Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Of Interest: changing trains
Lodging: budget hotels
Tourist Office: yes, in the station
Computer Access: no
Int'l ATM: according to Wikipedia, the is a post office in the "Yuri" building. It is not easily visible.

This station was called Shiriuchi Station until 1971 when it was renamed, and the original Hachinohe station, which is actually in downtown Hachinohe, was renamed Hon-Hachinohe. Hachinohe station is in a small suburb on the edge of Hachinohe. There is not much else in the area besides the train station. Bring something to eat or head into Hachinohe itself.

There is a large tourist office in the station. It is a good source of information, and it is the only tourist office in Hachinohe. If you are going to Hachinohe itself, make sure you get all the information you need before you head out. The tourist office also has information about Misawa, the location of a US Air Force Base.

Hachinohe is the last stop on the Tohoku Shinkansen. It is currently the only shinkansen stop in Aomori, although that is scheduled to change in 2012 when the Hokkaido Shinkansen opens. JR East also operates three other lines through Hachinohe.


Of Interest: downtown Aomori, ferry port
Lodging: multiple
Tourist Office: yes
Computer Access: in the tourist office
Int'l ATM: In a post office that is in a building to the right of the station. There is a sign, but you have to really look for it.

Aomori Station is on the edge of downtown. It is also right next to the ferry port which is attractively lit for a couple of hours each evening. The Aomori Prefectural Center for Tourism and Industry also has some pretty lights. The later is an interesting building; from the front it looks like a pyramid. (I don't have any pictures because the the lights turned off around the time that I got organized to take some.)

Aomori is famous for its Nebuta festival, and for a 5,000 year old prehistoric site, the Jomon Jiyukan. The Nebuta festival is within walking distance of the station. The festival is often listed as one of the three best in Japan. Many professional artists are commissioned to create floats for this festival. (I told I friend that I though it was very professionally done (which it is) and they said, "Hmm," like that was disappointing.)

In August there is a loop bus that goes to the Jomon prehistoric site as well as other tourist and cultural sites. Museums, historic buildings, and other things of interest to visitors are scattered throughout the city.

Local and intercity buses leave from the station plaza. JR East runs all the trains here. Aomori Station is the terminus for all lines. One line runs north into Hokkaido, one line runs east to Akita, and one line runs west to Hachinohe.

Aomori was the northern most stop on my July/August 2009 trip. After staying here one night during the Nebuta Festival, I started to head south.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Of Interest: walkable river, walkable city
Tourist Office: yes
Lodging: yes

The map from the tourist office indicates barrier-free restrooms, but the train station is not barrier-free.

The map from the tourist office is very practical. Not only does it list all of the museums, historic buildings, and picturesque views in town, it also tells you which ones have bathrooms and the location of traditional restaurants by cuisine. All color-coded.

I wish the person who designed this map had designed the station. It is not the most practical building that I have ever been in.

In addition, two different loop buses leave from the station, one specifically for tourists.

For more information on Morioka, go to Japan Food Guru which focuses on Morioka. I guess the food must be really good. Luckily, it is not expensive.

Morioka Station is served by multiple train lines. It is the northern terminus of the JR East's Tohoku Main Line and both the Tohoku and Akita Shinkansens stop there. Three other JR East lines also stop here as does the Iwate Ginga Railway Line.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Of Interest: surrounding area
Lodging: multiple
Tourist Office: a small window next to the station master
Int'l ATM: none near station
Computer Access: none

Ichinoseki City Hall is apparently within walking distance of the station, but the area around the station does not feel like a downtown, but more like an entertainment district. Most tourist come to the area to go hiking in the surrounding mountains.

Ichinoseki Station is a stop on the Tohoku Shinkansen and the Tohoku Main Line, both operated by JR East. Ichinoseki is about half an hour from Sendai and two hours from Tokyo by shinkansen. It takes about an hour and a half to get to Sendai by conventional trains.

Blog Action Day 2009

Climate change is the topic for this year's Blog Action Day (October 15).

