JAPAN 2015
Long train to Kanazawa
Shinkansen & Sakura
Tuesday 07 April 2015
Fast, quiet and always on time, the Shinkansen (Bullet train) is the pride of Japan and I'd been looking forward to riding on one for over 30 years! The route to Kanazawa, where our cycling was to start had added significance as the line west of Nagano had opened to the public just a few weeks before our visit. At a cost of US $15bn and 10 years in the making, the 280 miles from Tokyo takes just 2hrs 28 minutes at speeds in excess of 250km/h.

The day started though in dank drizzle as we wrestled through the morning rush hour to Tokyo's central station. Stowing our bikes in neat formation at the end of our carriage we were soon relaxing with a morning kōhī (coffee) and watching the beautiful Japanese countryside speed past.
Our train pulled into Kanazawa Central around mid-day where we were surprised by how much cooler it was than Tokyo. Though on similar latitudes, the Alps sit between the two cities and are instrumental in their respective climates.

This means the cherry blossom arrives later than Tokyo, where it had already been and gone. Here in Kanazawa, it was hitting it's majestic peak and Castle Park looked stunning, flanked on all sides by pink and white Sakura.
After our walk we headed back for food and to grab provisions for our departure the following day. So far, we'd done a lot of sightseeing but little in the way of cycling. That would change though with a long ride into the Alps planned for tomorrow.