So… It turns out that the heavy rain & thunderstorms yesterday manifested as tornados and landslides in other parts of the Gifu prefecture, basically shutting down the entire Takayama Main Line between Takayama and Nagoya. Fortunately we were in the centre city, situated in the middle of the valley, and were relatively unaffected and blissfully unaware. However, this also happened to be the last day we could use our Japan Rail Pass, so getting back to Tokyo without having to shell out hundreds for a Shinkansen ticket became the new imperative! Luckily, there were lots of other visitors to Takayama in the same boat, including a large local karate group from Wellington! The Takayama Main Line was still running North to the small mountain town of Inotani, so we all packed onto a local train.
It took the better part of an hour to arrive at the station, practically in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, it seems they had planned a transfer train – to accommodate for the diversion – which was waiting for us as we pulled in. Albeit being a lot smaller and older than the JR Hida trains, it took us all the way to the coastal city of Toyama (which had a Shinkansen connection!).
We decided to store our bags and walk up to the local castle and grab some lunch before continuing onto Tokyo. Toyama is famous for its sushi, so that was our first port of call…
We took the Hakutaka Shinkansen along the Hokuriku line along the West coast and through to Tokyo. The Shinkansen passed through more tunnels than the Tokaido line from Tokyo to Kyoto did, but also had beautiful views of the craggy mountain ranges in Nagano and Saitama.
Once we got to Ueno Station we took the bus to our final AirBnB in Taito. We walked around the neighborhood to get some dinner & stumbled across a huge street market, with a plant section that spanned nearly 8 streets. They had everything including flowers, cacti, succulents, air plants, bonsai and full sized fruit trees and bamboo! We bought yakisoba and chocolate covered bananas for dinner before calling it a night. Tomorrow is our last full day in Japan before flying out, so we’re hoping to see a bit more of Tokyo before we go!