Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Special Mid-Term Summer Birthday Trip to Japan in June 2014 ~ Section 4

Welcome to the fourth segment of my special mid-term summer birthday vacation to Japan in June 2014. There will be a total of two focus topics that will be covered in this segment of the report. They will mainly be my myriad Shinkansen high-speed train journeys to Nagano in the Shin'etsu region and Hiroshima in the Chugoku region of Japan.

Part 1 ~ My Culinary Shinshu Wagyu Beef Trip To Nagano


The next morning, which was Sunday (8 June), I woke up at precisely five o' clock after my mobile phone alarm blasted off early. Leaping out of bed, I had a nice, hot shower and went to change into my attire before preparing the remainder of my necessary belongings for the day. I was to take an early morning high-speed Shinkansen train trip to Nagano on this day itself. As for the in-bound morning journey towards Nagano, I would catch the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 6.42 a.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 9.40 a.m..

Upon arriving at Tokyo, I would have a short layover of approximately half an hour before catching to the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, which would be scheduled to depart from Tokyo Station at 10.24 a.m., and arrive at the Nagano terminal station at 11.50 a.m.. I was lucky since I had made my Green Car (first class) Shinkansen seat reservations five days prior to the trip. My dad, who also happened to be awoken by my sudden alarm blast, offered to give me a lift to the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at Kyoto Station.

With that, I spent the remainder of the early morning preparing my baggage. Soon enough, I was officially ready to go at 5.45 a.m.. Putting on my footwear and grabbing an umbrella, my dad and I left the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 5.55 a.m. and headed to the car parking area close to the main road. Arriving at the car parking area near the major road, my dad went to the car parking fare machine to pay the parking fee while I loaded my baggage into the boot of the rented Toyota car.

Soon enough, once all of my baggage was loaded into the boot of our rented Toyota car, we both got into the car and departed the car parking area located just near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at six o' clock. Like all my previous road trips, the entire early morning road trip linking between the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in downtown Nakagyo-ku and Kyoto Station in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, took no more than approximately 15 minutes.

The relatively quiet street view outside the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya during the wee hours of the early morning

Finally arriving at our rented Toyota car at the car parking area near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

Travelling past some housing apartments in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, in the wee hours of the early morning

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, during the wee early morning hours

Turning to the road leading to Kyoto Station in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Travelling past some housing areas in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, in the wee early morning hours

About to cross underneath the Tokaido Shinkansen and Kintetsu Line viaducts near Kyoto Station

Travelling adjacent to the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct near Kyoto Station

Finally arriving at the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station

After a short early morning road trip of 15 minutes from the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, I finally arrived at the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at 6.15 a.m.. Unloading my belongings from the boot of the car, I thanked my dad and he advised me to take care at all times before leaving me to commence my morning journey to Nagano. With all my personal belongings with me, I took the escalator up to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse, where I made my way to the JR Central Ticket Office to make my Green Car (first class) tickets as I had plans to travel to Hiroshima the next day.

Upon making my Green Car (first class) Shinkansen seat reservations to Hiroshima the next day at the JR Central Ticket Office in the Shinkansen concourse, I immediately proceeded towards the Tokaido Shinkansen ticketing gates, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the officer at the staffed ticketing gate before going into the Shinkansen platform concourse. At the same time, I went over to check the departure information board to see which platform the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo would depart from.

According to the departure information board, the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo would depart at 6.42 a.m. from Track No. 12. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately proceeded to take the escalators up to Tracks No. 11 and 12 at 6.20 a.m. for my first segment of the day to Nagano between Kyoto and Tokyo. While waiting for the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, I spotted a few Tokaido Shinkansen trains arriving and departing from Kyoto Station.

The escalators leading up to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse at Kyoto Station

The Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station during the wee early morning hours

The JR Central Ticketing Office in the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station during the wee early morning hours

The Tokaido Shinkansen ticketing gates at Kyoto Station during the wee early morning hours

The Tokaido Shinkansen concourse leading to the station platforms at Kyoto Station during the wee early morning hours

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z26, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 504 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z26, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 504 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station

The departure information board for Tokaido Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station during the wee early morning hours

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving the Tokaido Shinkansen trains heading towards Nagoya and Tokyo during the wee early morning hours

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 204 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Kyoto Station on Track No. 11. I remember riding on this train as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 between Shin-osaka and Tokyo just a few days earlier in celebration of my 19th birthday

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 204 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Kyoto Station

A 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G6, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 100 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Kyoto Station on Track No. 12

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G6, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 100 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station

The departure information board for Tokaido Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station, indicating that the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo is the first train to arrive at Track No. 12

Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station shortly before the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending 20 minutes of waiting on the station platforms, a 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, finally entered Kyoto Station at 6.41 a.m. on Track No. 12. Once the doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train via Car No. 8, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, and went to my assigned Seat No. 1A at the rear of the cabin for the early morning travel duration of 2 hours 58 minutes to the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat next to me, 1B, would remain empty for the entire morning journey from Kyoto to Tokyo. At exactly 6.42 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 506 finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for the remainder of its long early morning journey duration of 3 hours 13 minutes between Shin-osaka and Tokyo. I was then on my way for an early morning travel duration of 2 hours 58 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan located in the Kanto region.

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり506号 東京行き 京都駅に入線シーン

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station

A view of my seat, 1A, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station

Awaiting departure from Kyoto Station

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり506号 東京行き 京都駅から米原駅間

Making a brief stop at Maibara Station

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the segment between Kyoto and Tokyo

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, while making a brief stop at Maibara Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, while making a brief stop at Maibara Station

A view of my seat, 1A, while making a brief stop at Maibara Station

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, from my seat not long after departing Maibara Station

Bypassing a rural farming area near the suburban city of Ogaki

Bypassing some rural housing areas in the suburban city of Ogaki

Crafting out my report for the in-bound segment between Kyoto and Tokyo on my blog between Maibara and Nagoya Stations

Bypassing a logistics hub between the suburban cities of Ogaki and Hashima

Crossing the Nagara River as the train approaches Gifu-hashima Station

Making a brief stop at Gifu-hashima Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Hashima

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

A view of my seat, 1A, between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

Bypassing some housing apartments near downtown Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, as the train approaches Nagoya Station

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり506号 東京行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 豊橋 (通過)

Bypassing some suburban farming and housing areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

Bypassing an open field in the suburban city of Kosai

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

Crossing Lake Hamana between the border of Aichi and Shizuoka Prefectures

A view of my seat, 1A, between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Naka-ku, Hamamatsu, as the train approaches Hamamatsu Station

Making a brief stop at Hamamatsu Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z57, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 104 bound for Tokyo, bypassing my train at Hamamatsu Station

Crossing the Tenryu River shortly after departing Hamamatsu Station

Bypassing a large rice paddy field near the suburban city of Hamamatsu

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Hamamatsu and Shizuoka Stations

