+travel++japan++chiba prefecture++sawara++december 22 2010

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SAWARA is not exactly on the tourist route, and it is kind of hard to reach. That is not necessarily a bad thing, because this town is supposed to be a place that time forgot. The Higashi Kanto Expressway passes through here, as does the Tone River, and the Narita train line. Narita is basically the gateway to Sawara; the railway link which carries its name extends all the way to Choshi, on the Pacific Coast. Trains are infrequent, however, so be prepared for plenty of time waiting around on hokey platforms. I once made the trip in reverse, two years ago, from Choshi via Narita all the way to Chiba, but I was tired and couldn't be bothered getting out at Sawara. That was a big mistake. This time around, I was more determined to see this Edo relic! From my home in Edogawa Ward, I caught the Shinjuku Line subway to Motoyawata, where I transferred to JR. Motoyawata (top photo) was all urban glam and blue December sky. Despite my determination and best intentions, I woke late, like 12.30pm, and didn't start my voyage until early in the afternoon. And this was December 22, the shortest day of the year! By the time I got to Motoyawata it was nearly 2pm. Damn my laziness! I thought to myself, but at least I was on my way. I jumped on a Sobu line train to Chiba, the great city on the other side of the bay. A train to Narita (second photo from the top) was waiting for me there, in Chiba City. It took a while to depart, but eventually we were shunting out, past the projects and the urban sprawl, into the dun strawcolored fields. The sun was setting; I was running out of time. If only I had hauled myself out of bed an hour or two earlier, that would have given me more time. Schoolkids in school uniforms filled the train, munching on takeout McDonalds and talking noisily. Presently we were at Narita, and the sky was filled with glinting airplanes. I had nearly an hour to wait for the train to Sawara, so I took a stroll around the train station, which hosts some handsome architecture (see the bottom three photos).


City Guide to Sawara

City Guide to Sawara