🇯🇵 Day trip to 広島 (Hiroshima) and 神戸市 (Kōbe)

This post is the second in a series on our honeymoon trip in Japan. We also visited Seoul, South Korea. Have a read of part 1 and part 2 of our Seoul adventures, and read about our first two days in Osaka.

Itsukushima Shrine, the great torii gate, at low tide

On our third day in Osaka we actually decided to day trip to Hiroshima and Kobe. I’d never been to either place so I was pretty excited to be heading somewhere new.

To get to Hiroshima we caught the shinkansen from Shin-Osaka, and it was about an hour’s trip to get to Hiroshima. From there, we caught a bus to the Hiroshima Peace Park. It’s not a park as the name suggests, it’s actually a museum. Although there are many other things to see in Hiroshima, this one is definitely worth checking out.

I honestly found Hiroshima Peace Park to be really educational, as we learned a lot about the background behind the bombing. It was also heartbreaking watching short videos about some of the survivors’ stories. One aged woman still remembered everything very clearly and she had lost her husband and both her children. I don’t even know how she felt comfortable talking about it. Although she sounded extremely upset, she didn’t seem to be tearing up like I expected. Some people were only 13 or 14 years old when the bombs fell, yet they could recall the memories so vividly. There was an area dedicated to showing clothes, watches, kitchenware and other items that had been affected by the destruction of Hiroshima. They had been preserved and some were donated by family members of the deceased (who had kept the clothes) or simply found among the wreckage.

The Atomic Bomb Dome as seen from afar
The Atomic Bomb Dome

After finishing up at the Hiroshima Peace Park we walked around and observed the Dome in the city, that was in ruins but still partially standing. By then it was time for lunch and we stumbled upon a sushi train/carousel restaurant called Nonta-Sushi. We hadn’t had sushi in Japan yet so we headed on in. It ended up being really good! 🤤 In particular I favoured the pickled plum rolls and the Hiroshima greens rolls.

The interior of the sushi restaurant
The interior of the sushi restaurant
Some nigiri sushi that I forgot the name of
Three small sushi rolls of Hiroshima greens
Hiroshima greens!
Aburi salmon nigiri
Aburi salmon, Nick’s favourite.
Six baby/mini (raw) tuna rolls on a plate
Baby tuna rolls, a classic.

We went to Itsukushima (popularly known as Miyajima) to see the famous torii gate, Itsukushima Shrine, which is in the ocean. It was a pretty long train ride. Although the town seemed pretty nice we went straight to the ferry that would take us closer to the shrine. As expected, it was packed with people.

Itsukushima Shrine, the great torii gate, as seen from the ferry
Beautiful view from the ferry ride.

I often see photos of the shrine at high tide, so a lot of it is immersed in water. This time the tide was really low so you could stand right at the bottom of the torii gate without getting wet.

The shrine at low tide, with some large puddles of water still present
Plenty of people surrounded the shrine.
A landscape view of the shrine
You could walk right up to the gate

At the bottom of the gate pillars is some buildup from the ocean water, and people have tried pushing coins of Japanese yen into the buildup for good fortune.

People reaching out to touch the shrine
I suppose people were touching the shrine for good luck too
People observing some of the effects of the ocean water on the shrine
People observing some of the effects of the ocean water on the shrine
Close up of Japanese coins stuck into the pillar of the gate
Close up of the coins sticking out of the pillar
The shrine with a lot of people walking around in the wet sand
Lots and lots of people were still present as the tide rose slightly
A view of the shrine looking back from the ocean to the island
Looking back at the shrine after heading closer to the ocean

We were only there for around thirty minutes but the tide rose super quick. We had headed out further and after walking back we could see that the tide had risen in the area we were previously standing in. Catching the ferry there and back to the mainland, we could see the shrine from a distance and it made for a nice view. We also came across some wild deer!

A deer sitting on the ground with its eyes partially shut
A deer just chillin’.

Since we wanted to get a shinkansen to get us to Kobe by around 5:00pm, we had to leave Miyajima at a certain time. We had to run for the train after catching the ferry to the mainland. If we didn’t make that train, it would mean that we missed our connecting shinkansen and would be in Kobe too late. Thankfully we made it. 😂

We spent about twenty minutes walking around Kobe and scouting the streets (including a few of the side streets) to find good kobe beef. We stumbled upon a restaurant that had some interesting and appealing advertising out the front. I think there may have been a familiar TripAdvisor sticker on it too.

