love the bullet train
27.01.2011 - 27.01.2011 0 °C
In the morning it is again snowing nicely to remind us of what we will be missing out on. Most of the packing is already done before breakfast, so we have a leisurely time of it. We say our farewells to other guests and staff, then down to the bus station for the trip to Nagano. This time I am awake through the trip, and it isvery picturesque under all the snow. I am sure the locals who have to get through it every day do not appreciate it that way. It is still snowing heavily as we leave Hakuba and head south down the valley. We go through a few tunnels and come out in brilliant sunshine on the other side. In the approaches to Nagano we have to take off jackets and jumpers it is so warm in the bus. In Nagano there is no more snow than when we left.
Shinkansen tickets are arranged on our JR East passes and we are off to Tokyo. Once we get past Karuizawa there are just scraps of snow on the ground and the whole area is in brilliant sunshine – chalk and cheese to a few hours earlier. Halfway to Tokyo they are even planting vegetables in the fields. Not that G notices, he is on the iPod playing games.
We have to change trains a couple of times from Tokyo to get to Suidobashi. Here we catch a Prius taxi – love the automatic passenger doors. He takes us direct to the door of our Ryokan, Homeikan. Here is a traditional Japanese inn, with shoes off at the door and into indoor slippers. Communal baths (segregated) and common toilets reflect how it used to be. We book in for breakfast and then head out for the afternoon.
We use our JR East pass to get to Akihabara and have a look around electric town. G is frustrated about the lack of understanding of the electronics side as he is itching to by something. I am too, but there is not much in the way of model shops that I have been researching – turns out later I am in the wrong place.
We head into a sushi train and have some of the worst sushi it has been my misfortune to taste. Back to the ryokan for sleep.