I always marvel at how much focus is given to lighting up parts of Tokyo for December, since Christmas Day is a working day. A Google search of illumination in Japan or Tokyo will show many areas where people go to enjoy creative and beautiful light shows every year. It is quite fun to go from place to place throughout the month. Many ‘instagrammable’ opportunities are provided.
I like that there are different spots to get out and enjoy with others. It makes the season more festive even though Christmas Day isn’t a holiday. Many malls have massive, well decorated Christmas trees and of course Christmas sales.
The ‘mas’ in Christmas is strong in Japan. Fun facts, Christmas Day is one for couples to go out on a date and many people order KFC, so it is often sold out. I am serious, you actually need to order in advance if you want it.
Even though it’s nippy here in December, there is still much to do and enjoy both indoors and outdoors. I am going to enjoy another Christmas/Winter illumination later with a friend, cause why not.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum showcases the horrors that people experienced after the bombing. Steel yourself for the graphic images. It’s only 200 yen and it has been recently updated to accommodate more people. The entire park is worth spending some time viewing and reflecting on the events that took place there less than 100 years ago. Get to the museum early because when there are many people they may stop admitting people way before closing time. You may have to wait and it maybe a bit crowded.
Visit the Hiroshima Castle to get a taste of that aspect of the culture. It’s 370 yen to enter and it’s worth exploring. The grounds are really beautiful as well. It’s a nice place to sit and enjoy nature for a while especially in spring and fall.
Many people rush through Hiroshima in a day or two but there are many wonders to discover by walking its streets. Okonomiyaki is a staple of Hiroshima and worth trying. Also ride the trams from place to place and see more of the surrounding areas. Payment on the tram can be tricky so watch others or ask the conductor.
Of course no visit to Hiroshima is complete without a stop at Miyajima.
A short ferry ride from Hiroshima is where you will find Miyajima. It’s known for the tori in the picture above and the deer you will encounter there. Spend a day exploring the island on foot and ride up the ropeway to see a view of the city, on a clear day.
Whenever I visit – I have been 3 times- I enjoy trying out the different seafood on offer by different vendors. It’s definitely a place to walk and eat again and again. Go in the back streets, enjoy the different architecture, see how people live and soak up the moment.
Visiting Miyajima after the Hiroshima Peace Park reminds you of how people are living and thriving despite the horrors of the past. You can enjoy nature in many different forms and see another side of Japan that you may not see on the beaten track.
We stayed at a nice airbnb that is centrally located the last time I visited. The other times I stayed in hotels. Shop around and get the best deals. Book months ahead because Hiroshima is always popular. Every visitor wants to visit and many Japanese students go there on school trips at different times of the year.
Things cost generally the same as other places in Japan so plan accordingly
The quickest way to get to Nagasaki is to fly there. It can be pricey at times but if booked ahead deals can be had. It takes way too long to go their by shinkansen. Another cost effect way to get there is to fly to Fukuoka and then go to Nagasaki by train from there.
Nagasaki is unique and a Japanese city like no other because of its history as a port city. It had a range of foreign influences and this is present in its sites and foods.