Date of Travel: 02/03/2012
We kick-started our day with a nice breakfast at Guesthouse Sakuraya. I really did like the accommodation, and wished we had stayed longer! The lady who works there showed us a newspaper clipping of the Omizutori festival from the night before, which was really nice of her. We then headed back to Nara JR station, caught a shinkansen, then hopped off at the town of Hikone. After buying lunch from a convenience store, we swapped to a local train line not owned by JR (and hence had to pay for tickets), and caught a train to Toyosato.
The main reason why we were headed to Toyosato was for our first and only official anime pilgrimage – to visit the old Toyosato elementary school building which many of the scenes in the K-on! anime series were based on. I would not dive into the details of our pilgrimage too much into this post, but I will include it in my next “Random Fun” post so stay tuned! In the meantime, here is a small selection of photos we had taken of the school and its surroundings.
After visiting the school and arriving back at the train station, we found that the next train wasn’t arriving for another 40 minutes! J.C. and I joked that we should return to the school to continue exploring. Brownie, who found himself completely out of his comfort zone during the pilgrimage, got on his knees and begged us not to return there (okay…a bit too much dramatizing there…). I headed to the nearby bakery in the meantime to get some snacks. With a few minutes before the train came, we bought tickets and waited at the train tracks. There were a few nice illustrations on show from artists under the circle name Nekominto, who are known for their K-on! fanart, advertising the train by showing their characters in a range of different seasons. Just goes to show how popular illustrations are in Japan (they seemingly have a mascot for everything…and I mean everything!). Soon enough, we hopped on a train back towards Hikone, before transferring back onto a shinkansen towards Nagoya.
Nagoya’s JR station is one of the busiest in Japan. It is the world’s largest train station in terms of floor area. The twin towers rising above the station houses the headquarters of the JR company, and seemingly loomed into the clouds high above. We were there quite early, so we just wandered around the station people-watching and looking for potential eating places for dinner. We found that, apart from sushi, all other restaurants were quite crowded or on the expensive side. As such, we headed out of the station, but still could not find a place that suited all of us. In the end, we settled for sushi back in the station. We ordered using a computer system, and the food came to us via an automatic system consisting of a convey belt hidden behind a wooden fence, and a mechanical lever that pushes the plate of sushi out when it senses the chip in the plate. In addition to a sushi set, I tried a plate of tuna belly sushi (that costs almost the same as the sushi set itself), and boy were both good!
After dinner, we went to the observatory deck to people-watch some more, before deciding to head back to Tokyo as we were tired. There was a sense of sadness when we were heading back to Tokyo in the shinkansen, as we were heading into the final leg of our trip, and this was the last time we would be using a shinkansen on this trip. When we arrived in Tokyo, we took some time to go around taking photos of various shinkansen, headed through the shinkansen ticket gates for the final time on this trip, and headed back to my friend’s place in Mitaka for the night. The next day, we would start the final leg of our trip – exploring Tokyo!
Train from Hikone to Toyosato – 400 yen
Train from Toyosato to Hikone – 400 yen
JR Trains covered by JR National Pass
N/A […I really owe my friend a lot of favours now don’t I?]
Lunch from Hikone convenience store – 575 yen [Chicken katsu sandwich, onigiri, chocolate mountain and red bean bun]
Snack from bakery next to Toyosato station – 430 yen [Fanta grape, jeffa pocky and red bean doughnut]
Dinner at Nagoya station – 3,000 yen
N/A ~All Free~
Souvenir at Toyosato – 1,000 yen
TOTAL (cost for whole trip in brackets)
5,805 yen (537,325 yen total)
Total Cost of Day Trips Leg
24,143 yen (6,036 yen per day)