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  • To come to Hiroshma and miss this place out would be a crime.

  • Six years, I've traveled Japan far and wide and it's all been building up to this moment.

  • Pizza vending machine.

  • Good morning guys, welcome back to Journey Across Japan.

  • This morning, we're in Hiroshima and we've got just one day to check out the city, from the scenic beautiful island of Miyajima,

  • to the most delicious okonomiyaki savory pancakes in the whole country.

  • Now I've been really lucky to visit Hiroshima 3 or 4 times in the 6 years that I've lived in Japan and

  • as well as being one of my favourite cities in the country, to stand just 600 meters below

  • where the atomic bomb went off and see the atomic bomb dome,

  • it's always a very kind of powerful experience for me.

  • And in fact if it wasn't for the A-Bomb Dome, if you look around today,

  • if you look around at the tall skyscrapers, the luscious Memorial Park,

  • people just enjoying themselves alongside the river. If it wasn't for that dome,

  • it'd be hard to comprehend the scale of what happened here.

  • And for that reason, I think the A-Bomb Dome is incredibly important to Hiroshima.

  • In another life, the Atomic Bomb Dome was known as the Hiroshima Industrial Promotion Hall,

  • built in 1915 to showcase artwork and educational exhibits.

  • On the morning of August 6, 1945,

  • despite being just 600 meters beneath the center of the blast,

  • it's sturdy brick design was able to resist the downward force of the blast wave,

  • and when the dust settled, was one of the last standing structures in the city.

  • After the war, it was initially planned to be demolished.

  • However, many saw the dome as a symbol of hope,

  • and in the years that followed, instead, the sprawling Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

  • emerged around it. Alongside the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum,

  • and in the center of the park, the peace flame, which will remain lit until the planet is free of nuclear weapons.

  • The Peace Museum in particular is essential viewing, visited by over a million people a year,

  • with photos and chilling testimonials from citizens that witnessed the devastation firsthand.

  • And regardless of your views on the use of the atomic bombs in World War II,

  • once you've wandered through the museum's exhibits,

  • you'll certainly leave hoping that nuclear weapons are never used again.

  • So guys, throughout the last month and a half of this trip,

  • I've been joined by a variety of guests, usually fellow YouTubers, and vloggers.

  • But today our next guest who's going to be joining me from Hiroshima to Fukuoka on the cycle

  • is actually just a real person, a friend from university who's currently travelling around Japan.

  • So, let's go and meet her now.

  • Good morning Ellen! How are you doing?

  • Ellen: Hello, nice to see you!

  • A formal handshake for someone I've known for 9 years. That's awkward.

  • So Ellen and I lived together at university for 2 years, and she's new to Japan.

  • You're here for 1 or 2 weeks. Why have you met with me?

  • Uhhh, to exploit my friendship and get a free tour guide.

  • Exploit your friendship. Well, you've got the best goddamn tour guide money can buy.

  • That's for sure. There's no question there.

  • So what's the first thing you want to do in Hiroshima?

  • Probably get some food, I'm pretty hungry.

  • Okay, so the local dish in Hiroshima is okonomiyaki.

  • [Ellen struggles to say okonomiyaki]

  • Okonomiyaki, it's a bit of a tongue twister.

  • It's a savoury pancake dish, and it's bloody amazing.

  • Chris: Let's go and get one right now. Away we go! Ellen: Let's go!

  • Okonomiyaki quite literally means what you like and cooked.

  • A testament to the customizability of the dish.

  • Something that's surprisingly rare in Japan, where the chef always knows best.

  • The dish comes in two varieties Osaka and Hiroshima style, with a few notable differences

  • Unlike Osaka style where all the ingredients are mixed together first. Hiroshima style is far more chaotic in appearance.

  • I mean, it looks like a fucking bag of ingredients just exploded all over the grill.

  • But unlike

  • Osaka's premixed pancakes, here each of the ingredients are gradually layered on top of one another with a layer of fried noodles packed inside as well.

  • For me, there's no contest.

  • I'm a Hiroshima

  • okonomiyaki guy through and through

  • Not only because the noodles add a welcome variety of flavors, the best of all there's a theatrical quality to the dish

  • there's no better way to work up an appetite than sitting before the grill watching layer by layer as the

  • pancake slowly takes shape in front of you. My only advice when choosing your base is probably avoid the organyaki!

  • How're you finding it?

  • Ellen: Yeah, really greasy!

  • Why isn't it in the UK?!

  • Chris: Why isn't it in the UK? I don't know. Basic - I ask myself that every day with pretty much most Japanese foods.

  • I think it's really popular in the UK

  • So incredibly filling. It doesn't look that much when it's right before you, but there's so much going on in it and it

  • does fill you up really quickly. I'm a quarter of the way through mine. I'm already feeling it hit me, y'know.

  • Ellen: Yeah, there's even a blowtorch at one point

  • to melt the cheese. I mean that's pretty impressive.

  • Where else y'gonna get that?

  • Chris: Where are you gonna get blow torches?

  • You know something's good if it uses a blowtorch.

  • Ellen: Exactly!

  • It's a pretty cheap meal as well, but you get a lot of bang for your buck with okonomiyaki.

  • It's about ¥700. This one was ¥900, because I put a load of cheese on it

  • So throughout Hiroshima, there's loads of places to get okonomiyaki, but this is the best place by far I believe.

