Hello! My name is Sarah and I work at the Hankyu office in Tokyo.I come from a small village in northern Germany, so living in a big city like Tokyo, I sometimes miss simple things, like open spaces, mountains, the noises of the forest and the ocean. So when I got the chance to go on vacation and visit my friends in Hiroshima, after the second state of emergency ended, I was over the moon!

I flew from Tokyo Haneda to Iwakuni Airport, which is technically located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, but very convenient for access to the western outskirts of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. The flight was fully booked, but the airline still did their best to ensure infection prevention measures at the airport and on the plane.

My friends had just moved into a beautiful Japanese house with shoji screens in front of the windows and a lovely view of the mountains, from which I was able to visit some of my favorite places in Hiroshima.

Though I used to live in Hiroshima about 8 years ago and visited Miyajima Island multiple times, I have never climbed its’ highest mountain and enjoyed the view from the temple n top. This time, instead of going like usually to Itsukushima Shrine and visiting the Torii in the ocean, which is currently under construction, I walked through the woods, to the Ropeway Station, rode the two separate ropeways up the mountain and then walked the rest to the temple. It was hot and my Asthma made the climb very hard, but the view was worth it. Overall the island is still as beautiful as ever and with the cherry blossoms in full bloom, the sound of birds and the swooshing of the waves on the beach, I felt truly relaxed for the first time in months.

On another day I visited Hiroshima City, with the Hondori Shopping district and the Hiroshima Peace Park.

In Hondori I was surprised at how many people where about and doing their shopping, but all nicely abiding to the signposted COVID guidelines.

In the Peace Park many people were enjoying Hanami underneath the cherry blossoms along the river, which brought back a sense of normalcy during this season. The park itself has not changed much in the last 8 years, but the museum has been renovated and fully operates again since April 2019. This was my first time seeing the new exhibition and I was truly blown away by the emotional impact of the exhibits and the new direction they chose to go with. Now, even more so than before, I highly recommend a visit to everyone!

Overall my trip was a lot of fun and after all the isolation it was good to spend time with my friends and recharge my batteries in nature. I took some videos on my trip and edited them into a short VLOG for this newsletter. Please watch it and join me on my trip to my favorite prefecture!




Do you know "KOKESHI"?"KOKESHI" is a wooden doll. Not just a doll, but it became as a souvenir in a hot spring town in Tohoku during the Edo era  (a.k.a. Samurai period).

Did you know that placing a "KOKESHI" around you is believed to bring peacefulness? And therefore it is loved by the Japanese people for a long time.

Today, you can buy "KOKESHI" all around Japan as souvenirs, from classic designs to more modernized ones. Many overseas visitors also buy as a piece of memory for their trip to Japan.

The common shape "KOKESHI" has a round shaped head and a column body. As you imagine, it is very simple!

In addition, there are more than 10 types of different shapes of "KOKESHI" that can be seen in Japan. It depends on the area of Japan and its local tradition. In Tohoku area, which is the origin of "KOKESHI", a "KOKESHI" festival is held every summer. The festival is very important in Tohoku.

When you travel to Tohoku area, why don't you enjoy finding your favorite "KOKESHI"!? You can even buy a foot long "KOKESHI" for your loved ones! Or a miniature size for your friends! Hope you enjoy your "KOKESHI" journey in Japan!


Taken by our staff in April 02.

Taken by our staff in April 02.