The first Shinkansen voyage of the trip was a long haul. We left from Odawara Station, south of Yokohama. It was the first day the Japan Rail Pass was valid, and we were excited to start getting our money’s worth. The pass is only for visitors, and must be purchased before you arrive in Japan. We got a three-week pass, valid on all Japan Railways trains, including the bullet train, JR buses, and even a JR ferry! If you’re venturing very far within Japan, the pass is well worth it, as even within a city, transportation costs add up fast.
As is the rule everywhere in Japan, the train arrived right on time, to the second. Donny turned on the GPS, and clocked us at about 170 mph in the middle of the ride. He was impressed with the organization, cleanliness and ease of the Shinkansen, and wonders why Amtrak can’t get it together on the eastern seaboard. We made transfers in Osaka and in Hakata, arriving finally in Nagasaki in the early evening.
It was a clear and warm night, so we opted for one of the common buffet style, all you and eat and drink for a set time places. This one was a rooftop beergarden. The small bites were yummy, and included yakisoba, fried rice, beef tartare, octopus (raw and takoyaki style), salads, chicken, skewers, sausages and so on. For drinks it was serve yourself as well, with several beer choices, wine, sake, and chuhai. For the chuhai, you serve the chuhai soda mix from the fountain, then add a flavor: plum, lime, lemon, calpis, mandarin…just like you would with a Snocone.