Shinkansens are great for getting you quickly from A to B in comfort. But, like a car on a freeway, you are disconnected from the landscape and its occupants.
From the trunk lines all you can see is a successful and industrious country. Travel local and suddenly you see the collapsing fishermen’s huts, the rusting grain silo, the abandoned wedding venue with the fading crab sign.
And you also see the memorial plinth standing out in the sea, the bright orange and yellow fishing floats and that restaurant beside the beach that you wish you could stop and dine at.
You’d miss all that on the Shinkansen. Sometimes it’s better to take it slow.