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  • Writer's pictureRuss Tierney

Japan - Day 11 - Travelling six hours back to Tokyo via two platform 1's at the same station.. what could go wrong?

Updated: Mar 26

From a holy mountain, we travel six hours back to Tokyo via two platform 1's at the same station.. what could go wrong?

Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan, known as Electric Town is still busy as the sun goes down.
Electric Town, Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan

Going way back 11 days (if you can remember that far back - there's a blog for it), we landed at Haneda airport, Tokyo, and stayed in Ningyochō. We stayed just the one night to experience a capsule hotel, knowing this would be the time to do it with the least amount of luggage. The following day we headed to Mount Haruna bright and early, so other than a walk around on the first night and getting a feel for Japan's humidity, this would be our first time properly in Tokyo. Ningyochō and Akihabara (where we're staying for the rest of our Japan journey), is only about half hour on foot from each one another, but while Ningyochō was quiet, Akihabara is buzzing and often busy. We chose Akiba because of its connection with Anime, given my nephews love of it. Along with being labelled as 'Electric Town', it's also considered the 'Otaku' capital of the world; an Otaku being someone massively in to geek culture that sides towards manga and anime.

But first, we're still in Koyasan.. up a mountain! To head back to Tokyo, we need to pretty much reverse our journey from Osaka, as there's no shortcut across the country. After the bus from town, we jump on the 'cable car' down (see video above and pic below) before taking in the mountains and rural areas to head back to civilization on a standard train. The video I took of the 'cable car' journey doesn't really do any justice to the train you ride, or the reason I keep writing it at as 'cable car'. It's on rails, but it's such a steep descent that the train has to be tiered, and as I didn't get a proper picture of the train, I've included one from the OsakaStation page - hopefully this will give you a better idea of what I failed to capture.

Koyasan cable are courtesy of
Koyasan cable are courtesy of

Once at the bottom, our next train is a pretty chilled experience that occasionally rests at the odd station so you can stretch your legs and get some fresh air, plus it's nice and empty, or certainly by Japan standards. I've included a video time-lapse of part of that journey below - it's about 7 minutes long, but you may enjoy the ASMR vibe of seeing the world pass you by. Anyways, once back in Osaka, we change at Namba (near the Dragon shrine and not a million miles away from where we stayed), before heading to the main Osaka station to get a shinkansen all the way to Tokyo. Once again, this is a reverse of our journey from Tokyo to Kyoto, but it's just one stop along, and I'd love to say we're pros at it now, but I'm pretty sure this is where we found out there were two platform 1's at the same station... yeah, we tried to work that one out too!? I think because some are over ground, some are JR line specific, and some are metro lines, that's how it worked, so the station was split into different sections.. either way, as a bunch of British guys standing on the wrong platform and wondering why our train wasn't coming at the listed time, we eventually realised and found the right one.

Once in Tokyo, it's another small train journey to Akiba from either Shinagawa or Tokyo's main station, so you can choose your preferred journey.. which should probably be Shinagawa as it's smaller and less of a hustle than Tokyo as a result. Akihabara station is a decent sized hub, and we're fortunate enough to be staying all of about a 5-10 minute walk away from it, and on the same road as one of the main entrances. Despite this, the road we're on is actually quite quiet as it's a few over from the main run, so people typically head there before coming anywhere near our hotel. What isn't so quiet is that it's opposite the fire station, and they like to practice drills early in the morning, plus as the name suggests, ie 'under railway hotel', it's quite literally under the railway track! At this point, I could probably sleep through almost anything having got my body clock instantly on Japan time from not sleeping prior to travelling and with the sheer amount of walking we've done, but the nephews may tell you different as they endure mine and Marc's snoring.. or so we're told; I duno, I was out like a light most nights, something I can't do for love nor money in the UK as I suffer with insomnia. When you break all that down in to a 6-hour journey, it's not all that bad, and the two main journeys from both Koyasan to Osaka, and then Osaka to Tokyo on the bullet train, are both long enough to get a little shut-eye should you wish. The few metro hops and walking distances are tiny 10-minute affairs in between, so they're not the end of the world. You're never racing around like a mad man, jumping on different trains every five minutes, and everything is pretty regular once you're in main towns, as you'd expect from one of the most transport efficient countries. To combat this anyway, we'd set aside a day with no bookings that was purely for travelling and settling in, so we could do them as early and as casually as we liked.

After all that, I think once we'd checked in to our new home for the next several nights, we just got some street food (like a chicken skewer place) and headed out and explored Akihabara's shops for the afternoon in to the evening and of course planned what we were going to do for the remainder of our time in Tokyo/Japan. At this point, our rough schedule went out of the window because we were more settled in just one area and could then work things around the weather or the few definite events we had booked. We also knew we didn't want to go to Fuji Q (a theme park) in the rain with it being mostly outdoors and the rides being weather dependant and all, plus we figured we'd get the best chance of seeing Fuji on a dry day - but that didn't quite work out, and that's another story for a future blog!

It's a small pictorial today because of the time spend on trains. A few snapshots and some snacks I bought back in Koyasan.



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