Monday, 2 May 2011

Trains, Trains, Trains & A Tram - The West

We had a blast taking numerous trains in Kyushu. However, for the West (by West, I mean the area covered by JR West) it was just a few trains that we tried. The East trains (JR East) were a bit more fun and I'll cover it next month.
Trams in Hiroshima. Not covered by the JR Pass, but we got on one for the experience and headed to the Peace Park.
The Sanyo Shinkansen; Hikari Railstar.
This, we got on to get to Kansai Airport; it's the Limited Express Haruka, which is covered by both JR West and JR Passes.
But I kinda like riding on this cool Rapi:t on the Nankai line to get to Kansai Airport. Not covered by JR Pass, by the way.
This Noto sleeper train we took to get from Kanazawa to Tokyo (Ueno Station) and saved a night's budget on hotel taking it. This train used to run daily, on the JR West line but is now a seasonal overnight express train. From Mar 13, 2010 this train came under JR East.

Both Raimie and I reserved seats in the ladies only coach and we got blankets to cover us on that trip. Nice warm seats and blankets. No such luxury for Zaini in the normal coach!

I remember we took this train to get to Tokyo from Kanazawa one year, arrived Ueno Station, put up our luggage at our hotel, read my e-mails, found one e-mail from Contamination and met up with him afterwards having not shower and all! Did I smell that day, Contamination? ^-^!

By the way, the good Contamination has the honour of being the first non-Malaysian blogger I've met in Japan. 
And this is a shot of the Limited Express Thunderbird which we got on at Kyoto Station to get to Kanazawa.
The Limited Express Raicho bound for Kanazawa from Osaka. 

The last remaining Raicho service was discontinued from the start of the 12 March 2011 timetable revision, with all trains subsequently using the Thunderbird trains. The Raicho train had the dubious honour of a "memorable" trip for me because the train we were supposed to get on was delayed by a few hours and not wanting to wait any longer, we hopped on and boarded the unreserved smoking car on the Raicho. To say that the trip was horrible is an understatement. Try sitting in a train filled with cigaratte smoke one day and you'll know what I mean. And to make that particular trip lovelier, the 2 hours plus trip turned into an almost 5 hours' trip due to slowing train (something about crosswind being the cause, I think - my Japanese is negligible so don't trust me understanding much of the announcement). Well, at least the train was moving and we weren't stuck at the station.

Next month will be of the trains covered by JR East. Plenty of interesting trains that we took there! Stay tuned! And mentioning JR East, Tazawako Tourism Association put up a post about the Akita Shinkansen Komachi resuming operation on Saturday, Apr 30th.


  1. Got to love the trains in Japan!! I really enjoy the trams in Hiroshima as they remind me of Melbourne!!

    Japan Australia

  2. @Japan Australia,
    And maybe I should get to Melbourne and compare. ^^

    Yeah, totally gotta love all the trains in Japan. :)

  3. I'm good? Take that back right now!

    LOL, J/K. Thanks for the mention and I hope we can do it again some time. And no, I didn't notice any bad odours....

  4. Thunderbird is actually a ptarmigan.
    It's a type of popular game bird in Britain.
    They don't fly very fast - don't know why people call them Rai-chou in Japanese, which literally means "thunder-bird".
    Ah... I know why! Thunder here maybe refers to their "loudness".
    Not their speed! Ha ha.
    That must be a noisy train, I suppose. ;)

  5. Love the cute animal pics in the first train. They should spice up the look of trains with beautiful murals or something.

  6. @Contmination,

    Phew! Im glad I didnt emit any bad odour when I met you especially now that I know you had to deal with quite a few of them. XD

  7. @London Caller,
    And Thunderbird for me, reminds me of the puppet/supermarionation TV show titled the same. Did you watch that? :P

    Both the modern looking Thunderbird and the older looking Raicho train arent that fast. One of the pain of going to Kanazawa. You are stuck with limited express trains part of your journey. No direct shinkansens from Tokyo or Shin-Osaka. :(

    No, the name did not come from its loudness. It was a pretty decent ride on both trains. The limited express train has been named after the raicho bird; a wild bird which inhabits the snowy coastal province and changes its color into white in winter.

    So got similar game bird both in Japan & UK? Thats pretty interesting.

  8. @Mei Teng,
    Even without any interesting motifs on them, I find trains in Japan pretty interesting already. ^^

    There are a myriad of trains with interesting exteriors and interiors. One of the example is the electric train we took from Ueda Station to Bessho Onsen. Then theres the rainbow coloured train on Akita Nairiku Jukan Railway.

  9. @London Caller,
    Just realised that you were talking about the birds' loudness not the train! Me & my horrible English! XD

    From what I can find, the name came due to the friction of the bird's wings while in flight. It causes air particles around it to become highly charged and can create an enormous storm cloud around it. Of course, they are noisy too. They are said to able to make a loud bellow that can mimic the sounds of thunder. ^^

    Hahaha your comment up there make me learn about wild birds tonight. ;p

  10. I love trams and I love shinkansen, but that last one... that LAST ONE IS JUST SOOOOO COOL!!
    I want one. Not to ride one, but I actually want to have one like that. And then when I drive it (because yes, I shall drive it!) I shall wear 1950's dresses and heels and look really pretty and and and.... yeah, that's areally awesome train. ^^)b

  11. Ha ha... I am not sure my "theory" about the loudness made by the birds is correct. Note my keyword, "maybe" in my previous comment.

    I am so sceptical. Just like I still don't believe Bin Laden is dead.
    No photos of his dead body.
    No medical team performed a thorough autopsy.
    No family members identified and claimed his body for burial.

    Then, USA suddenly claimed they understand islamic custom of burying human body within 48 hours (Cannot remember it well, was so I heard from the news). But then they dumped his body into the sea?! But Muslims actually prefer ground burial, right?
    Also, Bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad. That's actually very, very far away from the sea.

    Ha ha... The whole story is very interesting.
    It's more exciting than watching the X-Files.
    You go and prepare some popcorn.
    I'll tell you more next time. Ha ha...

  12. @Ri,
    Now that's an idea. Can I follow too? ^^

  13. @London Caller,
    Pretty much X-files about Osama. I'll just watch and see how the plot thickens, I guess.

  14. I like the cute animals on the train in the first photo! : )

  15. Wow! Some of the trains look so futuristic! Do they sell toy models of all the different types of trains in Japan?

  16. @foong,
    I like one tram which had an Ultra Father & Ultra Mother on it. ^^ I'm all for Ultraman on trams, trains, buses, cars. LOL

    Model trains, of course they do sell them! Zaini had one particular model he wanted to buy but it cost RM600! o.O

  17. Hi Lina, you should check out the trams in Melbourne. They are fun to ride and a good way to get around the city.

    Japan Australia

  18. @Japan Australia,
    Will do so one day. ^^

  19. Nice blog & good photography & I like cute animals on the train in the first photo.

  20. @evergreenthougth,
    The tram in the first photo is cute, isn't it. :)

  21. I like the pictures outside the trams. You would think it's reserved for kids and big kids. The Rapi:t train reminds me of a bug! The Noto sleeper train looks neat and reminds me of a vintage car.

  22. @AVCr8teur,
    I like all those mentioned by you.

    Yeah, the Noto does look like a vintage car, doesn't it? ^^

  23. trains to take you anywhere!

    I will have to park on my bed now...too late to continue blog hopping! nytnyt Lina! It's sure nice to be back here again!

  24. @Ayie,
    And sure nice to see (or read) you again here.

    Take care. Don't be too busy to take care of yourself. :)


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