What is Blog Action Day? "Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance." Bloggers from previous years chose the topic, so if we all blog together this year, we can help choose the topic next year.

I have a topic for my other blog, but I still haven't decided what I should do for this one. Is anyone else blogging about this? If so, what are you going to write about? What would you like me to write about?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kogota (Misato)

Of Interest: pleasant small town, changing trains
Lodging: No
Tourist Office: No
Int'l ATM: Kogota Post Office
Computer Access: none
Handicapped Accessible: Yes, fully
Bathrooms: Toilet paper, but no soap

Kogota Station is one of the best designed train stations that I have been in . It should be because this station is mainly a place to change trains. Kogota is a major transport hub for Miyagi Prefecture. It is a shopping and agricultural district of Misato, a small town in Miyagi Prefecture. There is a great deal of commuter housing in the area near the station.

As I was here during festival season, I got to watch a couple of dance performances at a local festival in a plaza across from the train station. This plaza is just up the main road from the station. The post office is also on this road.

The station is the terminus for three JR East lines. Kogota is twelve minutes from the nearest shinkansen stop in Furukawa by the Rikuu-tou line. Some of these trains continue on to Naruko-onsen which is about an hour away in the mountains to the east. The Kesennuma line takes about two hours and fifteen minutes to get to (surprise) Kesennuma to the north. The Minami-Sanriku line takes the same route, but because it has fewer stops, it takes an hour less. It also runs less often. The Ishinomaki line runs along the coast north to Onagawa. All of these lines run within the northern half of Miyagi Prefecture.

There are frequent trains to and from Sendai along JR's Tohoku Main Line. This line also goes to Ichinoseki, but trains are less frequent. Both cities are about forty-five minutes away.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sendai "City of Trees"

Of Interest: downtown, Chuo-dori Shopping Arcade
Lodging: multiple
Tourist Office: Yes, with lots of information
Computer Access: in the shopping arcade
Int'l ATM: Walk right from the station for 5-10 minutes to a 7-11.

Sendai is called the "City of Trees" because it is one of the greenest cities in Japan. It also one of the densest. These two things are not in conflict.

Sendai Station is downtown. Exit to the west and the second floor terrace turns into bridges that connect with nearby hotels and department stores. Go down to street level across from the station to find the Chuo-dori Shopping Arcade, a pedestrian street that extends from one end of downtown to the other. English language books can be found at Maruzen located on the same side of the street as the station.

The Loople Sendai bus also leaves from the West Exit area. Take this bus to get to Sendai's museums and area attractions, and to just see the city. A single ride is 25o yen while a full day costs 600 yen. Buses run from 9 to 4 all year round.

To me, it looks like local buses leave from the west side, while intercity buses leave from the east.

The Sendai Info Board is a website and magazine with information for foreign residents, some of which is valuable for visitors too. The magazine is available at the tourist office in the station.

Several JR East lines serve Sendai Station. The Senseki Line goes east to Sendai's suburbs and the ocean (including Matsushima), the Senzan Line goes west to the mountains and the city of Yamagata, the Tohoku Main Line runs north and south, and the Joban line runs south along the coast. The city also runs a single subway line and rail link to Sendai Airport. It takes about an hour and forty-five minutes to get to Tokyo by Shinkansen and about the same amount of time to go north to Hachinohe.

A two day pass for all buses trains in the Sendai area, including the subway, costs 2600 yen for two days. Both this pass and a Loople ticket can get you discounts at some tourist attractions.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Of Interest: downtown Iwaki
Lodging: yes, cheap
Tourist Office: yes
Int'l ATM: Turn left from the station and walk until you see a giant 7-11 sign. There is an international ATM in that store.

The city is old; it was founded during the Nara period more than 2000 years ago. There is an old onsen in the mountains in Iwaki county. The city itself has few buildings that are very old, but it has quite a few that are older twentieth century and the town has a quaint feel.

The movie Hula Girls is based on events in Iwaki, and you can feel the connection to Hawaii when you walk down the streets.

