Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Terminology in Japanese Posts or What the Heck is a Prefecture

Shinkansen - bullet trains - super express - These are all names for Japans high speed trains.

Prefecture - province

City - The Japanese term that this is translated from includes the surrounding countryside, often more like counties than cities.

Castle - usually a reconstruction from the 50's or 60's of a group of fortified buildings from the 16th or 17th century. If you are interested in history, pay attention to which parts of what you are seeing are actually old and which ones are recent reconstructions.

If anyone has a question about what something means, send me a message or post a comment, and will explain here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Yeogiyo Can Help Plan Your Trip

If you need to travel within Korea, The Yeogiyo, a Korean site for English-speakers, can tell you about both train and bus schedules and book tickets for you. Hotel bookings are also available.

Just go to their Bus/Train Tickets page.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Of Interest: modern sculptures
Lodging: yes
Tourist Office: yes

I only made a brief stop in Tsuruga. Just long enough to find out that no one in the tourist office speaks English, but they do have a nice English-language brochure and map. Also, the local city hall has decided to beautify their town by purchasing a fair amount of public art. There are several modern sculptures placed throughout the town.

Tsuruga is a little less than an hour from Kyoto by express train. You can also take the shinkansen to Maibara and change to an express, but it takes about the same amount of time. Local trains take 45 minutes to an hour to get to Maibara along the Hokuriku line. Trains along this line sometimes only go between here and Omishiotsu which is fifteen minutes away. The trains end there because Omishiotsu is the first stop in Kyoto Prefecture. Train lines often end at prefectural borders.

According to the signs, technically Omishiotsu is the end of the Hokuriku line. However, what line a piece of track is or is not a part of does not really determine where the trains actually go.

Tsuruga is in the middle of an express route that connects Osaka and Toyama. Kyoto is on the way to Osaka. Going the other way this route passes through Fukui (30-45 minutes away), and Kanazawa. Occaisionnally these trains continue on to northern Japan, with ending points are far away as Niigata or Aomori.

The Obama local train starts in Tsuruga and runs to the city of Obama about an hour away. (The people in the area think that it is kind of funny that the US President has the same name as a small Japanese town.) Some of these trains continue on another hour to Higashi-Maizuru, on the edge of neighboring Kyoto Prefecture.

Trains on most routes run once an hour, sometimes less.