How to Travel Hundreds of Miles For Free

Waking up this morning and forgetting to read my note, I didn’t remember that I had agreed to only speak in Japanese. However this was joined by the fact that I didn’t really talk to anyone, bar the ありがと I gave at Matsuya and a small shop, until twenty to four this afternoon where I made a phone call yapping away in English.

This morning I decided that if I was to spend the day catching up on reading for one of my classes I may as well get out of my stale smelling room and head somewhere. I packed my stuff together and headed for the train station. My decision was to simply ride the trains and enjoy studying at an average speed of over 60 kilometers per hour. What helped this idea was the fact that the trains stations are a lot like the London Underground where you buy your ticket and go through a turnstile rather than have someone come by on the train to make sure you’ve bought a ticket and are on the right train.

This meant that I could ride the train as much as I like and presuming I didn’t want to leave any stations, I could get back without having to pay for traveling as I have a commuters pass. Whether or not this is actually allowed or not I have no idea, but it’s a practice I wanted to experiment.

Despite the fact that Hanshin and Hankyu railways are now the under the same company, due to Hankyu buying Hanshin back in 2006, their train lines are kept seperated, so I started out thinking I’d only ride on Hankyu. I was wrong. Shinkaiichi station in Kobe, the last station of the Hankyu Kobe line, also links to Hanshin trains. Seeing this I hopped onto a Limited Express train and eventually ended up at Sanyo Himeji. To put it another way, I spent my entire day sitting on trains travelling all around … reading a book.

Who says I don’t make the most out of my time in Japan. I did try stopping through various other stations to see if I could make links back onto Hankyu and make a loop back home, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible unless I wanted to leave a station. Below is a map showing where I went, but this is actually a driving map. I tried to get google to do one showing the train routes, but it got a bit of a tummy ache. In fact, google wasn’t happy with having so many entries in it’s map so I’ve had to omit a few of my change over stations.

Total distance travelled (if I was in a car … and cut out some parts): 337 km (209.5 miles)
Total money spent: 240 yen on two cans of warm drink, and 136 yen on a (bloody awesome) cake; 376 yen (£2.82).

Darlo's Looong Train Ride (18th January 2008)
Darlo's Looong Train Ride (18th January 2008)

Link to map

Today on the whole was a really nice experience and although I said naff all and didn’t really practice my spoken Japanese, it was nice to be able to see a range of people and cheekily listen in to a range of conversations. Also seeing different ways people acted around each other as well as myself. One man on one train was sleeping, and although sleeping on a train is completely common in Japan, I don’t think it’s as common to sprawl yourself across the seat like a full length bed.

Speaking of which it’s time for me to be signing off … well, revise some more kanji before bed anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *