So Christmas eve was upon me and I was a little tired. So tired in fact that after showering instead of packing and leaving the hostel I had a late nap and decided to risk the 11am check out. What a great decision – out by 10:49am. Kyoto had been great to me and it is definitely my favourite city so far in my travels. The Starbucks ladies I’ve been frequenting were both elated to see me and deflated to hear I was leaving and I got myself a free coffee which is just tops.
I then made my way to the station where I found out my nap had cost me the ability to just sleep from Kyoto to Hiroshima as I now had to transfer at Shin-Osaka, oh well, you win some you lose some.
The trains as usual were the height of decadence, that is until the family with 9 children decided the area around my seat was the area they wanted to book out. My goodness just shut up. I nearly went full Costanza …
The train was uncomfortably warm as well and by the time Hiroshima rolled around I was really quite unsettled. The cool winter air worked a treat though and I found myself ready to experience the city. The hostel – Hana Hostel – is a very short walk from the station and I found the lady at the front desk to be delightful. I knew this was going to be a great decision. The rooms are quite nice and I lucked into a bottom bunk even though my 4 person mixed dorm had 3 people in it already – score !
After dumping my stuff off I made my way to the Honburi district and was to meet up with Olga my Finnish friend on Hondori Avenue…little did I know that Hondori Avenue is the busiest bloody street this side of Tokyo. The tram ride was nice, and I do think they add a nice touch to the city. I mean 160 yen flat rate to anywhere is pretty great, but you can get a pass that covers 3 days and it’s only 1,000 yen – definitely worth picking up.
We eventually found each other in the mess that was Hondori Avenue and went about searching for some off this fabled Hiroshima Okonomiyaki…and discover it we did in the Okonomi-Mura building which was floor after floor of Okonomiyaki restaurants. We settled at one and got to feasting – the end result was a positive one, and I do happen to love this Japanese Pancake.
After stuffing ourselves we made our way around back to the hostel for a brief stop and a technology recharge before heading out to see the Hiroshima Christmas light show held on the Peace Boulevard. Quite the lovely little affair and it stretches for the entire length of the boulevard which is a sight to behold.
After seeing them all we were famished again and so we went for a wander. This was a tad annoying at first as Hondori Avenue was pretty much closed now and so we had to take to the side streets…then we came across this fancy looking restaurant.
Mostly black, with seats out front for waiting comfortably with heaters and what sounded like delicious dishes we decided to join the queue and sit it out. The host was fantastic and even though all their meals were made with pork broth they told Olga they could make her a special vegetarian dish which was fantastic of them. Once inside the smell was intoxicating and I had a good feeling about our choice…then the food came. My….goodness………
The place is called Hakata Ippudo and I have never needed to nor wanted to recommend a place as badly as I do these guys. Every single drop of the broth that hit my tongue sent me into a spiral of semi sexual sounds and I could barely control myself as I slurped up the noodles and pork. It was without a doubt, WITHOUT A DOUBT, the best meal I’ve had in Japan and I hope anyone who reads this heads there when they can. I passed this onto the host and after he showered me with thank yous he told the chefs who then all sung out in unison while bowing enthusiastically. The best thing ever. I will be making this restaurant my semi permanent home while in Hiroshima.
I don’t normally do directions due to the prevalence of the internet but they don’t show up on my maps.me app so just in case you also suffer the same follow these !!!
==Head down Hondori Avenue past he McDonalds, and turn right and down the side street that meets ‘Beams’ the clothes store. If you see Starbucks you’ve gone one block too far. It’s on the 2nd street down after you’ve made that turn and should be to your right.==
Get there, and get some of this food in you.
The rest of our night was spent finding our way home due to the trams stopping around 10pm (sucks) and then bed. Honestly, after that dinner, I had no more energy to even think. Greatest thing.
Also as I write this it’s Christmas night so MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE and thanks for reading 🙂