Day 9 - we started off really early since we added a tour of the Mazda museum to our itinerary when it wasn’t originally there. We found free wifi near the station, so used it before we headed towards the museum.
We had to take a streetcar to Hiroshima station and a JR train to Mukainada where the Mazda museum is at. But wow the streetcar is slow.
Already with stops every 200m, its super slow in speed and gets hit by so many red lights. AL and JG commented that 2 stops before us, that if we got off there and walked, we couldve gotten there faster. They were right.
After we caught our connecting train, there we were at Mukainada station ready for the Mazda museum.
[Mazda building and museum!]
The Mazda museum was cool - showed the history of the Mazda, the cars they have made, the rotary engine (their flagship) and development of it, and the production line and way they produced it. Then we entered the factory - and saw how they actually made cars. It was mostly human jobs - robots and machines did some part of the construction but most things needed man assistance. Man 1, robots 0.
[clay model of cars]
After the factory tour, we were introduced to Mazda’s solution to renewable energy for cars - it has invented Hydrogen cars - but since it requires Hydrogen refuelling stations it has been quite hard to practically use other than in several countries, eg Norway. Apparently the Japanese government are planning to install Hydrogen refuelling stations commercially in 2011.
[Mazda hydrogen car prototype]
[Mazda car of the future]
The production area itself including the factory etc was massive! Mazda even has its own private port and private bridge. The bridge was magnificent looking - about 500m in height and it was also privately owned by Mazda. Sadly they prohibited us from taking photos around the factory so I did not manage to take a shot of the awesome looking bridge.
And and! a Mazda 3 in Australia is called a Mazda “Axela” in Japan =D
After Mazda’s tour that took 90min, we headed towards Miyajima which is an island off Hiroshima which has the Mountain Mison as well as Itsukushima Shrine, which supposedly brings good luck when you walk under it.
It was high tide when we got there - so it was partially submerged when we got there.
[partially submerged still]
So we decided to climb the mountain first, which was 500m above sea level. We mistakenly took the wrong route up - we chose the longest one of them all. Taking us just under 2 hours to get up there, it was a fail route choice on AS’ (and partially MZ’s) part. It was a reminder of the treks we went up to for in Tasmania.
[view from the top]
Once we got up there in 2 hours, we chose the easier route down which was suppose to have a “ropeway” or some sort of cable car in the middle of it. We walked a bit towards the ropeway until we found that it was “suspended for action” between 14-25 feb. Fail. Today was just outside the bracket.
So we began our walk down - and we finally got down.
Once down, the low tide time was here and the Itsukushima Shrine was no longer partially submerged and we were able to walk under it for good luck, as well as stick a coin on the gates for good luck. It was an absolute muddy walk - luckily my shoes didn’t get too wet and my socks were saved.
After having done the important things at Miyajima island, we started our long way back towards the hotel via ferry + train + streetcar to meet up with NT and JS for dinner.
Suggestions for okonomiyaki came up - we found this place which served really delish okonomiyaki, and they cooked it right in front of our face. Teppanyaki style I guess?
[hiroshima style okonomiyaki]
It was sooo yum! A mixture of pancake lettuce bacon egg beansprouts spring onion and garlic topped with their special sauce - yum! Hiroshima okonomiyaki is quite great!
After okonomiyaki - it was time for some oysters since Hiroshima was known for its fish products and oyster farms. NT and JS (via lonely planet) recommended this place which was about 2 blocks away from the okonomiyaki place.
JG and I shared a few two piece oysters - such as oysters on a bed of ice with a bit or garnish, grilled oyster with potato cream and grilled oyster with mustard butter. It was delish, and a wonderful meal to end the day. Lonely Planet wins yet again. And since we have a shinkansen to Tokyo at 7am the next day, we headed straight back to the hotel and called it a night.