Setouchi? When I first heard about Setouchi, I was like, "Where in this world is this place?" "Does it really exist in Japan?" Honestly, I have never heard about Setouchi before. I didn't know that Setouchi is one of the hidden gems in Japan (this is what I personally describe it as). I had never been out of Malaysia before. Frankly speaking, I was super excited that Japan will be my first overseas trip. I hope that at the end of my article, I could convey the beauty of Setouchi to all of you.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, before we depart to Setouchi, please make yourself comfortable and help yourself with a cup of Japanese tea. For the best “Setouchi experience”, I highly suggest to take your time and read my article slowly.
Setouchi Area Pass
If you don’t mind, let me take your precious ten seconds, and allow me to introduce you to the most special part of our trip, the ‘Setouchi Area Pass’. What is Setouchi Area Pass? Before I let you know more about this pass, let me ask you a ‘cepumas’ question, "Have you ever experienced passing through the train gate like a boss only by flashing your pass to the officer?" If your answer is never, this is your golden opportunity to experience it. That is how amazing the Setouchi Area Pass is. With only ¥18,000 for 5 days, you could use this pass for various public transports within Setouchi area including Shinkansen, selected trains, buses and ferries mainly for JR lines. Want to know a secret? You can save up to ¥1,000 if you purchase this pass abroad. Believe it or not, during our Setouchi adventure, we used public transports most of the times, ‘jumping’ from one place to another.
Let the journey began…
02.07.2018 – FUKUOKA TO HIROSHIMA
Our first stop after we landed at Fukuoka International Airport was Hiroshima Prefecture. From Fukuoka, we took the subway to Hakata station. Here, we applied for our ultimate Setouchi Area Pass and to do so, we were required to show our passport. After we have gotten our pass, we took the Shinkansen to the Hiroshima station, and that's how our journey began.
Kintaikyo Bridge – The Art of Yamaguchi Prefecture
Kintaikyo Bridge is located at the Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. It is reachable by train and bus. From Hiroshima Station, we took the train to Iwakuni Station and later we changed to bus No. 2 towards Kintaikyo Bridge.
Kintaikyo Bridge is a historical bridge that was built, destroyed and restored for a few times. Here, we can see the elegant and well-built structure of the five arches wooden bridge attached to five gigantic stone as their pillars. Underneath the bridge, the Nishiki River flows gracefully and it was shimmering like thousand pieces of glass whenever the sunlight hits on its surface making the scenic view so lively.
In cherishing the art of the Kintaikyo Bridge, the most memorable thing I did here was enjoying my green tea soft cream while sitting on the green carpet-like grass, accompanied by the breathtaking scenery, and the natural calming sound of the river. Doesn't it make your heart skip a beat?
At this place, we can also learn about the history of the bridge and other Iwakuni historical places. Unfortunately, as the times running late, we could not visit the other historical places including Iwakuni Castle – one of the 100 great castles in Japan and Iwakuni Shirohebi Shiryokan (Iwakuni White Snake Museum) – the home of albino snake in Japan.
Icchan Honten @ Hiroshima Station
We chose to have Okonomiyaki tonight. Your trip won't be perfect if you visit Hiroshima Prefecture without trying their must-have-meal, Hiroshima Okonomiyaki. It will be like you visiting Malacca without having its signature asam pedas. It was quite hard to find halal Okonomiyaki restaurant in Hiroshima. Luckily, we found one. The restaurant is not 100% halal as they do serve pork. However, the customer may choose what they want to have. And as for me, I chose to eat Okonomiyaki with shrimp. Their portions are also quite big for one person – I had hard time to finish them all.
Hiroshima Garden Palace Hotel
It’s time to rest on our first night in Japan! It was a new experience for me to stay in a single but spacious room which I think rarely found in Malaysia. From the room’s window, I can see nice blocks of building and streets view. Let’s wrap up for today, time to have a Japanese dream.