A Travellerspoint blog

Day 2

Toyama

sunny 23 °C
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After a torturous neck breaking sleep, we finally awoke at 6.25am for the trek to haneda airport. Our destination, Toyama!

I woke with a shocking headache that would be my unwanted stowaway for the trip to toyama. I know, I know open a can of harden the fuck up. I did!

We stayed at Hamamatsucho due to it's proximity to the nearby monorail which takes you straight to haneda airport in around 20 mins. We managed to get on the monorail and it all went quite smoothly to the airport. Vanessa made a friend by offering an old lady her seat who proceeded to shower her with smiles and nods for the rest of the trip.

Check in was smooth and we managed to find a delicious bento box with ginger, bacon and noodles for breakfast. It was delish!

After landing in Toyama there was much lol's as we had no idea how to get to Toyama. The bus we were supposed to get on was full to the brim and the next not due for an hour. So after much standing there looking sad and repeatedly looking at the schedule on the wall the driver took pity on us and managed to squeeze us on at the front. What was really bizarre was you don't pay when you get on you pay when you get off. So people would get off at the back of the bus and walk to the front to pay the driver. Was weird.

After getting off the bus near JR station Toyama we were again nearly fooled by google maps on the iphone. It truly is hit and miss in japan. It told me I needed to take a tram for 4 stops followed by a 6 min walk. We decided to splurge on a cab who laughed and told us our hotel was actually across the road and up a bit. Fuck you google! We paid him 560 yen to do a uturn and drop us right out the front.

Check in wasn't till 3pm so we dropped the bags off and decided to explore. We were very surprised to find it was actually quite hot. A nice 23 degrees with the sun very bright in our eyes. On the bus into the city we had noticed Toyama castle so decided to walk back and check it out.

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Toyama castle was actually pretty disappointing. It's actually a modern rebuild of part of the castle and inside was a small folk museum with everything in japanese. Bit of a waste of time really.

Next stop was Daiwa shopping mall, with ibuprofen my priority (still had that shocking headache, fuck you buckwheat pillow!). Ibuprofen obtained, headache sorted it was now time for lunch. We proceeded to the top floor food court where we were greeted by some pretty high priced food. I had to double check we hadn't actually gone to soapland, because at these prices I would be expecting a happy ending.

Instead we went to the basement where there was a food hall (think david jones food hall) and there was a nice restaurant there. Beer + full belly and we were happy.

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By this time we had our second wind and so decided to just walk. We noticed the Tatayama Alps in the distance so decided to walk in that direction to see if a better photo opportunity presented itself. Along the way we passed a nice autumn leafed lined stream. So worth the diversion for that alone.

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By this time we were quite tired so time to head to the hotel and complete check in, followed by a power nap. Thankfully the hotel (hotel comfort), had excellent pillows :D.

After waking we decided we'd go and try and book our tickets for Takayama in the morning at the nearby JR station. We went in prepared with the Japanese we needed to say to secure said tickets. It was all going swimmingly, the guy understood us on first attempt, punched in the details and this is where it went pear shaped. Train was full and we were now left with no pre-prepared Japanese script. It felt like a scene out of fearing and loathing las vegas. Hilariously the guy went to get someone from the back who spoke english. Hilarious because the guy only knew a few more words than the first guy. Somehow we walked away with 4 tickets (2 each) to the destination and we have no fucking clue as to what they mean. My theory is they are just unreserved which means we can catch the train, just not on a reserved ticket. We'll see how well that theory holds up in the morning.

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Tickets in hand, baffled expressions still on our faces we decided it was time for dinner. Found a place in the food court of the nearby mall and ordered shabu shabu with the prerequisite beers. I had originally ordered some katsu which I then cancelled in favour of joining vanessa with the shabu shabu. This was obviously lost in translation so we ended up with both. Not complaining though as it was delicious. Came with some sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle which was also delicious. Overall a successfully enjoyable dinner.

Weather prediction over the next few days is rain so before we called it a night we stopped to pick up an umbrella. Right so now we are ready for Takayama in the morning (assuming these tickets hold up).

Posted by jasbar 03:30 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Day 1

Planes, Trains and uncomfortable pillows.

sunny
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Jetstar were obviously short on people to fill starclass, so on the sunday before the trip we got a call offering a cheap upgrade which we duly accepted.

The airport check in was certainly fun, my first ever random bomb residue search test.Thankfully it didn't involve a rubber glove.

A highlight of the upgrade to starclass was getting to chill in qantas lounge before our flight, including the deliciously fresh pancakes. Apart from that I would only rate starclass as a lower end premium. The premium economy we took to europe was vastly superior to jetclass starclass. Still it was better than economy and the included drinks, food and video on demand was stll nice.

Overall the flight was actually quite painless. We alternated between reading and watching movies. Funnily enough i brought along a netbook filled with 150gig of movies/tv shows and didn't watch any of them. The video on demand that came with starclass, the excellent tiger woods golf on the iphone and a good book were sufficient to keep me entertained for the duration of the flight.

Upon landing we went straight to the japan rail desk to book our narita express ticket which left in 10 mins. There was a bit of panic as we didn't know how long it would take us to get to the platform so we rushed and cursed each other for being slow or alternatively being too fast! In the end we made it with plenty of time to spare.

Narita express took around 53 mins, which was just enough time for vanessa and I to watch the first episode of season 4 Dexter. (bit meh if you are wondering)

Upon reaching Tokyo station we changed trains for Hamamatsucho station. I punched our hotel into google maps and it tried to take us the total wrong way. So i repunched it in with more details and it finally put us on the right track. So backpacks on we began the short walk to the hotel. Only after exiting the station we got slightly disoriented and took a right when we were supposed to go straight resulting in our trip taking a full block detour.

Back on track we kept our eye on the iphone for the directions to get us there and bam, all that tiger woods golf came back to bite me in the ass with the phone shutting down, flat battery :D. Luckily it died right beside a massive map which included our hotel and a "You are here" red dot. Brilliant. Hotel found.

The Hotel Villa Fontaine, while being tiny, was very clean and comfortable. The only issue was the pillow was as bad a pillow as I have ever used. Felt like a bag of rice! Sheol's theory of it being made of buckwheat is sounding about right!

Posted by jasbar 03:09 Archived in Japan Tagged transportation Comments (0)

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