Today was another travel day. A very long one, at that. Sayonara, Osaka. It was fun. I have to come back sometime. I really loved it there.
Now off to Nagano, which takes a while to get to from Osaka.
Back in Nagoya
The Business Hotel Nissei was good to me. I got to sleep in until 8:30 a.m., because check-out wasn’t until 11 a.m. Then it was time to lug all my stuff all over Japan again.
I left Shin-Osaka at about 11:30 a.m., and got to Nagoya at around 1:00 p.m. It was time to spawn-camp the coin lockers. I managed to snag lockers for my backpack and day pack, but not for my big suitcase. I had to lug that thing around for a few hours. Note to self: how do you like that big bag now?
I wanted to take a break in Nagoya because I wanted to eat and just not think about riding on a train for a bit. Food eaten, shopping done, feeling refreshed, I went about looking for a train to Nagano.
There are 2 ways you can go from Nagoya to Nagano.
Route #1: the shinkansen. You ride for 1:45 to Tokyo, change to the Nagano shinkansen, then ride for another 1:45. You travel over 580 Km in 3:30. Roughly. If your trains connect nicely. If they don’t, it’s more like 4 hours. But traveling on the shinkansen implies a certain level of style and comfort that I have easily become accustomed to, and spoiled by.
Route #2: take the Shinano Limited Express from Nagoya to Nagano. It’s 250 Km, but it takes you 2:50 to get there. It’s called the “wide view” because the windows are, well, wide. It’s a limited express because while it doesn’t hit every stop, it hits about 10-15, and it doesn’t go that fast through the mountains.
I was going to go the shinkansen route, but I couldn’t get a non-smoking seat reservation for about 2 hours. So it was off to the Shinano.
Taking the Shinano turned out to be a good choice.
Shinano Wide View to Nagano
The Shinano isn’t a shinkansen, so it wasn’t going to race down the tracks, but I enjoyed the ride. Once we got out of the city and into the Japan Alps, the views were stunning, especially with all the fall foliage. And the way the train rode, it was very soothing and very sleep-inducing. I dozed off and on. Kachunk-kachunk, kachunk-kachunk…
I hate that we don’t have a rail network like this in the U.S. Amtrak is getting there, but it’s sloooow.
On this train, the shinkansen luggage trick doesn’t work very well. I had to strain to fit my luggage in behind the last seat, because it’s a much tighter fit. Then again, I had some massive bags with me. (Something I keenly regret over and over.)
The shinkansen Luggage Trick
The shinkansen luggage trick involves taking your bloated American luggage and sticking it behind the last row of seats in the car. There’s plenty of room to put it there. But it’s not always the case with other trains.
Only afterwards did I realize that I was a dummy– there is a baggage area in the front of the car on the Shinano that I just didn’t see.
I arrived in Nagano, then had to camp the elevator to get to the taxi stand… seriously, sometimes Japan drives me nuts.
I got to my hotel, the JAL City Hotel, and got settled. I get American Airlines frequent flyer points for staying here- huzzah!
Naturally, the department stores had closed at 7 p.m., because Nagano is a small city, not a big one. I found a restaurant somewhere. I went with something safe tonight, because I was tired and not feeling 100%. You can always get decent pizza in Japan.
And Lawson always has something else food-wise. Japan’s conbinis have saved me on occasions so numerous, I’ve lost count.
Wash My Clothes.
I went back to the hotel. Now things got interesting. I found out my room didn’t have any Internet in it, so the guy at the desk switched me out. A bit of a hassle, but I need my Internet, because I have things to plan. It’s something that more and more hotels offer. (And the ones that don’t have Internet should get with the program!)
Then I asked the guy at the front desk where the nearest laundromat was. Well, he gave me directions, but I think he got confused, or maybe I got confused, because all I saw were strip clubs and those guys in shiny suits who ask you if you’re looking for fun.
Yeah… thanks, but no thanks. I just want my laundry done. Some woman who was dressed in some wild outfit approached me, and I asked her if she knew where the laundromat was. I don’t think she was expecting that.
I still have some Woolite with me, so at least I can have one set of not-too-fragrant clothes. Washing in the sink for the win.
Tomorrow is, uh… uh… I’ll have to get back to you tomorrow with that. I still don’t have a plan.