I would like to introduce you to the SUNRISE SETO train that runs from Tokyo Station to Takamatsu. I had thought that one day I would ride this at my leisure and give you all the ins and outs of it, but as it worked out I wound up taking it quite by accident.
I had been in Tokyo for a few days visiting and helping a group of friends from Australia who came to Tokyo for a karate tournament. Their next visit will be to Takamatsu as their leader is very interested in bonsai and is very keen to see where 85% plus of the world’s bonsai come from.
But I digress… on the way back from Tokyo I was getting ready to board my Jet Star flight and, as it happens sometimes, it was delayed. And then it was delayed again. And then it was cancelled. This was quite an inconvenience as I absolutely had to be back in Takamatsu for the next morning for an important appointment.
I could feel the blood rushing out of my face. I called the lovely Kazuyo and told her what was going on. Being much calmer and smarter than me she knew that if I could make it from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station in time I could ride the overnight train, the glorious SUNRISE SETO.
“Fly you fool!”, she said.
So I flew, on foot, through Narita Airport. You should note that the terminal to get on the flight to Takamatsu was about 1.5 km. from the main building. So, I was running as best as I could. I got detailed messages on my phone as to what trains to jump on to quickly get to Tokyo station. There were a couple of changes and in both I managed to slide right into each while the doors were closing. It was like Indiana Jones, except without the giant rolling stone threatening to crush me.
I arrived at Tokyo station and ran to the JR Ticket counter. And I waited. There were about 7 people in front of me. They seemed to move in slow motion. I was watching the clock. Tick tock.
Come on come on!! No! Don’t make chit chat with the cute attendant, old guy with the bad comb-over. No! No one cares about what you had for dinner. Move! Move! Other people exist behind you in this line…
Was I going to make it?
Finally I got to the counter and asked to get a ticket for the SUNRISE SETO to Takamatsu. The clerk’s eyebrows rose. She looked at the clock. She said, “You can make it. What kind of seat/room do you want?” She whipped out a file with photos and explanations of what was available. I made my selection. She nodded approvingly.
I paid for my ticket and I was off.
And then I had a few minutes to buy some food, drinks, a couple beers, and water before boarding. Although I was irritated, sweating, and a bit flustered, it was pretty cool to be getting on the SUNRISE SETO. I had really always wanted to ride it, and here I was. So I guess I should complain too much. When life gives you lemons you can run like an idiot through airports and train stations and get on an overnight sleeper train.
I think that is how that expression goes….
Anyway, so if you are thinking to take the train from Tokyo to Takamatsu I can recommend it. The berths are tight and tiny when you are about my size (6’3 and 225 lbs), but I slept just fine. You will bump and sway through the night, but if you are properly exhausted by Tokyo when you board you should be just fine. Also, when you get up the next day you will be riding the rails through some wonderfully beautiful country and then up up up over the Seto Inland Sea and the light will be on the water.
Might be a good idea for combining accommodation cost for one day with travel, and having a unique fun experience. So, however you get to Takamatsu, just make sure that you come. I love this place, and it is so beautiful. I think that you will really like it too.