Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Excerpts Of 2015 Kansai Trip #7 - Kyoto Tango Rail Pass

The area we visited for my Tango Ultramarathon wasn't fully covered by the JR train network and as such, we couldn't use  our JR-West Kansai Wide Area Pass (which I mentioned in my previous post) to get around to the race pack collection venue and also to the race venue on the race morning itself.

We stayed in Toyooka and had to get to Amino which was 7 stops away on Saturday and on race morning Sunday, to Kumihama; two stops away.

Toyooka was the last station and we had to use the Kitakinki Tango Railways (KTR) to get around. 

At the small station in Toyooka, we were looking at the ticket machine and fares chart, preparing our coins and calculating the fares when the staff at the station suddenly called us to come to the station window and asked where we were going.

To Amino, we said.
Ah, do you have passports?, he asked.

We nodded.
He asked for our passport.
Quite bewildered, we took out our passports. He didn't take our passports though, as looking at them was enough to proof we were gaijin (foreigners). Hahaha
It turned out that for JR Pass and JR-West Pass holders could get the KTR Day Pass for half price. That was why he asked 
1. our destination (to check whether it'll be worthwhile for us to buy the day pass) and
2. our eligibility.

So we bought two adult tickets and one child ticket. 900 yen for adult, 450 yen for child.

Armed with the pass, we later not only head to Amino to collect my race pack but also made an impromptu trip to Amanohashidate at no extra cost!

Thank you kind station staff!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Excerpts Of 2015 Kansai Trip #6 : JR-West Kansai Wide Area Pass

For 5-days of unlimited travel in the Kansai region covered by JR, we got ourselves a JR West Kansai WIDE Area Pass  for 8,500yen per adult.
We got it for 8,500yen as we booked our passes online before our arrival to Japan. Passes bought without online reservation would cost us 9,00yen instead so we saved 500yen per pax for it.

Payment was only made when we picked up our passes at JR-West ticket office and getting it was really easy. There was a special foreigners counter at the JR Office that we went to, and the staff there spoke in an American accent. Very mat salleh slang. Hahaha

Points to note :
Kansai WIDE Area Pass is valid for unlimited travel in the valid area on the map
Valid trains are :
 - Non-reserved seats on Bullet Train "SANYO SHINKANSEN" (Shin-Osaka⇔Okayama)
- Non-reserved seats on Express Trains 'HARUKA, KUROSHIO, THUNDERBIRD, KOUNOTORI, SUPER HAKUTO (Kyoto⇔Kamigori)' etc.
- Special Rapid Services, Rapid Services,
- and Local trains on JR-WEST Conventional lines. 

Cannot be used on : 
- Bullet Train "TOKAIDO SHINKANSEN" (Shin-Osaka⇔Tokyo) 
- Bullet Train "SANYO SHINKANSEN" (Okayama⇔Hakata) 
- Bullet Train "KYUSHU SHINKANSEN" (Hakata⇔Kagoshima-Chuo)

We used it to travel to Toyooka, and later to Kinosakionsen, to Kiikatsura and Shingu station too. Hubby even traveled to Kobe alone, when both me and Son decided to just laze around in our hotel room one night.

This was a good option for us compared to getting a JR-Pass as we didn't plan to travel out of the Kansai region anyway.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Excerpt Of 2015 Kansai Trip #5 : Love Hotel

So we stayed in a capsule hotel. A cabin. An old hotel. What's next?

We actually made a reservation to stay in a minshuku too, as we had planned to do the Kumanokodo hike (part of it, anyway) but ended up canceling the reservation because we changed our plan at the last minute.

Hubby and I always wondered about the Love Hotel and decided to check them out when we returned to Osaka from Kyoto.

With Son safely stashed in a decent, respectable hotel room, we first looked around for a room the day after my ultramarathon but no luck. Most decent Love Hotels were fully booked for the Silver Week holiday, I guess and we were crazy enough to decide that it would be good to walk around comparing them anyway. (You can see the room photo on a screen, as getting a room is automated after all).

So a day after running a 60K, here I was; with Hubby walking around in Osaka stopping and checking out Love Hotels from 11.00pm to 3.00am! Hah hah

Some were nice. Some were just ordinary rooms. Some were really old, with dated furnishing style. Some, as Hubby said "macam hotel pelacur". Wakaka

Despite not having a front office (being discreet and all), entering a Love Hotel is actually an annoying experience. You were greeted with that loud machine voice "irrashaimase'ing" you and then thanking you as you exit.

And of course, at times; you see that you were not the only couple looking for a room to spend the night. Heh heh
We finally get to check-in in a really nice room after our hike to Nachi Waterfall the next day and Son was happy to get the room all for himself again as Mommy and Daddy went out.

For 4,000yen an hour and around 9,000yen per stay between 9.00pm-11.00am, a stay in a Love Hotel can be a good option for couples traveling in Japan. The amenities were superb and I'm not just talking about the comfy bed.

The catch is, for the hotel that we stayed in at least; you can't get in and out as you please. It's pay at the machine in front of our room's door for the stay (which the machine in the photo above calculates the hour you used a room) and the room would stay locked until you made your payment at the machine to exit.

We were actually assisted on how to get in and pay for our room by a really cheerful obachaan who were on duty at the hotel that night.

And when we checked out later, she came out again to greet us and passed us a English written note of "Thank you. Have a nice day". Haha... so much for a discreet night, eh? Bahaha

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Excerpt Of 2015 Kansai Trip #4 - An Old Hotel In Toyooka

I had a race in Kyotango in Kyoto and I guess we were kinda late in reserving our hotel room nearby the race site and when we finally made the effort to do it, most rooms in the surrounding area were full. Didn't help that it was during the long Silver Week holiday too.

Plus it wasn't easy to find a cheap room that can fit the three of us and not paying through our nose for it.
Hubby finally found a room at a rather old and small business hotel in Toyooka that fits three for a mere 10,00yen.

Old as it may be, it was comfy and had all the amenities we need, including a wired internet access. And oh, a modern warm toilet too. Plus, everything worked! 

We arrived at 10.00am by train from Kyoto and had wanted to store our luggage first before heading to the race pack collection in Amino City. 

The front office was empty and there was a sign saying that the front office won't be manned between 10.00am-11.00am.

After all, as I said earlier, this was a small hotel.

So we decided to spend time at a nearby department store and checking the train schedule to get to Amino.

We returned to the hotel at 11.00am and left our luggage there, head to Amino and Amanohashidate before returning late evening to rest in our room.

An elderly man was manning the reception area and asked us the reason we were visiting the area. For a race, we told him.
Ah, you? He asked Hubby.
No, Hubby replied. Her.
Oh, okaasan is running. All the best, he said. 

He was at the front office the next morning and wished me luck for my run.

And later, when we returned :
How was the run, he asked.
Awesome, I said; giving him a thumbs up and a big grin.
Take your time and slowly go up the stairs, he kindly advised as we made our way to our room.

Such a sweet man.

And we didn't see him the morning we checked out, as instead a much younger man was at the front office.

Little gestures that remains in memory. ^^

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...