A bottle of Coca-cola and a box of Jagariko (じゃがりこ) potato sticks for myself

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kakegawa

Bypassing a rice paddy field between the suburban cities of Kakegawa and Shizuoka

Crossing the Abe River between Kakegawa and Shizuoka Stations

Bypassing some housing areas near downtown Aoi-ku, Shizuoka, as the train approaches Shizuoka Station

Making a brief stop at Shizuoka Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, while making a brief stop at Shizuoka Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, while making a brief stop at Shizuoka Station

Bypassing a freight railway container yard near downtown Aoi-ku, Shizuoka, not long after departing Shizuoka Station

Bypassing Higashi-shizuoka Station

Bypassing some housing areas between Aoi-ku and Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

Bypassing some housing areas between the suburban cities of Shizuoka and Fuji

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, between Shizuoka and Shin-yokohama Stations

Crossing the Fuji River between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fuji

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

Bypassing some industrial plants in the suburban city of Fuji

Bypassing a large rice paddy farming field in the suburban city of Fuji

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり506号 東京行き 三島 (通過) ~ 小田原 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Ninomiya

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, between Shin-fuji and Shin-yokohama Stations

Bypassing a large rice paddy farming field in the suburban town of Oiso

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Chigasaki

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

Bypassing some more housing areas in the suburban city of Fujisawa

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

Bypassing some housing apartments as the train gets closer to downtown Yokohama

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり506号 東京行き 新横浜駅から終点東京駅間

After an early morning Shinkansen travel duration of 2 hours 58 minutes from the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto in the Kansai region of Japan, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 9.40 a.m. on Track No. 16. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted from the train and made my way down towards the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse before heading to the interchange ticket gates to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse of the station.

I then went to check to see which platform the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano would depart from. According to the departure information board in the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse, the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano would depart at 10.24 a.m. from Track No. 20. Although it was still too early before my connecting Shinkansen train to Nagano, I took the escalators up to Tracks No. 20 and 21 to do some Shinkansen train-spotting while waiting.

ASAMA (あさま) is the name of a high-speed Shinkansen train service operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) between Tokyo and Nagano via the Nagano Shinkansen line in Japan. It is currently the sole service operating on the Nagano Shinkansen (Hokuriku Shinkansen) line, with the fastest travel duration between Tokyo and Nagano taking 1 hour 20 minutes only. The service is capable of reaching a top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph).

The service commenced operations on 1 October 1997, in collaboration with the opening of the Nagano Shinkansen line linking between Tokyo and Nagano, using a fleet consisting of 8-car E2 series sets, operating at a maximum top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph). These 8-car E2 series trains sport pearl white for the upper body and navy blue for the lower body, separated by a bright red stripe, followed by a blue and pink wing as the main logo for these trains.


From 15 March 2014, new 12-car E7 series sets were introduced on these services at a top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph), like the existing 8-car E2 series sets, allowing Gran Class accommodation to be introduced in Car No. 12 for some services. Initially, the new 12-car E7 series sets operated on just seven daily return workings, but this was later increased to eleven from 19 April 2014, with additional workings expected to be added from 5 July 2014
. While there are no extra charges for the ASAMA with the Japan Rail Pass, the use of the Gran Class car requires the Shinkansen express charge and the Gran Class surcharge.

From the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015, with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line linking between Nagano and Kanazawa, the ASAMA service will continue to be used between Tokyo and Nagano. Some services will continue to be operated by the existing 8-car E2 series sets. Green Car (first class) accommodation is provided in Car No. 7 for services operated by the existing 8-car E2 series sets, and in Car No. 11 for services operated by the newer 12-car E7 series sets.

The Nagano Shinkansen (長野新幹線) is a high-speed Shinkansen line operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) linking between Tokyo and Nagano in Japan. The line is shared with the Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Omiya, and the Joetsu Shinkansen line between Omiya and Takasaki, before branching off at Takasaki Station. The line forms the first stage of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, and has a maximum top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph). As of 15 March 2014, the 8-car E2 series and 12-car E7 series sets operate along the line on the various ASAMA services at top speeds of 260 km/h (160 mph).

From the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015, with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line linking between Nagano and Kanazawa, three new train services, namely KAGAYAKI, HAKUTAKA and TSURUGI are scheduled to be introduced, with the TSURUGI functioning as a shuttle service between Toyama and Kanazawa and the ASAMA still being used as far as Nagano. Newer 12-car E7 series and W7 series sets will operate on the line, with the existing 8-car E2 series sets being retained initially on services as far as Nagano. The line will be jointly operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) beyond Joetsu-myoko Station.

The logo of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, which previously took me from Kyoto as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 506 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 16 and 17 serving some of the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station during the morning rush hour

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station during the morning rush hour

The Tohoku, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen ticketing counter in the Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station

The Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station during the morning rush hour

The departure information board for Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen trains departing for Niigata and Nagano in the Tohoku, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 20 and 21 serving some of the Tohoku, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station

An 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N9, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 513 bound for Nagano, awaiting departure from Tokyo Station on Track No. 21

A 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z10 with a 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U1, operating on the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" & "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 13 bound for Akita and Shin-aomori, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

A 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L51 with a 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J59, operating on the Shinkansen "TSUBASA" & "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 133 bound for Shinjo via Yamagata and Sendai, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J59, operating on the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 133 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J59, operating on the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 133 bound for Sendai, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U1, operating on the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 13 bound for Shin-aomori, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J59, operating on the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 133 bound for Sendai, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L51, operating on the Shinkansen "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 133 bound for Shinjo via Yamagata, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

E2系・E3系 J59・L51編成 やまびこ・つばさ133号 仙台・新庄行き 東京駅から出発シーン

An out-of-service 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, which previously operated on the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 308 bound for Tokyo from Niigata earlier, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Two E4 Series Shinkansen sets conjoined with each other on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano arrived at the station

After spending approximately 20 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, an 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7 finally entered Tokyo Station at 10.12 a.m. on Track No. 20. The train had initially arrived from Nagano as the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 512 bound for Tokyo earlier, and was to undergo an extensive cleaning process before becoming the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano. The entire in-car cleaning process took no more than 10 minutes.

Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the train doors were finally opened again at 10.20 a.m. to allow the passengers to board the train. I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 7, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and went to my assigned Seat No. 11A for the short journey time of 1 hour 26 minutes towards the suburban city of Nagano in the Shin'etsu region of Japan. The seat next to me, 11B, was taken by a male American tourist, with his wife and son seated in Seats No. 11C and 11D respectively.

With the clock striking exactly 10.24 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 515 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its short rainy morning journey time of 1 hour 26 minutes towards the suburban city of Nagano in the Shin'etsu region of Japan. I was then on my way for my first day trip to the suburban city of Nagano located in Shin'etsu region of the country. The weather gradually began to become better as the train neared Nagano.

