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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Scenes From Japan: Ojiya (Niigata)

Ojiya is a small city (more like a town actually) in the Niigata Prefecture. In the 4 days that we've been shuttling back and forth from Nagaoka (where our hotel is located) to this place, QUIET is probably the most apt word that I can best describe the place.

If I am to preserve a scene in mind for this particular place, I will probably forever picture it this way:

Lush greenery, Very very clean air it literally smells like PINE the minute you step out of the taxi. If I could bottle the air and carry it with me, I would've.
Every morning, we leave our hotel at around 730 to catch the 740 train from Nagaoka to Ojiya. The trains are scheduled almost an hour apart so it's imperative that we get to the train station in time. Again, although the hotel that we stayed in (Hotel Mets where we paid around 6,500 Yen per night) is far from great it beats the one across us (most of our colleagues recommended New Otani) due to it's accessibility to the train station. It's actually connected to the station itself so we didn't have to rush in the mornings. I'd wake up at 6am and still take my sweet time prepping up.

In the days that we've been doing that, we've mostly riden a train full of high school students and sat with familiar faces already. It's a short train ride of about 20 minutes (3 stops from Nagaoka to Ojiya if I remember correctly). Ojiya doesn't have public transportation so we take a taxi from the station. The office is just about 5 minutes away but taxis doesn't come cheap in Japan (flag down rate is at 660 Yen) so we spend about 1,300 Yen daily per way on taxi fare.

This is the view from right across the train station. That street behind the bull fighting billboard is the way towards our office. 
Just like the train rides to Hanyu, I also enjoyed the train rides to Ojiya. They were peaceful with relaxing views of ricefields and suburban neighborhoods, kids on bikes (probably on their way to school) and even a slight glimpse of snow-capped mountains.

Sadly, I spent all most of my days holed up in this place. But I was here for work and I had to deliver what was expected of me. It is after all my pride and honor to be called to help out and I wouldn't wanna let people down.

Now that I'm searching the web on what this place has got to offer though, I feel a slight tinge of regret I didn't even dare to visit a park or a Koi place there (since Ojiya is really known for it's Kois). On our last day, we were in for an adventure because we left the office late and the ticket office was already closed when we got to the station. We almost thought we were going to have to pay gold to get home (read: several thousands of bucks for taxi fare). Good thing my companion speaks Nihongo and she was told we can still ride the train and pay when we get to our destined stop.

Bye bye, Ojiya. Till we meet again.

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