23 Jul 2014 day 4: SCMaglev Museum & Shizuoka rental car
We got everything organised and headed down for breakfast in the hotel. It was the same as our first morning but with some different breads. While Fletcher was still finishing breakfast, Tim went up to the room to get our luggage to bring down. The first day we had waited ages to get the elevator back down to the lobby, so this saved us some time. After checking out we took the subway to Shin-Osaka station and got on a bullet train that left at 9:16.
We enjoyed the ride, taking in the scenery as we zoomed along. We arrived at Nagoya station just before 10:30 and found the lockers to store our luggage in. Quite inconveniently the lockers were located down a large set of stairs. Luckily we only had the one case and bag. We then headed towards the platform for the Aonami line which would take us to Kinjofuto station, close to the SCMaglev and railway park. We went to enter the automatic gates with our Suica cards but were denied. We stepped back and noticed a sign that had the cards with a cross on it, so I guess they aren’t accepted for this line. We purchased tickets for the journey at the nearby machines and headed through to the platform. It was a 25 minute ride to Kinjofuto station and we were in an industrial kind of area. We realised that after buying our return train tickets we no longer had enough cash to cover the entrance fee for the museum. The only store in the area was a Daily convenience store. Tim went inside to see if our debit card would work in the ATM. When it didn’t we headed to the SCMaglev museum in the hopes they accepted cards.
SCMaglev and Railway Park
We entered and were pointed towards automatic ticket machines. As we had used cash to buy our return train tickets, we had credit left on our Suica cards, which we could use to purchase entrance tickets to the museum. By a weird coincidence we had the exact amount needed. We presented our tickets and entered the museum.
The entrance opened into a large room filled with several trains, representing different eras. We made our way along looking at each train, some of which could be entered. The range of displays include steam locomotives, electric railcars, diesel railcars, passenger cars and sleeping cars. There are several series of Shinkansen and the multi-purpose inspection train, Dr.Yellow. At the far end of the room is the Maglev, a train run on a system of magnetic levitation.
On this floor there are several separate rooms. One is a shinkansen train simulator that can be operated at an additional fee, we were able to enter and just watch someone else use it. There is a railway history room and a Maglev room that contains interactive displays to show how the system works. There is a room named Greatest Railway Diorama room which is a large model train display. It was very impressive with models of all the main tourist sites around Japan, bullet trains, cars and little people.
Around the other side of the large showroom were some interactive displays on train systems. Fletcher liked pressing the button of the earthquake display. A model bullet train moves along the track and when the button is pressed it simulates an earthquake and shows the safety stopping of the bullet train. We moved to the outdoor area which had some older trains and there was a small cafe. We headed upstairs and by this stage Fletcher was worn out from exploring all the trains, I changed his nappy as the museum had great facilities and we ended our visit. We got the train back to Nagoya station, got our luggage and took a shinkansen to Shizuoka.
Getting the rental car in Shizuoka
We arrived at Shizuoka station and exited from the shinkansen exit. The outlet we were picking up our car from was Nissan rent-a-car Shizuoka Shinkansen exit, so very convenient. We had a short walk to the outlet, I spotted the sign from the station. Our pick up time was 3pm and we arrived about 10 minutes early. Fletcher and I waited outside as Tim went in to do all the paper work. They were very busy with a lot of people dropping cars off and the ladies were rushing around everywhere. I watched as one lady took a car seat over to a March and assumed it must have been ours. She took a long time to fit it and I started to feel awkward and wondered if I should see if I could help. Tim finally came out and we headed over to the car to do the check over. We got Fletcher in the seat and the lady was very thorough in checking it was all correct. The seat this time was an age group up from the previous year and much better with a five-point harness. We headed to our accommodation to check in.
Our accommodation for the night was the Nippondaira Hotel, which is located up a hill about 300 metres above sea level. Its location provides spectacular views out over the bay area and out towards Mt.Fuji. It was about a 15 minute drive up the steep hill, the road was surrounded with lovely green foliage. We drove past the road that led to the hotel and had to turn back around. We found the driveway and a hotel staff member directed us to a park. We checked in and went up to our room. We had a basic queen room and our view was of the carpark. The hotel has rooms on the opposite side that have fantastic views but we were happy to take in the view from the lobby and outside on the hotels vast grounds.
After finally getting our hands on some nappies at a supermarket we pulled into the 7-11 across the road and got some food for dinner, breakfast and snacks for the car. We drove back up to the hotel and settled in for the night. The next day we were embarking on a road trip to Kawaguchiko with stops on the way.