Nagano (長野市) is a city located in the Shin'etsu area of the Chubu region of Japan. It is the prefectural capital of Nagano Prefecture, and has an estimated population of 377,926, which makes it the second-largest city in the Shin'etsu region after Niigata, as of 1 June 2014. The city is notable for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics, and for housing the Zenko-ji Temple as one of the historical temples in the city. The city does not have its own airport, but can be accessed by train via Nagano Station.

E2系新幹線 N7編成 あさま515号 長野行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, which would soon operate on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The departure information board for Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 20 and 21 with two E2 Series Shinkansen trains at the platforms at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 11A, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E2系新幹線 N7編成 あさま515号 長野行き 東京駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E2系新幹線 N7編成 あさま515号 長野行き 上野駅から大宮駅間

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the in-bound segment between Tokyo and Nagano

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, from my seat not long after departing Omiya Station

Finally diverging away from the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Okegawa

Bypassing a rice paddy farming area in the suburban city of Kitamoto

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, from my seat between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Konosu

E2系新幹線 N7編成 あさま515号 長野行き 熊谷 (通過) ~ 本庄早稲田 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fujioka

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, from my seat between Kumagaya and Takasaki Stations

E2系新幹線 N7編成 あさま515号 長野行き 高崎 (通過) ~ 軽井沢 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Karuizawa Station

The train information board near the door area on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, between Karuizawa and Sakudaira Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, between Karuizawa and Sakudaira Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, between Karuizawa and Sakudaira Stations

A view of my seat, 11A, between Karuizawa and Sakudaira Stations

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, from my seat between Karuizawa and Sakudaira Stations

Passing through Sakudaira Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Saku

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, from my seat between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

Travelling through a mountain tunnel between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

E2系新幹線 N7編成 あさま515号 長野行き 上田 (通過) ~ 長野 (到着)

After a short morning journey duration of 1 hour 26 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Nagano terminal station at 11.50 a.m. on Track No. 11. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted the train and spotted a few 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen trains on the platforms before taking the escalators up to the Nagano Shinkansen concourse, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the officer at the staffed ticketing gate before exiting the station.

Upon exiting Nagano Station, I could feel that the breeze in Nagano was quite breathtaking, which meant that Nagano was slightly cooler than some cities in Japan during the summer. Feeling very hungry for some Shinshu Wagyu sukiyaki, I decided to find a nearby tourist information centre to see which would be a very good restaurant to eat for Shinshu Wagyu sukiyaki. With that, I walked along the streets of downtown Nagano in search for a nearby tourist information centre to find out more about Nagano itself.

Nagano Station (長野駅) is a railway station located in the city of Nagano, Japan. It is the city's main railway station and is jointly managed by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Nagano Electric Railway. The station serves as the northwestern terminus for the Nagano Shinkansen, and will be part of the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen when the line opens on 14 March 2015. The station also serves the Shin'etsu Main Line, Shinonoi Line, Iiyama Line, Shinano Railway Line and Nagano Electric Railway Nagano Line.

The logo of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, which previously operated on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

The 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, which previously operated on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 515 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

The Nagano Shinkansen platforms at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

An out-of-service 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N2, which previously operated on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 565 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 13 at Nagano Station

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving some of the Nagano Shinkansen trains at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

The Nagano Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Nagano Station

The main station concourse at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

The pedestrian footbridge linking to Nagano Station on a cloudy summer's afternoon

The exterior view of Nagano Station on a cloudy early summer's afternoon

Overlooking the roads of downtown Nagano from another pedestrian footbridge in the city

The roads of downtown Nagano near Nagano Station on a cloudy early summer's afternoon

Finally stumbling upon the Mielparque Nagano Hotel

After walking along the streets of downtown Nagano from Nagano Station for about 10 minutes, I finally stumbled upon a nearby hotel, known as Mielparque Nagano Hotel, at 12.10 p.m.. Entering the hotel itself, I immediately had a brief washroom break and headed to the tourist information counter near the grand staircase, where a lady receptionist was seated, and asked for some recommendations for a good Shinshu Wagyu sukiyaki place to eat at in Nagano.

Sifting through the various eatery guidebooks, the lady receptionist recommended me to a notable sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant, by the name of Suki-tei (すき亭), which was located at 112-1 Tsumashina. The receptionist explained to me that this location was a small mountainous neighbourhood mostly filled with residential houses. She also explained to me that the Mielparque Nagano Hotel was a boutique hotel and is one of the most popular hotels for wedding ceremonies in Nagano.

Obtaining whatever information possible, the lady explained to me that Suki-tei was open from eleven o' clock to 2.30 p.m. for lunch, and from five o' clock to ten o' clock for dinner, but closed on Mondays. Considering the distance between the Mielparque Nagano Hotel and Suki-tei, she offered to get a cab for me to the restaurant. The lady also offered to take me to the entrance of the hotel to help me get a cab to Suki-tei, to which I gladly accepted.

At the hotel's main entrance, the lady helped me to hail a nearby cab, and instructed the cab driver to bring me to Suki-tei located at 112-1 Tsumashina located in the mountain areas of Nagano. The driver also got out of the cab and offered to help me load my baggage into the boot of the cab. Soon enough, I finally departed the Mielparque Nagano Hotel at 12.30 p.m. for a short cab ride of just 10 minutes to Suki-tei.

The main entrance to the Mielparque Nagano Hotel

The grand staircase in the hotel lobby at Mielparque Nagano Hotel

The small sheet of paper of recommended sukiyaki restaurants written by the receptionist of the Mielparque Hotel Nagano

The black cab that would soon take me to Suki-tei from the Mielparque Nagano Hotel

About to cross underneath an underground road located below the railway tracks near Nagano Station

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nagano during the early afternoon hours

Several office infrastructure located in downtown Nagano during the early afternoon hours

Travelling along the rural housing neighbourhood of Tsumashina in Nagano

Finally arriving at Suki-tei

After a short cab ride of just 10 minutes from Nagano Station, I finally arrived at Suki-tei at 12.40 p.m.. Paying my cab fare, the driver offered to help unload my baggage from the boot of his cab, to which, I thanked him for the offer. Once the cab driver had left me, I quickly went into the restaurant and promptly requested for a table for myself. A waitress soon saw me at the entrance and escorted me to an empty table located just adjacent to the entrance to the restaurant.


Once I was escorted to an empty table located by the entrance to the restaurant, I was left with the main meal course menus to make my reviews before making my selections for the upcoming lunch. Having a good review through the food and beverage menus, a waitress came to my table to take down my main meal orders for lunch. I ordered a Gokujo Shinshu Wagyu sukiyaki course with steamed rice, including a glass of red wine to accompany my upcoming sukiyaki meal.

