on Friday, 28 May 2010

Today we have to spend the day sorting out various things, the most important being getting our Chinese visa. We had found various comments on the internet saying you could do it in Nagoya and some saying you couldn’t, some saying you could do it at the consulate, some saying you had to get a travel agents to do it for you. First of, in the morning we go to Nagoya station and exchange our JR pass to get our proper ticket. We also book out ticket to Hiroshima for that afternoon. We then manage to find our way to the Chinese consulate with some help from the tourist information at Nagoya train station. We have to get the subway which is not included in our pass. We arrive at the station and a nice women in a local supermarket shows us where it is with a local map. Luckily it is just round the corner and we can see the Chinese flag. We go in and after asking at the counter and not getting much of a response, we are shown to another room where a Japanese women who speaks great English and I think was from a travel agency, says she will help us out. The sign at the window says unless you have a long term Japanese visa, over 12 months, you can not get a visa there, but we fill out the form and she phones her boss and they say she can sort it out for us, but the visa will have to be sent to Tokyo and we will have to pay for it to be rushed through. Also, although I had thought we could get a visa for more than 30 days, we can’t so we end up having to pay 12000Y for the visa (£80) and as we had forgotten our passport photos another 700Y(£5) for some passport photos for a visa we had hoped would only cost £20. We leave a bit annoyed, but also relieved that we had managed to get it at all and in time to get our train to Hiroshima. We stop at a Pachinko casino place, but it costs 1000Y to play which seems very steep, so we give it a miss for now, but will have to try it at some point. We go back to the hostel, pick up our stuff and go to the station to catch our train. We have noticed that the Japanese give away lots of freebies in the street and on the way to the station a couple of girls give us packets of tissues, advertising some pretty questionable massages.

We find out this is quite a common thing in Japan and the advertising for other things can be quite graphic in the street. It is about 600km and takes about two and a half hours to Hiroshima from Nagoya. This is the first bullet train we have got and it looks massive as it pulls into the station.

We have a stop over in Osaka-Shin where we have to change trains to go to Hiroshima. The first part takes about 45mins and then it is 1 hour 45mins from there to Hiroshima. The train is very comfortable and very fast, and spot on time, unfortunately we had not realised but had booked a smoking carriage for the second leg, so had about ten Japanese filling the carriage with smoke. We arrived in Hiroshima and found our way to our hostel, where we had something to eat and chilled out, before having an early night as we only have the day tomorrow to see Hiroshima and also get back to Osaka.


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