Sadly for us this is another entry under ‘Our Loss, Your Gain’ as a communication breakdown, our limited time in Kyoto, and limited knowledge of Shinkansen lead to a confusing false start.
In hindsight the reason that we didn’t make it to Hiroshima is very straightforward: the Shinkansen that travels between Kyoto and Hiroshima was fully booked for the whole day. But, at the time, this information wasn’t very clear.
You’re going nowhere, kid
Monique and I woke early and set off to the Midori-no Madoguchi at Kyoto station to book our tickets to Hiroshima.
Our server was desperately trying to tell us that there were no tickets available all day, but thanks to the language barrier we didn’t quite pick up on that fact. And because we didn’t understand and kept nodding, he thought that we wanted tickets to Shin-Osaka and that we’d work it out from there.
Pro-tip: The distance between Shin-Osaka and Hiroshima is 327 kilometres!
I’m not sure what he thought we’d do to get there. Although after all the well-meaning smiling, nodding, and general misunderstanding he probably just wanted us away from his desk, and imagined we’d figure it out when we reached the ‘end-of-the-line’ at Shin-Osaka.
And we totally did. Eventually.
After settling in on the Shinkansen expecting a good two to three hour trip, we were a little surprised when the train stopped at Shin-Osaka and everyone was told to get off. Luckily there was another Midori-no Madoguchi at the station and the woman who served us there spoke much better English. She told us what the problem was and we felt a little sheepish.
We were both very disappointed. While a day-trip to Hiroshima would, perhaps, be more solemn than fun we were both really keen to see the memorial and museum.
It was frustrating to realise that we could’ve visited the war memorial if we’d just had a bit of foresight.
Learn from our mistake!
To be sure that you don’t end up in the same confusing and frustrating situation as us, take the time to book all of your Shinkansen tickets at once. Especially if your days are limited.
Pretty simple really.
When you’re at the Midori-no Madoguchi take the time to book all of the tickets (including return) you need for any special trips you’re taking.
It’ll take a little more effort on the communication front and you’ll spend longer at the Midori-no Madoguchi, but it’ll also ensure that you can visit all the places that you want to, without any misunderstanding or missing out.
Let it go – Move on
Despite a disappointing day Monique and I decided we weren’t going to let it ruin our fun and went out for food and exploration. We wandered up and down the Shijo-dori eyeballing a variety of different restaurants and exploring it’s back streets and alleyways. Some of those back streets were pretty seedy.
Until this point we’d only encountered endless kindness and hospitality from the people around us. Things were a bit different at these ‘establishments’ (strip clubs). The bouncers guarding the entrances to the bars eye you, up and down, cooly. You get the impression that even looking at them for too long is a bad idea. I guess it’s the same all over the world though.
We tried to find the Ponto-cho, without success, until after dinner. To be honest I’m glad we didn’t find it until later because the restaurant that we ate at, Tiger Renbo, served delicious food and was lovely. And we found an amazing ice cream parlour too!
All up a disappointing start, but, good things to come!
Next post: Tiger Renbo and Tsujiri Honten
Until next time,
Kally & Mon.
[Feature Image Credit: The Frame]
What was your most frustrating travel hiccup or cancellation?