Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Commuter Train to Choshi

The local train to the end of the JR line at Choshi is definitely an all-stops service. The first stop seemed to me to be as close to Chiba station as Montgomery Street station on BART is to Powell Street -- about two or three train lengths. Fortunately, the subsequent stops are a little bit more separated than that. Unlike the limiteds, Shinkansens, and suchlike that we've mostly been patronizing, this is clearly a high-capacity, low-frills service intended for lots of people standing, much like the local loop line trains in Tokyo. Seats are longitudinal (down the length of the train), not transverse (across the width), and there's lots of standing space and strap handles for standees. Today was quiet and everyone got a seat, and only about half the space in our car was filled.

It takes nearly two hours to get to Chiba, through some pretty semi-rural areas, punctuated by small towns, farms, and the seemingly inevitable pachinko palace. We weren't the only people digging in to our bento boxes as the train rolled through the Japanese countryside. It looks to me like people who can afford it must be moving out here and commuting to jobs in the Tokyo area, which is feasible given the good transport.

The only drawbacks to riding on this service is that in the commuter-type seating you don't have tray tables or anywhere to put things while you're eating, and also while the air conditioning on the train is good, with three doors per side, all of the cold air leaks out at each station stop and you have to start over again.

After eating my lunch, I watched the land roll by, dozing from time to time with the rocking of the train. Even Lisa, who doesn't sleep well at all on any form of transport sitting up, napped a little bit.
Tags: chiba, choshi, japan, tokyo, trains, travel
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