By 10AM we were on track 20 at Ueno Station. The Shinkansen arrived one minute late. Disgraceful. We were travelling on the Shink to the terminus at Hachinohe where we would transfer to a limited express to Aomori and then onto Hirosaki where our Friend in Japan, V, lives. V was to meet us a the station.
The train sped through the suburbs and was soon picking up speed to about 250 kmh. For the last leg of the journey the train reached 300kmh. Now that is a decent canter. I think the Eurostar may have been a bit smoother, but memory is a poor judge. The Shink was smooth enough and I did not get the feeling of slight disorientation that I felt on Eurostar, even though we were travelling a good bit faster.
At Hachinohe we had ten minutes to change trains and we pretty well followed the hoards, but it was a good distance. I misread the board and thought we left from track 3. Luckily I checked with an attendant and he said track 4. We launched ourselves into the train with five minutes to spare. Panic was quite unnecessary.
Even the limited express was fast, about 160kmh at a guess. It stopped a few times before we arrived in Aomori. Many left the train there and and those remaining started to do things with the seats. Ah, they were turning them around, we must be going to back the way we came and turn off the main track, which is what happened.
V was at the station as we exited and after a decent old hug, she took us for refreshment to a cafe within the station building called Douter. We checked into our hotel, the Toyoko Inn, which was right next to the station. Right, this hotel was much cheaper than where we stayed in Tokyo, but we were somewhat space compromised, with only space for one sitting chair and cases had to go under the bed.
V called for us later and led us to her office where we met her co-workers, most of whom we had heard about over the years she has been in Hirosaki. All were very pleasant and politely inquisitive.
We V, R and I trooped across the road to eat at Eat, one of her bosses restaurant. The boss, along with her husband, spoke English well and we left the choice of food and wine to them. The boss, H, had spent some time in America and was used to western ways and habits. We had a fine nosh up, some Chinese, some Italian and some just international. I highly recommend Eat. It was also very spacious and had food stuffs on shelves to buy and some fresh produce on consignment available.
R was worried that his bed was rock hard and he would have back problems. By the end of our stay, he wanted to bring the bed home.
After paying the bill, H, the owner
See the small green dots, counting down to when the signal goes red. Once red, the dots show red and count down as well.
It is not quite picked up by the camera, but the Japan Rail Pass was quite glittery and beautiful. Not sure about the image of a wave swamping a mountain though.
Our train arrives, the Hayate (Tohoku line) Shinkansen.
The Shink interior with plenty of leg space.
While there were wash basins in the toilets, there was also this much better basin outside. Left is auto soap onto your hands, right is auto warm water and at the front hot drying air.
The second highest mountain in Japan, Mount Iwaki, was visible from the limited express train as we neared Hirosaki.
This statue greeted us as we exited Hirosaki Station. Nice pecs and six pack.
Some azaleas somewhere.
Rather wasteful in my opinion, but clean bedding, pyjamas and towels everyday. We didn't use the pyjamas, but they kept on leaving them until they noticed there was a pile of clean ones.
Very comfortable beds.
A room with a view, of the station yards.