September 10th, 2007

Bullet Train

Making the Rail Passes Pay

Today was the longest single-day trip during the two weeks we are here, and is one of the segments that make buying a three-week Green (first class) pass worthwhile: Osaka to Aomori.

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It's so nice to travel in a country that actually knows how to run a railroad!

[Posted later after we got checked in to the hotel and got the internet service running, not actually on board the train.]
Kevin and Lisa

Hachinohe to Aomori

When we left last our rail-bound travelers, they were approaching the north end of the existing Shinkansen line at Hachinohe. Here, many people, including Lisa and me, trooped over the bridge connecting the Shinkansen to the "classic" lines. The Shinkansen high-speed lines are being continued northward toward Aomori (where we are staying tonight and tomorrow) and apparently will someday extend through the Seikan Tunnel and after that to Sapporo, but for now if you want to go north of Hachinohe, you transfer to a "classic lines" train.

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Anyway, while we've been sort of economizing on breakfasts with eat-and-run bread brought the night before, tomorrow is an exception, and not just because every place was closed before we went shopping. Our train for the tunnel tour doesn't leave until after 11 AM, and the hotel here appears to serve an attractive-looking breakfast buffet for only JPY1300, which is reasonable -- much more so that the JPY2900 the Intercontinental Yokohama was charging. So tomorrow we sleep in a little bit and hit the buffet before walking down to the station and confirming that our tickets are properly set up for the tunnel tour.