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Hello from Tasmania, Australia!

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#1 bluejeans

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 04:23 AM

Just got back from my second trip to Japan in six months, I was there for three weeks and probably used about $30,000 worth of trips with my JR pass!  I've always managed to satisfy my rail interest by going to a large city about 1000km away (Sydney, my city has no passenger rail :hmh: ) and I've been able to ride their network of intercity trains (4x 150km lines, 3hr travel time) for only $2.50 a day as they have a special ticket for people on welfare.  I got kind of bored with the system because it's pretty simplistic (but very scenic) and set my eyes on Japan.  I delayed it by several years because 1) I never thought I could afford it, 2) I have a police record for "borrowing" council/county boundary signs when I was 17 and 3) I've been on heavy-duty sleeping medication until recently, so much so that a doctor would never prescribe enough to take anywhere for weeks at a time.  Even now I had to apply for a narcotics certificate.


My first trip was October last year, with the whole police record thing I was shaking that much at immigration that it took four tries to read my fingerprints, once I was through with that I had customs very interested in me ticking yes for the drugs question.  When I gave them the narcotics certificate everything was fine.  Just like my first trip to sydney, I never ventured more than about 2 or 3 hours out of Tokyo.  I was only going to stay five days but the heat caused some sort of rash that made it painful to sit down, so I stayed a few more days as I simply wouldn't have been able to sit on a flight for 10 hours.


My second trip started at the end of April, I stayed at a guesthouse about 20 minutes west of Ikebukuro for only $U.S100 a week!   I wasn't afraid to miss the last train home this time, so I took advantage of capsule hotels, and went to Sapporo, Osaka, Kagoshima, Tottori (my favourite small city) and several other places not on the Shinkansen network.  I was going to travel on all shinkansen lines just to say I'd done it but by that time I was pretty sick of "Ladies and gentlemen, we will soon be making a brief stop in..." :P - btw the English announcer for the shinkansen is Australian.


The trip was a blast apart from not being able to get a window seat sometimes during golden week (I'd just sneak into the green car a couple of times).  I've always had rail questions about Japan but got kicked off of reddit for asking too many of them!  They have a Japanese rail sub but it only gets checked a couple of times a month.  I'm betting that you guys will be a lot more friendlier!

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#2 miyakoji



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Posted 30 May 2016 - 06:03 AM

Hi bluejeans, welcome to the forum. I didn't know that there is a section on that other forum :grin for Japanese trains, but for the topic I think you'll find that JNS Forum is the most active, knowledgeable, and friendly place online.
If it's not perfect. It is.

#3 bikkuri bahn

bikkuri bahn
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Posted 30 May 2016 - 06:15 AM

Welcome to the forum. Yes, the English announcements on the Shinkansen are done by Donna Burke. She has her own website if anybody is interested in learning more about her.
“Rail was born in the 19th century, but it will survive in the 20th and dominate in the 21st”.
-Louis Armand, French engineer and decorated WW2 resistance leader

#4 westfalen

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 09:49 PM

As you've discovered, travelling to and around Japan, especially from Australia, is a lot easier and cheaper than most people think.


I agree that it's good to get off the Shinkansen once in a while, I look at them more as a way of getting to the interesting stuff quicker.

Edited by westfalen, 31 May 2016 - 09:49 PM.

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