Hiroshima Okonomiyaki

Another Japanese food goal achieved today. Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki from a building I’ve read about that is just four level of Okonomiyaki restaurants.

This place (Okonomimura) was rather hard to find, but after a few minutes going in circles we found it.

The experience was amazing having so many places all making the same food and having it (then eating it) off the hot plate right it front of you is fantastic. Added to the theatre of the whole experience was having a TV in the background playing Japanese baseball.

Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki is make with a base of noodles and is not as creamy as the Kansai style that most people would recognise as Okonomiyaki.

Whilst the experience was great I’ll be honest admitting that I wasn’t overly impressed with my Okonomiyaki and somewhat disappointed. Just as it was almost cooked it was sprinkled with green (seaweed?) flakes that gave it a bit of a fishy aftertaste. I won’t be hurrying to try another, I’ll be sticking to the Kansai style.

Washed it down with a glass of the plumb wine liqueur. Now that is delicious.

Entrance to the building

Here is where it’s at on the map

After dinner wandering the streets

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Station Dinner

edit : looks like I forgot to publish this post the other day

After our epic hike in the mountains we decided to grab some dinner at the station before heading back to the hotel for a dip in the relaxing Onsen.

We chose this Teppanyaki style restaurant right near the station. Yet again amazing food l. I had a delicious pork Okonomiyaki and Dave had a set of skewers. All washed down with a nice bottle of South American wine from Chile.

The Okonomiyaki I had is Kansai style (thanks for the tip Halves). Hiroshima the style is different and includes noodles with the pancake. Looking forward to trying that one

The skewers Dave had :-

chef cooking an omelette :-

A nice drop

Atom Bomb and Peace Museum

No trip to Hiroshima would be complete without a visit to the Atom Bomb dome and Peace museum. I’d also argue it’s a must see for anyone’s first trip to Japan, learning more about what happened here gives you a better appreciation for how modern Japan evolved after WW2.

When the Americans dropped the bomb on August 6, 1945 they were aiming for a T shaped bridge called the Aioi Bridge. In the photo below I’m standing right where it was supposed to land, also shown on the map.

They didn’t miss by much, it exploded 600 meters in the air about 250 meters from where I’m standing just behind the actual dome. It was almost the only structure left standing in the city.

The museum has a few photos of what it looked like just before the bombing and just after

This photo is apparently the first one taken right after the bombing. About 3 hours after

I didn’t take many photos inside. Most of the pictures are a bit too horrific. Visiting is a surreal experience, the building with these displays is huge, there are hundreds of people inside and you could literally hear a pin drop. No one is taking or making any sounds, just hundreds of people trying to process what they are seeing and reading as they move through.

Some information on how much radiation it takes to kill you.

Make sure you visit if you come to Japan.

Mazda Museum Tour

Today was our relocation day to Hiroshima and our first item on the “to do” list was the Mazda Factory Museum Tour. This tour is completely free, however you need to book it in advance online. You cannot just show up.

It is truly free, the only thing Mazda request in return is that you don’t take photos anywhere onsite except inside the museum. That includes no photos from the bus that transports you around. In a way that’s such a pity as the truly interesting things are in the factory.

Mazda undersell this tour a little. It’s way more than a museum tour. They take you on a bus around the factory, over a bridge that is owned and exclusively used by Mazda and into part of the factory where you can observe Mazda cars being produced. The scale of the place is unbelievable. They have an internal bus service with 35 stops. The factory takes a significant amount of Hiroshima realestate

This is Hiroshima. The darker spaces is the factory. It extends for a few kilometres up the river on the right hand side.

It’s amazing to watch the robotics and the people assembling all the cars. I particularly liked the machine that inserts the windscreens into the cars as they move past on the line. Mazda have built this line so they can assemble multiple types of cars on the one production line.

How do I do this tour?

  • Make sure you email them the list of names the night before.
  • Take an eastbound train on the Sanyo or Kure line and get off at Mukainada Station.
  • Walk out across the road into the head office

This is the building you are heading too, its visible from the station.

You can easily do this as a day tour from Kyoto if you don’t want to stay there overnight and you have a JR pass. Just the the 7.20 Hikari from Kyoto which gets to Hiroshima at 9.05 you have a few hours left in the day to visit the A-Bomb museum.

Here are the train details to get there direct from Kyoto. Getting from track 12 to track 7 is very simple and only takes minutes. We did the change over with time to spare.

At the Mazda head office it’s super efficient. They sign you in, give you a pass and you wait for the tour to start. There is even a café where you can buy a coffee and something to eat.

Got your luggage with you? No drama. Mazda even have free luggage storage onsite that was big enough to take my suitcase with room to spare

Yours truly sitting in one of the cars on display

Cafe in the building

There is a small shop at the end of the tour where you can get some Mazda branded merchandise and books. They were selling little model roadsters and CX5s for ¥400

A selection of the cars in the museum

Funniest quote from someone else on the tour when looking at a car decked out with a Calgary Olympics logo…. “What’s a Calgary?”. Use your imagination to guess that tourists nationality….

Mazda have a little display of their corporate logo made of tiny cars

Zoom Zoomed in :-

All in all, a great bit of corporate PR for Mazda and 2 hours well spent for you.

Grossest Vending Machine Ever

Just when you think you have seen the grossest things edible imaginable, Japan somehow manages to level up again.

You are looking at Rotten Fish heads in drinking water bottles. I shit you not….

It’s actually take away Dashi, a main ingredient in Miso soup. Just remember this image next time you chow down on a bowl of Miso….

And just incase tourists some how still manage to mistake this as a drink, the vending machine has this warning.

Coffee wrapped in plastic

Japan, we need to talk….

This was my coffee this morning. Coffee in a disposable cup, on a disposable tray, in a disposable bag. My coffee this morning cost the planet 3 dolphins and a tree. We won’t even get started about whales…

I think the packaging was in my hand for less than 2 minutes as I walked from one platform to the next with coffee in hand. Most people are travelling north, so the only food places open before 7 (or in some places 8:30) are on the north bound platform.

Coffee here is more expensive than wine. For good coffee I’ve been paying ¥500+ for good coffee and even ¥480 for crap ones. A glass of wine has averaged ¥400-500. And that’s for a small coffee at the good places.

The other weird thing here is when you ask for coffee you are then asked if you want hot or cold coffee.

It would seem I’m not the only one to wonder why coffee here is so expensive

Now I’m partially caffeinated and waiting for the train south to Hiroshima