With all my meal orders delivered to my dining table, the waitress stayed by my table most of the time to ensure that the meat was well-cooked in the special sukiyaki sauce. Mixing the beef in with beaten raw egg, I took a large and savoury bite out of it, only to find that it tasted exquisite with the marbling of the beef melting in my mouth. The large sliced apple-fed Shinshu Wagyu beef sukiyaki was so delicious that I could not resist ordering another platter. The red wine also went excellently with the meal.

Because of the large marbling on the sliced apple-fed Shinshu Wagyu beef, this was one of the best sukiyaki meals I had ever eaten in Japan. I would never regret coming to Suki-tei in Nagano and I will hot hesitate to come to this lovely restaurant again when I get the chance to travel to Nagano. I would also recommend this restaurant to my family should they get the chance to travel to Nagano, and this exquisite Shinshu Wagyu beef sukiyaki lunch at Suki-tei was even better than the Garim Steamboat Restaurant in Shinsegae Department Store in Seoul, South Korea.

The entrance to Suki-tei Restaurant during the early afternoon hours

The interior of Suki-tei Restaurant during the early afternoon hours at lunchtime shortly after I entered

The cover page of the food and beverage menu at Suki-tei Restaurant

Reviewing the food and beverage menu at Suki-tei Restaurant

A glass of red wine to accompany the upcoming Shinshu Wagyu sukiyaki meal at Suki-tei

My Shinshu Wagyu sukiyaki meal set up with the red wine and raw egg, with beef tallow in the middle of the grilling pot

A large platter containing three large slices of Shinshu Wagyu beef, with a platter of vegetable accompaniments

An overall view of my Shinshu Wagyu sukiyaki meal at my dining table in Suki-tei

The first piece of sliced Shinshu Wagyu beef grilling in the sukiyaki hotpot in the special sauce

The vegetables and another slice of Shinshu Wagyu beef cooking in the sukiyaki sauce

The first piece of Shinshu Wagyu beef dipped in the slightly beaten raw egg

Another piece of Shinshu Wagyu beef dipped in the slightly beaten raw egg

Another large platter containing three large slices of Shinshu Wagyu beef for sukiyaki

Another large slice of Shinshu Wagyu beef cooking in the Sukiyaki hot pot in the special sauce

The last large slice of Shinshu Wagyu beef grilling in the Sukiyaki hot pot

The last vegetable accompaniments cooking with the beef in the Sukiyaki hot pot

Looking at the English food and beverage menu at Suki-tei

The interior of Suki-tei Restaurant during lunchtime shortly before I paid my restaurant lunch bill

After having a very sumptuous and exquisite Shinshu Wagyu beef sukiyaki lunch at Suki-tei, I was finally stuffed to the brim at 1.40 p.m.. Feeling stuffed to the brim already, I went up to pay my bill and asked the restaurant waitress to arrange for cab back to Nagano Station for me. The restaurant waitress happily obliged and went on with the cab arrangements for me back to Nagano Station. At the same time, I checked my table to see that I had left none of my belongings behind.

For the return trip back to Kyoto, I would catch the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart Nagano Station at 4.49 p.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 6.28 p.m.. Upon arrival at Tokyo, I would connect to the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, which would be scheduled to depart Tokyo Station at 7.03 p.m., and arrive at Kyoto Station at 10.01 p.m..

Before leaving the restaurant, I thanked the staff for their warm and kind services and also promised to come again when the opportunity came. Soon enough, my pre-arranged cab to Nagano Station finally arrived at the entrance to Suki-tei at 1.50 p.m.. The driver then got out and offered to load my baggage into the boot of his cab while I got in. Within just a few seconds, I finally departed Suki-tei for a short 10-minute cab ride back to Nagano Station.

The entrance to Suki-tei Restaurant during the mid-afternoon hours shortly before I left for Nagano Station

The exterior view of Suki-tei shortly before I left for Nagano Station

The white cab that would soon take me back to Nagano Station from Suki-tei

Finally travelling along the roads of Tsumashina neighbourhood from Suki-tei

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nagano near Nagano Station

Finally arriving back at Nagano Station

After a short cab ride of just 10 minutes from Suki-tei, I finally arrived back at the entrance to Nagano Station at two o' clock. Paying my cab fare, the driver offered to help me unload my baggage from the boot of the cab. Thanking the driver for his kind and warm services, I went through the enclosed passageway due to the station undergoing renovations in preparation for the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line on 14 March 2015, and took the elevator up to the main station concourse before heading into the Nagano Shinkansen concourse.

Upon arriving at the Nagano Shinkansen concourse, I went to the staffed ticketing gate to check with the ticketing officer to see which platform the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the ticketing officer at the ticketing gate, the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo would depart at 4.49 p.m. from Track No. 13. Though it was still too early, I showed my Japan Rail Pass and went down to Tracks No. 13 and 14 to spot some trains while waiting for my train to Tokyo.

The cab stand located just outside the entrance to Nagano Station

The elevator linking to the station concourse at Nagano Station

The main station concourse at Nagano Station during the mid-afternoon hours

A refreshment and food stall located in the Nagano Shinkansen concourse at Nagano Station

Tracks No. 13 and 14 serving some of the Nagano Shinkansen trains bound for Tokyo at Nagano Station

The station name plate on Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Nagano Station

The LED destination panel of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 530 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

A typical logo for the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen trains operating on the Nagano Shinkansen line and the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen line

A 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F5, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 532 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Nagano Station

The Nagano Shinkansen tracks facing the direction towards Nagano depot and the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen line from Nagano Station

A 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 530 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The logo of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 530 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

A 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F1, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 536 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 13 at Nagano Station

The logo of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 534 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 534 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 534 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The LED destination panel of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 534 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

An 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N7, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 534 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F1, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 536 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Nagano Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F1, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 536 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Nagano Station

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F1, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 536 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Nagano Station

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F1, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 536 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Nagano Station

The two Shinkansen trains serving the Nagano Shinkansen and the future Hokuriku Shinkansen lines at Nagano Station

The logo of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N3, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 538 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Nagano Station

An 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N3, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 538 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Nagano Station

An 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N2, which would soon operate on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 574 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

An 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N9, which would soon operate on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 572 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Nagano Station on Track No. 13

Three 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen trains on the station platforms at Nagano Station

The departure information for Nagano Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 13 at Nagano Station

The Nagano Shinkansen station platforms at Nagano Station shortly before the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending approximately 2 hours 30 minutes of train-spotting on the platforms, an 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, which would soon operate on the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, finally entered Nagano Station at 4.37 p.m. on Track No. 13. Once the doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 6 and went into Car No. 7, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, before finding my assigned Seat No. 5D for the short journey time of 1 hour 39 minutes to the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat adjacent to me, 5C, would remain vacant throughout the entire evening journey from Nagano to Tokyo. Once the clock struck exactly 4.49 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 540 finally pulled out of Nagano Station for its short and quick early evening journey time of 1 hour 39 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan. I was also on my way for a short early evening journey time of 1 hour 39 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo located in the Kanto region of Japan.

