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Japan Hour

Bus vs Local Trains In Kanagawa And Saitama Prefectures - Part 3

The "bus team versus train team" transfer race reaches its final stretch, with both teams completing a final mission split between two checkpoints, before rushing to the goal in Chichibu Muse Park.

The “bus team versus train team” race from Kanagawa Prefecture to Saitama Prefecture continues. It is the second day and both teams are at the third checkpoint, Formuland Ra Hanno, to complete the mission. The bus team aims to take the bus at 9.55am but they fail the selfie mission on their first try. It is then the train team’s turn but they too are unable to complete the challenge. The train team finally succeeds on their second attempt and can now head to Hidaka City in Saitama for their final mission. They want to take the 11.30am train from Ikusabata Station, 8.5km away, to Komagawa. They decide to walk along a mountain pass for about 3km and then take a taxi after the Ozawa Tunnel to Ikusabata.

The bus team finally completes the mission at Formuland Ra Hanno on their third try and takes the 10.40am bus to Hanno Station. They ask about going to Hidaka City Hall and are told to take a bus bound for Saitama Medical Centre from Hanno Station. They can alight at a bus stop called Hidaka Shiyakusho Iriguchi, which is 2km away from the fourth checkpoint. This checkpoint is split into two locations, which the teams find out about later.

The train team members, meanwhile, are walking uphill from Formuland Ra Hanno towards Ozawa Tunnel. They catch the taxi they had booked earlier from the exit of the tunnel and manage to make it in time to catch the train from Ikusabata Station at 11.30am. The taxi fare comes up to 2,000 yen and the team has 1,860 yen left.

The bus team reaches Hanno Station and they plan to return to this station after completing the last mission. They ask about heading towards Chichibu, the goal, later and are told they can take a bus to Yunosawa from Hanno. They then proceed to take the bus to Saitama Medical Centre as planned. They alight at Hidaka Shiyakusho Iriguchi at 12.10pm. They plan to take the 2.45pm from this bus stop later and head back to Hanno Station. 

The train team arrives at Komagawa Station at 12.25pm. They want to take the 3pm train from here after completing the challenge so that they can reach Seibu Chichibu Station at around 4pm. They plan to take a taxi from that station to the goal, Chichibu Muse Park. 

Both teams are now walking toward the two checkpoints. The bus team reaches one of the checkpoints first. It is a store called Shoyu Okoku, which sells soy sauce. Their fresh soy sauce is produced from unrefined soy sauce every morning in wooden vats that have been handed down for more than 100 years. This soy sauce is only available at this store. The mission is to have tamago kake gohan or rice topped with raw egg. But the twist is that the teams must go to two stores to get the soy sauce and fresh eggs separately before they can eat the dish and complete the mission. In addition, if they break the soy sauce bottle or eggs, they need to return to the store to buy more. So after Shoyu Okoku, the bus team goes to an egg shop called Takahashi Tamago. 

Meanwhile, the train team is on their way to the egg shop, which has been around for nearly 100 years, first. Each egg costs 200 yen. The chickens are fed with more than 20 types of carefully selected feed, including fishmeal from Hokkaido. Compared to commercial eggs, these eggs’ yolks are darker in colour and have no odour.

The bus team reaches Takahashi Tamago and sees the train team. The bus team eats the completed dish, comprising rice, freshly made soy sauce and fresh eggs. After the mission, the team decides to take the Hanno-bound bus an hour earlier at 1.45pm so opts to take a taxi and then walk to the bus stop.

The train team is now at Shoyu Okoku and realise that many of their eggs have cracked. So after getting the freshly made soy sauce, they need to return to Takahashi Tamago to buy more eggs. They must walk 2km back to the egg market. 

The bus team is on the way to Hanno Station. The distance between Yunosawa and the Matsueda bus stop, which has buses coming from Chichibu, is about 6km. The steep Yamabushi Pass is in between the two stops and there are no buses. The bus team will spend all their remaining taxi money of 3,110 yen to travel across the six-kilometre-long Yamabushi Pass. It is now 2.35pm and the direct bus to Yunosawa is only two hours later. So they take the 2.45pm bus to Nago, two stops before Yunosawa, instead and then take a taxi. 

The train team, meanwhile, loses a lot of time because of having to buy more eggs but finally completes the mission of having tamago kake gohen. They take a taxi to Komagawa Station, which is 2.5km away, and manage to reach in time to catch the train at 3pm. 

The bus team takes a taxi from the bus stop in Nago to get across the mountain pass. They alight at Matsueda and the fare comes up to nearly 2,500 yen. It is now 4pm and they are dismayed to learn that the last bus going in the direction of Chichibu left at 1pm. The goal is more than 16km away so they have no choice but to use their remaining taxi money to take a taxi again. They get off on a path in the middle of the mountain in Chichibu, with the goal now 14km away. They are prepared to walk but are thrilled to see a bus stop and manage to catch a bus five minutes later at 4.20pm. They ask the driver about getting to Chichibu Muse Park and are told to transfer to the Muse Park Circulation Bus at Chichibu Station. 

The train team is now at Seibu Chichibu Station, ahead of the bus team. The goal, Chichibu Muse Park, is nearly 5km away and they have around 1,260 yen left to spend on taxis. The team’s strategy is to walk on a flat road from the station for 1.5km and then take a taxi to get past the steep uphill road to the goal. 

Meanwhile, the bus team is taking the Muse Park Circulation Bus from Chichibu Station to Chichibu Muse Park.

The train team heads to the goal by taxi, spending 1,220 yen on the fare. They then run to the observation deck at the goal. It offers incredible views of the surroundings and Mount Buko. The train team members are ecstatic to see the flag inside the treasure box as this means that they have won the race. The bus team arrives at the goal 20 minutes later only.

Tips:

1)    Takahashi Tamago eggs are known for their darker yolk and have no odour
2)    Check out the observation deck at Chichibu Muse Park which offers stunning views
 

Source: CNA
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