Saturday, January 29, 2011

Trains - Northern Japan

On our travels between Aomori Prefecture and Hokkaido I became aware of the different types of trains one could take. I hadn't noticed this in Tokyo as I was used to going to a specific platform, getting on the train and then getting off at my destination. Rural train stations don't have as many tracks so trains going different places use the same track and it's important to know your train number and its departure time. Also in Tokyo most of the trains are very new looking while in rural areas many trains look older in varying degrees.

It was a chilly morning waiting on the track for our train. Those hot noodles looked good.

A local train (普通) on the track across from where we were waiting.

A newer train on the left and an older rapid train (快速) on the track we were waiting at. Not our train. The rapid train is slightly faster than the local train. We were waiting for a limited express train.

A limited express train but not ours as we were going to Hakodate in Hokkaido. I noticed as the trains progressed from local to express they became newer and newer.

The window wiper on this train caught my eye. This car has reserved seating.

Our train, the Hakucho.

A pastry with the shape of Hokkaido Prefecture on it. Tasty too.

Our train traveled through an underwater tunnel and this was our view as we left it and entered Hokkaido.


YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Love this latest batch of Japan photos. Reckon they show stuff lots of tourists and Japanese won't take pictures of but interest the likes of you and me just the same. :)

Re those different trains: The Japan guidebooks I used were helpful in pointing out and explaining the differences between them -- including with regards to pricing and times they take between destinations. This information is particularly useful when one wants to go on less well known routes -- e.g., Kokura to Dazaifu (which, incidentally, involved four different trains, if I recall correctly!).

sbk said...

Hi ytsl,

Thanks, glad you like these photos. I like trains so try to take pictures of them when I can. I drive so much here in Vermont I love taking trains,buses and subways when I can.

There is good info in English about the different trains, their fares and destinations. I didn't pay too much attention to this as my Japan Rail Pass was good for everything.

However M's ticket involved two shorter nonreserved seat train rides. I could have a reserved seat but the upgrade for Morgan wasn't worth the money so we queued up for the nonreserved car and there was no problem finding seats.

Haha....I have learned through experience to look even in Tokyo to see if a train is express or not.