Local buses vs trains in Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures – Part 2
The “bus team against train team” race continues. The teams set out from Hakone-Yumoto in Kanagawa Prefecture and their goal is Chichibu Muse Park in Saitama Prefecture. They have visited one out of four checkpoints and must now head to the second, Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest.
The bus team members are in the lead and reach the Higashino bus stop at 3:55 p.m. after a 45-minute walk. They then catch another bus at 4:05 p.m., get off at Mikage, and need to be transferred to a bus bound for Lake Sagami.
The train crew takes a taxi from the first checkpoint, Ma-chan, at 4 p.m. to Fujisan Station. The taxi fare is just over 6,000 yen. They arrive in time to catch the 4:30 p.m. train to Sagamiko Station.
The bus to Sagami Lake will not leave until 5:00 p.m. Thus, the bus team inquires at the information center to go to the third checkpoint after completing the mission at the second. They find out that to get to Hanno in Saitama Prefecture, they can take a bus from Mikage to Hashimoto and then transfer buses to get to Hachioji. From there, they must go to Akigawa station. It is now 4:55 p.m. and a bus leaves for Hashimoto at 6:30 p.m. They reach the second checkpoint before the train crew and plan to leave at 6 p.m. Pleasure Forest is a popular amusement park with huge athletic tracks and various rides overlooking Lake Sagami. It is one of the largest and most popular places in the Kanto region to see illuminations. The teams mission here is to find 15 types of illuminated animals in the park.
Meanwhile, the train crew arrives at Sagamiko Station and begins to walk 3.5 km to Pleasure Forest.
The bus team completes the mission and manages to catch the 6:30 p.m. bus back to Mikage. They must now head to the third checkpoint, Formuland Ra Hanno, about 60 km away. It has one of the largest rental kart tracks in the country.
The train crew reached Pleasure Forest at 6.45pm, 20 minutes after the bus crew left the checkpoint. They complete the mission around 8 p.m. and now walk to Tachikawa Station.
The bus team arrives at Hachioji Station in Tokyo at 8:35 p.m. They take the bus to Akigawa at 8:45 p.m. and start gathering information for the next morning. They are told that there are no direct buses from Akigawa Station to Ome Station. From Akigawa, they will first have to walk 3km to the Sugao bus stop and then take a bus around 6:40 am to Ozaku station. They can then be transferred to a bus to Ome station. The bus crew checks into a hotel near Akigawa Station. They are in the lead after the first day.
Meanwhile, while walking towards Tachikawa, the train crew discuss their strategy for the next day. They decide to start the day early because Formuland Ra Hanno opens at 9:30 am and is about 8 km from the nearest station, Ikusabata.
On the second day, the bus team leaves the hotel around 5:50 am and walks to Sugao to take the 6:40 am bus to Ozaku station. From there they plan to transfer buses and head to Ome, then take a bus to a place called Kaminaruki. However, at Ozaku Station, they are dismayed to learn that buses from Ozaku to Ome only run on weekdays. They are advised to take the 7:05 am bus and get off at a bus stop called Kasumicho Shinmachi.
The train crew, on the other hand, first head to Ikusabata from Tachikawa Station on the 6:05 a.m. train. They arrive at 7am and have to travel 8.5 km through a steep mountain pass, crossing the border between Tokyo and Saitama. After visiting Formuland Ra Hanno, they plan to return to Ikusabata station and catch the train which departs at 11:30.
In the meantime, the bus team reached Kasumicho Shinmachi at 7:10 a.m. They board another bus at 7:15 a.m. and head to a bus stop called Kaminaruki. From there they walk to Formuland Ra Hanno, 4 km away. The Bus Team comes across a bus stop with buses going to Hanno Station, from where they can proceed to the next checkpoint in Hidaka City. After completing the mission at Formuland Ra Hanno, they plan to take the bus to Hanno Station leaving at 9:55.
Formuland Ra Hanno is a giant track circuit built at the foot of a mountain. Children and adults can rent karts there. For their mission, each team must take a selfie that captures their entire team, including a teammate on a kart driven by a professional. The challenge is complete once the photo showing the three members and the kart is successfully taken.
The bus team reaches the checkpoint, with the other team arriving soon after. The bus team tries the mission first and hopes to complete it soon, so they can catch the bus 25 minutes later at 9:55.
1) The illuminated animals at Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest are a must-see attraction
2) Karting fans should visit Formuland Ra Hanno in Saitama Prefecture