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100712 Shinkansen


On Monday morning, after three-and a-half days of puzzling revelry, we were due to travel by Shinkansen bullet train from Osaka, to the other end of the country, to the second puzzle party venue, Hakone. The Shinkansen trains certainly put our trains to shame. At times, especially when travelling through a tunnel, it is easy to believe that you're 30,000 feet up in an aircraft. As we travelled eastward, through fairly heavy rain and sombre grey skies, the scenery became more and more magnificent as we approached the mountains around Hakone, many of them foothills of Mount Fuji, but more of that in due course. The weather had improved. After leaving the bullet train, we only had a short walk across a rapid and rocky river, up to our hotel. The town was surrounded by densely wooded hills, that seemed to rise forever. Quickly depositing our luggage, we returned across the bridge over the river, for a walk through the local town, buying souvenirs, and puzzles, of course. We were slightly hampered by the fact that our banks had both stopped our bank cards, despite our clear instructions that we were going to be using them in Japan.

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