Sunday, 18 October 2009

Passing Time And A Bus Trip At Tazawako Station

Stopping at the modern looking Tazawako Station building before our onward journey to Lake Tazawa, waiting for our bus to Tazawakohan, we passed time by walking around the rather cool looking Tazawako station. At this station, there is a modern, well-quipped tourist centre.

We spent a bit of time here, looking at photos of the area that was on exhibit and looking through local crafts that were put up there, especially the dragons on display. And at the tourist centre, there's even free internet service, if you need to be online . So cool!

The station building, with its very modern building with glass facade, even received the Good Design Prize. Walk around the tourist centre for more information on the area. Tazawako Station was also selected to be one of the Hundred Stations of Tohoku.

A cute illustrated map of the region and its attraction. While we were there, we saw a few cyclists getting ready for their onward journey. It would be so cool to cycle around the area. A car rental service is available nearby should you want to drive around yourself.

The surrounding area was a bit quiet. There were stores around and a pharmacy but if you are looking for a convenience store, you have to travel a bit to find one. Our advise, buy your stuff before you reach this station.

After spending some time walking around the station, checking out some stores there while we were at it, our bus arrived.
A complete change from taking a bus here in Malaysia, buses in Japan were highly punctual and the drivers are all courteous and polite. Helpful too, I might add.

Taking a bus in Japan might test the patience of us Malaysians though. The bus (those few that we've been on, at least) never speed (felt like they were always on a 30km/h) and always always stop at the designated bus stop if there were people waiting there. You don't have to flag for the bus because the buses will always stop for you.

Buses are always clean, and taking this bus to our journey for Taenoyu Onsen were stress free because we didn't have to second guess our stop. There were announcements upon reaching each stop so you won't accidentally stopped too early or a stop too far from your destination. I wish the RapidKL buses (and the Metro buses too) had these features.

How do you know how much to pay? Just look at the board and the fares will be displayed there for each corresponding stop.
Don't have small change with you to pay the fares? Don't worry, there's a note changing machine on the bus, just beside the slot where you pay for your fare. It can even change a 10,000yen note!

A note for those staying at Tsurunoyu Onsen. If you have arranged beforehand for a pickup at Arupa Komakusa, don't worry about needing to look for your pickup there. When the bus arrived at the Arupa Komakusa stop, your car (or van) and the driver is already waiting for you and you actually drove away before the bus do! That's service!

On our trip back, Raimie being a bit rebellious and sulky, pressed the bell while we were halfway on our way back to Tazawako Station. I guess if this happen back home, I would just pretend ignorance (so bad of me, kan?) but I just had to apologise to the bus driver (especially as I think he would have waited for someone to disembark) and the rest of the passengers. Luckily nobody glared at us. Phew!

From Tazawako Station, we travelled to Sendai then Koriyama before taking a Rapid Train to Aizu-Wakamatsu for our next adventure. Stay tuned.

And bye-bye Nyuto Onsen and Tazawako! Perhaps we'll come back next year.


  1. Bus services in other parts of the world are indeed different and better than what we have here.

    The tour bus I took (under Western Explorer) had very well-behaved and educated bus drivers. They behaved like professionals.

    I hope people running the bus services here learn a thing or two from these excellent ones.

  2. Buses in Singapore are quite punctual too. They stop at every bus topas well. I wouldn't say their buses are all like new looking some of course are old.

    Most bus users in Singapre use their Ezylink card, so ost of the tme, it is cashless. It is much more advisable to have an Ezylink card anyway. Saves tie and minus the hassle of needing to buy a ticket at their MRT and give a deposit that is refundable after you return the ticket to heir machine. Good for less traveller.

  3. I think Malaysia has the worst bus drivers! Japan's bus drivers drive so slow? Well, as long as they are punctual and polite!

    Wah, so naughty Raimie! Lucky you apologised to the bus driver! If not, he would wait wondering why no one disembark from the bus! : )

  4. WOW.... just, thank you!!!!! Your blog is so informative and answers every possible question that we would get here. We actually just launched blogger page in English as well. It's brandnew and hasn't been developed too much yet. But do you mind us posting a link to your blog ??

    Btw, the station is designed by Shigeru Ban, an internationally well-known architect who also designed Nomadic Museum
    I love his concept for Tazawako Sta. I heard he wanted to integrate the modernity into nature, so that the building does not interrupt the natural beauty of the curvy landscape. The travelers on the Shinkansen could get inspired and tempted to visit on the next trip, too.

    Anyways, thanks for writing. We are truly thrilled and are looking forward to reading some more! And hopefully, see you someday :) Cheers to you all!

  5. @Mei Teng,
    I think it all boils down to attitude and pride for the work that you do.

  6. @ladyviral,
    in Japan, you have Suica, Passmo, ICOCA, etc. Quite handy because not only can you use for trains and buses, you can use the cards to buy drinks at vending machine and even at the convenience stores! Really, really convenient.

  7. @foong,
    and we have the worst drivers too! You aren't one of them, are you? ;p

    The buses do arrive at each stop at their designated time without fail. I really respect their punctuality. But then, a trip from Ikebukuro to Asakusa can take twice as long if you take the bus instead of a train! @_@

  8. @TTA,
    You are most welcome. :-)
    And thank you for always dropping by and commenting. We appreciate that and made us more excited posting more travel post here.

    I'll certainly put your link up here (both the English and Japanese). Hope you can link this blog too. :)

  9. bus services here are unprofessional,unreliable and incomparable with other countries.

  10. @Life Ramblings,
    Sad, isn't it? And sometimes I wonder why is it so hard for our public transportation sector to buck up. And the Government had the gall to be disappointed with the Rakyat for not using the public transportation.

  11. a kid's a kid...loves to press any button they see =)

    i like the dragon decor and that map is very helpful for tourists. Buses so clean and punctual, I only get to experience that in the Phils when you go to luxury or long drive buses going to provinces.

    wow free internet right there? that's s cool! and also your pick up service was really fast and efficient!

  12. @Ayie,
    True, kids do like to touch everything they see, but when that inconvenience others, we as parents have to be responsible for their act.

    Buses in Malaysia have the same problem. Well, most are generally OK but sometimes I feel that the drivers attitude can be better.

    The pick up service was for guests heading to Tsurunoyu Onsen. We stayed at Taenoyu Onsen. It was just an observation made during our bus trip. Two guests disembark from the bus was immediately greeted by a man who ushered them immediately to the waiting van. That's service at its best.

  13. i suddenly remember elisse wanting to press things also was such a struggle to get her off those buttons!

  14. @Ayie,
    Not only buttons I bet. Raimie loves going to electronic section and opening, touching and checking out all the appliances there. DOes Elisse likes to do that too? ;)

  15. Hi Lina

    My name is Roy, I'll be going to Tsurunoyu Onsen on 22-April-13. I was told to give Tsurunoyu Onsen a call before I depart from Tazawako Station, so that they could wait for me at Arupa Komakusa stop. I would like to tour around lake Tazawako & see the statue before I go straight to Arupa Komakusa, but they will be waiting for me at Arupa Komakusa for a long time if I tour around. How would I go about in order for me to take my time to enjoy the lake view while I don't have to let them wait at Arupa Kamakusa stop? Please advise. Thank you.

  16. Why don't you call them at Arupa Komakasa instead? or somewhere nearby? or agree on a designated time? Or... walk to Tsurunoyu Onsen. You can do that... as it'll offer you more chances of sightseeing. Just take the bus and tell the bus driver where you intend to stop.


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