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Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport

Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport

Aug 29th, 2019, 01:47 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 23
Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport

This is a trip report on a recent visit to Shikoku (on Tokushima in this thread) in July this year. My very first report on Fodor. Apologise if the presentation/writing style is not compliant with the rules/norms.

Background information:
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Flight route: Edinburgh to Kansai via Helsinki (inbound); Takamatsu to Hong Kong (outbound)
  • Main motivation: Visit Setouchi, a Triennale which has successfully put the Seto islands and cities on the map of the International arts scene
  • Number of visit to Japan: 5+
  • Travel research languages: English, Traditional Chinese and Japanese (kanzi)- I am not a Japanese speaker, but knowledge of Traditional Chinese characters allows me to understand some phrases in kanzi
  • Research sources: English, Japanese and Chinese brochures from the National tourism office in London, Pixnet, Taiwan-translated guidebooks authored by Japanese, Instagram geo-tag, Tokushima Prefecture Government website and Tokushima Tourism Office official FB account
  • Mobile applications for transport planning: Navi Bus time table, Google map and Jorudan
In this report, I would like to share experience on how to deal with baggage delayed (suitcase not found at baggage reclaim), public transport option from Osaka Prefecture, buffer between landing and travel to Tokushima and itinerary for Tokushima Prefecture.

Flight from UK to Kansai and baggage delay
From flight fare comparison, I found the ex-Edinburgh Finnair flight a lot cheaper than departure from London and booked it. I was also lucky to be on a half-full flight from Helsinki to Kansai. Managed to lie flat across 4 Economy seats. Landing was on time on a Friday afternoon.

Here comes the first "surprise". With so few passengers on board, it didn't take too long to have all the luggage unloaded on the baggage reclaim belt. After having a gut feeling that my luggage didn't make it (circa 30 mins after landing), a ground staff member approached me and another group of Belgian passengers. We were notified of the baggage delays. The ground staff were quick in completing the paperworks, i.e. Luggage irregularity Report.

As everyone here knows, shopping is the last thing to worry in Japan. Moreover, Finnair is bound by the Montreal Convention and EC 889/2002 to reimburse expenses arising from baggage delay. The statutory cap is 1131 Special Drawing Rights, or Ä1400. Eventually, Finnair offered reimbursement of 80 euros max per day for 5 days. There was nothing to worry about.

At Kansai Airport, I took a shuttle bus to Rinku Outlet for 200 yens. There I got all the daily essentials.

Buffer between long haul flight and travel to Tokushima- Sakai
I didn't plan for heading for Tokushima straight away right after landing, mainly for buffer reasons. I spent the first night in Sakai, southern Osaka instead. Summer is the typhoon season in Japan. I also intended to cope with jet lag with minimal travel on the day of landing. The Comfort Hotel Sakai turned out to be a good choice for the above purpose. Excellent location: 5 mins away from the Sakai Nankai rail station- works for the plan to take Nankai rail to Wakayama on the following day. Affordable: around 6400 per night. A safe neighbourhood with decent range of dining options, supermarket, convenience store and a sport massage shop. Sakai also came under my radar because of its latest World Heritage site.


Breakfast was complimentary. After exploring Sakai for the whole day, I set off the journey to Tokushima.


Public Transport from Osaka to Tokushima City
  • Means: Rail + Ferry + Bus
  • Company: Nankai
  • Ticket: Rail and Ferry Combo ????????2000?????
  • Fare: •2000 (same fare across all departure Nankai Rail station, e.g. Kansai Airport station and Namba station)
  • From: Sakai Nankai Rail (6pm) To: Wakayamako(i.e. Harbour) (7:02pm)
  • Change to ferry (7:15pm) to Tokushima Harbour (9:25pm)
  • Meal box and vending machines available on board; Kiosk selling Meal box (price range: •500-800) closed within 15 mins on the 7:15pm ferry

With the above ticket, you are allowed to board the limited express train. You are only allowed in the free-seating compartment.

The ferry was steady throughout. Wifi was available, but the connection was intermittent. 4G/LTE signal on my Softbank sim was good, though.

After arriving at Tokushima habour, take Tokushima city bus line 6 to Tokushima JR rail station. Fare: •210; 30 mins

It took me another 15 mins to reach the Tokushima Washington Plaza Hotel on foot.

Arrival at Tokushima safe and sound.





jeffreycwuk is online now  
Aug 30th, 2019, 01:27 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,113
Nice report...looking forward to the next installment....hope your luggage arrives soon!

