Day 5: Sapporo to Hiroshima

Last day in Sapporo before our flight to Hiroshima.

Breakfast was clam chowder soup with juice and crusty bread. I tried the drip coffee that was provided and I didn't particularly like it. A bit too bitter for my liking.

We checked out at 11am, placed our bags in storage before heading out to the botanical gardens. We caught the subway to Odori Park and decided to have an early lunch at the Sapporo Autumn Fest. I had some marinated beef on rice whilst Jacinta found somewhere that made pizzas. We washed it down with some Australian Yellowtail wine.

We found this very long arcade that runs parallel to Odori Park selling everything from food, umbrellas and cats and dogs. We stopped into the pet store and the size of the kittens were a lot smaller than similar aged ones in Australia; was a bit upsetting to see. It is double the price to purchase a kitten than a purebred puppy.

We eventually made it to the botanical gardens and the sun was now starting to come out! The hot houses showcased cacti, orchids and carnivorous plants see of which I haven't seen before. Outside, There were garden beds specifically for roses, hydrangeas and rhododendrons. Some roses were still out in bloom and all of them had a sweet smell. Dragonflies were flying in between rose bushes and Japanese maples. Who would have thought that this was in central Sapporo!. We eventually found a small area with wooden stumps as seats and ate the second halves of our desserts from the night before.

Once we were full, we made our way through the scrub garden and herb areas. There was a small museum (Hokkaido's oldest) with relics from the Ainu Tribes from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Ainu people were the original indigenous population of Hokkaido. In 1890, Clara Smith (founder of an elite girls’ school in central Sapporo) from America brought a lilac tree with her and it is planted next to the museum and is still flourishing!

We went back to the hotel to collect our bags and make our way to Sapporo Central Station to get onto the Rapid Airport train. At New Chitose Airport, All Nippon Airlines (ANA) has a different set up to other airlines I have used. You collect your boarding pass at one desk, then, line up again at the next desk to have your bag sent through the X-ray before being weighed, tagged and sent off.

We found an area for souvenirs, including hello kitty and Hokkaido chocolates. We both bought a couple of little things before have a quick bite to eat and boarding out flight.

Our flight was delayed 15 minutes due to a strong head wind (as per flight attendant) and after some research in the morning, we had to get on the 9.06pm bus into Hiroshima or else we'd have to walk for 13 hours (I also researched how long it would take to walk!). We landed at 8.48pm, quickly walked to baggage collection and waited. Jacinta got her bag pretty quickly and of course, I had to wait for mine. The clock said 9.03pm. Sure enough, my purple bag arrived and we got to the bus ticket machine. We knew exactly where we were going so it was easy enough to purchase two tickets and join the horrendously long line to board the bus. Thankfully we were some of the lucky ones that got a seat, the others were left at the airport for the next one (you'd hope there was another bus!).

Hiroshima Train Station is massive. It makes Sapporo look like a country town. We bought the appropriate train ticket and were instructed to go to platform four for the train at 10.25pm. We waited and then I started to read the station signs. Yes, there was a train arriving at 10.25pm but it was not for Yokogawa station. I asked a local and he started to scratch his head and eventually said, platform one. It was 10.24pm. We grabbed our bags, flew down the endless stairs that are everywhere and made it to platform one. At Yokogawa station we had to walk down Nakahiro Dori and then down two side streets. I had taken photos of the map on my iPad but it didn't include street names; I had to direct us blind just by referring to little white lines that indicated streets. We got to the hotel at 11pm and were greeted by a lovely middle aged lady who wanted to carry our bags up the stairs. We declined her offer because, what is another set of stairs after the many stairs at the stations?!? Our room is about half the size of Sapporo and doesn't have any towels but at least it has an Air Conditioner! 21 degrees and 70% humidity!