Kaiji 101 to Kofu
Sometimes it’s good to step back and look at the ordinary, everyday life and the things we tend to ignore around us. So I’m planning on giving you a break from fantastic art, funky design, wild monkeys and lush islands and instead just show you this snapshot of one of my recent early Saturday mornings; getting out of Tokyo on the Kaiji 101 to Kofu (someone should remake the old Glen Miller 1940 classic Chatanooga Choo Choo to fit this train line). The name Kaiji comes from the famous grape of Yamanashi – the 甲斐路 grape, bright red and big.
The Kaiji 101 train is bascially the best way to get to the completely mountainous prefecture north-west of Kanagawa, Yamanashi (don’t be fooled by it’s name – there’s nothing but mountains in this place) from Tokyo.
The Kaiji 101 started running in 1961 (and the train designs seems to collaborate this) and uses the same train line as Chuo Line, going from Shinjuku to Kofu. I was on my way to Yamanashi one early Saturday morning and since I relied on the Jiyuseki (tickets without booked seetings) I wanted to be early to be able to make sure I got a decent seat – window, always. Usually when you travel on express or Shinkansen trains in Japan you can ask for jiyuseki and save a little bit on the very expensive tickets (trivia: I could have taken a round trip London-Stockholm for the same price as this train ticket).
Naturally, arriving early at the station means meeting the remains of last night. This young man had decided to use the stairs as a convenient resting place having probably missed his train last night. Respect goes out to the kind station wardens who let him sleep in peace.
Other than that, I just waited for the train to arrive under the watchful eyes of the station wardens (who do they get to work I wonder…) and then it’s just to wait an hour and I’m out of Tokyo once again! Lovely bit of countryside to see on this trip to Yamanashi. Enjoy a bit of slow paced every day life in Japan!