VR's Back To The Land Of The Rising Sun

VEGASRIDER

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My 90 year old mother wanted to visit her relatives so I escorted her back to Japan the other day. Started off in Boise last Tuesday and flew to Seattle then onto Japan. I'm actually working my way back on my own in a round a bout way as I begin this post, I will return back to Japan in January to escort her back to the states, which will make 3 trips to Japan in about 7 months.

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I've never been to Hiroshima so I decided to take a high speed boat from the island of Shikoku. It was about $60 for a 1:15 ride.

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Arriving at the Hiroshima port, I took a light rail into the city for about $1.50.

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I thought it was going to be a nice relaxing commute, not crowded at all.

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But a few stop later, a large group of school children raced into the car and it became packed. It amazed me that 5-6 year old kids commute by taking public transportation on their own with no escort or supervision. Imagine sending your 6 year old kid off to school taking a city bus or train into the city by themselves. They do it here, speaks a lot about the country. On the ride over, I'm amazed how this city is so modern, you don't see very many old buildings, in fact I can't recall seeing a single one. Kind of reminds me like the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. All new structures.

A picture of Hiroshima Station, where I will take the "Shinkansen" to Tokyo tomorrow, also known as the Bullet Train.

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I left enough time tomorrow morning for me to visit the peace park. More to follow.
 
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Great that you can do this for your mom Kenny!
Have fun on your adventure! :)
 
That's great, my parents are in their late 70s and both struggling post hip surgery, kudos to your mom, good that she can still travel the world at her age.
 
If anyone visits Japan, I recommend purchasing a JR Pass, which can only be purchased by foreigners in their respective countries before they leave. It cannot be purchased once you arrive in Japan. Essentially, it allows you to ride their rail system and busses an unlimited amount, during the period in which the pass is valid. Unfortunately, it doesn't include most of the city transit systems. Mine was a 7 day pass, about $250 USD. Once you arrive, you exchange your pass at one of the stations for one of these, in other words, they validate the pass.

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At the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

The Atomic Dome, the only structure that remained recognizable from the bomb. It was actually built by the Czechs, so they really must be good at constructing buildings. The bomb incinerated about 70k people instantly, another 70k suffered a slow death.

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Entrance into the museum. Cost about 50 cents to get it, essentially consider it free. What is not pictured is about half the population of China in line that spans about a half mile waiting to get in. So I filtered my way to the front, and bypassed everyone so I was the first person in the museum so I can do my famous VR's 5 minute tour of the museum which usually takes most tourist an hour to go through.

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Vending machines to pay for your meal. Rather than having a cashier, you pay using the machine outside, choose your item from the picture and then it dispenses your meal ticket where you hand it to the attendant inside and they get you your meal. It's their version of fast food.

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Pastry shop, you get your own tray and a set of tongs then you pay and go.

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Inside the Hiroshima Train Station, I'm on the Sakura 548 to Osaka where I will transfer to another train to Tokyo.

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They make it easy for everyone, including those from other countries to find the respective track.

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Idiot proof for folks like me. Since my ticket was for car # 4, I didn't have to guess standing in the wrong part of the station. With 16 cars, it can stretch for a half mile long.

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Japan's flagship train called the "Shinkansen" AKA The Bullet Train. Imagine full throttle in 6th gear with very long straightaways and banked corners, it's super fast.

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Such a smooth and comfortable ride.

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In Osaka, transferring to another train. The Hikari 524. The JR pass for the Shinkansen is only valid for certain lines, which means you usually will have to transfer so it doesn't get to your destination as quickly. Consider flying with a connection versus nonstop.

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Some of the scenery you get riding from Osaka to Tokyo. Mt. Fuji

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One of the world's famous shopping district, Tokyo Ginza. Lots of high end shops from LV, Gucci, Cartier, Tiffany Etc. You name it, you can find it.

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Came across a police museum across from my hotel. Look, an FZ.

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I guess this is what they ride now. A Honda, VFR. Some dude got lit up. LOL...

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A different part of Tokyo, called Shinjuku. Has it's own character, also home of the red light district called Kabukicho. I took the train from Tokyo Station to the Shinjuku Station, about 15 minutes away, my Japans Rail Pass was good since it wasn't the subway.

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The entrance to the red light district. It's an area that that is home to many restaurants and nightlife, so it's not just a place to go whoring. You find a lot of women and even children.

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As I work my way back home, I took the Narita Express from Tokyo Station to the airport. It's a fast paced rail that goes to and from Narita Airport and stops at only the major train stations around Tokyo. Took about 50 minutes.

Normally cost around $30 one way, but for foreign tourist, it's half price. If you hold a JR pass like I did, then it's part of system so there is no extra charge. You just have to go into one of the JR offices and get your tickets since all seats are reserved.

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This train had 16 cars, so it was very long. Picture of Narita Station. Anyone going to Tokyo from Narita, I highly recommend you take this train.

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Waiting for wheels up. DL 622 to PDX

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I have to do this all over again in 30 days when I go back to pick up my Mom. This time I will be in Tokyo less than 24 hours, I will fly in and fly back home the very next day.
 
I really enjoy your pictures and narrative of your journey (as I did previously).
Thanks for sharing. :thumbup:
 
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