E2系新幹線 N13編成 あさま540号 東京行き 長野駅に入線シーン

A view of my seat, 5D, during the boarding process at Nagano Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process at Nagano Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process at Nagano Station

A typical pair of Green Car (first class) seats on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process at Nagano Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process at Nagano Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process at Nagano Station

Awaiting departure from Nagano Station

E2系新幹線 N13編成 あさま540号 東京行き 長野駅から上田駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueda Station

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the segment between Nagano and Tokyo

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Ueda and Sakudaira Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, between Ueda and Sakudaira Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, between Ueda and Sakudaira Stations

A view of my seat, 5D, between Ueda and Sakudaira Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Saku

Making a brief stop at Sakudaira Station

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Sakudaira and Karuizawa Stations

Bypassing a large forest in the sparse, rural town of Karuizawa

Bypassing a large car parking area near Karuizawa Station

Making a brief stop at Karuizawa Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, between Karuizawa and Annaka-haruna Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, between Karuizawa and Annaka-haruna Stations

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Karuizawa and Annaka-haruna Stations

E2系新幹線 N13編成 あさま540号 東京行き 安中榛名 (通過) ~ 本庄早稲田 (通過)

Bypassing some sparse housing areas in the suburban city of Honjo

Bypassing some sparse housing areas in the suburban city of Fukaya

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kumagaya

Passing through Kumagaya Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, operating on the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

Intersecting with the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks near Omiya Station

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

E2系新幹線 N13編成 あさま540号 東京行き 大宮駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E2系新幹線 N13編成 あさま540号 東京行き 上野駅から終点東京駅間

After a short evening journey duration of 1 hour 39 minutes from downtown Nagano in the Shin'etsu region, I finally arrived back at the Tokyo terminal station at 6.28 p.m. on Track No. 22. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted from the train and took the escalators down towards the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse of the station before making my way to the staffed interchange Shinkansen ticket gate to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse with my Japan Rail Pass.

I then went to check to see which platform the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka would depart at 7.03 p.m. from Track No. 14. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately took the escalators up to Tracks No. 14 and 15 in preparation for my connecting Shinkansen train back to Kyoto in the Kansai region of the country, spotting some Shinkansen trains at the same time.

The logo of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, which previously took me back from Nagano as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

The 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N13, which previously took me back from Nagano as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 540 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 22 and 23 serving some of the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station

The departure information board for the Tohoku Shinkansen trains in the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 14 and 15 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z56, operating on the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 803 bound for Mishima, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 14 and 15 serving some of the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B3, operating on the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 681 bound for Nagoya, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B3, operating on the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 681 bound for Nagoya, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

Overlooking the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen tracks from Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7 finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 6.47 p.m. on Track No. 14. The train had initially arrived from Shin-osaka as the Shinkansen KODAMA Superexpress No. 666 bound for Tokyo earlier, and was to undergo extensive cleaning prior to becoming the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka. It took approximately 10 minutes to clean the entire inside of the train.

Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the train doors were finally opened again at seven o' clock to allow the passengers to board the train. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly boarded the train through Car No. 7 and went into Car No. 8, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, before settling into my assigned Seat No. 17D located at the rear of the cabin for the evening journey duration of 2 hours 58 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto in the Kansai region of Japan.

The seat next to me, 17C, would remain vacant throughout the entire evening return journey from Tokyo to Kyoto. Once the clock exactly 7.03 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 529 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its early evening journey duration of 3 hours 13 minutes to the hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located in the Kansai region of Japan. I was then on my way for an evening return journey of 2 hours 58 minutes back to the historical capital city of Japan in the Kansai region.

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり529号 新大阪行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The logo of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 17D, during the boarding process at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり529号 新大阪行き 東京駅から新横浜駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

Bypassing some housing areas near downtown Kohoku-ku, Yokohama, during nightfall

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the return segment between Tokyo and Kyoto

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

A view of my seat, 17D, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

Travelling through the suburban city of Fujisawa at nightfall

The nightfall view of Mount Fuji between the suburban cities of Fujisawa and Chigasaki

Travelling through the suburban city of Chigasaki during nightfall

The nightfall view of Mount Fuji between the suburban cities of Chigasaki and Odawara

Travelling through the suburban town of Ninomiya during nightfall

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり529号 新大阪行き 小田原 (通過) ~ 熱海 (通過)

Travelling through the suburban city of Mishima during the last signs of nightfall

Making a brief stop at Mishima Station

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Mishima and Shizuoka Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mishima and Shizuoka Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mishima and Shizuoka Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fuji at night

Crafting out my report for the return segment between Tokyo and Kyoto

A bottle of Coca-cola and a box of crunchy chocolate sticks for myself

Bypassing some housing areas near downtown Aoi-ku, Shizuoka, at night as the train approaches Shizuoka Station

Making a brief stop at Shizuoka Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen train, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 125 bound for Hiroshima, bypassing my train at Shizuoka Station

An out-of-service 16-car 700 Series Shinkansen train bypassing my train at Shizuoka Station

Bypassing some housing areas near the Abe River in downtown Aoi-ku, Shizuoka, at night

Passing through Kakegawa Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Kakegawa and Hamamatsu Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Kakegawa and Hamamatsu Stations

A view of my seat, 17D, between Kakegawa and Hamamatsu Stations

Crossing the Tenryu River as the train approaches Hamamatsu Station at night

Making a brief stop at Hamamatsu Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen train, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 255 bound for Shin-osaka, bypassing my train at Hamamatsu Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

Crossing Lake Hamana between Shizuoka and Aichi Prefectures at night

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Toyohashi at night

Passing through Toyohashi Station

Bypassing some dark residential areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi at night

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Anjo at night

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり529号 新大阪行き 三河安城 (通過) ~ 名古屋 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり529号 新大阪行き 名古屋駅から岐阜羽島駅間

Making a brief stop at Gifu-hashima Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen train, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 415 bound for Shin-osaka, bypassing my train at Gifu-hashima Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Gifu-hashima and Maibara Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, between Gifu-hashima and Maibara Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ogaki at night

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Gifu-hashima and Maibara Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Maibara at night

Making a brief stop at Maibara Station

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり529号 新大阪行き 米原駅から京都駅間

After an evening Shinkansen journey duration of 2 hours 58 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo in the Kanto region, I finally arrived back at Kyoto Station at 10.01 p.m. on Track No. 14. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted the train and filmed a short video of its departure before going down to the Shinkansen concourse via the escalators. The Shinkansen platforms were relatively deserted as the last eastbound train to Tokyo had already departed.

