Wednesday 01 February – Saturday 04 February
We left Hikimi by bus that morning in good spirits, our first stop on our journey to Tokyo was Hiroshima. The drive there was like all the others, white and surrounded by beautiful Japanese mountains. We arrived in Hiroshima at about lunch time were we then made our way to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum 「広島平和記念資料館」(Hiroshimaheiwakinenshiryōkan).
Modern day Hiroshima is a bustling city it is quite hard to imagine that the city was once nothing but rubble 72 years ago. Walking through the museum and learning about what happened all those years ago left most of us in gloomy state of mind as we left to walk through the peace park.
We visited the memorial where the names of the victims are held then saw a statue where cranes are sent every year in hopes for peace and an end to Nuclear Deterrence.
Next we saw the Atomic Bomb Dome, a building still standing after detonation and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996. Before the war, the building served as the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. From where we stood you could see where the bomb detonated 160 meters to the southeast of the Dome.
Once we had done our sightseeing we were free to get some lunch and do some shopping before we left for Tokyo. Visiting Hiroshima reminded me of the horrendous capabilities of humans and the extent we will go to to kill each other. However, Hiroshima also told a story of how from the ashes of destruction and loss of life something beautiful can be created.
It took a while but we finally made it to the capital of Japan, TOKYO!! It was dark by the time we arrived. After a quick hustle through the train stations we made it to the Hotel the Ours Inn Hankyu 「アワーズイン阪急」 , the hotel was really nice and even had a flash onsen inside that I’ll be definitely trying later. We decided as a group to go out and visit Shibuya, we split into groups some decided on karaoke, while we and others decided on food. Myself and a few other left for ramen, we found a nice ramen restaurant nearby.
After dinner we were quite tired so we decided to head back to the hotel to sleep.
One of the things I wanted to observe in Japan was the cost of living, so after some digging around on the internet and noticing local job advertisement on the street I discovered that the average wage of most low-end jobs in Japan sit around 800yen/hr. (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/japan/minimum-wages) So a typical 8 hours of work adds up to about 6400yen, 32000yen for a 5-day week (though Japanese people generally work longer hours, so the weekly pay could be much higher). So, with the average monthly income coming up to about 142000yen – 160000yen (http://www.worldsalaries.org/japan.shtml), if you were to deduct monthly living cost
- Rent 50000yen (16.7225sq meters)
- Utility fees 10000yen
- Food 35000yen
- Phone/Internet 8000yen
- Travel 2000yen
- Average total = 105000-110000yen
You’d be left with about 50000yen for a yearly saving of at least 600000yen. However, that was in regards to minimum wage.
The next day we visited Tokyo Disneyland. I don’t much have to say as it wasn’t really my cup of tea, although I enjoyed being with everyone.
After we made it back to the hotel, a few of us went to dinner at the pizza restaurant downstairs. The pizza was a nice change from the usual Japanese dishes we had been eating. The rest of the night included onsen and party room antics.
Day 3 we decided to do some sightseeing with the group. First stop we went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, and enjoyed the view from up high.
Next we split up in Ginza for lunch, I went with the Danica and the boys to get Mexican food which was value for money. After we met up, we left for Asakusa 「浅草」to visit a very popular Buddhist temple, built in the 7th century called Sensōji 「浅草寺」.
Next stop we visited probably the most anticipated place for the group which was Akihabara, I bought a figurine before making my way back to the Hotel.
The next day we leave for the snow in Zao Onsen.