The station is right downtown. The city library, a performing arts center and the city art museum are a fifteen to twenty minute walk from the station. There is what looks like a traditional entertainment street to right of the station.

Iwaki City is near the coast. From Iwaki Station trains head north and south on the Joban Line and west to Koriyama on the East Ban'etsu Line, both run by JR East. The nearest shinkansen station is in Koriyama.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Of Interest: industry, seaside
Lodging: yes, including budget hotels

Hitachi Station handles more freight than people. This is predictable for town that saw the birth of one of Japan's largest industrial giants. Hitachi's headquarters are currently in Tokyo, but the company was founded here in 1910.

The Station is within sight of the sea. I wouldn't get off the train just to visit this part of Japan's coast, but it is probably worth the effort for someone who is in town already.

Hitachi Station is served by a single JR East line. This section of the Joban line that runs within sight of the ocean.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Of Interest: Kadokan Hall, downtown Mito, Sakura River, Kairakuen Park
Lodging: yes
Tourist Office: yes (good maps)
Int'l ATM: Post Office near the north exit

Mito is the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture. It is located beyond the edge of Tokyo's suburbs. The road that angles left from the North Exit leads to downtown. The tourist office has a good English language map. I recommend picking it up before leaving the station.

During the Edo period, Mito was ruled by a junior branch of the Tokugawa family. There are historical buildings scattered throughout the city. The city's most famous tourist attraction, Kairakuen Park, is one of the newest. This park, considered one of the three best in Japan, was originally built in 1841 by Tokugawa Nariaki. Of interest is its plum forest. To get there, leave the station by the South Exit, and then walk right along the Sakuragawa (Sakura River). The walk is especially beautiful in the spring when the trees that the river is named for are in bloom.

Kairakuen Park has its own train station during the prime plum viewing times in late February and March.

Plums are the city tree, and plum trees are also located on the Kadokan Hall grounds. This was a school for boys of the Tokugawa clan. It was built next to Mito castle which no longer exists. Kadokan Hall is a ten minute walk from the North Exit of the station. In different directions from that exit are the Toshogu Shrine and the Natto Display House. Natto is a specialty of Mito.

Three JR lines serve Mito station. The Joban line runs from Ueno, Tokyo to Sendai. It runs along the coast north of Mito, and takes about an hour and a half to get to Mito by Express train. The Suigun line also runs north, but inland. This line meets up with the shinkansen at Koriyama, Fukushima. The Mito line heads west to Oyama, Tochigi. The Kashima Rinkai Railway also runs a line south to Kashima, Ibaraki in the north Tokyo suburbs.

There is also a direct bus from Narita Airport. JR, Kanto Railway, and Ibaraki-Kotsu buses are run from the railway. The map available from the tourist center gives the location of most buses from the train station.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Of Interest: Fairly typical small Korean town
Lodging: no
Tourist Office: no
Nearest ATM: go left, then right to get to downtown

Okcheon is part suburb of Daejeon, part small town in North Chungcheon. It is twelve minutes from Daejeon Station by train, half an hour by local bus.

If this was a big city, I would say the station is downtown. However, because the place is so small, and it lacks big, straight roads, I have to say that Okcheon Station is more on the edge of town. To get to downtown, walk left than right for about fifteen minutes. It is not far, it is just not very clear how to get there.

At least two small rivers or streams run through town, and both have paths along their banks.

If you are interested in going into the surrounding mountains (hills), take the 607 bus. This a Daejeon city bus. It passes by a couple of trail heads. Look for signs and stop where hikers get on/off.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Keisei Electric Railway

Keisei Electric Railway operates trains and buses in Tokyo and Chiba. It's main line serves eastern Tokyo and several Chiba suburbs including Ichikawa and Funabashi and ends at Narita Airport. It's second most used line runs within Chiba. It also operates a variety of short lines. It uses standard gauge trains which distinguishes it from JR.

