Thursday, 14 March 2013

Another Seishun 18 trip north

I am back from Akita... not via Niigata as I'd planned, but perhaps later in the holiday.

My last post that I realised after I posted it had no English translations.. and didn't make sense entirely in Japanese either as part of the route overlapped.

I went up via the Tohoku Honsen as far as Kogota, and then to the Japan Sea side via the Rikuu Tou line to Shinjo, the Rikuu Sai line to Sakata, the Uetsu line to Akita and the Ou line to Odate.
It involved 11 changes.

The trip is long - 16 hours or so, depending on the route -  and at times seems rather arduous and I'm not very good at using time on the train productively,   but the seishun 18 has two major benefits.

1) It's cheap.  A round trip by Shinkansen is about $350 and takes 6 hours or so.  The seishun 18 works out at $25 or so for one day's unlimited travel. If I have the time (as in the long holidays) it makes more sense than going by Shinkansen.

2) The scenery is so much better.   I've made a series of videos. Katsu, a friend in Kyoto suggested ages ago that I take video of the train lines; with an i pad it has become much more feasible, though I didn't think of that until the return trip.

Videos to follow



View akabane odate rail map in a larger map

4 comments:

Rurousha said...

$25 vs $350?! (@_@) I might risk ending up in North Korea just for that.

I agree with you, though: the best thing about slow local trains is the scenery! ^^

Cecilia said...

OOps, I misrepresented somewhat. One day usage on seishun 18 is 2,300Y (11,500/5) (You buy them in series of 5 trips, though you can by partly used tix at the ticket shops)

A one way ticket to Odate is a bit over 16,000Y... ouch... The trips up are necessary, but it makes sense to scale back on the cost.

And the scenery is magnificent!

Alice Luo said...

Hi! I stumbled across your site when I was researching on the seishun 18 tickets. Would you mind giving me some tips or advice?
I'm planning a trip in the summer, but I don't know whether to go north or south! I see that you go up north quite a lot, do you have any ideal itineraries/must-go places? I 'm planning to go for a week, starting July 23rd (sometime in the afternoon).
Thanks in advance!

Cecilia said...

South is where people typically go. The sites are more famous, the train services more frequent. If you want to compare notes with people who have been here before - swap Kyoto stories - etc, the south is the way to go.

The north is more difficult, but if you aren't daunted by challenge, there are some lovely places, particularly nature.

This is quite a good thread about Tohoku.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2210895

The jorudan website has a seishun 18 search option which is good, but only in japanese. It tends to go through google translate well though.