Wednesday, September 7, 2011

新幹線 (The Shinkansen-Bullet Train)

Aiports.  Airplanes.  Air travel.  I do. not. like them.  They are such a hassle and ludicrously expensive.  Thankfully, there are many travel options for getting around Japan.

When Karl and I went to Okazaki-Shi (岡崎市) last month to study Japanese for two weeks, we decided to take the “shink.”  (The nickname for the shinkansen.)  It was ah-mazing.  An extremely fast, smooth ride with virtually zero hassle.  No crazy security measures, no waiting for hours-just one smooth ride. 

Our Shinkansen was the one on the left.  The one on the right was a double-decker!
(I just want to say that I completely understand why such security measures are in place-it just makes me sad that they need to exist in today’s society.)

Now.  It wasn’t a cheap ride, but after considering all the aspects of traveling, it was the best choice for us.  The cheapest way to travel is, without a doubt, by bus.  (Which we did for our return trip.)  However, is did take more than three times longer than the shink.  Driving your own car is expensive not only because of the gas, but because you have to pay tolls to use all freeways in Japan.  And it takes at least as long as the bus ride. 

The shink was about eighty bucks one-way and it took a mere two and a half hours.  The bus ride back took waaaaaay longer (due to traffic) but was only about twenty-five bucks.  So depending on your travel needs, you have some pretty great options in Japan. 

I’ll really miss these travel options when we get back to the US.  Here’s hoping there will be some investments in high-speed rail in the near future! 

Doesn't it look cool?!

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