My dad’s here! Dziadziu (grandfather) came to see the grandkids and see what our life in Japan is like. After a few days of Yokohama sites, it was time to hit the rails.
Dad said that he wanted to see Hiroshima, so I decided on a stop at Himeji Castle along the way. So we boarded our first Nozomi Super Express Shinkansen of the day.
As loyal martayaki readers may recall, I visited Himeji Castle once before.
We arrived in Himeji and saw tons of people. And sakura (cherry blossoms)! Honestly I had no idea that the castle is surrounded by them, so it was a lovely surprise. A gorgeous Sunday afternoon with sakura in full bloom brought out the masses, but somehow no one seemed to mind. The long lines moved along at a steady pace, and the announced wait time of 60 minutes to enter the Main Keep (main part of the castle) turned out to be about 20 minutes. Our fellow line standers all seemed in good spirits. Call it the magic of the sakura, or simply good manners–but everyone waited patiently, enjoying the beautiful day and incredible scenery.
Standing there, looking at these breathtaking flowers, and this stunning castle–I swallowed a huge lump in my throat. It’s impossible for me to feel anything but pure gratitude that I have this opportunity, and that I shared it with my dad.
After the castle Dad sampled his first bowl of katsudon (pork cutlet with egg over rice) and soba noodles.
Then we returned to the Shinkansen for a quick 60 minute ride, continuing on to Hiroshima.
We arrived late afternoon, checked in to our hotel, and relaxed a bit. Then dinner!
If you mention a visit to Hiroshima, you’ll get very different responses from Western and Japanese friends. The Westerners frown a bit and ask if I went to the Peace Memorial and other sites related to the atomic bombing. Meanwhile Japanese friends light up and enthusiastically ask, did you try any okonomiyaki?!?
So for dinner Dad and I headed to Okonomimura, or okonomiyaki town–really a building with several floors of okonomiyaki stalls. We carefully reviewed the stalls, weighed our options, then judiciously chose one. Kidding! We sat down at the first place with two open stools, then ordered beer and a Deluxe Okonomiyaki.
Well nourished, we retired to our hotel for a solid sleep ahead of Monday’s plan: a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Atomic Bomb Dome.