松代 is not always Matsudai

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This weekend I was back in Niigata taking photos. This time Tod came with me and we decided to take the train instead of the gallery's "staff bus" that leaves at an ungody hour from the gallery across town.

So I checked the very handy Jorudan Norikae site and typed in Tokyo to Matsudai in Japanese. I got our route, the time and cost and we set out with plans to arrive at 12:13 in time for my 1:00 shoot.

At 12:11, we realised something was amiss. "Next stop, Matsushiro. Matsushiro, next."

Huh?! MatsuSHIRO??

matsushiro-eki.jpg
bus stop at Matsushiro station

Matsudai and Matsushiro have the exact same kanji - 松代. Since that can be confusing, my Matsudai uses hiragana for its station name. まつだい. I didn't know this, since last trip I didn't go anywhere near the station.

matsudai-eki.jpg
Accept no substitutes. This is Matsudai

I know in a vague way that Matsudai is not too far from the Nagano-Niigata border, so it seemed reasonable that we'd go up towards Nagano, then get a local train from there. But as it turns out, we should have been on a different Shinkansen line altogether, taking a different set of two local trains.


matsushiro-dai-route.jpg
The long way around. Click for larger view.

Hanako assures me that I am the only person in Japan who could have made this mistake, but in my defense the towns have very similar details if you don't check the details or look at a map. If someone said to you "it's about 200 km, takes 2 1/2 hours and costs around 7,000 yen" you'd be hard pressed to know which was correct:

Matsudai まつだいMatsushiro 松代
Cost7,120 yen7,060 yen
Travel Time2:272:37
Train 1Shinkansen (199 km)Shinkansen (189 km)
Train 2 Joetsu (17 km)Shinano Tetsudo (20 km)
Train 3HokuHoku (30 km)Nagano Dentetsu (9 km)

It took almost 4 hours to get from Matsushiro to Matsudai by bus and local trains, so I missed the 1 o'clock shoot and showed up amidst the 3 pm appointment. But I made up for it by taking 380 pictures on Sunday, so it turned out OK.

3 Comments

Oh!
Well I don't have a word to say.

But Matsushiro is a place you should go back some day. You might have heard, but during WWII, Imperial Japanese Army had dug a huge underground complex here to create new head quarters. Visiting this "Matsushiro Daihonei" you can still experience the madness of war.

So save it for the next time. Or you may never want to see the place again...

Good grief what an epic saga!

I bet people make that mistake all the time you know.

definately go back to matsushiro and see the daihonei. the tunnels are free to tour - and unbelievable place. its where the military and the emporer where to move in the event the u.s. invaded the honshu. the last stand.

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  • james: definately go back to matsushiro and see the daihonei. the read more
  • MJ: Good grief what an epic saga! I bet people make read more
  • Sayaka: Oh! Well I don't have a word to say. But read more

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