The Keisei group includes multiple subsidiaries that serve Ibaraki as well as Chiba and Tokyo. For the most part there is a subsidiary for each line. However, the Kanto Railway runs two lines and buses between Tokyo and Ibaraki while the Tsukuba Tsukuba Kanko Railway operates a cable car, a ropeway, hotels and restaurants on Mount Tsukuba. Subsidiary lines usually use old (diesel) or very new technology. Keisei will be the main operator of the Narita New Rapid Line which will have a top speed of 160km/h. That will make it the fastest third sector railway in the Tokyo area.

It also has extensive real estate holdings. Through its majority share in the Oriental Land Company, it manages Tokyo Disneyland, and it runs the Maihama Resort Line which serves the resort area.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Of Interest: one of Tokyo's bedroom communities
Lodging: no
Tourist Office: no
Lockers: small, medium, and large for only 100 yen
International ATM: In a 7-11 to the right of the station entrance

Toride is a transport hub for commuters going into Tokyo. It is only 40 minutes to Ueno Station by Joban line Express (JR East). The station is the terminus of the Joso line of the Kanto Railway (Keisei subsidiary).

The city of Toride has several train stations. It is hard to tell Toride Station is downtown or not. There is a small department store near the station, but few buildings of note.

Update: A couple of things have made me think about this city again. Someone told me that he used to live in Toride, and today I saw a request for articles about doing "special" things in "exotic" places. I really like to feel the "ordinariness" of things. Toride is very "ordinary", but it left a vivid impression on me.

Part of my challenge for this website is to express the experience of walking out of the station. Walking to end of the road that leads away from the station, walking back, seeing certain kinds of buildings near the station, seeing other (smaller) building further away, eating at the It0-yokado, going to the 7-11, very ordinary things.

Ito-yokado is like Target, and it is places like that that show you what a country is really like.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Of Interest: a suburb of Tokyo
Lodging: one budget hotel
Tourist Office: no
International ATM: no
Lockers: small and medium
Handicapped Accessible: yes

Moriya is at the intersection of the Tsukuba Express and Joso Line of the Kanto Railway. Originally, Moriya was the intended terminus of what became the Tsukuba Express, but Ibaraki Prefecture lobbied to have line go all the way to Tsukuba.

The shops and restaurants in the station are the focal point of the immediate area, although there may be a mall in (far) walking distance.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hakata, Fukuoka

Of Interest: temples, Kushida shrine, Canal City Hakata
Lodging: multiple
Tourist Office: yes

Hakata Station is the main JR station for the city of Fukuoka. It is also a stop on the subway, but Nishitetsu trains do not stop here.

The tourist office has extensive materials in English both on the city and Fukuoka prefecture. From the station, you can walk to the oldest Shingon temple in Japan, Tochoji. Jotenji is nearby. It was built in 1242 and may have been the orginal home of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival. This festival is currently hosted by Kushida Shrine which is a little further away, maybe a twenty to thirty minute walk. Nearby is Canal City Hakata, the biggest mall in Fukuoka.

The Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival lasts for two weeks in July. Local businesses and associations build and display floats. At the end of the festival, each group carries its float in an early morning race. Each float has a different character which reflects the group of people who built it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

discount train tickets

Seshun 18 is available during school holdays. Only 11,500 yen buys five days of travel on all local and rapid trains. Travel does not need to be on consecutive days, and more than one person can use the pass. For example, five people can use one pass to travel one day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tokyo Station

Of Interest: Imperial Palace park, Ginza shopping district
Lodging: yes, expensive
Tourist Office: no
International ATM: post office near station (exit to the west)

Tokyo Station serves JR East trains, JR Central shinkansen, and Marounichi subway trains. It was originally built in 1914 as a way to connect lines originating Shinbashi with lines originating at Ueno. It is currently the main shinkansen station in Japan. You can go almost anywhere in Japan from here. Maybe not anywhere in Tokyo.

The original facade is still intact on the Marunouchi (west) side. Go to the Marunouchi side to go to the Imperial Palace. On the way, you can stop by one of the best English language book stores in Japan. You can see the building where the store is located in the picture above. The building has a clock and almost looks like it curves.

