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A Rough Road to Nikko

JAPAN | Thursday, 22 August 2019 | Views [108]

Maybe we can push-start it, Inotani

Maybe we can push-start it, Inotani

WE HAD THE DEVIL OF A TIME GETTING FROM Takayama to Nikko, a route that ended up requiring a bus —two depending on how you count — and five different trains.  We were in the second car of a two car train heading to Toyama with four other Westerners.  Neither the young Portuguese couple not Spaniards Oscar and Elena — nor we — noticed that Inotani was the end of the Takayama line and we had 3 minutes to transfer to the Toyama train.  


     Brown-Bagging it in Inotani

We six huddled on the platform in the rain, weighing our options.  The next train was in three hours.  Maybe a taxi or a bus?  The post office was the only occupied building I could find but the postal clerk, thank her Shinto — or was it Buddhist? — heart, after a lot of pantomiming, checked on a taxi for us.  $150 and it wouldn’t arrive for half an hour.  A bus would be by in 45 minutes, $13 to Toyama.  I hustled back to the platform with the news.


          Oscar and Elena Mugging for the Camera

The Portuguese kids who had a JR Rail pass and otherwise limited funds elected to wait for the train — hope they made it OK — while the four of us trooped to the main road where we hoped to find a bus stop.  We nibbled our munchies inside a shed, peeking out regularly for a look-see.  We clambered aboard when the bus arrived, first insuring it was, indeed, headed for Toyama station.  But it wouldn’t start.  The young driver tried this and that and finally called for help.  He was totally embarrassed at his loss of “face” and I hope he didn’t take our giggling as derisive.  It’s possible that he may have committed hari-kari after we left in the replacement bus.


      It Ain't the Ritz, Hotel Nikko Station 2

We lost Oscar and Elena in the Japan Rail ticket line and I’m sure they made it to Kyoto all right.  We still needed three more trains to get us to Nikko and the Hotel Nikko Station 2.  It’s a come-down from the Best Western, more like a hostel with a typically tiny room but it’s cheaper and comes with breakfast.  We are close to the station and a full-service supermarket, the first we’ve seen in Japan.

PS  Three days later and we received an email from Oscar and Elena.  Not only did they make it to Kanazawa OK, they ran into the young Portugese couple.  All's well that ends well.


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