SCMAGLEV and Railway Park

I think we’ve found Alex’s ultimate amusement ride: a ticket gate. 

As I’m on the ultimate railway journey around Japan it makes sense to visit a railway museum. Inside, apart from fascinating explanations of Shinkansen technology, its next generation magnetic levitation train, a massive working HO scale layout and various older locomotives and carriages, is a working railway ticket machine and gate. And to use it costs nothing! 

Alex was also fortunate to get a drive of a Shinkansen simulator, which is decided on a lottery system. 

To get to the museum it was another ride on the Aonami Line, same as yesterday. 

Really worthwhile a visit, we all enjoyed the experience. 

Hikari Shinkansen to Nagoya

Backtracking again to Nagoya for a couple of days of amusement parks and hopefully the train museum. Had to give up on the Toyota factory tour as it was just too much trouble to get to, requiring an early morning start. Actually slept in until eight this morning. Luxury! 

Back to Shin-Osaka: Hikari Shinkansen 

I really hate people who bring huge hard shell cases on Japanese trains. Yes, I’m talking about the non-local group behind me. 

There’s no space. 

Back to Shin-Osaka on the Shinkansen to check into the hotel before heading off to Kansai International to meet the rest of the family. 

Self heating bento

This train ride goes through lunch and all the shops were closed last night so I bought a bento from the on board trolley service. I was first offered one with sea urchin. No thanks. 

The next option was this self heating beef and rice bento. Pull a string and a chemical reaction boils water and steams the dish. Five minutes later and you have a hot lunch. Nice! 


Hayabusa 16 to Tokyo

Next stop Tokyo aboard the Hayabusa Shinkansen. We will go past the former location of Japan’s deepest station, under the Seikan Tunnel. It’s closed now and the tunnel has lost its record status, but they still let you know (in Japanese) when you are about to cross beneath the sea. 

Up close

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. 

Obento

When you are spending most of the day on the rails, like I am today, it’s often hard to find time for meals. Some trains have a meal cart, though as we discovered earlier this year they can sell out at busy times. In Japan there is also the ekibento, packaged meals available at stations that often showcase regional cuisine. 

Today I’m having a tori meshi bento, chicken done three ways.

The Train Shop

Tohoku Shinkansen rides come with a home shopping magazine full of goods you never thought you needed and probably don’t. 

Mount Fuji

I was certain I’d be out of luck spotting Mount Fuji this morning from the Tokaido Shinkansen but there it is!

Not much snow left, but the mountain is wearing a hat!