Part 1: My journey to Shin Osaka (Kansai Airport - Shin Osaka)
It was the end of the spring when I started my journey in the Land of the rising sun
In April 2019, I left my job in Vietnam to come to Japan to start a 2-year journey of an international student. This is also the first time I came to Japan after the days seen in films.
After 6 hours flying from the Ho Chi Minh City, Kansai Osaka Airport greeted me with a 10 degree (C) wind, at that time April is near the end of spring and the weather still chills my spine. I wore three layers of shirt and started my journey to Fukuyama Rose City, Hiroshima, where I studied (Why is the Rose City, I will have my own article about Fukuyama !!). And this is the journey that I want to tell you who has not come to Japan because the journey is a bit difficult but memorable so I divided into 2 parts.
- Part 1: My journey to Shin Osaka (Kansai Airport - Shin Osaka)
- Part 2: Fukuyama, the City of Roses (Shin Osaka - Fukuyama)
In Japan, in crowded places such as airports and train stations, there is always free wifi (You need to enter your email to use) and this is what helped me to reach my destination. When I reached Japan, with no Sim in my phone that means no signal and 3G, so Wifi was the only way that I can contact my Sempai (who had studied abroad before) who will instruct me how to buy a train ticket.
They sell 3G sim at Train station and airport, so it recommend to buy one if you know how to.
Using trains with Google Map
Google Maps is an indispensable companion when visiting Japan, especially when you using trains to go around. In Japan, where public transport was so developed you can reach almost any destinations even without thinking about buying plane tickets. I'm talking about Bus, Train and Shinkansen (新幹線).
Note: A friendly reminder that the faster you go the more you have to pay!
Below here is an example using Google Map to plan ahead for your trip, so you don't get confusing when the time comes!!!
And of course, Google Maps offer multiple routes to go to Fukuyama...but the-young-naive-me blindly followed the recommendation by using JR and Shinkansen (新幹線)...it was expensive.
The challenge of reaching Shin Osaka by JR train line
Let's me tell you, if you know the how dense and complicated power-lines in Vietnam are, the train system in Japan is the same.
After talking a real good look at those red, green "snake" going all over the place. I decided to give up and calling for help is a better solution. Using the connected wifi, I called my Sempai to get instruction on how to buy a train ticket.
Buying a train ticket sound easy but trust me it's not...Standing in front of a machine that filled with unfamiliar language, buying train ticket now is more like gambling, either losing money or get a wrong ticket.
After 15 minutes struggling, i finally got a tiny piece of paper with 2.000 yen (~$20) price tag (Actually i was thinking about writing a tutorial on how to buy train tickets. But using Moca Card is so convenient, it make me a little hesitate when it come to buy tickets manually)
Everything above was just buying tickets, now come to the next step...going to the right platform. I bought a JR line ticket so I have to go down to Floor 1 to pick up the train.
The nightmare started right when I when downstair, the moment I show the train's direction to my Sempai the wifi suddenly dropped (Wifi coverage couldn't reach Floor 1). I started to sweat because in front of me is a huge system of train tracks, different platforms, trains going multiple directions every 10 minutes.
The near country from Vietnam that has a developed subway is Thailand. Whoever has chance to use the subway will know there is 2 direction for each platform. In my case i'm complete clueless on which direction to choose, on of them go back to Tokyo other to Shin Osaka.
I went upstairs again so I can call my Sempai to ask which train should I jump on. But my Sempai can't help at this point with just only the platform's direction provided. Fortunately, the Subway Staff has noticed me and gave his help
You better ask the Staff from the beginning they are very helpful, don't be like me, such foolish!
Taking a deep breath, I asked
- I want to go to Shin Osaka.
Luckily the staff understood and replied with
- 新大阪ですか。(heading to Shin Osaka?)
I nodded repeatedly, and the clerk helped me carry the luggage onto the next train and showed me the itinerary board of the train on the way down.
If you go for the first time, just pay attention to the train's speaker because around 2 - 3 minutes before the next station they will announce the station's name passenger can prepare their luggage.
Well... after doing some sightseeing through windows around 7 - 8 stations. I've arrived at Shin Osaka and finished my one hell of a ride.
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