Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2007/07/28 Shinkansen Kyoto to Tokyo

Having arrived in Kyoto late on Tuesday night, we only had three touring days before our Saturday morning 11:00 shinkansen — bullet train — for Tokyo. With our big suitcases, we opted for the small luxury of a taxi to Kyoto station. The driver took us around to the back (south) side of the station, near the shinkansen gates.

20070727_Kyoto_taxi.jpg

We were running a bit low on cash, so I left Diana to go look for an ATM. I had remembered one in the front (north side) of the station, but a sign there directed foreign ATM cards to a machine in the basement of the Kyoto Tower. Diana wondered where I had disappeared to, for 20 minutes. When I returned, we went through the automated turnstiles with our tickets.

20070727_Kyoto_Shinkansen_entry.jpg

To get up to the platform with our heavy luggage, we followed signs for an elevator, and then another. I think that we might have exited the secure area when we changed elevators — we seemed to be in the middle of the shopping mall — but I guess that the Japanese would rarely try to steal a ride (and there are conductors checking tickets on the train). The train platform had a few enclosed rooms with air conditioning, but they were rather full

20070727_Kyoto_Shinkansen_platform_view_east.jpg

The shinkansen was a comfortable ride. Taking photos out the window didn’t work too well, as electrical poles run next to the rails. Kansai is geographically a plain, so we saw lots of fields with farms, with the occasional village.

20070727_Shinkansen_passing_village.jpg

We might have seen Mount Fuji in the distance, after 30 to 45 minutes on the train. The route then ascended through some tunnels into a more elevated area. The train turned southeast to follow the sea coast, and we briefly stopped at a few major cities.

When we arrived at Tokyo Station, we followed some signs towards the subway. We were destined for our hotel near the Ginza, so I was sure that we wouldn’t have the same long-distance walk as when we arrived in Kyoto. When we encountered construction within the station building, and then set of stairs, our sense of adventure eroded. We took a short taxi ride to the Courtyard Tokyo Ginza.

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