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Japan Hour

Bus VS Local Trains To Kyushu - Part 3

The "bus team versus train team" race enters its last stretch, with the teams completing one last mission at the Arita Porcelain Park before doing a final dash to the finishing line at Hirado Castle.

The “bus team versus train team” race from Kumamoto Castle to Hirado Castle in Nagasaki continues. After completing their mission at the third checkpoint, Bayside House, both teams are heading to the fourth and final checkpoint, Arita Porcelain Park. 

The train team takes a taxi from Nagasaki Airport until the fare reaches 1,500 yen and then walks the rest of the way to Takematsu Station. They walk for 2km and must wait for about an hour to take the train to Haiki Station.

The bus team, meanwhile, is heading by bus to Ogushi. They find out from the driver that to go to Arita, they can take the 10.55am Saikaibashi-bound bus from Ogushi and then transfer buses to head towards Haikitagonoura. They alight at the east exit of Saikaibashi, board an Ono-bound bus at 11.15am and alight at Haikitagonoura at 11.40am. They drop by the information centre and are told there is a bus to Arita Station which leaves at 11.50am. 

The train team has lunch at Cafe Hike before taking the train to Haiki Station. They then transfer trains and head to Arita Station on the 12.40pm train.

The bus team arrives at Arita Station first. Arita Porcelain Park is about 5km away from the station. They take a community bus leaving at 12.30pm and alight at Toya Kita, around 2km away from the checkpoint. They decide to walk to Arita Porcelain Park. Before that, they enquire about getting to Hirado Castle, the goal of this trip. They are told that there are buses from Sasebo to Hirado but there are no buses from Arita to Sasebo. They are advised to take a bus from the Imariguchi bus stop to Sasebo. So the team plans to take a taxi to Imariguchi after completing the mission at Arita Porcelain Park and then transfer buses to get to Sasebo Station.

The train team finally reaches Arita Station, walks for about 1km and takes a taxi for the rest of the way to Arita Porcelain Park. The taxi fare comes up to around 1,200 yen. 

The bus team reaches Arita Porcelain Park before the train team. There is an Arita ware workshop here, where visitors can experience making their original Arita ware ceramics, one of Japan's most famous porcelain wares. Both teams’ mission is to use a potter’s wheel to make a rice bowl which is about one centimetre thick. 

The bus team completes the challenge first at 1.50pm and heads to the Imariguchi bus stop by taxi at 2.15pm. The taxi ride comes up to around 2,000 yen. 

The train team manages to finally complete their mission. They now want to go to Tabira-Hiradoguchi Station. A person at the Arita ware workshop tells them that if they miss the train leaving at 3.05pm from Arita Station, the next train would be at 4.30pm. The station is 5km away and it is now 2.55pm. They start walking to Arita Station and are prepared to take the 4.30pm train.

Meanwhile, the other team takes the 2.50pm bus from the Imariguchi bus stop to Sasebo Station. They make enquiries and find out there is a direct bus to Hirado from Sasebo. But when they reach Sasebo at 3.40pm, they realise the bus to Hirado had left 10 minutes ago and they now must wait 50 minutes for the next bus. 

Meanwhile, the train team walks back 5km to Arita Station and reaches the station at 3.45pm. They are thrilled to find out there is a train at 3.50pm to Imari, from where they can go to Tabira-Hiradoguchi, the nearest station to the goal, Hirado Castle. 

On the other hand, the bus team finally catches a direct bus to a stop near Hirado Castle after waiting for nearly an hour. Luckily, it is a semi-express bus, which means it will skip some bus stops.

The train team is also taking their last ride and heading to Tabira-Hiradoguchi Station. Hirado Castle is about 5km from the station. They have 750 yen left so they use it to take a taxi as far as they can and then run the remaining 3km to Hirado Castle.

The bus team alights near Hirado Castle and runs to the castle too. They reach the castle, check the treasure box at the goal and are ecstatic to see the flag inside as the team which gets the flag wins the race. They hide somewhere and wait for the other team. The train team members arrive after 20 minutes and are disappointed when they open the box and realise that they have lost the race.


1)    Visitors can experience making Arita ware ceramics at the Arita Porcelain Park
2)    Making bus or train transfers can be tricky so always keep an eye on the time and check the schedule

Source: CNA


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