Ashinokoen-eki ... Aomori ... Though a huge departure from the shinkensen, there is something so relaxing about traveling on the rail through small villages. One of the best purchases one can make when touring Japan ... you will experience the 'life' of the countryside, rather than riding with your head in the clouds! It's not IF you have the time ... make the time - you will not be disappointed! Avg commute time btw Tokyo and Sapporo is 12 hours of pure Heaven!