Bus vs Local Trains In Ehime, Hiroshima And Okayama Prefectures - Part 3
The transfer race between the bus and train teams reaches its last stretch, with both teams visiting an amusement park on top of a mountain to complete their final mission on the "sky cycle" ride.
The two-day “bus team versus train team” transfer race continues, with Korakuen in Okayama Prefecture being the goal. On the second day, the train team arrives at the third checkpoint, Ofutei in Tomonoura, at 9.50am. Tomonoura has flourished as a trading centre since ancient times. It is one of Japan's most scenic areas, featuring Edo period buildings. Its nostalgic streets have a great atmosphere and it has been used as a filming location for many movies and dramas. The mission here is to soak in Ofutei's hot spring and eat Tomonoura’s gourmet food made with local ingredients.
The bus team also reaches Tomonoura and checks the bus schedule before taking on the mission at the checkpoint. They decide that after completing the mission, they will try to take the 10.50am bus to Fukuyama Station to pass the prefectural border from there.
Two train team members, meanwhile, start looking for restaurants serving Tomonoura's gourmet food and are told about Yukisan-chi. It serves fresh fish caught in Tomonoura and they order the set meal, which comprises red grouper and parrotfish sashimi, simmered black rockfish and sand borer tempura. The remaining train team member checks out the outdoor hot spring at Ofutei which boasts a magnificent view.
On the other hand, two members of the bus team look for a store selling Tomonoura’s speciality Homeishu, a type of sake that has been produced in Tomonoura since the Edo period. Homeishu is made from shochu, glutinous rice, malted rice, and 16 different types of herbs and spices. They go to Irie Homeishu Honten and try the store’s Homeishu ice cream. The third team member soaks in the hot spring. After the mission is done, the bus team quickly takes the bus to Fukuyama Station.
The fourth and final checkpoint is a theme park - Washuzan Highland in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture. It is built on top of a mountain and overlooks the Seto Ohashi Bridge. The teams must reach the checkpoint before it closes at 5pm.
The train team only has 180 yen in taxi money left so they must walk from Tomonoura to Fukuyama Station, which is about 13km away. From there, they must switch to a different train line and go to Kojima Station in Okayama. It is the nearest station to the checkpoint and is about 3.5km away from the theme park. The train team plans to take the 2.30pm train from Fukuyama Station and head towards Kojima.
The bus team members arrive at Fukuyama Station and are worried about crossing the prefectural border to reach Okayama. Kurashiki in Okayama is difficult to access as it is inland, so the team wants to find a route along the coastline. They make enquiries at the information centre. They find out they can take a bus to Isegaoka Sanchome, head to the general branch office in Yorishima from there and then transfer buses to get to Shin-Kurashiki. However, there is no fixed-route bus to Yorishima Sogo Shisho-mae so the bus team books a taxi in advance before catching the 11.50am bus to Isegaoka Sanchome, since they have 7,000 yen left to spend on taxis. They board the taxi at Isegaoka Sanchome and head to the general branch office in Yorishima, which is 18km away. They request the taxi to stop once the fare reaches 5,000 yen and then walk 2.3km to the general branch office. They make it in time to catch the 1.30pm bus bound for Shin-Kurashiki. They ask the bus driver how to get to Kojima from Shin-Kurashiki. They are told to take the bus to Tamashima Chuocho, followed by a taxi to cross the river and then catch a bus operated by Ryobi Bus from a bus stop called Nishinoura Josuijo Mae. The team manages to catch the 2pm bus soon after alighting from the taxi at Nishinoura Josuijo Mae. They find out they must alight at a bus stop called Kannondo and then transfer buses to get to Kojima Station.
In the meantime, the train team finally arrives at Fukuyama Station at 2.15pm after walking for 2.5 hours. They then travel by train to Okayama Station, switch trains and head to Kojima Station.
The bus team arrives at Kojima Station first and catches a bus at 3.30pm to Washuzan Highland. They reach the amusement park and find out that the bus to go back to Kojima is at 4.40pm, an hour later. Washuzan Highland offers amazing rides, one of which is the famous sky cycle. It is 16m high and goes on a rail. The mission is for each team member to ride the sky cycle without closing their eyes and have a photo taken, while striking a double peace sign and with Seto Ohashi Bridge in the back.
The train team arrives at Kojima Station at 4.05pm. They must reach Washuzan Highland by the time it closes at 5pm. It is about 3.5km away and it will take them about one hour to walk to the checkpoint.
The bus team takes the bus back to Kojima Station after completing the mission. To get to Okayama Station and the goal, Korakuen, the team rides a bus to Ojigadake Tozanguchi and switches to a Ryobi bus bound for Uno Station. From there, they catch the 6.20pm bus going towards Okayama Station. The bus reaches the Tenmanya bus stop near Korakuen at 7.30pm and the team walks 1km to the goal. They reach Korakuen and are thrilled to see the winner’s flag inside the treasure chest here. But the team soon finds out the train team was disqualified before reaching the final checkpoint, Washuzan Highland, as they did not manage to arrive at the park before it closed at 5pm.
1) Medicinal beverage Homeishu is Tomonoura's speciality
2) Adventure seekers should try the sky cycle ride at the Washuzan Highland amusement park