Upon reaching the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of the station, I changed to another set of escalators and exited through the Hachijo Shinkansen ticketing gates before crossing the road to the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto, where I found my family waiting for me in our rented car. Loading my belongings into the car, my family explained to me that they planned to have dinner at Washoku Sato again, where we ate at the previous day. Soon enough, we finally departed Kyoto Station at 10.10 p.m. for a short 10-minute drive to Washoku Sato.

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Kyoto Station

The 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B7, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, awaiting departure from Track No. 14 at Kyoto Station

700系新幹線 B7編成 ひかり529号 新大阪行き 京都駅から出発シーン

Tracks No. 13 and 14 serving the westbound Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains bound for Shin-osaka, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka) during the late night hours

The Tokaido Shinkansen platforms at Kyoto Station during the late night hours

The Tokaido Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Kyoto Station during the late night hours

The Hachijo Shinkansen ticketing gates in the Hachijo Shinkansen concourse at Kyoto Station during the late night hours

The exterior view of the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto at night

The exterior view of Kyoto Station during the late night hours

Our rented Toyota car waiting for me by the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto

Finally departing Kyoto Station

Travelling along the roads of downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, at night from Kyoto Station to Washoku Sato

Finally arriving at Washoku Sato Family Restaurant

After a short 10-minute night drive from Kyoto Station in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, we finally arrived at the car parking area near Washoku Sato Family Restaurant at 10.20 p.m.. Parking our car, we walked up the stairs towards the main entrance to the restaurant, and requested for a non-smoking table for the four of us at the restaurant reception counter. A waitress then ushered us to an empty non-smoking table located near some window tables and left us with the food and beverage menus to make our reviews.

Upon making our reviews through the food and beverage menus, a waitress came by to our table to take down our main meal orders for the upcoming late night dinner. We ordered several dishes that would be suitable for our tastes and preferences, such as deep-fried side dish courses and a pork sukiyaki meal. Soon enough, our intended main dishes were brought out to our table, allowing us to have an enjoyable family dinner at Washoku Sato Family Restaurant late that night.

The interior of the reception area of Washoku Sato Family Restaurant in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

The cover page for the Grand Menu at Washoku Sato Family Restaurant in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Reviewing the Grand Menu of Washoku Sato Family Restaurant in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

The interior view of Washoku Sato Family Restaurant in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, during the late night hours

A pot of pork sukiyaki for myself

An assortment of deep-fried side dishes to be shared among us

A clay pot meal for my mum on a portable heating stove

A plate of udon noodles to accompany my pork sukiyaki meal

An extra platter of sliced pork for my pork sukiyaki meal

After having a large and very sumptuous late night family dinner at Washoku Sato Family Restaurant, the clock was finally showing 11.05 p.m.. Feeling stuffed to the brim already and as it was already very close to midnight, we paid up our dinner bill at the restaurant cashier counter and headed down to the car parking area located near the restaurant, where we had parked our rented dark brown Toyota car earlier.

Once we had left the restaurant by 11.15 p.m., we walked towards our rented Toyota car and boarded it for the short late night drive back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya located in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto. Soon enough, we finally departed Washoku Sato Family Restaurant at 11.20 p.m. for a short late night drive of just five minutes back towards the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto.

The exterior view of Washoku Sato Family Restaurant in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, during the late night hours

Arriving back at our rented Toyota car at the car parking area near Washoku Sato Family Restaurant

Travelling along the roads between Shimogyo-ku and Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, late at night on the way back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

Travelling through the roads of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, late at night

Travelling along a dimly-lit alley near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

Finally arriving at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

After a short late night road journey duration of just five minutes from Washoku Sato Family Restaurant in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, we finally arrived back at the entrance to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 11.25 p.m.. Claiming our belongings from the car, my dad immediately went to park the car at the car parking area near the main road, while the rest of us went into the Machiya itself. Once we were in the Machiya, we set up our electronic devices to be charged overnight.

Since I was to travel to Hiroshima the next morning, I immediately went to have a nice, hot shower and changed into my pyjamas before settling in further for the night. I also went to prepare some of my necessary belongings for the trip to Hiroshima the next morning, and set my mobile phone alarm to wake me up at 6.30 a.m. the next morning before charging my other electronic devices. By around one or two o' clock late that night, I finally turned in for a well-earned good night's sleep.

Overall, my first trip to Nagano, and on the Shinkansen ASAMA train was quite an enjoyable experience. Just like my previous Shinkansen NOZOMI train rides, the Shinkansen ASAMA train was better than the Korea Train Express (KTX) in South Korea. I will never hesitate to go to Nagano again, and to ride on a Shinkansen ASAMA train between Tokyo and Nagano when the opportunity to do so comes. There might be a possibility that I might recommend Nagano for my family if they wish to see winter in Honshu.

Part 2 ~ Spending My Last Day In Miyajima, Hiroshima

The next morning, which was Monday (9 June), I woke up at precisely 6.30 a.m. after my mobile phone alarm blasted off early. This would be another special day as it would mark my younger brother's 14th birthday. Getting out of bed, I had a nice, hot shower and then changed up into my day's attire before packing the remainder of my necessary belongings, including my electronic devices, for the day.

While my family planned to go to Arashiyama as a birthday treat for my brother, I decided to take a day trip to Miyajima, Hiroshima, as I did not have much interest in nearby nature areas. For the morning in-bound trip to Hiroshima, I would catch the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 8.02 a.m., and arrive at the Hiroshima terminal station at 10.01 a.m..

My 7-day Green-type Japan Rail Pass was also due to expire on this day, having activated it on Tuesday (3 June)My dad, who happened to be awake from the sudden alarm blast on my mobile phone, as usual, offered to give me a lift to the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at Kyoto Station. Once all of my necessary belongings for the upcoming day trip to Hiroshima were packed up, I was officially ready to go at seven o' clock.

With that, my dad and I left the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 7.15 a.m. and walked to the car parking area located just adjacent to the main road towards our rented Toyota car. Upon reaching the car parking area near the main road, my dad went to pay the overnight parking fee at the payment machine while I went to load my baggage. Soon enough, we finally left the car parking area located near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 7.20 a.m. for a short 15-minute car ride towards the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto.

The exterior view of the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya shortly before I left for Kyoto Station

The relatively quiet street view outside the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya during the bright early morning hours

Finally arriving at our rented Toyota car at the car parking area near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

Travelling past some shophouses in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, during the cloudy early morning hours

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, during the cloudy early morning hours

Travelling past a large historical temple between downtown Nakagyo-ku and Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

About to cross underneath a pedestrian footbridge in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Travelling adjacent to the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct near Kyoto Station

Finally arriving at the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station

After a short morning road drive of just 15 minutes from the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, I finally arrived at the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station at 7.35 a.m.. Taking my belongings from the boot of the car, I thanked my dad for the short lift and he left me to commence my journey to Hiroshima. Taking the escalator up to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse, I immediately headed to the JR Central Ticket Office, where I made my purchases for four Green Car (first class) limited express tickets back to Kansai International Airport as we would be returning home the next day.