The Yaesu side leads to the Ginza shopping district. The main shinkansen exit leads to this side.

Walk south from either side to find cheap eats.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shinbashi, Tokyo

Lodging: Yes
Tourist Office: Yes, in the Yurikamome line station
Of Interest: shopping, original Shinbashi Station, downtown Tokyo
International ATM: see map for 7-11's

The area around Shinbashi Station is mostly offices. An office complex has been built around the original station building. (I recommend finding it. It is a nice little area.) However, Shinbashi is within walking distance of the Ginza shopping district and the Tokyo Station area.

JR trains, the Yurikamome line, Keihin Kyuko trains, and the Ginza subway all run through Shinbashi.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ebisu, Tokyo

Lodging: yes
Tourist Office: in old brewery complex
Of Interest: Original Yebisu Brewery museum, Yebisu Garden Place
Internet Access: in Yebisu Garden Place

Ebisu is a quiet neighborhood in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. The neighborhood was named for the beer that was brewed there. Today the brewery is a museum and is surrounded by a commercial development called Yebisu Garden Place. This area contains many restaurants, a luxury hotel, two museums, a department store, some small shops, offices, and even some residences. Sapporo Beer has its world headquarters here and owns the development. The company still brews Yebisu Beer, just not here.

Ebisu Station serves two lines of JR east and the Hibuya subway line.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Of Interest: shopping, entertainment district
Lodging: multiple
Tourist Office: Probably yes, but probably unfindable
International ATM: post office (check map in the station plaza)
Computer Access: multiple internet cafes with good prices
Accessible: No, lots of barriers, lots of stairs

Shibuya is the fourth busiest railway station in Japan and the single most confusing train station that I have ever been in. Almost every line has its own little station so you have to change stations to change trains. The Ginza line is inside Tokyu Department Store. Other changes require walking through a mall.

Shibuya Station is in the middle of Shibuya Ward's central commercial district. The area is very businesslike during the day, but at night it attracts young people from all over Tokyo. Because of the variety of people the area attracts, you can find almost any kind of leisure activity. Prices are very reasonable here. If you are looking to save money by staying overnight at an internet cafe, this is the place to do it.

JR East, Tokyu Corporation, and Keio Corporation serve Shibuya Station. JR trains all come to one set of tracks, but there are two different Tokyu station areas. (They want you to walk through their store and buy something.) Three subway lines also come here. Ginza comes into the third floor of the department store while the Hanzomon and Fukutoshin lines run underground. You can change between those two lines without going through a ticket gate.

Here is a review of a Shibuya area hotel, the Granbell Hotel, by Aki, one of my favorite bloggers. Another post on the same hotel has a nice picture of a typical Japanese breakfast. Yum.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yurikamome Line

The Yurikamome line is an elevated train that serves the artificial island of Odaiba. It starts at Shimbashi Station, runs over the Rainbow Bridge to circle Odaiba before running back north to end at Toyosu Station to the north east. The train itself is a tourist attraction as well as a means of transportation.

In 1853, Egawa Hidetatsu built six artificial island fortresses in Tokyo Bay to defend the city (then called Edo). Daiba means cannon battery, giving the islands their name. The islands were expanded in the early 1990's. Construction of new land was halted in 1995 because the area was full of vacant lots and many of the companies attempting to develop the area were bankrupt. At least one of the original islands, No 6 Battery (Dai-Roku Daiba) was not joined up with others.

The first section of the Yurikamome line did not open until 1995, the year that Odaiba's construction stopped. Before that, the Rainbow Bridge was the islands only physical connection to the mainland.

Originally, zoning only permitted commercial buildings and housing. But in the second half of the 1990's, other kinds of development were allowed. Two beaches were developed (no swimming) along with a park, an artificial onsen, malls, movie theaters, restaurants, hotels, and other entertainment facilities. Today the island is a good example of successful mixed-use development.