I've stayed in Comfort Hotels in Japan several times, although not that one....always quite good. The only thing I don't like is as a Comfort Inn member in the US staying at Japanese Comfort Inns doesn't earn points although you can use your points for a free stay.....
Mara is online now  
Aug 30th, 2019, 02:55 PM
  #3  
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 23
Day 1: Tairu Temple (the Koya of the West), Hiwasa Chelonian Museum Caretta and Muroto-Anan Kaigan Quasi National Park


This is a whole day excursion to the eastern Tokushima Prefecture, with Tokushima city as the base. It was viable to travel by prefecture public bus and JR train. Bus timetable is NOT available on Google map or Jorudan, so use of Navi Bus is a must.
  • Travel Pass: Tokushima Prefecture Bus Pass
  • Validity: Unlimited bus rides on Any 2 days (non-consecutive)
  • Fare: •1500
  • Sales Point: Tokushima Bus Station

Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-1-p_20190730_103850_vhdr_auto_hp.jpg


Tokushima city to Tairu(ji) Temple


Tairu(ji) Temple used to be one of the most inaccessible temples on the pilgrim route. Thanks to the construction of cable car, reaching the temple no longer poses any challenge.
  • Departure time: 9am
  • Departure bus stop: Tokushima JR Station
  • Duration: 70-80 mins
  • Get off at: Wajiki East (station before Naka Police Station)
Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-2-p_20190730_094413_vhdr_auto.jpg

After getting off at Wajiki East, there is a 20 mins walk to the cable car station. Quite scenic. Foreign tourists can enjoy discounts for the cable car ride-the longest in Western Japan. The cable car runs at 20mins interval. Around •1200 for return


Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-3-p_20190730_100537_vhdr_auto.jpg

Vista from the cable car

Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-4-p_20190730_110347_vhdr_auto-1-.jpg

Dog sculptures


Tairuji temple


The temple is definitely significant in Buddhism and history, but it is as pristine as it should be. Its status is comparable to Koya There were no more than 10-20 visitors.


Spent around an hour roaming in the Temple, and returned to Wajiki- East by cable car.



Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-5-p_20190730_101238_vhdr_auto_hp-1-.jpg


Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-6-p_20190730_103115_vhdr_auto_hp-1-.jpg


Tairuji Temple to Hiwasa


This journey requires a bus ride to Kuwano JR, where I caught JR train to Hiwasa JR station. Make sure you check the time table on Navi Bus app as both the bus and JR are infrequent.


Bus Ride
  • From: Wajiki East
  • To: Kuwano JR Station
  • Duration: 15-20 mins
  • Fare: covered by the Bus Pass

There was a layover of 30mins between the bus and train ride. In order to cope with the heat, I spent the layover time in a Post Office. You can flip the catalogues of stamps and other goods. It was also interesting to observe the interactions between the local residents and Post Office staff.


Train
  • From: Kuwano JR Station
  • To: Hiwasa JR Station
  • Duration: 25 mins
  • Fare: •450
  • IC card is NOT accepted. Carry cash!

This route is served by Diesel Multiple Unit 1500 series. A bit noisy, by Japanese standard. But I guess that was the local flavour

Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-7-p_20190730_123936_vhdr_auto-1-.jpg

I eventually arrived at Hiwasa at around 1pm, i.e. lunch time.


Based on recommendation by a blogger (there were only very limited search results), I went to Hiwasa House.
Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-8-p_20190730_134837_vhdr_auto-1-.jpg


This deli features local ingredients, such as the Awa Chicken and oyster from the vicinity of Hiwasa (which is also a fishing village).

To be continued...

Last edited by jeffreycwuk; Aug 30th, 2019 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Edit the headling
jeffreycwuk is online now  
Aug 30th, 2019, 03:01 PM
  #4  
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 23
Originally Posted by Mara View Post
Nice report...looking forward to the next installment....hope your luggage arrives soon!

I've stayed in Comfort Hotels in Japan several times, although not that one....always quite good. The only thing I don't like is as a Comfort Inn member in the US staying at Japanese Comfort Inns doesn't earn points although you can use your points for a free stay.....
Thanks, Mara.

My luggage was eventually returned to me, well, after the trip lol. I picked it up from London, a few days after the trip.
jeffreycwuk is online now  
Aug 30th, 2019, 04:14 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 304
Reading your trip report with interest. We are headed to Shikoku next May.
burta is offline  
Aug 30th, 2019, 06:42 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,113
Originally Posted by jeffreycwuk View Post
Thanks, Mara.

