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Japan Hour

Bus VS Local Trains To Kyushu - Part 2

A challenge to find a sword mark left by a famous samurai in a restaurant and a thrilling kayak relay activity are among the highlights of the "bus team versus train team" race in Kyushu this week.

The “bus team versus train team” race from Kumamoto Castle to Hirado Castle in Nagasaki Prefecture continues. The two teams have cleared the first checkpoint and are on their way to the second one, a restaurant in Nagasaki called Kagetsu. The bus team alights at Sakurayama Danchi and walks 5km to Nagasu Port to take the Ariake Ferry. The train team arrives at Nagasu Station and heads to the ferry terminal. Both teams are taking the same ferry at 5.15pm. The travellers say goodbye to Kumamoto and head to Taira Port in Nagasaki.

The bus team finds out there are currently no buses going to Nagasaki. However, they are told that if they can get to Aino, there may be buses to Isahaya Station. The other team, meanwhile, plans to take the train from Taira Station near the port, transfer to another train at Isahaya Station and then head to Nagasaki Station.

Meanwhile, the bus team decides to take a taxi to Aino, spending about 5,000 yen out of their taxi budget of 10,000 yen. They alight at a bus stop at 6.40pm and take the 6.50pm bus to Isahaya Station. The bus team is now in the lead to get to the second checkpoint. 

The train team, in the meantime, takes the 7.25pm train from Taira Station to Isahaya Station. They enjoy the view of the majestic Mount Unzen, the quiet coastline of the Ariake Sea and the sunset. 

The bus team arrives at Isahaya Station at 7.30pm and takes the bus to Nagasaki Station 10 minutes later. Around this time, the train team boards the train for Nagasaki and is now leading the race.

The train team arrives at Nagasaki Station first and takes the tram to Shianbashi Teiryujo. They reach Kagetsu, which was established in 1642. In 1960, the restaurant was designated as a historical site of Nagasaki. Several famous historical figures such as Kaishu Katsu and Ryoma Sakamoto have visited Kagetsu. The two teams’ mission here is to find the sword mark left by Ryoma Sakamoto, a famous samurai, on the second floor. They are taken to a hall that accommodates up to 50 people. It offers a beautiful view of an 800-tsubo garden, one of the largest in Nagasaki. The teams will also explore a room called Sonoginoma, where Siebold, a pioneer of Western medicine, used to have dinners with his wife. There is yet another room on the second floor that was used for meetings by historical figures. 

The bus team finally arrives at the restaurant after struggling with their bus transfers. They meet the train team members, who have already started looking for the sword mark. But as luck would have it, the bus team identifies the sword mark accurately first. The train team gets it right soon after them. Both teams can now head to the third checkpoint, Bayside House More, a popular spot for marine activities near Omura Bay. It is 20km away.

The bus team takes a bus to Nagasaki Station. They ask about bus routes to Bayside House and are told they can take an Ogushi-bound bus leaving at 7.10am from Nagasaki Station and alight at a bus stop near the third checkpoint. They manage to book rooms at a hotel in Nagasaki City and call it a night after enjoying some delicious Kyushu cuisine.

The other team, meanwhile, eats food from a convenience store while waiting for the train at Nagasaki Station. They have bought a soup with chewy dumplings and Tonjiru soup with 10 different ingredients. The team members take the train to Michinoo Station, the station closest to Bayside House, and are back in the lead. They had earlier decided to stay at Yasuda Ocean Hotel, which is near the checkpoint. They take a taxi from the station to the hotel, spending nearly 1,800 yen. The taxi driver tells them there are high-speed boats going to Nagasaki Airport from the hotel. The boat ride is 750 yen per person for the guests of the hotel, after a 50 per cent discount. Those staying at the hotel also get a coupon which gives them 200 yen off taxi rides.

The following morning, the train team aims to go to Togitsu Port after visiting the third checkpoint. They want to take the high-speed boat at 11am and then take a train to get to Takematsu Station via Nagasaki Airport. But first, they must walk 5km to Bayside House, the third checkpoint.

On the other hand, the bus team takes a bus from Nagasaki Station at 7.10am and will alight at the Kotonoumi stop closest to the checkpoint. On the bus, they enquire in advance about getting to the fourth and final checkpoint - Arita Porcelain Park - and find out they can get to Arita via Ogushi. They aim to take the bus bound for Ogushi at 9.20am after completing the mission at the third checkpoint. 

Both teams arrive at Bayside House More at the same time. Various popular marine activities such as wakeboarding and jet skiing are available here. The two teams’ mission is to do a kayak relay race while enjoying the spectacular view of Omura Bay. They must kayak separately to a buoy 200m away and come back one by one. Both teams complete the mission, with the train team finishing slightly ahead of the bus team.

The train team makes a move before the bus team. The Arita Porcelain Park is 30km away. It is now 8.55am and the team makes a split-second decision to take a taxi to Togitsu Port, which is 5km away, and board an earlier high-speed boat at 9.40am. On the other hand, the bus team waits to take the bus at 9.20am to Ogushi.

The train team uses the 200-yen taxi discount coupon given by Yasuda Ocean Hotel and pays slightly over 1,000 yen for their taxi fare. They then buy three tickets for the boat ride to Nagasaki Airport, paying 2,250 yen instead of 4,500 yen, thanks to the hotel’s 50 per cent discount. The team reaches the airport at 10.05am and wants to take a train at 11am from Takematsu Station, about 5km away. They decide to take a taxi as far as 1,500 yen will get them and walk the rest of the way to the station. 


1)    Check if your hotel offers discounts for things such as taxi fares or boat rides
2)    Fans of water sports should visit Bayside House in Nagasaki  

Source: CNA


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