The most recent addition is a life-sized statue of a Gundam.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Asakusa, Tokyo

Of Interest: Senso-ji temple, Sumidagawa River cruise, Asakusa shrine
Lodging: multiple, including many budget hotels and ryokan
Tourist Office: between the metro station and Senso-ji
Lockers available: small and medium

There are two Asakusa Stations. One serves the Ginza and the Toei Asakusa subway lines as well as the Tobu Isesaki line that heads out of Tokyo into Saitam, Tochigi, and Gunma Prefectures.

The second one is a stop on the Tsukuba Express. The Tsukuba station is fully accessible with small and medium lockers. It is also fully handicapped accessible. It is an attractive station with murals of the history of the area.

And Asakusa is a good area for history buffs. Asakusa was a village in ancient times that was absorbed into old Edo. Asakusa is Tokyo's oldest entertainment district and is a good place for traditional culture. Asakusa still has geisha houses and other forms of traditional culture.
The main tourist attraction is Senso-ji, Tokyo's oldest temple. Originally built in 645, the temple and its grounds were mostly destroyed during WWII. On the temple grounds is a tree that was almost killed by a bomb during the war. The tree regrew from the burned stump, and this symbolizes the reconstruction of the temple. Asakusa shinto shrine is next to the temple.

There are also museums in the area. Tepco Asakusa (Folk Museum) is near the Tsukuba line station.

To help people get around, there is a local loop bus.

There is an excellent blog post about Asakusa at the Tokyo Dreaming blog including pictures that express the feeling of the place.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Observations on Transport Quality

I have noticed that trains are popular in Japan, but that trains there are sometimes not very comfortable. Buses are heavily used in Korea, but many definitely are not comfortable.

I think that there are a couple of reasons for this.

First, a certain percentage of passengers use public transportation because they are environmentalists. These people will use gravitate towards the most common forms of public transportation.

But I don't think that is the most important reason.

When a form of transportation is not so popular, governments try to make it comfortable to attract people. Or at least justify operating it. So in Japan buses are comfortable even when they are slow and don't go where you need them to when. Aichi Prefecture's private trains are some of the most comfortable trains in Japan. Because buses don't fill in the gaps between the train lines very well, people realistically need cars. The area is relatively prosperous, so most can afford a car. So the trains have to constantly compete.

In Korea, bus ridership apparently will never drop below a certain level, no matter how awful the buses are. Trains are another matter. So trains are comfortable. (Unless they are overbooked.)


Lodging: multiple
Tourist Office: Yes
Of Interest: castle, shinto shrine, museums

Odawara is a small town on the edge of greater Tokyo. It is important historically with significant settlements dating from Jomon times. It lost its importance in the 19th century when Yokohama took over as the most important city in Kanagawa.

The focal point of tourist interest is Odawara Castle park. Within the park are some original castle buildings, a reconstruction of Odawara Castle, three museums, Hotoku Ninomiya-jinja shrine, and a formal garden. In the surrounding area there are some small museums dedicated to traditional industry and small historical sites. Overall, Odawara is a good place to visit to learn about life 200 years ago.

Odawara is a major transit point for people going to the Hakone hot springs and Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Six different JR lines serve Odawara station.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Lodging: motels
Tourist Office: Yes
Of Interest: station is at the edge of town

Jeonju is mainly famous for its festivals, especially for its annual film festival. Unfortunately, Jeonju is not very accessible by train. The train station is not within walking distance of downtown, and trains only run about once an hour. They can sell out during festivals.

Until a couple of years ago there was a Jeollabuk-do commuter train that ran from Gunsan to Jeonju, but that has been discontinued. I am curious about what happened to the people who lived near the stations.

Jeonju is a good place to visit. The tourist office has lots of information about what to do in Jeonju and about how to get there as well as about the surrounding area. Besides festivals, Jeonju is rich in museums and artists. There is also a section of traditional houses that is near a Confucian shrine that was important during the Joseon period.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Lodging: one somewhat expensive hotel
Tourist Office: near castle?
Of Interest: castle

Note: There are no clean restrooms near the castle.

Kakegawa is a small town of a little over 100,000 people. JR Tokaido Shinkansen, JR Tokaido Main Line, and Tenryu Hamanako trains all stop here.