Upon making our seat reservations for the return trip, I immediately went to check the Shinkansen departure information board to see which platform the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima would depart at 8.02 a.m. from Track No. 13. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate, and took the escalator up to Tracks No. 13 and 14 for the journey to Hiroshima.

Taking the escalator up towards the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station

The Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station during the bright early morning hours

The JR Central Ticketing Office in the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station during the bright early morning hours

The Tokaido Shinkansen concourse leading to the station platforms at Kyoto Station during the bright early morning hours

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G6, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 108 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Kyoto Station

The departure information board for Tokaido Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 13 at Kyoto Station during the bright early morning hours

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Kyoto Station on Track No. 12

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station

The Tokaido Shinkansen platforms at Kyoto Station during the bright early morning hours

A 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C17, operating on the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 638 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Kyoto Station on Track No. 12. I remember riding on the particular train as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 460 between Kyoto and Tokyo just a few days earlier

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C17, operating on the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 638 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Kyoto Station

Track No. 13 at Kyoto Station shortly before the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima arrived at the station

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 8.01 a.m. on Track No. 13. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train through Car No. 8 and went into Car No. 9, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches before settling into my assigned Seat No. 9D for the short morning journey of just two hours to downtown Hiroshima.

The seat adjacent to me, 9C, would remain unoccupied for the entire morning journey from Kyoto and Hiroshima. Once the clock struck exactly 8.02 a.m., all the doors were closed, and the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 493 finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for the remainder of its long morning journey duration of four hours between Shin-yokohama and Hiroshima. I was then on my way for a short morning journey duration of just two hours to the hustle and bustle of downtown Hiroshima located in the Chugoku region of the country.

Hiroshima (広島市) is a major city located in the Chugoku region of Japan. With a population of 1,184,785, as of 1 June 2014, it is the prefectural capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chugoku region of Japan. Hiroshima is well-known to be the first city in history to be attacked by a nuclear weapon when an atomic bomb was dropped on it by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on the morning of 6 August 1945, during World War II. A peace memorial is housed in Hiroshima in memory of the victims who lost their lives in the city's atomic bombing during World War II.

N700系新幹線 X17(Z17)編成 ひかり493号 広島行き 京都駅に入線シーン

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, on Track No. 13 at Kyoto Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Kyoto Station

A view of my seat, 9D, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Kyoto Station

N700系新幹線 X17(Z17)編成 ひかり493号 広島行き 京都駅から新大阪駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

N700系新幹線 X17(Z17)編成 ひかり493号 広島行き 新大阪駅から新神戸駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-kobe Station

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the in-bound segment between Kyoto and Hiroshima

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, between Shin-kobe and Nishi-akashi Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, between Shin-kobe and Nishi-akashi Stations

A view of my seat, 9D, between Shin-kobe and Nishi-akashi Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Akashi as the train approaches Nishi-akashi Station

Making a brief stop at Nishi-akashi Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen train, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 99 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), bypassing my train at 300 km/h (186 mph) at Nishi-akashi Station

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima

A bottle of Coca-cola for myself

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z1, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 1 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), bypassing my train at 300 km/h (186 mph) at Nishi-akashi Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Akashi not long after departing Nishi-akashi Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, from my seat between Nishi-akashi and Himeji Stations

Crossing the Kakogawa River between the suburban cities of Kakogawa and Himeji

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, between Nishi-akashi and Himeji Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, between Nishi-akashi and Himeji Stations

Bypassing some office buildings in the suburban city of Himeji as the train approaches Himeji Station

A 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C40, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 462 bound for Tokyo, making a brief stop at Himeji Station

Making a brief stop at Himeji Station

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Himeji shortly after departing Himeji Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, from my seat between Himeji and Aioi Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Himeji

N700系新幹線 X17(Z17)編成 ひかり493号 広島行き 相生 (通過) ~ 岡山 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Okayama Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Kita-ku, Okayama, shortly after departing Okayama Station

Passing through Shin-kurashiki Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, between Okayama and Fukuyama Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, between Okayama and Fukuyama Stations

A view of my seat, 9D, between Okayama and Fukuyama Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fukuyama as the train approaches Fukuyama Station

Making a brief stop at Fukuyama Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fukuyama shortly after departing Fukuyama Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, from my seat between Fukuyama and Shin-onomichi Stations

Passing through Shin-onomichi Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, from my seat between Shin-onomichi and Mihara Stations

N700系新幹線 X17(Z17)編成 ひかり493号 広島行き 三原 (通過) ~ 広島 (到着)

After a short morning journey duration of just two hours from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto in the Kansai region, I finally arrived at the Hiroshima terminal station at 10.01 a.m. on Track No. 12. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted the train and took the escalator down towards the Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of the station. Feeling rather hungry already, I decided to have breakfast at a nearby restaurant in the station concourse first.

Looking through the various restaurants available in the Sanyo Shinkansen concourse, I managed to stumble upon a well-known fast-food restaurant, McDonald's, at 10.10 a.m.. Entering the restaurant, I immediately secured a table located near the entrance to the fast-food restaurant and went to the cashier counter to make my orders. I ordered a box of 15-piece Chicken McNuggets and five hash browns for myself, allowing me to have a filling fast-food breakfast at McDonald's and to enjoy the savoury taste of the beef tallow in the hash browns.

Hiroshima Station (広島駅) is a major railway station located within Minami-ku, Hiroshima, Japan. It is the central railway terminal serving the sprawling urban city of Hiroshima, and is one of the major railway terminals in the Chugoku region of Japan. The station serves as an interchange station for the Sanyo Shinkansen, Sanyo Main Line, Kure Line, Kabe Line and Geibi Line. The station is a mandatory stop for all Sanyo Shinkansen trains, and the station houses the Hotel Granvia Hiroshima directly above its station building.

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X17 (formerly Z17), which previously operated on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 493 bound for Hiroshima, on Track No. 12 at Hiroshima Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z23, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 3 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 11 at Hiroshima Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z23, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 3 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 11 at Hiroshima Station

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving some of the Sanyo & Kyushu Shinkansen trains bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), Kumamoto and Kagoshima-chuo at Hiroshima Station

The Sanyo Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Hiroshima Station during the late morning hours

The interior of McDonald's in the Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at Hiroshima Station

A tray containing three hash browns and milk with barbecue sauce for myself

A box containing 15 pieces of Chicken McNuggets for myself

An additional two hash browns for myself

After having a sumptuous and filling fast-food breakfast at McDonald's located in the Sanyo Shinkansen concourse, the clock was finally showing 10.55 a.m.. Since it was already time to continue my journey to Miyajima, I left McDonald's and headed to the Sanyo Main Line ticketing  gates, where I showed my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate before entering the Sanyo Main Line concourse.