My luggage was eventually returned to me, well, after the trip lol. I picked it up from London, a few days after the trip.
Oh dear.....but then again your trip was only seven days - glad you got the funds reimbursed for your needed items.

I have been to Shikoku twice although the second trip this past spring was only for a quick visit of two nights - to Uwajima for the castle - the last one of the 12 originals. You certainly visited some out of the way places....very interesting!
Mara is online now  
Aug 31st, 2019, 01:54 AM
  #7  
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After lunch in Hiwasa: Hiwasa Chelonian Museum Caretta, Ohama coastal walk and Onsen

Finished lunch at 2pm. Under heatwave in July, the strategy was to stay indoors after lunch time.


Hiwasa Chelonian Museum Caretta is the only museum in Japan dedicated entirely to loggerhead sea turtle. From my recollection of the film shown in the museum, this museum had an interesting origin. As part of a high school project, students observed the egg-laying. It later developed into this museum. The exhibits vividly illustrate everything about sea turtles. Not being a national institution, facilities are not state-of-the-art. But the curatorship does merit a visit. It is also a support for the worthwhile cause.


Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-1-p_20190730_144550_vhdr_auto-1-.jpg


The museum is right next to the Ohama beach, where turtles lay eggs annually. As the tally in the exhibit tell you, the sighting of turtlesí return were on sharp decline. The museum offers seasonal night tour to observe the landing of turtles.


Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-2-p_20190730_143312_vhdr_auto-1-.jpg


Short walk along the Ohama coast of the Quasi National Park


After visit to the museum, the temperature became a bit more bearable again for some outdoor activities. We then had a short walk along the coastline. 1 to 2 kilometers.


Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-3-p_20190730_154413_vhdr_auto_hp-1-.jpg


We planned to reach this cave. However, when we passed by Shirotodai Hotel, we decided to visit the Onsen. A low-key onsen on a cliff top. •500 per head.


After the Onsen visit, we walked back to the Hiwasa JR station to board the JR train to Tokushima City.


Before boarding the train, we managed to do some last min shopping at the local specialities shop next to the station. Got ice cream and some snacks made of local ingredients. Fun enough to kill the waiting time. According to the website, it also offers free foot onsen. Should be a good relief after some walks.


Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-4-p_20190730_194842_vhdr_auto-1-.jpg


We got off at Awa Tomida station instead of the Tokushima station. Dinner at a Ramen start-up- Pure soup ramen (found this from a Japanese dining magazine by chance) Some youngsters were running the ramen shops. A cafe setting with some magazines for you to flip.


Natural beauty of Tokushima, Shikoku & handling baggage delay at Kansai Airport-5-p_20190730_200124_vhdr_auto-1-.jpg


Activities/attractions which we missed out
  • Cruise along the Ohama coast: requires ADVANCED reservation (we didnít research, so didnít manage to book the cruise)
    • Umigame Marine Cruise
    • 0884-77-1730
    • E-Mail:[email protected]
    • •1800 per head- min 4 at a time
  • Yakoji (temple)- another significant Buddhist temple

Some afterthoughts
  • The more rural part of Japan is definitely accessible by public transport. Merely requires some more planning for the transport options.
  • An attraction of the out-of-the-way places is pleasant temperature. More frequent and intense heat wave has made travelling in summer more challenging than my first visit to Osaka a decade ago. Rural destinations offer MORE pleasant real feel temperature- Tairuji- at 4xx metres height was way cooler than the urban Tokushima city. Heat island effect is real.
    • Going rural, I think, is the way to go during summer.
  • Donít be too ambitious under the heatwave though summer gives you longer daylight. NOT a great idea to stay outdoors without shade at 1-2pm ish Keep hydrated at attractions and restaurants. I always refill my stainless bottle at lunch.
  • Check NOT just the national tourism office websites or prominent websites; The local tourism offices at the town level produce GREAT stuffs. Perhaps their audience is domestic traveller, but these publications (now available online) are absolutely relevant and practical. Donít be daunted by lingual challenge. They are pretty visual. Check against Google map, NAVI, Jorudan. You can locate them.
  • At personal level, smaller destinations give more authentic experience and better bargain. At a wider level, it helps alleviate over-tourism. In Japan, rural villages are disappearing because of aging population.
Reference:
jeffreycwuk is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2019, 06:55 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 255
Totally agree with your afterthoughts re rural areas and local tourist offices! Great trip report, looking forward to more. Thank you!
Boveney is offline  
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