After a week in the the snow it is time to bid farewell to our friends and start the trek back to Australia. We will be doing it over a number of days. Today is a bus ride on the Nagano Snow Shuttle from Hakuba to the Narita Airport but we are not flying out today but staying at a hotel next to the airport.
We were about to get on the hotel shuttle when we were presented with an extra bill for Bradley but I was sure that I had already paid through Agoda when I paid for the rooms. There was no time to sort it so left the guy at reception to sort then get Agoda to let me know the outcome.
Next little issue was the Snow Shuttle makes a number of stops on the way being Nagano, a roadside service area then Tokyo before finally getting to Narita. The trip takes 6 hours and I asked if Bradley could be dropped at the Tokyo stop rather than Narita then initially the guy said no but then I reminded him that it was one of the stops and suddenly it was OK. I was given tags for all the bags and a Tokyo tag for Bradley’s bag and our ticket for the 5 of us in the back row of the 45 seater. As soon as the tag was on Bradley’s bag it disappeared into another bus. I grabbed the guy and asked whether Bradley was on a different bus and he said no and that his bag should be on our bus. A quick retrieval before that disappeared.
We were soon on our way travelling the same route we took for the Snow Monkeys on Monday as we recognised a lot of the landmarks even stopping at the same gift shop / tourist trap for a rest stop.
It wasn’t long before the snow was long behind us and a lot of the route was in tunnels through mountains with most tunnels 2 to 3 kilometres long. I am not sure what the speed limit was but our 3rd driver (we had a driver swap at each stop) must of thought he was a F1 Driver as were were topping out at 116 kph and overtaking a lot of traffic.
Around 3pm we dropped off Bradley at Shinjuku Station, this would save a couple of hours travel for him from Narita to Haneda. We flew into Haneda and will be flying out of Narita on Singapore Airlines. Bradley flew into Narita and is flying out of Haneda with Qantas. It wasn’t long and we had a message from Bradley whether his backpack was on the bus. It certainly was. He forgot to grab it when he jumped off the bus.
Our F1 driver ended up getting us early to Narita by 20 minutes, no surprises there. As we arrived, Jenny got a message from Bradley that he had arrived at his capsule hotel, Beagle Hotel. Onto a hotel shuttle which was a full size coach and we were soon at our hotel, Narita View Hotel. And there were certainly views as you could just about touch the planes as they took off past the hotel even though you couldn’t hear them. The walls and windows must have had good sound proofing. Our rooms were on the 10th floor with views of the end of the runways and the forests to the east.
The 7/11 was on the other side of the expressway but it was a kilometre walk to the nearest bridge across and down and a kilometre back. I wanted to grab some Jim Beam as it was cheaper here than duty free. (Y1200 for a 750ml bottle) as well as bits and pieces for breakfast.
One thing I had got used to was a daily soak in an onsen and tonight was the last chance to give it a go. Our hotel had one which was a bigger setup than the Oak Forest Hotel. The big difference was a cost to use this one of Y1000 for guests and Y1500 for anyone else. I was given a voucher to return in the morning if I wanted to. The water was 42C which was a little hot but I still managed 30 minutes of soaking but had to to be interspersed with 5 minute breaks. The added bonus was watching the planes take off while waving to the passengers but I am sure that they couldn’t see anything from that distance.
Tomorrow we leave Japan and head for Singapore for a couple of days. The walk to the 7/11 helped the steps after a day on the bus finishing with 7715 steps.