Golden Week 2015 Part 1: Gunma

I haven’t used the “life” category on my blog much, as it probably suggests I don’t have much of one, ha ha. Anyway I decided to take a break from the usual reviews and write about a trip I took during this year’s Golden Week long vacation before I forget the details.

Golden Week is a series of consecutive public holidays in Japan and this year it was particularly well-timed leading to a 5-day holiday from 2nd to 6th May. I took a day off on the 1st and flew to Tokyo in the morning.

I arrived at Haneda Airport around 1pm, took the train to Shinagawa station and transferred to the Ueno Tokyo Line towards Takasaki Station in Gunma Prefecture as I would be staying in a hotel near there.

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By the time I reached it was about 4pm in the afternoon. I tried to see if there was enough time to go to Ikaho Town which was on the slopes of Mount Haruna and ended up taking the last bus from Takasaki Station. It turns out that there are more frequent buses from Shibukawa Station which is nearer to the area too. Upon reaching Ikaho Town I saw the last bus going back and stupidly boarded it. In retrospect I might have been able to stay longer and board a different bus if I walked a bit. I spent the evening walking around the vicinity of Takasaki Station which had a duty-free department store nearby.

The next morning I wanted to go to Mount Haruna as early as possible but the first bus from Takasaki Station was the most convenient as the alternative way of going to Shibukawa Station by train and then taking a bus from there involved a lot of waiting due to the mismatch in arrival schedules.

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The bus ended at Haruna Lake where I took a little walk along the side of the lake to the ropeway that led to the summit.

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For those who don’t know, Mount Haruna is the real life location of Mount Akina from Initial D. Not surprisingly this was the first AE86 I spotted that day.

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Up the ropeway,

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And at the summit.

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You were supposed to be able to see other mountains from here but the weather wasn’t too clear. Since I didn’t have a car here I didn’t have time to visit the other touges around Mount Myogi, Akagi, Tsukuba and so on.

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At the bottom of the ropeway I took a bus downhill which went through the road made famous by Initial D.

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You can see tyre tracks from past battles. 2015-05-02 10.54.01

This was probably my favourite picture taken during the trip. Takumi practicing hill climb.

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At the end of the ride I spent the late morning at Ikaho Onsen town. It’s a small town with a stone staircase as the main street and shops line the sides of the staircase with old-fashioned carnival attractions.

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Back at Shibukawa Station where I didn’t have anything planned the rest of the day because I didn’t expect the trip to the hill to end so fast.

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Here’s a fuzzy cellphone pic from the hotel. Takasaki Station is connected to buildings around it via overhead walkways.

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