Is there more to do in Hiroshima or Nagasaki?
June 10, 2006 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Three Americans heading to Japan and want to visit one of the atomic bomb sites. Which city, Hiroshima or Nagasaki, has more to do in addition to peace-museum and bomb-site related things?

One of us has been to Japan and visited Hiroshima but not Nagasaki. The other two have never been to Japan.

Things we're concerned about:
--The one who has been to Hiroshima didn't think there was much else to do there, but he visited 15 years ago. (He did go to Miyajima Island and liked it)
--Heard that Hiroshima has a Mazda factory tour in English--has anyone been on it?
--Found one Net reference to a manga museum in Hiroshima but have found little else on it.
--We won't have a car, but will all have Japan Rail passes (ordinary, not green)
--We will probably be coming from Osaka, and Nagasaki seems mammothly far via train from there as opposed to Hiroshima, especially as the non-green JR Pass doesn't allow us to use Nozomi trains...does that make much of a difference?
--Afterwards, tentative plans are to go to Kyoto (leaving from Nagasaki will obviously take longer to get there)
--Hotel and ryokan suggestions are most welcome
--Food and restaurant suggestions also welcome, one of the three is vegan but she may bring her own dried soups etc

Thanks so much for any help! Arigato gozaimasu!
posted by GaelFC to Travel & Transportation around Hiroshima, Japan (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've never been to Nagasaki, but I was in Hiroshima a few years ago and loved it. It's a busy, charming modern city with lots to do. As for food, don't leave Hiroshima without going out for okonomiyaki. It's the regional specialty.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:58 PM on June 10, 2006

I was in Hiroshima for a day last summer. It's AWESOME. Clean, safe, a teensy bit seedy, and the atomic memorials are truly shocking, even to the most skeptical of my group. Okinomiyaki was divine, the Hiroshima Carp's baseball stadium is the best in the nation, and the public transportation is easy. I wished I could have spent more time; I visited a lot of Japan over two weeks, and it was my favorite place.

Oh: also, nearby, there's some island a train and ferry ride away with a monkey-infested shrine at the summit. The tram to the summit was broken the day I went, so I rented a bike and spent two hours carrying the bike up hills and screaming back down. As fun as anything in my life. The local sweets were insanely good.
posted by Pacrand at 7:45 PM on June 10, 2006

I've never been to Nagasaki, but I visited Hiroshima for a couple of days earlier this year.
- The manga library is officially Hiroshima City Manga Library, but it's also described as a museum. I didn't visit it, but it's just south of the train station.
- We stayed at Hotel Sunroute Hiroshima, which was very pleasant and ridiculously close to the Peace Park. Probably about 80,000 yen a single room? (can't really remember, but they have a good online interface).
- As well as the park itself, we spent most of our time wandering through the shops, mainly manga/anime places. There's also Hiroshima Castle, which was cool and included a lot on the history of the city (mediaeval type), with some awesome views from the top of the castle (open till ~4pm something?). I also wanted to visit some gardens around the station, but my friends weren't into that.

Lonely Planet Japan has a good section on Hiroshima, and also on Nagasaki, so maybe try scanning them/a similar guidebook in a bookshop somewhere?
posted by jacalata at 9:50 PM on June 10, 2006

Second the Okonomiyaki (with plenty of beer) suggestion in Hiroshima. Your friend won't need any dried soup in Kyoto, as vegetarian cooking is famous here. Try Cafe Peace and O-banzai as well as yudofu and possibly shojin ryori at Daitoku-ji Ikkyu.
posted by planetkyoto at 2:08 AM on June 11, 2006

Your vegan friend will want to be careful, as even the vegetarian dishes will have dashi (a broth with a fish base) used in them.
posted by emmling at 3:07 AM on June 11, 2006

I was in Hiroshima on August 6th (many years ago) working on a film crew about Americans who were killed by the bomb.

Did you know there was a prisoner-of-war camp right next to Ground Zero? And there were about 20 Americans there that day. All eventually died from the effects of the bomb. But the US government didn't acknowledge their deaths until the 1970s and have never fully acknowledged how they died.

There is a wonderful museum in Hiroshima dedicated to this event.

Being in that city on Aug 6 and watching the ceremonies was one of the most moving experiences I've ever encountered.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:48 AM on June 11, 2006

As you said, Kyushu is much further away from Tokyo; so hardly anybody has travel experiences to relate about Nagasaki. Someday I want to make that trip, all the way to the south island... but I did make it as far as Hiroshima, in 2004, and had a great time. (Photos and more trip info are available at my site; where I made a special page devoted to the Atomic Memorial Museum.) I stayed in a reasonable, convenient hotel obtained on the spot at the tourist counter in the train station (which has several okonomiyaki restaurants in the department store upstairs, if you just can't wait).
posted by Rash at 4:11 PM on June 11, 2006

Thanks to all! Our dilemma continues, but this is good info.
posted by GaelFC at 10:34 AM on June 12, 2006

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