The beauty of working from home: one night, Mike and I decided to go Nagoya. We decided this around 2am and I booked bus tickets and a hotel room for the next day, because why not? Why not go to Nagoya on a whim?
Part of the reason was that I wanted to try out one of the Japanese highway bus companies. I didn’t want to go too far though — Tokyo to Osaka on a bus is too long, but to Nagoya (about five hours) was reasonable. You can take a highway bus almost anywhere in Japan, and it’s WAY cheaper than the shinkansen. For example:
Shinkansen to Nagoya from Tokyo: ¥10,980 ($120 CAD) each way
Highway bus to Nagoya from Tokyo: ¥2500 ($25 CAD) each way
We took a Willer Express bus — it was convenient because they leave from Shinjuku Station, and their website is in English! You can book your tickets online with a foreign credit card as well.
A shinkanesen from Tokyo to Nagoya only takes about an hour and a half, compared to the five hours on a bus. So a bus isn’t the best idea if you’re trying to maximize your time in Japan. But we had lots of time!
The Willer Express buses waiting to be loaded. Pink airlines, pink buses, Japan is the best.
Pink seats, of course. These were the “Relax” variety of seats. Check out the myriad seats available on the Willer website!
They had tvs/video games in the seat backs, but I didn’t use them.
Nagoya-bound. All the automated announcements were in Japanese, English, and Korean.
One of the best parts of taking a highway bus was stopping at a Japanese rest stop. Japanese rest stops are amazing. They’re like American rest stops, but WAY WAY WAY BETTER. “Japanese rest stops fill me with happiness,” says Mike.
Tons of food outlets, including my favourite Osaka takoyaki place, Kukuru.
And of COURSE there was a ton of Chubu omiyage (souvenirs) available. Look at this cute Fuji-san! I think the best part of the rest stops are that they sell all kinds of region-specific foods and gifts, including regional fruits and vegetables.
There was also a bakery, other stores, and a Family Mart.
We stayed at the b hotel in Nagoya. The b is a chain of boutique-ish hotels in Japan.
Pretty standard tiny Japanese hotel room.
With the requisite tiny bathroom.
The hotel was across the street from a large mall.
I thought it was imperative that we eat the Nagoya specialty, misokatsu (味噌カツ), a kind of tonkatsu with a red miso sauce.
MISOKATSU. It was actually one of the most delicious things I ate in Japan. Sooooooooooo tasty.
Mike’s misokatsu, with green onions. Seriously, if you ever go to Nagoya, EAT THIS.
If you want to find this misokatsu place (it’s called Yabaton), just look for the giant pigs everywhere.
Still to come: visits to an amazing train museum in Nagoya, AND Satsuki and Mei’s house, the house from Totoro!