Inevitably when you’re travelling for such a long period, you will make mistakes with the trains.
Worse case scenario is you have to sit on the platform all night, or grab a hotel to sleep in, luckily for us it was the middle of the afternoon and there were plenty of services after the one we missed. In fact, the service afterwards was a bit quicker so we arrived at about the same time as we should have done anyway.
So here’s what happened. Japanese local trains are way cheaper than the faster, shinkansen (bullet) services – side note, if you ask for a ticket for the bullet train in Japan people will look at you funny. Consequently we’ve been getting local trains around the country, each journey has about an hour train before you have to switch to another one. We pulled into a small provincial station ready to swap trains, now usually there’s a really smart app that tells you exactly where to change, when the next train leaves, and even what platform it leaves from if the time is tight. Unfortunately though ours hadn’t refreshed when we left the wifi at the Ryokan, bummer. So we asked the station master when and where the next train to Kyoto was leaving. He said 3:20PM, platform 2. Brilliant.
We checked Sophie’s watch, which has been our official time keeper most of the journey, 3PM. Great. Pete went to get a coffee and a snack and we both used the bathroom. Pete noticed that there had been a train on platform 2 for about ten minutes and when we came out of the bathroom, the doors beeped and it pulled away prompting us to both look at the station clock. 3:20PM. Shit.
The watch that had been slipping off the catch in the last few days had been dropped on the floor a few times and had stopped.
You win some, you lose some. There is always a plan B.