Local Bus And Train Adventure From Saitama Prefecture - Part 2
The "local fixed-route bus versus train" race across the northern Kanto region continues, with the competing teams overcoming many obstacles and setbacks to reach the goal of Nikko Toshogu Shrine.
The two-day "local fixed-route bus versus local train" race in northern Kanto continues. The bus and train teams started from Chichibu Station in Saitama Prefecture and their goal is to reach the World Heritage Site of Nikko Toshogu Shrine in Tochigi Prefecture by 2pm the next day. On the second day, the bus team members take the 6am shuttle bus and alight at Mizunuma Station. They then walk for about 4km to a bus stop near Hanawa Station. It is 7.15am by now and they need to wait for about an hour to take the bus bound for Godo.
As for the train team, their leader goes to Kiryu Station at around 6am to arrange for a taxi to pick the team up from Konaka Station at 7.30am. The plan is to take the taxi to the second checkpoint of the race, the Konaka Otaki Waterfall with a thrilling suspension bridge. Later, Mr Muroga, the cab driver, takes them to the waterfall. He drives for 15 minutes along a steep mountain road before dropping the team members off near the Konaka Otaki Waterfall Observatory. The taxi fare comes up to nearly 2,500 yen and by now, the team has about 5,000 yen left in their taxi budget. The team members then take a photo at the observatory before walking to the Kesakake suspension bridge, known for its spectacular views. It has one of the steepest slopes in Japan. The Konaka Waterfall has a height of 96m, making it one of the highest waterfalls in Gunma. By the time the train team clears the second checkpoint, it is 8.25am. The team members want to catch the 9.55am train from Konaka Station, but they have to walk on a mountain road for 7km to return to the station.
In the meantime, the other team takes the first bus to Godo Station. They alight at the Konakabashi bus stop and start walking to the second checkpoint of Kesakake Bridge, which the train team had cleared earlier. Fortunately for them, they see the same taxi which had dropped off the train team at the Konaka Waterfall. So the same driver, Mr Muroga, takes them to the suspension bridge.
The other team, meanwhile, manages to catch their train on time, after walking one hour from the checkpoint. They arrive at Kiryu Station at 10.45am and then catch the 11.25am train to Tochigi Station. They have to wait half an hour before the train to Tobu-Nikko Station departs at 12.40pm.
The bus team completes their mission at the second checkpoint. They plan to walk 9km to Godo Station from here, keeping the remaining taxi budget of nearly 5,000 yen in case they need it later. The team leader decides to take a shortcut in the hopes of reaching Godo Station earlier. Unfortunately, they are unable to find the narrow path and end up making a big detour. So they only reach the national road leading to Godo Station after walking for 2.5 hours. From the station, they board a fixed-route bus to Kusakibashi and take a taxi to Tsudo Station, 9km away from the bus stop. The taxi reaches the station in Nikko City, where Nikko Toshogu Shrine is located, at around 1pm. They find a bus stop and at 1.15pm, board a bus going to the goal.
The train team, on the other hand, misses their train and only arrives at Tobu-Nikko Station at 1.45pm. They then quickly take a taxi and rush to the Nikko Toshogu Shrine.
It is a tight race to the finish but in the end, the train team reaches the main shrine building just four minutes ahead of the bus team. The train team members are thus declared the winners of the two-day “fixed-route bus versus train” race across the northern Kanto region.
1) Kesakake suspension bridge is known for its spectacular views
2) Konaka Otaki Waterfall is one of the highest waterfalls in Gunma