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Where toNext onYour JapaneseAdventure? Hiroshima, of Course, aMust-Visit Whilst to the world it is first of all known for its tragic, nuclear-scarred history, Hiroshima is a wonderful, warm-hearted city. TheHiroshima Washington Hotel is perfectly located–from here you can walk to several historic landmarks such as the eerie A-bomb dome and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. The park is a leafy idyll along the Motoyasu river, the perfect spot for reflection after you have visited the Museum. You’ll be moved by the thousands of paper cranes at the Children’s Peace Monument, immortal- izing Sadako Sasaki, the little girl who in 1955 folded over 1000 paper cranes in the hope that she would be cured from her leukemia. Children from all over Japan send and bring paper cranes

head down to the hotel’s Vol de Nuit bar (you’ll dig the live jazz on the weekends, it’s a real Japanese obsession) and you might even find the award-winning mixologist Yuriko Yamashita behind the bar, shaking up her trademark Eagle Eye cocktail. If you’re a shopper, you’ll be pleased to spot the designer stores nestled on the ground floor of the building. In fact, there is a wealth of choice in the neighborhood, from the glitzy Daimaru department store right across the street, to the funky vintage hotspots of nearby Americamura, or America village (so called because of the shops there selling American goods after the war)–but you’re also just a skip away from the brash and brilliant Dotombori, lined with argu- ably Japan’s gaudiest neons. Munch on ta- koyaki (Osaka’s signature street snack, batter balls filled with chunks of octopus) and walk

ated by resourceful mothers needing to make a little go a long way after the war. Anyway, it is delicious, and it would be a shame to come all the way here and not try at least a couple different fillings. Breakfast at the Hiroshima Washington is an excellent Japanese and western buffet: fluffy rice, savory soups, fresh vegetables, plus your classic scrambled eggs and toast if that’s what

HIROSHIMA WASHINGTON

SPORTS ROOM

to the monument, making it a colorful and touching trib- ute to the innocent children who suffer in every war. Mov- ing and beautiful it is, but it’s not just a place for contem- plation; Hiroshimans young and old frequent the park, and trendy restaurants on the banks of the river give the area a distinctly elegant vibe. The Washington Hotel has a rather unique touch– three, one-off guestrooms decorated by local designers. The P3 Hiroshima room in particular will go down a storm with sports lovers; notice the home base in the carpet as you step in the threshold (Hiroshima Toya

LAUGHING CHEF PREPARES OKONOMIYAKI,

HIROSHIMA'S SOUL FOOD

you prefer to start your day with. Die-hard okonomiyaki fans will be delighted to find it actually served here in the morning! Look up at the rice scoop-motif artwork on the wall. The iconic paddle-shaped scoop was appar- ently invented by a Buddhist monk on Miya- jima island, just across the sea from Hiroshima City. Hey, you can even see the world’s largest scoop on Miyajima’s Omotesando street; look for it after checking out the famous floating Torii gate and stunning temples on the magi- cal island. If you take the cable car up mount Misen (or walk, if you are feeling vigorous) you will be rewarded with possibly the most beautiful vista in Japan; the archipelago of islands rising serenely out of the shimmering blue sea. Magical. If you love to be dazzled and delighted, Ja- pan should really be at the top of your bucket list. Modern (and indeed futuristic) coexists beside ancient and precious, and the Japanese people are very proud of this. You will be most welcome, and you’ll probably fall in love. Land of the Rising Sun, we say arigato gozaimasu – and until next time... Micol Molinari, enthusiastic eater, passionate partaker, incompetent map reader feels that’s all you need for a great travel adventure. That, and a willingness to be astonished. If her day job at a national science museum in London keeps her wide-eyed, then going new places rockets her sense of wonder into the stratosphere.

Carp is the city’s much-loved baseball team). The Sanfrecce soccer team gets a nod too, with heights of the players marked on the full-length mirror. From the locker-style wardrobe, to the players’ silhouettes painted on the wall, the unusual room brings Hiroshima’s love of team sports to life. A fun quirk in this modern, un- fussy hotel. Feeling peckish–you have to try Hiroshima’s specialty: Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. In- deed, a stone’s throw from the hotel is Oko- nomimura, featuring several floors of restau- rants dedicated exclusively to the hearty, savory pancake made with cabbage, meat, eggs, and noodles. It’s a dish believed to have been cre-

the banks of the river; you’ll definitely spot some love hotels (just look for the kitschy painted facades) which are apparently very well frequented by Japanese parents needing some privacy from their teenage kids! And, in case you forgot that Japan is a country of stunning contrasts and surprises, round ev- ery corner, make sure you slip off the busy, hyper-illuminated main street to find the peaceful little Hozenji temple with its moss covered Fudo Myoo, or Wisdom King. Wor- shippers splash ladles of water over the stone figure as an offering, and years of that loving treatment has made the blanket of moss grow thick and lush. How cool.

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