Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Day 4 In Japan : From Nowhere Back To Akita

We were back to KL since last Saturday already and yet, my trip report is only up to Day 4. Haven't been posting anything new since last Friday due to a sucky broadband connection at my home so I apologise for the almost non-activity.

This is a continuation from our previous post about taking the Resort Shirakami Buna train from Akita to Aomori.

Taking the Resort Shirakami train from Akita to Aomori earlier, we then decided not to continue on to Aomori  but instead alighted at Hirosaki station and catch the Akebono sleeper train instead, which according to schedule would be leaving a few minutes after the train we were on arrives at the same station. Only in Japan do we dare to do this, based on train's schedules because they are sooooo punctual.
 Taking the Akebono train from Hirosaki back to Akita

Akebono sleeper/night trains travel from Ueno Station in Tokyo all the way to Aomori and the whole journey takes about 13 hours,  with stops along the way.
Equipped with couchettes, private rooms and  this so called "Goron to Shito" seats, which are basically couchettes without blankets, but are categorized as seats and can be used for free with the Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass; which was the one we bought. There is one "Goron to Shito" women only car.
Private rooms and couchettes on the train cost 20,000yen and if you have Japan Rail Pass/JR East Pass the room cost 9,500yen.

For us, we opted to reserve our seats on the  "Goron to Shito" seats because we won't be paying anything extra (read: free for us) as holders of JR East Passes. The seats were perfectly comfortable for us;
each seats were provided with a pair of yukata, a pillow and a hanger. Not too shabby, right?
and a pair of slippers to walk around in
Mom! I need my privacy!!!

Raimie in his seat. The curtains can be drawn together to provide passengers some degree of privacy. It was fun for us taking this night train. We walked up and down the train's corridor, checking out the private berths and watching yukata wearing passengers walking past us, some were brushing their teeth and preparing for a good night's sleep.

23 comments:

  1. That really is the way to travel, isn't it?
    I remember I did it when I was in China from Beijing to Shanghai. I'm going to have to do the length of Japan this way too, looks great!

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  2. @Luke,

    Must be a great adventure you had taking the train from Beijing to Shanghai. How many hours was the trip?

    Have fun when you decide to embark on your own journey on the trains in Japan. :)

    So far, I've done the Akebono sleeper train and the Noto Midnight train from Kanazawa to Tokyo. It was fun.

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  3. VIP train service! :)

    I like the fact that transportation in that part of the world is punctual. So unlike the situation over here. Sigh..why can't we learn from others.

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  4. @Mei Teng,
    I always wonder too... Sigh. :(

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  5. Must be quite fun to travel this way! Nice! : )

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  6. @foong,
    there might be delays due to weather conditions or any accidents but most of the time (almost 100% for us) trains will move right on time and arrive right on time, no excuses.

    It was fun to travel this way. The train was an old one, (not a modern shinkansen) so you'll feel the bump and sorts too. But that's the charm. :)

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  7. Now that you're back home, you can re-live your trip by writing about it later. Quite expensive sleepers seats. Is there a Goron to Shito car for men only?

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  8. @AVCr8teur,
    yes, and that's the plan. I'll try relive the experience for a year before our trip next year. :D

    No, like other trains in Japan - there's mixed and there's women only cars. Men don't have the privilege of having men only cars. ;)

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  9. I remember tkaing my night train down to Singapore. It was a first time experience. Of course not so nice as the one you took, but it was good :). I slept on the top bunk nearly thought I would never be able to get up haha!

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  10. @LV,
    It was called Sinaran Express/ Sinaran Malam or something izit? I wanna try someday, but hubby is not keen. He only like trains in Japan. LOL

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  11. Can I reply to your email? I can't post reply in the comment section.

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  12. @Mei Teng,
    Yes, please do.

    BTW, my request was actually for you to e-mail me. ;)

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  13. Never sleep in a train before.
    Is it easy to take a nap in a moving train lina?

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  14. @zezebel,
    I guess so. Much more comfortable than a bus, in my opinion.

    But I don't sleep much, I rather walk around and explore the train. :)

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  15. great train with such great facilities.

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  16. 13hrs? Looks like this part of travel won't be approved by junior Lina. He'll get by but with tons of complains =)

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  17. You can email me by clicking on the "email me" button in my blog.

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  18. @LR,
    despite being an old train service, it's clean, it's punctual and it's comfortable. :)

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  19. @Ayie,
    The 13 hrs trip is actually if you take it from Ueno in Tokyo all the way up north to Aomori and vice-versa and it doesn't feel long because this is a night train. You start the journey at around 7.00pm and arrive your destination the next morning. :)

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  20. If i may ask, how do you actually buy a ticket on Akebono train? Looking for alternatives to Twilight Express and this looks quite ok. But I do hope that gettings tickets are easier!

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  21. @YN,
    Just buy them at the JR ticket office when you see one, at any station. Where are you planning to take this train from and up to where? Do you plan to take it all the way up to Aomori and then move on another train to Sapporo?

    We only took the train part of the whole train journey but getting the ticket was easy. We literally got our tickets minutes before it was supposed to arrive the station and ran to the platform to catch it. It was pretty empty when we were on board. ^^

    It was much easier to book seats than trying to get Sunrise Izumo seats, that's for sure! ;)

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