Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer in Japan - Busing It!

Busing It!

My wife, Chika, and I have taken the bus from my in-laws in Kitami, Hokkaido, Japan to my brother-in-law's in Sapporo. It takes about six hours to make the trip. Six hours on a bus doesn't sound like all that much fun, but if you make it an overnight trip, you possibly save money on a hotel and don’t waste any time in travel because you're sleeping.

Kitami to Sapporo

We left at about 11:50 PM from Kitami and arrived in Sapporo in the wee hours of the morning, around 6:00 AM. Sunrise in Sapporo, Hokkaido is around 3:57 AM (!!!) right now, so you even arrive when it's nice and light out.

Our 5:30 AM Sapporo Morn

Riding an overnight bus in Japan is not the Greyhound experience. They pull curtains over all the windows and shut off the lights for most of your ride. You get a blanket … and a drink holder … and slippers! Slippers!!!

Nice Blanket

Slippers (left) and a Drink Holder

You also get to fully recline …

Recline Button

And have a choice of entertainment.


A little side story. About ten years ago I spent three days on a Greyhound traveling from Portland, ME to Fort Myers, FL. This was a singular experience in both the unique sense, and also in the sense that it is the only time I will ever do it. It turns out there was supposed to be an escaped convict riding my bus. We were pulled over in Georgia by about twelve state cops with six cruisers, pistol grip shotguns, and K9 support. I considered this a wonderful way to initiate a hostage situation. I'd be hard-pressed to think of a worse way to handle the possible situation. Thankfully, the guy never got on our bus and we were just marched off. Throughout the trip we only stopped at fast food "restaurants", and at the end of the trip I wasn't able to feel my right ass cheek for the next couple of days. 6'2" people such as myself are not designed for three day bus rides. I suggest the train, or flying, or driving your car.

Suffice it to say, long bus rides in Japan are a very different experience.

Five Words:
bus seat
busu no seki


  1. True to form, the only "extra" phrase I picked up while in Japan (besides the usual niceties) was "let's move/ hurry up," which sounded like iki-masho to me.