There were always groups of school children taking trips on the train. We encountered this group when we returned to Kobe Station from one of our trips.
Lots of bikes on the street. These were parked along the main street near our Airbnb. The Kobe Train Station had a large parking lot for bikes.
The trains in Japan were great. We had no problem getting around. They were clean and always on time. If you missed a train there would be another one in a few minutes. Most of the station platforms had electronic signs that would periodically flash the information in English. The same was true of the signs in the trains. Announcements were also periodically made in English. The funny thing was that it seemed like they would go on forever in Japanese but when it was translated to English it was only a few words.
As I mentioned we had a Japan Rail Passes. This saved us money and made it much more convenient to ride the trains. We didn’t have to stop and pay every time we wanted to take a train we just had to flash our pass. It didn’t cover all of the trains so we purchased a train card that we could put money on. This was also very convenient as we traveled around. The same card worked in both Kobe and Tokyo.
The Major Train stations also contain shopping areas for food and groceries. This particular store was my downfall and the reason I gained weight in Japan. It was located directly across from where we exited the Kobe Station Platform. It sold delicious custard filled croissants. So every day we would stop and load up on baked goods before returning to our Airbnb.
Eating in Japan was not a big issue and the food was relatively inexpensive. We happened to find this small restaurant on a backstreet while walking back to our Airbnb. We couldn’t read the menu but most of the restaurants either had pictures or plastic mockups of the food. In this case we took the waiter out to the front display and pointed to what we wanted. As it turned out she spoke a little English and was quite the jokester. This meal cost about $6.50 which was about what we liked to pay. You could probably double that if you ate in the tourist areas.
One of the things that is quite different in Japan is the fact that Beverage Dispensers on the street dispense hard liquor including beer and sake.
Japan was very clean. The odd thing is they have very few garbage cans. There were no garbage cans on the streets. We saw some in the train station platforms and in convenience stores. People are expected to carry their garbage home to dispose of it. The U.S. is a pig sty compared to Japan.
As I mentioned in a number of my blogs we arrived in large cities in the middle of the night. There were always people walking in the streets. We never felt in any danger walking around the back alleys of the cities. This is not something we would do in a U.S. city.
The sidewalks in Kobe were quite different than in the U.S. They had one lane for bikes, another lane for blind people and one for pedestrians. The lane for the blind had bumps on it and I found it hard to walk on. The problem was the lanes didn’t seem to mean anything. No one paid any attention as to where they were riding their bike or waking. This really surprised me because Japanese people seem so organized. I was always a little concerned that we would be hit by a biker but it didn’t happen in spite of the large number of bikes.
Escalators were another interesting thing. They were everywhere particularly the train stations where people were rushing to catch trains. In Kobe the rule was you stood on the right side and people walking or running to catch a train would do so on the left. When we arrived in Tokyo we found that wasit was just the opposite.
More photos from our visit to Japan can be found on my website.