 pm, but I was hungry. Apparently I picked the right place because soon after being seating a large group of Japanese workers came in along with a few other solo diners, soon all the seats were full.
Although I still had hours before my bus was due to leave I thought i'd walk back to the station where I stowed my bag earlier that morning. I wasn't entirely sure where I'd be catching the bus that night so I also wanted to figure that out before the information booths closed. Turns out it's a good thing I decided to head back when I did, my bus was in fact leaving from the bus terminal, not the train station. Wouldn't luck have it that the bus terminal was only steps away from where I had just been. Not wanting to change the walking theme of the trip, and having plenty of time to spare, I decided to trek back to the terminal on foot. I suppose I could've explored more of the city before grabbing my bag but to be honest I was dead tired and all I wanted to do was sit down and relax.
Clearly I didn't think about the amount of time I'd have in Hiroshima - arrive at 6:30 and then depart later that night at 11:30, it was a long day. This was obviously not my favorite part of the trip, bus stations aren't really the ideal place to hang out at 11 o'clock at night, but I made sure to stay close to the ticket counter. I did make one friend at the terminal though, an older Japanese man who was keen to practice English and learn about why I was traveling Japan. At one point he handed me his cell phone because his friend that "could speak really good English" wanted to talk to me - turns out his daughter lives in Chicago and he's traveled around the US a few times. Oh the random meetings while traveling. Finally the bus came and thus started my near 24 hour trek home.
Recognized for great Sushi and Ramen, there's so much more to this country than it's food. Rich with history and culture this small group of Islands is a place not to be missed.