Bullet Train & Japanese Alps
Today I woke feeling completely rejuvenated after our hike yesterday and ready to travel to the Japanese Alps. This excitement quickly turned to pain as I tried to get out my capsule bed. The overly optimistic stretching I did before bed didn’t work, my legs were complete agony from the 16 hours climbing. I would say I clambered out of the capsule bed but I would be lying, I crawled.
We headed for Tokyo station to exchange our Japan rail passes which give us unlimited train and ferry travel for 14 days. With an hour before our train we were both craving fatty, western food. Juna grabbed the Japanese equivalent to KFC and I risked it by getting a sandwich with about 10 ingredients, none of which I recognised. Turned out to be the tastiest thing I’ve eaten here, shame I can’t recreate it.
Then at 13.33 we boarded our first ever bullet train. The journey was incredibly smooth for the speeds we were going and the train was great, with room for your luggage in front of you and vending machines. And even though it isn’t a tourist train the conductor used the tannoy to give us a brief guide to all the cities we went through. The view for the whole 5 hour journey was incredible, countless mountains, villages and over perfectly clear rivers and lakes.
The Train even had a Smoking Room
10 minutes before we reached our final destination, Takayama, we pulled into a train station. Next to us was another train with school children boarding. One girl spotted us in the window, the next thing we knew she grabbed all her friends and they all started smiling,waving and taking photos. They are not used to having many Europeans visiting this part of the Japanese Alps especially not two sun burnt British girls.
Views from the Train
We are now chilling at our hostel, which doubles up as a temple. We will be staying here for the next 5 nights until we head to the Festival in Kyoto.