Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Goodbye Tokyo

We were out of the hotel by 0800, and after a routine and quick check-out, we rolled across the street to Shinagawa Station. There we decided to go ahead and get up to Tokyo before making seat reservations for the limited express train from Tokyo to Choshi. This may have been a mistake, but it's hard to tell. We popped down to the Loop Line and caught the next train up to Tokyo Central, but then -- thanks to our unfamiliarity with the station -- exited the wrong gate and had to go back in the same gate we exited after Lisa had a session with the only groundside reservation agent at that gate. She said he talked like he had marbles in his mouth and she could only barely understand him, but that it appeared that the train we wanted had no more seats, green or otherwise, available to reserve. He did, for some reason, go ahead and book us reservations on the return train from Choshi to Tokyo and a Narita Express from Tokyo to Narita Airport that evening.

Heading into the station core, we went to one of the larger reservation counters, where Lisa found a female agent she could understand better. (Lisa says she can understand women speaking Japanese much better than men.) She worked out that while the limited express was sold out, the local all-stops train is unreserved and would still get us out to Choshi with a few hours to do what we wanted. Furthermore, we could get on an "Airport Rapid" train to Chiba, then come back from Choshi only as far as Chiba before taking the Narita Express to the airport (and thus on to our hotel by shuttle bus). This was overall a better deal for us, because it meant we could go store our luggage at Chiba rather than at Tokyo, saving us around two hours of back-and-forthing to retrieve it. So Lisa booked the tickets and we hied our way down to Chiba.

Exiting the Chiba station, we looked for lockers. Good news: Several of the large lockers were available. Bad news: while internally they were large enough to hold my bag, the doors were too narrow for the bag to fit into the locker. I had to partially unpack my bag to get it to compress thinly enough to fit through the door. The ten minutes or so we spent fussing over luggage meant that we couldn't even try to get on that limited express train to Choshi (it had been gaining on us from Tokyo). That train has unreserved standard seats as well as reserved and Green cars, and we might have been able to grab a couple of seats, but we'll never know.

Anyway, with 40 minutes or so to kill before the local to Choshi, we went looking for breakfast. However, we were unable to find much close and convenient to Chiba, so instead we grabbed a couple of breakfast pasteries from a cafe next to the station and then bought bento boxes, rice, and drinks from stores in the station, and headed up to the platform for the nearly 2-hour slog to Choshi.
Tags: chiba, choshi, japan, tokyo, trains, travel
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