Kakegawa castle is a small building set in an attractive park next to a small river about twenty minutes from the station. The castle was rebuilt in the 80's. To get there walk straight ahead away from the station. There are signs in both English and Japanese. According to those signs, there is a tourist office close to the castle, but I did not see when I walked by. I think it is one of the souvenir shows.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Norries - small trains in Cambodia

Here is a link to a video showing locals building a train network when their government won't.

Bamboo Railway - Cambodia

Now the government is upgrading the tracks to connect the country to Thailand and Vietnam, and there are questions as to whether those trains will serve Cambodia's ordinary people.

I hope the trains continue to serve the villages in the mountains. Those areas are unlikely to see much train service, and the villagers might not be able to afford the fares.


The Linimo is a maglev (magnetic levitation) line in suburban Nagoya. It is operated by Aichi Rapid Transit Co. It runs from the Fujigaoka subway station in Nagoya to Yakusa, a station on the Aichi Loop Line, in Toyota. It was originally built to service Expo 2005.

The line is elevated so you get nice views of the area.

Honestly, I am not impressed by maglev technology. It is expensive and breaks down easily. I am also not a big fan of taking curves at high speeds.

With a top speed of 100 km/h, the Linimo is not particularly fast. Meitetsu trains reach 120, and these trains have more comfortable interiors.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nagoya subway system

Nagoya has a subway system with six lines, including a short connector line, Kami Ida. It is operated by the City of Nagoya Transportation Bureau. Parts of the Higashiyama and Tsurmai lines are above ground, but most of the system is below ground.

Fares run from 200 to 320 yen. The Yurika is the systems prepaid card. There are both regular and daytime only (cheaper) cards. There are joint Yurika for use on both subway system and the Aonami or Meitetsu trains. There are also multiple ride tickets and one day passes of various kinds.

Most stations in the system are not handicapped accessible.

Lines are as follows:

Higashiyama (yellow) crosses the city from east to west. Transfers to JR Kansai and Kintetsu Nagoya trains going east are possible at Hatta Station. Transfers to the Linimo maglev are possible at Fujigaoka. Transfers to multiple JR trains are possible at Nagoya Station.

Meijo (purple) makes a circle around Nagoya. Transfers to JR lines are possible at Kaneyama and Ozone Stations. The Yutorito line is also accessible from Ozone.

Meiko (purple and white) connects to Meijo line to Nagoya port becoming the Meijo line at Kanayama Station.

Kami Ida (pink) connects the Meijo line to the Meitetsu Komaki line. It only has two stops, Heian-dori and Kami Ida.

Tsurumai (blue) runs northwest to southeast. It connects to the other end of the Meitetsu Komaki line at Kami Otai Station. Tsurumai connects to the Meitetsu Toyota line at its other at Akaike Station. Connections to the JR Chuo line is possible at Tsurumai.

Sakura-dori (red) is Nagoya's newest line. It parallels the Higashiyama through most of downtown before turning south at Imaike. It turns east at Sakura-honmachi and ends a couple of stops later. Transfers to many JR lines are possible at Nagoya Station. Building on an extension to the east should start this year. Stations have elevators at some exits.

The Nagoya subway connects to three short commuter lines that are included on the subway map, but which require separate tickets: Limino, Aonami, and Yutorito.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Lodging: budget hotels
Tourist Information Office: No
Of interest: good restaurant

Shin-Yamaguchi station is in suburban Yamaguchi. In other words, JR built a station in the middle of nowhere to save money. The second nicest things about the station area is some concrete with some water running through it.

The first most nicest thing is a really good restaurant. The best restaurant that I ate at during my trip. If I am in the area, I am going to go back. Even though I hate empty suburbs.

To get to the Green Park Mare, go right on the road in front of the station. The road will curve. The good restaurant is across from the McDonalds. I had the lunch special (heegawari?) for 880 yen. The Green Park Mare serves French influenced Japanese style lunches.

Like in that show, "Queen of Lunchtime Cuisine".