  • Okonamimura literally means Okonomiyaki Village, and it's a little building

  • It's quite hidden away on the 3rd story of an unremarkable looking building

  • But you go in and you feel the heat come at you first and the smell of the okonomiyaki being cooked.

  • There's loads of little stalls and and vendors cooking it, people gathered around and I've been here about 3 or 4 times now.

  • I come every single time I come to Hiroshima and I go to a different one depending on how busy they are

  • Basically, the quality's the same all over, they're all bloody brilliant. So to come to Hiroshima

  • and miss this place out would be a crime I think.

  • Ellen: Let's get in the UK, it's fucking brilliant.

  • Chris: Somebody if you're watching this in the UK, bring this to the UK. Make it happen. Maybe you should do it!

  • Ellen: Maybe!

  • Chris: When you return for your trip to Japan...

  • Ellen: I need to learn how to say it first though

  • Chris: Okonomiyaki.

  • Ellen: Okonmiag-yup.

  • Chris: Okonomiyaki.

  • Ellen: That!

  • So, what do you think of the okonomiyaki, Ellen?

  • Ellen: I love it, it's a revelation.

  • Chris: It's a revelation, it's also indigestion!

  • I feel absolutely stuffed!

  • Anyway, we are now off to the island of Miyajima

  • It's one of the three scenic spots in Japan. It's absolutely stunning. Have you seen any pictures of it?

  • Ellen: I have, yeah! There's a shrine the I wanna go to?

  • Chris: Itsukushima Shrine.

  • Ellen: Yeah, that one.

  • Chris: Now we need to go on a boat!

  • Miyajima meaning Shrine Island is a 45-minute boat ride out of the city and into the Inland Sea.

  • We're off to catch a view of the iconic giant

  • Torii gate, beloved by Japanese tourism pamphlets the world over, before the sun sets in a couple of hours.

  • The island is a great little get away with hiking trails beaches and perhaps best of all over a thousand friendly wild deer

  • Who'll quite happily eat all your worldly possessions!

  • So Miyajima Island is known for two things. Number one, the majestic beautiful its Itsukushima Shrine.

  • Number two, deer. Deer that eat everything. Be careful because these deer do not stop.

  • They will eat everything you love, everything you hold dear to you. They will ahah!

  • Pun! A deer pun not even intended. A case in point, they're now eating a hosepipe.

  • Dear, oh, dear

  • There's no better time to see Itsukushima Shrine than sunset.

  • It's about 4:25 right now and the sun's just disappearing behind the mountain and the view is absolutely stunning

  • Hey Ellen, if you can sum up that view in one word, what would that word be?

  • Ellen: Serenity.

  • Chris: Serenity!

  • If you do come to Miyajima guys, I highly recommend getting here for about 2 p.m. and going up Mount Misen.

  • It's a 500 meter mountain on the island and you can go up and get just an incredible panoramic view of the Setouchi Inland Sea

  • And then climb down through the mountains and then just get here for the sunset.

  • There are like 2,000 people around there right now

  • But it doesn't get in the way of the fact that this is just one of the most beautiful sites in all of Japan

  • Chris: Innit Ellen: Innit

  • Given Hiroshima the biggest producer of oysters in Japan

  • It's not an uncommon sight to see yakigaki, literally grilled oysters, sizzling away on street fronts across the island.

  • With the mouth-watering scent of the drizzled garlic butter and soy sauce

  • Rising from the grill whilst I'm not into raw oysters yakigaki are definitely worth a try. After all it rhymes.

  • So it must be good nothing that rhymed ever harmed anyone

  • They covered in soy sauce butter. So they smell fantastic. Do you want one?

  • Ellen: Ah, no thank you.

  • Right. Oh, I got you a little treat though, seeing as I know you don't like oysters. I got you some Ramune!

  • Basically a soda pop drink from what the 1920's.

  • It tastes a bit like lemonade

  • but the real thing about Ramune that makes it fun, is

  • the mechanism to open it. And I'll show you how to do it. Except I won't because I've got my hands full.

  • So open it up. We gotta do this with - oh dear,

  • and there it goes.

  • So this is the top of the err- Ellen: Cap?

  • Chris: The cap. You put that in and then you basically bang it, and when you bang it hold it over the top tightly so it doesn't explode.

  • Ellen: Ohhh, shhh- okay.

  • Chris: And that's how it works. Anyway...

  • Ellen: In this gonna take out our legs?

  • Chris: Is it gonna take out our legs?

  • Chris: Take n- go over there though, 'cause I don't want to get fucked. Ellen: Okay. Are you ready for this?

  • Chris: Yeah.

  • Ellen: Ready?

  • Ellen: It didn't work!

  • Chris: Do it but... not like an idiot.

  • Hold it, you have to hold it and press it in.

  • Chris: Come on!

  • Ellen: Okay!

  • Chris: Oh dear!!

  • Chris: Oh God!!

  • Ellen: Okay, this is ??? Chris: You want something done ladies and gentlemen, do it yourself.

  • 1, 2, 3!

  • There you go. I did it! Oh shit!!

  • Chris: And that's your drink! Ellen: Ohh, thank you Chris! That was great!

  • Chris: Couldn't have been be easier!

  • The genius of Ramune though, ladies and gentlemen, and Ellen...

  • Is this little ball bearing here. So when you tip the bottle over no liquid comes out. Observe!

  • Kay, it's definitely not working. I've just poured drink all over my... jeans...