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Time Out at Misawa

JAPAN | Monday, 2 September 2019 | Views [30]

F86 Sabre Jet, Misawa Air Base

F86 Sabre Jet, Misawa Air Base

WE ARE TAKING A FEW DAYS OFF — MAINLY BECAUSE WE CAN!  We're staying here at Misawa Joint Air Force/Navy Base.  It’s a little noisy with the F16s and the Navy P3 Orions taking off and landing at all hours, but we can handle it.  For less than a cramped budget room in a Japanese hotel we have a suite with a complete kitchen and washer/dryer at the Navy Gateway Inn, formerly the Air Force Inn.  We can pick up some needed toiletries and such in the Exchange, Connie can get a haircut at a reasonable price and American food is plentiful.  We even have US TV channels, courtesy of AFN.

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          Our suite                                  And bedroom

We could have taken a train but drove instead.  Despite all the hype about rail service in Japan — and I admit, it’s pretty nifty — it ain’t cheap, even with the JR Rail Pass.  It’s great if you are just visiting a few cities in a short time, say three weeks or less.  The 21-day JR pass must be purchased in the US and costs about $550.  That’s $1100 for a couple for three weeks of travel.  Paying as we go, our first three-weeks of train travel will have cost us just over $600 each, pretty much a wash as far as I can see.  And once we reach Hokkaido we will be finished with Japanese trains.


     Time is Money, Tolls save time

Driving has its issues, too — driving on the left for starters, but you also need an international driving license.  Speed limits in town are 40kph, 25mph and top out at 80kph on the freeway.  You must creep along at 60 (35mph) everywhere else, which may be a blessing until you are comfortable with driving.  Gas costs about $5/gallon but the little cars get 40+ mpg, so it’s not too bad.  Distances are generally short but many of the roads are toll roads costing about 20¢ a mile.  When you consider all the towns you avoid and the time-saving bridges and tunnels, it isn’t too bad.  Our rental Nissan Rental costs less than $50/day with full insurance coverage.  We have rental car coverage with our US auto policy but with the language issues, we chose the safer option.


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