When we walked in, they were very welcoming but informed us that they were fully booked out. But the two waitstaff immediately wanted to help us. They said that they had some other restaurants in their group – I’m guessing they all have the same owner or something like that – and that we might be able to score a seat at one of those. They made a couple of phone calls and then one of them asked us to follow her. We had to walk across the road and maybe half a block away, to a restaurant that was located in a complex. It’s quite common in Japan that you will find restaurants and cafes in small complexes, you might even have to walk up a staircase or two (or three).

We ended up going to a restaurant called Kobe Tanryu. Before we went in, the waitress who had walked us there said we could check the menu outside and see if it was OK. We were pretty happy with it, so we headed on in.

The inside of the restaurant was so pleasant. It only seated about 8 people, and you sit around the cooking area where you can see the chefs cook the meat. From the look of the restaurant we initially walked into, this setting might have been a common thing in kobe beef restaurants.

We ordered a sirloin steak and prime rib steak. We got rice, miso soup and salad with it as well. The chef asked if we wanted a photo, and he was kind enough to take one for us, also taking the time to set up the area so it looked presentable.

Me and Nick sitting at the counter with our selected beef cuts before they were cooked

The chef prepared some condiments on a square stone plate. The condiments included thin, dry garlic, salt and pepper, fresh wasabi, and pickled plum. I normally don’t like wasabi, and I don’t like the feeling it gives, but I’ve found that I like fresh wasabi. In some eateries in Japan we received fresh wasabi (this was the first one I experienced) and to me it tasted more… well, tasty. And the feeling didn’t hit my nose as strongly.

A few slices of the cooked beef
A square stone plate with some vegetables and kobe beef cooked and served, along with some condiments
Our plate of food with some of the beef cooked and served

We spent a mini fortune on our meal ($300 per person) but the experience, service and the taste of the food made it well worth it. I think that if you do eat meat as part of your diet, the experience of eating kobe beef in Kobe is definitely something you must do.

Kyoto was our next stop – and my next post about our honeymoon adventures will be on exactly that!

Photos in this post were taken by me on my iPhone 7 or on my Canon 6D.

You can follow our honeymoon adventures with the hashtag #thecookeshoneymoon on Twitter (mostly me) or on Instagram (mostly Nick). 💖

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Comments on this post

Hiroshima sounds like a very interesting place to visit. It would have been hard to watch all the stories of loss and sadness, especially when people were so young and lost so much.

Mmmm. The sushi looks delicious. :D

The shrine looks fantastic, and the photos are great. It’s cool to see the expression of other people as they see it and touch it.

Wow, that was an expensive meal, but at least it was worth it, and you had a good experience. :D Treat yo self!

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aaaah so jealous of you but also happy for you that you’re able to experience japan! and to experience that beef! omg everything must have tasted like heaven lol

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$300 per person! Kobe beef is so expensive, but I’ve heard it’s 100% worth the money and will become one of your top favorite meals if you get a taste of it. I’m definitely jealous you got your hands on it because at $300/person, I doubt I’ll get to try it while I’m in Japan this year. 😉

Hiroshima looks fabulous! My friends recently went and spent a weekend there and said it was great. I definitely want to go soon. I love that it’s only about an hour by Shinkansen. Makes a great day trip! I think you guys made a great choice going to visit it. Especially considering how much history is in that one city alone…

The shrine looks fantastic! Awesome photos. I think my favorite photos are when the tide is high, but it’s great you can get so close to it when the tide gets low.

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I’d like to visit Hiroshima some day. The museum sounds like it was really interesting.

The photos you took of the Itsukushima Shrine are beautiful. It’s cool that you got to visit it while the tide was out. And how cute it that deer!

Wow! That is so expensive for a meal. But it was so kind of the staff at the first restaurant to help you out with finding another restaurant. That’s good customer service!

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I was about to skip Hiroshima because I thought it was an 8 hour trip one way! I didn’t know it was that close to Osaka! I’m definitely adding it onto my list as a day trip in April. I’m a history lover so I’m very excited to see Hiroshima and its history.

I’m normally not a fan of tuna but that baby tuna roll looks sooooo good!

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Hiroshima sounds like an interesting place to visit. I imagine it was incredibly sad hearing the stories of the people there at the time though.

Wow that beef looks amazing. Can’t believe it was so expensive though! Glad you both enjoyed it. I don’t really eat meat, but I can imagine Andy would want to try some if we went to Japan. It does look really nice though!

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