For the return to Sapporo I changed to a one train complete trip which cut out the local trains and gave me the up market model but I was happy to have tried the local ones.
A few things I forget to mention about Wakkanai was that many shops including the Post Office was open on the Sunday, at the lights because of the snow when the lights change a buzzer sounds in case of a 'white out'. I also noted that some streets has music playing from the tops of lamp posts!
No large cars mainly small 4 doors. Taxis are all one company and they drive around all the time, maybe they would freeze up if the engine was turned off or the drivers would freeze, they are all Toyota ? Could not see the name as they were covered with snow. Dogs are taken for very fast walks!! I saw a rubbish truck come along and by the time the driver had thrown the bags in the back and got in the drivers seats a flock of black crows had desended on the bags and were ripping them open. It must be hard on the bird life up there.
This train has heated seats in base and back and also heated foot rail to dry and warm the feet.
Its a four hour ride from Sapporo to Hakodate. Many bikes in stands at the station, do they have studded tyres. Saw a golden fox just standing in a white field close to the rails, maybe waiting for the threat to pass.
The next train had dark blue leather seats with pale pinewood arms etc and again all nice and warm.
This section includes the underwater tunnel between islands......just dont think about it! All doors between carriages open when you touch them.
This night I stayed at the Comfort Hotel in Akita. It is a business hotel so every thing you need without too much space. Down the street in front of the station easy to find and fast check-in. Clean,warm and being on the 10th floor......all windows are firmly sealed!
Today starts my journey down the west coast, Japan Sea, with the snow down to the high tide mark.
I went into the booking office and reserve my seat for the next three days and today I am the only one in first class. This train is more for the locals than tourists I would say as the facilities are not to the high standard experienced until now ie using a 'squatter' toilet on a moving train!
A 4 minute train change did fasten the heart! So when the hostess came with her trolley I asked for a cold drink and was offered a can of 'Pocari Sweat', it tastes ok but reads on the side 'that it replaces close to that of human body fluid' on reading that I instantly thought of an undertaker!!
I have not seen any graffitti which is good but there seems to be many barber shops. Light wieght trees have a centre pole planted through them with strings coming off it like a 'maypole which supports the branches with the weight of the snow.
Arriving at Kanazawa was another spectacular station with huge covered glass entry. Here I had booked for three nights into the Pongy Hostel. This is one I would strongly recommend to anyone wanting a quiet,clean,friendly and close to the station hostel. It is run by a retired monk and two lovely ladies, who have good English. The bunks with plenty of head room for ladies are upstairs and the men down. Drapes around so you can read at night and not disturb others. Really comfortable and free internet. The building is 120 years old and used to be a Kimono shop. Genuine walls floor etc. When they confirm your booking you will receive colour photos emailed of each corner you will come to when walking from the station, a great help indeed. Small supermarket on the corner.
Because of the massive snow delivery the train was a little late into Osaka so I had two hours to wait which is not really a problem if you like shopping. There appears to be six floors above and seven floors underground and all high class shops. I stopped for a coffee and there was no sugar but pots of 'gum syrup'!
There are 9 people in line for this train and 8 of them have their heads bowed over their phones and 1 old man looking around! Because of missing the previous train, I will need to get off this one at Kamigori and change to another on a private line costing an extra $40nz and then from Chizu to Tottori back onto JR Lines. In fact I stay in the same seat all the way but have to pay for the train using the section of line belonging to the other company.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.