Friday, January 11, 2013

Planes, Trains, One Automobile (and a few buses)

Not being able to read Japanese, among other things, makes travel here more difficult. I always like to give myself extra time and not check any luggage because you never know what might happen to slow you down.  We had two airport “incidents” to slow us down on this trip.  I purposely did not bring any scissors with my needlework and brought a clover round cutter instead. I forgot all about the swiss army knife that was in a zipper pocket in my bag and it was discovered in the security process.  I don’t often use it which is probably why I forgot about it but I like to have it just in case. I was upset over the possibility of losing it but luckily they were able to ship it to me after our return COD.  My mistake cost 740 yen!

When we were at the Kansai airport, on our way to Naha, I went through security with no problems, but after Ted unloaded all of his belongings into the machines, he discovered he didn’t have his boarding pass in hand. He checked all his pockets and bags, but it wasn’t there.  I was already through so I couldn’t help him. He retraced his steps and fortunately found it on the floor a ways back.

We had reserved train tickets from our town to the airport, from the Kansai airport into Kyoto and back to Kansai, and from the airport in Hokkaido back to our town. We were a bit rushed sometimes because of late planes, but we did make all of our connections.  The very last leg of our trip, we were slowed down by the snow storm, but we eventually made it home.

In Kyoto, we bought combination bus/subway passes, making it easy to get around.  It would have been easier if we were literate and knew which direction we were traveling, but we did always get where we were going, although not always by the fastest route.  Karasuma Oike was the subway stop closest to our hotel.  There were about 2000 steps to get up and down.  Japan doesn't have escalators everywhere like London.
We landed in Okinawa and spent the first night in Naha.  The next morning, we rented a car to explore the north part of the island (the Okainawa Churaumi Aquarium and Nakijin ruins), staying in Nago.  We had a GPS in the rental car that we couldn’t figure out.

When we returned to Naha we bought monorail passes, making it easy to hop on and off and go all over the city. A 48 hour unlimited use pass is only 1000 yen. There were beautiful glass pictures at each station.

We were happy not to drive in Naha.  Some of the streets were very skinny.

One day we took the 83 bus out of town to Okinawa World, for 560 yen each way. The people working at the city bus terminal were very helpful.

We walked from the Shuri-jo Castle to the Shikinaen Garden and all around the garden one day and decided to take the bus back to the monorail station.  The woman at the garden told us the #2 bus stop was around the corner. We were sitting at the bus stop on the wrong side of the street when two people washing their car near the bus stop told us we should be on the other side of the street, just as the bus was pulling up!  We ran across the street and made it just in time.  Another time we got on the wrong bus and had traveled a ways before we discovered we were on the wrong bus.  We were ready to pay as we got off, but the bus driver didn’t charge us!

1 comment:

  1. I well remember those steps at stations and I always hoped I would get slim legs with all the exercise but it never happened! It is interesting to read of your adventures.