If you choose to continue exploring western Japan, then, shifting base to Okayama instead of using Osaka or Kyoto makes sense. There are bullet trains (Shinkansen) that run between the two cities and in under 2 hours you can travel from one city to the other.
Day 0 – Travel from Kyoto to Okayama
We reached Okayama late in the evening and settled into our hotel. Our hotel was located close to the Okayama Station and so we were able to take a night stroll around the area and spend some time at the Aeon Mall located close by which has a lot of interesting stores and eating options.
Day 1 – Okayama and Hiroshima
After breakfast we headed to Korakuen Garden. It is an absolutely stunning garden where you can easily spend 2 to 3 hours without getting bored. We walked past the Okayama castle but did not go in. We heard from local folks that it is a beautiful castle and worth visiting if you have the time.
From Okayama we drove to Hiroshima. We reached there around lunchtime. After lunch, we headed to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
We spent about 3 hours exploring the park and the museum. Having seen the Enola Gay in Washington D.C. and then the memorial site at Pearl Harbour, it was truly heart breaking to see the effect the Atomic Bomb had on Hiroshima. Please understand, I am not debating the facts or why things happened the way they did. However, I was surprised in the “matter-of-fact” manner in which the timeline & history was presented… the events leading up to it, why it happened and how the world changed afterward.
During our trip we did not get a chance to spend too much time with local Japanese folks. While our guide (who was 65 + years old) told us people who were alive at the time have no bad feelings regarding Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I really don’t know if that is true across the spectrum. But, I am hopeful that future generations will understand the impact of weapons on societies and build their futures accordingly.
On the way back to Okayama, we stopped by Kamotsuru Brewery briefly to understand the sake making process.
Once we reached Okayama, we had dinner and called it a night. The next morning we headed to our next destination.