Japanese Railways by Soo Hyun Hwang

Please note: This post was written by Soo Hyun Hwang nearly a week before the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. All Ohio University students studying in Japan are safe and accounted for and our thoughts are with those who have been affected.

I like to take pictures. I want to remember every where that I have been, of course – especially in Japan. One of my favorite scenes is the Japanese railway.

Since 1872, Japanese people have been building fine tracks on their islands so that anyone can access anywhere in Japan by train. Many Americans think that traveling is exclusively done by flying in an airplane or by driving for hours or even for days in a car. Trains seem to have been the best choice for the Japanese people, who do not have enough land or the most reliable weather for airports and planes.

The other study abroad students and I ride on either the JR (Japanese Railways) or the subways in Nagoya. JR is operated by the nation. Other than the JR, each subway has a different company that runs it. For this reason, it is inconvenient to transfer. The biggest inconvenience to exchange students, however, is the fare. It costs 800yen (about 10 dollars) for a round trip from Chubu University to Nagoya station. If you want to go to the airport, the round trip for the cheapest train costs about 2500yen (more than 30 dollars).

Above all, the most expensive train in Japan is Shinkansen, or the bullet train. I have traveled twice by Shinkansen since I have been in Japan. I was surprised by the price at first, but I understand now having seen the comfort and speed of the bullet train. Truly,the amount of money spent to take the Shinkansen is worth the experience of riding the fastest train in a nation of railways. Japan launched a new series of bullet trains this month. You will definitely need to take a ride on one if you come to visit.

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