Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Japan, Slow Boat To

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I took the Pukwan Ferry from Busan to Shimonoseki, Japan. The cost was 79,000 W basic fare, but the upgrade to a first class cabin by myself, instead of sleeping on the floor with a half-dozen other people, cost 50,000 W, and was worth every penny. Here's my cabin, small but adequate:
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The boat was nice enough though not luxurious, and had a "casino" aka game room. Signage was Korean and Japanese, but the vending machines were Japanese, the restaurant used the pick a number and pay into the vending machine system, and payment was Yen-only.
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After arriving at the ferry landing in Shimonoseki, one walks this long pedestrian walkway to the JR train/bus station (turn left and go to the end):
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After I tooled around the wharf and historic district for a while, I took the shinkansen, or superfast train, to Kyoto. I have not dealt extensively in train travel, though for a time I was a regular commuter on the Chicago, South Side & South Bend, but I note Japan has a well-developed, even elaborate system for taking a train.
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Actually, the varieties are not plain and choco, but non-reserved, reserved and green. I never went non-reserved, but it seems to be usually the first three cars only. However, I snapped pics of the regular reserved, and the more spacious and costly green-type car:
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The system's efficiency seems to depend on queueing up at the correct spot for the car you're ticketed into, and there are elaborate diagrams, including English, on where and what (the middle pic is from the back of the seat in front of me). The signage that announces track numbers and boarding times is less elaborate, and runs in English about 10 seconds of every minute, so read fast:
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I took the regular reserved on my trip from Shimonoseki to Kyoto, where I stayed for the bulk of my trip. Then I took a green from Kyoto to Tokyo. Here is some scenery along the way on the second shinkansen trip:
Still to come:
  • I risk my life eating the poisonous fugu
  • I (almost, sort of) see Mt Fuji
  • I sing karaoke in Ginza with a crew of young Tokyoites
  • I eat Kobe beef--in Kobe
  • I see some beautiful gardens, amazing architecture and take a rickshaw ride

2 comments:

Foreigner Joy said...

Looks fun. Japan is always a good trip.

Tanner Brown said...

Great.