12.11.16

A Year Older

Normally I would make a post on my birthday. But, this year, I decided I don't wanna put such pressure on myself. So, here it is one day late post :D
Well, actually I don't plan to write anything special. I will only post a picture, which is related to my upcoming post (hopefully soon), about my solo trip to a city in Ehime Prefecture last year. Ciao!


3.11.16

Solo Travel - Hiroshima

Hello, All! I am thinking that I will start posting about my solo trips once in a while.  Solo trip, or you can say as hitori-tabi in Japanese. I had been visiting places within Tokyo or nearby prefectures in Kanto area by myself ever since I came to Japan in 2009. However, never had I been to other prefectures far from Tokyo, solo, until 2013. I went for a solo trip for the first time in Summer 2013. The destination that I chose was Hiroshima, the largest city in Chugoku region, western Honshu island, Japan.
Why Hiroshima?
I had always wanted to go to Hiroshima. This city experienced one of the most significant events in modern history as it was the first ever city to witness how cruel and inhuman atomic bomb can do to humanity. I am sure most of us learned that an atomic bomb was dropped on the city on August 6, 1945.  I wanted to see the city after years had passed.
Actually, I did not specifically plan to go alone to Hiroshima. But, after waiting for so long, trying to adjust schedule and everything else with some friends, it never went beyond planning. So I decided to go by myself since it would be much easier to plan everything, from schedule, budget, itinerary, etc.
I went for a 2-nights-3-days trip, by airplane and stayed at a hotel in the city. I found the tour package on the internet, which was relatively cheap. Although it was a 'tour-package', it did not mean that you'd have to go with a group of people. It only referred to a package of airplane and hotel.
What To See?
Well, I don't think I need to write about it here in my blog because you can all go to Google and you will find so much information with lots of details.
So, I will just write few impressions and post few photos of some places I went to.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
I will say that this should be the main destination of a trip to Hiroshima. You can see the A-Bomb Dome, the cenotaph, the ground zero, etc. If you have plenty of time, I would recommend a visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. You can rent an audio guide tool to help you get around the museum with more insights and stories. I was surprised that it was also offered in Bahasa Indonesia, beside Japanese, English, and some other languages. The audio guide was worth it, my eyes got teary as I looked at some of the exhibitions.   
Cenotaph Memorial and the A-Bomb Dome

Hiroshima Castle
As far as I can remember, Hiroshima Castle was the first Japanese castle that I visited. Actually I went near to Odawara Castle in 2009 but did not enter the complex itself so I don't count it as a visit lol.
The original Hiroshima Castle was destroyed in the atomic bombing, so the one that we can see now is a rebuilt. This castle is considered unique in term of location where it was built, which is on a plain in the city, not on top of hills as most other Japanese castles. I can recall that I met a fellow solo traveler from Australia at the entrance and we ended up looking around within the main keep of the castle together. I figured this could be an experience that we would have especially when we travel solo, having more interactions with strangers and enjoying the moments with people we meet along the way.
Hiroshima Castle

A Side Trip to Miyajima
I would totally recommend a side trip to Miyajima, which can be reached from Hiroshima by ferry. The main attractions include Itsukushima Shrine and its giant torii gate, Mount Misen. Although I did not hike to the summit of the mountain, I went up to the Shishi-Iwa observatory where I had nice views of Seto Inland Sea.
Itsukushima Shrine and Its Torii Gate

A Side Trip to Onomichi
I normally book a trip (transportation and accommodation) at least a month (or preferably more) before my departure but I don't really start planning my itinerary until about 1 or 2 weeks before the trip. So, realised that 3 days were so much more than enough for a trip to Hiroshima. After doing some googling, I decided that I would go for a side trip to Onomichi.
Apparently Onomichi is famous for its Temple Walk and cycling route along the Shimanami Kaido. As I did not plan to do a cycling activity, I decided to go to Senkoji Park. I did a lot of walks here in Onomichi. I went through a Cat Trail, Senkoji Temple which used to be a shooting location of a Korean drama, etc. 
The View from Senkoji Park Observation Deck

If you are going for a two days trip around Hiroshima, I recommend the 2 days trip card as it covers tram ride within Hiroshima city, round trip ferry ride to Miyajima, and ropeway ticket in Miyajima. 


Overall, I was satisfied with my trip. I found Hiroshima, Miyajima, and Onomichi were relaxing, so it was a nice getaway from busy and crowded Tokyo.
If you are a woman solo traveler, I would say traveling in summer is a better option as you can have longer daylight. I personally refrain from going out later than 9 pm when I travel alone because cities outside Tokyo can be really quiet at night. So, for the sake of my own safety I'd rather rest at the hotel. Maybe you can consider my tips as well!

Wait for more posts! See you!

6.6.16

Ashikaga Flower Park

Early May, Japan has three consecutive national holiday (plus a separate national date still within the same week). So, normally many Japanese people who are known for their long working hours will take some days off from work to make it as a long holiday for about 10 consecutive days. This long holiday is famously referred as Golden Week in Japan.
Entering my second year as a salary(wo)man in Japan, I also decided to take extra days off to enjoy a long holiday this year. In one of those days, I went to Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture, about almost 2 hours long drive from Tokyo (with about 15 mins stop in rest area).
This flower park is especially packed with people around early May as the park observes the full bloom of its main attraction, Wisteria. There are four main colors of Wisteria that we can enjoy there; Purple, light pink, white, and yellow. However, the yellow one normally has its peak about a week later than the other colors. When I went there, a tunnel of yellow wisteria was still about to start blooming.
You can definitely enjoy the pretty flowers across the park although there are sooooooo many people. But for me, the highlight was the very nice scent from the flowers in every corner of the park. It simply made my day. So, I bought wisteria scent room spray for myself LOL. Btw, the scent is similar to the scent of jasmine.
I hope next year I can go to a bigger wisteria tunnel in Fukui, preferably during the weekdays where I hope I can expect fewer people!
Anyway, enjoy few photos from the park :)