Some last sightseeing opportunities and the last day here
Our last day in Hiroshima consisted of visiting another castle as well as a museum and garden. First we took the bus to a small city called just outside Hiroshima called Iwakuni which is known for its uniquely constructed bridge called Kintai-kyo. We walked over the bridge then went to the Iwakuni Castle which was built in the beginning of the Edo Period in 1608. It is situated on top of Mount Shiroyama looking onto the city 200 meters below it. Since the castle was built over the course of 5 years it didn’t take long for it to deteriorate. It was torn down by order of the shogun around 7 years after it was completed. Today’s version dates back to 1962 we were told and it is just beautiful. Inside the castle we got to see samurai swords and armor and learn plenty about the castle’s past. We left the castle in the afternoon to get back into the city so we could visit the Mazda Museum as we had made an appointment for a 3pm tour. Reservations must be made in advance and you can’t wander around on your own, a guide shows you around. The Mazda Motor Corporation was founded in Hiroshima in 1920 and its headquarters remain there to this day. We met up with all the other people that would be going on the tour inside the Mazda Head Office building where we were met by our tour guide. We then all got on a mini bus that took us to the nearby plant. We were shown Mazda’s oldest car models, told about its history and what future developments they have in the making. Then we got to pass through an assembly line, saw how the cars are put together and got to check out several of the new models that aren’t even on the streets yet. The tour ended at a shop that sold Mazda goods and lasted around 90 minutes. The tour was not boring at all, we were debating whether or not we should go to the Mazda museum but we were glad we had. Our last attraction we visited in Hiroshima was the Shukkeien Garden. Translated into English it actually means shrunken scenery garden one fellow told us. He said the garden dates back to 1620 just after the Hiroshima Castle was built. The nice guy went to have tea with us at one of the tea houses; he was very friendly so we weren’t sure if he was gay or hitting on us. Either way, he showed us around, told us all about the gardens history and engaged in a short but sweet conversation with us about the Hiroshima bomb. After he left we walked around the garden some more, following it until we had made a full circle. The garden was designed to represent various landscapes in miniature, such as mountains, valleys and forests. It was very pretty and made for a nice quiet evening on our last day in Hiroshima and Japan. We had such a great time here; we can’t wait to come back. The people are friendly, attractions are plenty, and great food and shopping is at every corner.
To celebrate our last evening in Japan, we decided to drink some of the traditional alcohol in Japan, Sake. We then went through and looked at all of the photos that we took and all of the souvenir’s that we had purchased. We got Matcha Tea Sets, which are used for the green tea rituals,paper lanterns, which are washi paper glued on a bamboo frame, some Japanese hand fans, Yukata’s, which are cotton Kimono’s with the Geta shoes to go with them. We made out like bandits!
We have learned too much and will treasure this experience for ever. Thank you Japan for hosting some crazy Canadian tourists!
Until next time,
Love Liz, Maddi, Emily and Erin