After sleeping near Incheon airport the night before we got up early and flew to Hiroshima, Japan. This was the main place my uncle wanted to visit for this trip and the one he was most excited about. After getting through customs and everything else we had only two things on our to-do list at the airport, change some currency and get help getting around. The currency exchange was upstairs which also seemed to be were some robotic dinosaurs were growling away and moving much to the delight of all.
There were only two options that we found for currency exchange, a company my aunt veered away from since they charge commission and the local bank. The local bank, despite having a super cute mascot was doing everything by hand. Counting the currency, the exchange rate, as well as all the paperwork. They also only had two people working and by the time we were done it’d taken over an hour. Keep that in mind when you go, if there isn’t a line and they aren’t busy I’m sure it’ll move a bit quicker but if you’re short on time have your money exchanged before you get to Hiroshima.
Getting tickets for the bus and a three day pass for Hiroshima was easy (1,000 yen). There was an information both where a woman helped us. First we took the airport bus to Hiroshima Station, though you can take it to other places that may be easier for you. It was 1,340 yen and Hiroshima was the closest stop to our hotel.
We were given English booklets filled with coupons and suggestions of things to do and places to eat. Our pass worked for the trams, buses and one of the ferry’s in Hiroshima which was super helpful. Note: These passes are made out of recycled origami (crane) paper and thus are susceptible to water or getting destroyed so be careful.
Hiroshima transportation is broken up into four types depending on what you want to do. To get around the city you can take a bus, tram, or train and if you want to get to the islands, specifically Itsukushima, then you want to take the ferry. The trains and buses were the same as the rest of Japan. The tram and ferry were new.
The tram’s specifically are special in Hiroshima, as they are used frequently and a couple of them that are running even survived the bombing. There are 7 different tram networks that go throughout the city. While a bit slower than taking a train they’re very comfortable and get you to all the highlights the city has to offer.
With the 3 day pass we just had to show the bus, tram or ferry staff our pass either when we got on or when we got off. A note though, there are two ferry’s that go to Itsukushima. One of them is JR, our pass did not work for the JR ferry, but did work for Miyajima Matsudai ferry, which since we took the tram to the port was right where we were dropped off. It made things easier to navigate to and from the port.
In order to use the trains and to book our Shinkasen tickets from Hiroshima to Kyoto we spent a good chunk of the afternoon at Hiroshima station getting help at the Shinkasen desk. The young woman working was super helpful and patient as my aunt and uncle figured out exactly what they wanted. We were also able to get Icoca passes for the trains which would work in both Hiroshima and Kyoto and definitely came in handy.