Local Bus Trip from Gifu to Tottori (Part 1)

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Local Bus Trip from Gifu to Tottori (Part 1)


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Local Bus Trip from Gifu to Tottori (Part 1)

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This week, we embark on a four-day local bus trip from Gifu Castle to the Tottori Sand Dunes. The castle was a stepping stone for Lord Nobunaga on his quest for unification. On the first day, we want to travel west across Gifu Prefecture and towards Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture.

We begin by taking the 9.50am bus from Gifu Park to Gifu Station. After 15 minutes, we arrive at the station and start asking about possible routes. We find out that the only bus going west is the one to Sunomata. We would then have to transfer to the Kintetsu Bus and head towards Ogaki, the second-largest city in Gifu Prefecture. So we hop on the bus departing from Gifu Station at 9.35am. During the bus ride to Sunomata, we get to see Sunomata Castle. It is said that Hideyoshi Toyotomi built it in one day. 

At Sunomata, we make our way to the Kintetsu bus stop and board the 10.20am bus going to Ogaki Station. The journey takes 40 minutes. At the station, we make enquiries about how best to go to Lake Biwa. We find out there is no direct bus going there and we would have to travel towards Sekigahara first via Makida Ueno. So we leave Ogaki by the 11.10am bus and make our way to Makida Ueno. There, we grab some lunch from a convenience store before catching the 1.05pm bus to Sekigahara. The bus journey takes just 10 minutes. Surrounded by steep mountains, Sekigahara was once used as a checkpoint to restrict passers-by. This town is also where Ieyasu Tokugawa and Mitsunari Ishida fought the decisive Battle of Sekigahara.

At Sekigahara, we go to the tourist information office to find out the best way to reach Shiga Prefecture by bus. We are told that the prefectural border is 5km away and no buses go there directly. However, we are advised to take a bus to Imasu, which is near the border. So we take a bus heading towards Imasu. However, the bus driver suggests we alight at Kadoma instead, as it is a short walk across the border to Shiga Prefecture from there. After we get off the bus, we walk for 2.3km to Kashiwabara Station in Shiga Prefecture.

There are no bus stops in sight near the station. A passer-by tells us there are bus stops along the national highway. We manage to locate one on the highway and take the bus to Oumi-Nagaoka Station at 3.25pm. We later transfer buses to travel further west to Nagahama, a city next to Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. 

We go to the information office at Nagahama. After discussing the various routes, we decide to catch the 5.25pm bus travelling north to Kinomoto first. The bus driver later tells us there are no buses going to Fukui Prefecture from Kinomoto. He advises us to go to Imazu and then head to Fukui from there. We arrive at Kinomoto after 40 minutes and decide to spend the night here. Kinomoto was once a post-town on the north of Lake Biwa. We check into Kusano Inn and have dinner at Fukudaya, which is nearby. We order the recommended chicken nabeyaki udon.

On the second day, we go to the Kinomoto Bus Terminal. We are told that the best way to go to Imazu is to take the 8am bus to Nagahara Station first. We then have to walk 3.6km in the mountains to Noguchi and subsequently take a bus from there to Imazu.

1) Besides going to tourist information offices, you can also ask bus drivers about the best route to your destination
2) Be prepared to make a detour, transfer buses or even walk for quite a distance in case there are no direct buses to your goal