Snow Monkey Park



The Nearly Disastrous Trek to Nagano

After my arrival at Yokota Air Base, Japan, maybe an hour by bus from Tokyo, I had intended to travel on to Osan AB, South Korea. To make that connection I had to wait a day. That day turned into two days. The Kanto Lodge was busy and packed. Some military exercise brought in a lot of folks who got priority where lodging was concerned. However, standing-by in the lobby, finally got me a room. The next day it started to snow - a lot. For me, the next morning, it was back to the lobby and back on standby. That morning the base was very quiet. It was shut down for weather. Obviously, the flightline needed to be cleared and aircraft deiced and such. Even though check out time is 1100, I happen to decide to go to the lobby sooner, to see if I could get a room. By then I had done my research of how to get to Nagano and the nearby Snow Monkey Park. I figured, once I get back from Korea, I'll go there and check it out. No sooner did I get to the front desk, I was told that the base was shut down and if I would like to get my room back for the night. I thought, perfect. I'll see if I can't get to Nagano today. The way I saw it, I should get there by 1300 (1 PM) and have plenty of time to get to the Snow Monkey Park.


It snowed through the night and did not stop until the next morning




Since I was given an extension to stay in my room early, I decided that it was time to head to the Fussa train station and try to get to Nagano



Trains and more Trains

The map shows where I needed to go, and it was nearly most of the way across the main island of Honshu. Taking a bullet train, called Shinkansen, was imperative for my plans. The Hyperdia schedule showed all of the transfers I needed to make. I've been getting around Japan for decades and had no trepidations diving into the busy rail system. I made all of the connections and then at Omiya Station swtiched to the Shinkansen part of the terminal. You can see three different types of bullet trains in the attached pictures. Whenever I ride a bullet train, be it the Shinkansen in Japan or the TGV in France, within minutes of riding it, I have a feeling of deja-vue. I sit and read and my mind tells me that I am in an aircraft. It never changes for me, and looking out is always a bit of a shock.


Trip to Nagano nearly crosses Honshu
A detailed trip map
And it was this complete train schedule I found by accident

Clicking on each image will take you to the respective picture page



During my trip to Nagano I saw three different types of bullet trains, the bottom one was the one I rode there and back from Omiya Station.


The immaculately clean bidet-style toilet on the Shinkansen. Natually, the seat is heated but it also has a number of other functions some of you might enjoy to explore.


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