Comfort in the Comfort Inn

Trip Start May 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 03, 2010

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Where I stayed
Comfort Hotel Kochi Station
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Japan  , Shikoku,
Saturday, June 5, 2010

I was up at 6 the next day to send my bag back to the station in T's truck, which would let me walk down on my own time.  He's the Happy Raft guide who gave me a lift up from the station yesterday. It had been a good night, and in spite of the fact that the wooden screens around the rooms had gaps and missing sections of glass panels, there hadn’t been any mosquitoes inside the room.  After breakfast I took a leisurely walk back down to the station.  Along the way there were plenty bamboo and cedars, and many small waterfalls as well.  I was a bit worried about wild monkeys, but didn’t see any at all.  As I got close to town, there were a few cars, and as I approached the tracks, the alarm sounded for a train coming in the other direction.  A note for Canadians; when it does, the train is about 30 SECONDS away.  This is not Arnprior where you have several minutes. I picked up my bags from the Happy Raft main office, and went to the station.  Turns out the walk took me 40 minutes (I really was dawdling) so I got there just before the train.  I’m glad I didn’t know, I would have rushed.

I do have a copy of the Shikoku train schedule, and if you’re traveling in rural areas I highly recommend you get a copy (電車の時刻表).  It’s distributed for free at large stations.  It takes a bit of work to figure out, but in some cases the train you need only comes once every few hours, or ends early in the afternoon.  You really don’t want to stop for dinner and miss it.  Even if you can’t read it, show it to a station person and tell them the name of the place you’re going – they’ll show you the relevant pages and all the times are in numbers.  It’ll tell you if you want to make a stopover how long you’ve got, and what time you can expect to arrive at your destination.  In some cases, it’ll even tell you what platform.  If you’re sticking to the beaten track I wouldn’t worry about it, but I was so rural that at one station the train actually turned around and backed in, complete with the conductor switching ends of the car.

The hotel in Kochi was very convenient to the station, and although they wouldn’t let me check in (or pay), they held the bags for me.  Since I planned to go near the castle for the morning market on Sunday I decided to go to the botanical gardens today.  The LP said 'frequent direct buses 190 yen’.  Their map to the bus station was wrong, the buses are max 1/hour, and the cost is 900 yen.  Of course, this was return and going to the beach and a streetcar pass was also included.  I got one, because the alternative was a local bus that only went to the base of the mountain.  The clerk said it would take about 20 mins to walk up.  Having taken the bus to the top, I call BS.  Maybe 45 mins?  Way steeper and taller than Mount Royal.  My ears popped on the way up.

The botanical gardens were 700 yen to get in, but my coupon got me in for 600.  It’s a nice park.  Lots of nice picnic spots.  There were a lot of exotic plants, a good view and many educational displays.  The real gem was the greenhouse.  I've never seen one that large.  In short, if you want green space, go here.  It took me a couple of hours to do most of it.  I had okonomiyaki after returning downtown in a place recommended by the LP, which was excellent.

Back at the hotel, I checked in and found out I could rent a laptop for 500 yen.  Awesome.  Compared to that, heading out into the hot sun to see castle #4 sounded more like a punishment.  I spent the rest of the day doing laundry, on the net, sorting photos etc.  I went out for marginal sushi (even if it's in Japan and pricey it doesn't mean it's good).  They did have a neat way of serving sake, in bamboo cups lined with ice.  There's a Book Off right beside the station (used manga books).  I hadn't realised how much easier that staying beside the station makes things.  I found out that one of my favourite series which I thought was over had new-to-me volumes.  Wonderful.  Back at the hotel I borrowed the sewing kit and fixed a hole in my pocket which I'd been fortunate not to lose anything through yet.  It felt so good to have all clean clothes.  Bug spray (previous evening) may be necessary, but I still don't like the stuff.

B: fruit yogurt, chocolate muffin, grapes, milk, tea.
L:(650) awesome okonomiyaki
D: (2500) Marginal sushi place Tai (red snapper) was tough.  also had hotate, miso soup, ikura.  All were okay, but at this price...
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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