Upon going through the ticket gates, I went to see which platform the closest Sanyo Main Line local train bound for Iwakuni would depart from. According to the departure information board, the closest Sanyo Main Line local train bound for Iwakuni would depart at 11.15 a.m. from Track No. 1. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately headed down to Track No. 1 in preparation for the short Sanyo Main Line trip to Miyajimaguchi.

The exterior view of McDonald's in the Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at Hiroshima Station

A poster advertising the soon-to-be-opened Harry Potter Wizarding World attraction at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka in the Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at Hiroshima Station

The Sanyo Main Line ticketing gates in the JR Line concourse at Hiroshima Station during the early afternoon hours

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Hiroshima Station during the early afternoon hours

Track No. 1 serving the Sanyo Main Line trains bound for Miyajimaguchi and Iwakuni at Hiroshima Station

Overlooking the Sanyo Main Line, Kure Line, Kabe Line and Geibi Line tracks at Hiroshima Station

After spending just five minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, a 4-car 115 series EMU, operating on the Sanyo Main Line local service bound for Iwakuni, finally arrived at Hiroshima Station at 11.09 a.m. on Track No. 1. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train for the short early afternoon hop of just 26 minutes towards Miyajimaguchi Station as the gateway to Miyajima located in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi.

Once the clock struck exactly 11.15 a.m. sharp, all the doors were closed, and the Sanyo Main Line local train finally pulled out of Hiroshima Station for its early afternoon journey of 50 minutes towards the suburban city of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture. I was then on my way for a short early afternoon travel duration of just 26 minutes to Miyajimaguchi Station as the gateway towards Miyajima located in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi.

A 4-car 115 series EMU, operating on a Sanyo Main Line local service bound for Iwakuni, finally arriving at Hiroshima Station on Track No. 1

The interior of the 4-car 115 series EMU, operating on the Sanyo Main Line local service bound for Iwakuni, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at Hiroshima Station

Finally departing Hiroshima Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Minami-ku and Nishi-ku, Hiroshima

Making a brief stop at Yokogawa Station

Crossing the Ota River between Minami-ku and Nishi-ku, Hiroshima

Bypassing some housing areas in Nishi-ku, Hiroshima, between Yokogawa and Nishi-hiroshima Stations

Making a brief stop at Nishi-hiroshima Station

Bypassing a small educational building between Nishi-ku and Saeki-ku, Hiroshima

Crossing another river between the cities of Hiroshima and Hatsukaichi

Bypassing a small residential area between the cities of Hiroshima and Hatsukaichi

Making a brief stop at Hatsukaichi Station

Bypassing some houses in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi between Hatsukaichi and Miyauchikushido Stations

Making a brief stop at Miyauchikushido Station

Bypassing a small house between Miyauchikushido and Ajina Stations

Making a brief stop at Ajina Station

Bypassing a small car parking area in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi between Ajina and Miyajimaguchi Stations

Finally arriving at Miyajimaguchi Station

After a short travel duration of just 26 minutes from downtown Hiroshima, I finally arrived at Miyajimaguchi Station at 11.41 a.m. on Track No. 1. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted the train and showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate before exiting Miyajimaguchi Station. Exiting the station building at 11.45 a.m., I walked to the underground passageway linking between the station to the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier, with the walk taking no more than just five minutes.

Arriving at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier at 11.50 a.m., I immediately went to check the JR Miyajima Ferry timetable to see what time the nearest JR Miyajima Ferry bound for Miyajima (Itsukushima) would depart. According to the JR Miyajima Ferry timetable, the closest JR Miyajima Ferry would depart at 11.55 a.m.. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately headed to the main JR Miyajima Ferry jetty and rolled up behind some other passengers who were also about to head to Miyajima (Itsukushima).

Miyajimaguchi (宮島口駅) is a railway station operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) located in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima, Japan. It is located on the Sanyo Main Line and serves as the gateway railway station to Miyajima (Itsukushima). The Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier is located within walking distance from the station, with direct JR Miyajima Ferry services available. As of 15 March 2014, the station has one island platform and one side platform serving a total of three tracks.

Track No. 1 serving the Sanyo Main Line trains bound for Iwakuni at Miyajimaguchi Station during the early afternoon hours

The ticketing gates in the station concourse of Miyajimaguchi Station during the early afternoon hours

The exterior view of Miyajimaguchi Station during the early afternoon hours

The elevator linking to the underground passageway from Miyajimaguchi Station to the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

The interior of the underground passageway linking between Miyajimaguchi Station to the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

Finally arriving at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

The bridge linking to the jetty at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

The departure information board at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

The JR Miyajima Ferry timetable in the main concourse of the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

After spending just a few minutes of anticipated waiting at the JR Miyajima Ferry jetty at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier, a JR Miyajima Ferry, named Miyajima Maru (みやじま丸), finally docked onto the jetty at 11.52 a.m.. Once all the passengers from Miyajima had alighted the ferry, I immediately boarded the ferry with the other passengers heading towards Miyajima and walked up to the upper deck, where the main passenger seating cabin was located.

Securing a seat by the window, I could see that the main passenger seating cabin in the Miyajima Maru JR Miyajima Ferry would have a relatively light load. Soon enough, once everyone was on board the ferry, the ferry dock was released and the Miyajima Maru JR Miyajima Ferry finally pulled away from the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier at 11.55 a.m. for its short 10-minute cruise to Miyajima (Itsukushima). I took pictures of the floating Itsukushima Shrine along the way to Miyajima (Itsukushima) over the Inland Sea.

Miyajima (宮島), officially known as Itsukushima (厳島), is an island in the western Chugoku region located to the northwest of Hiroshima Bay in Japan. The island is one of the Three Views of Japan by Hayashi Razan and is notable for housing the Itsukushima Shrine, which is well-known for its famous torii gate. Miyajima is mostly surrounded by mountains and has many Sika deers roaming about. The island is accessible via a 10-minute ferry ride on the JR Miyajima Ferry, with no extra charges for Japan Rail Pass holders.

Boarding the "Miyajima Maru" (みやじま丸) JR Miyajima Ferry bound for Miyajima (Itsukushima) at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

The interior of the "Miyajima Maru" (みやじま丸) JR Miyajima Ferry bound for Miyajima (Itsukushima) during the boarding process at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

Finally departing the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

The view of the Inland Sea on board the "Miyajima Maru" (みやじま丸) JR Miyajima Ferry bound for Miyajima (Itsukushima) shortly after departing the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

Crossing the Inland Sea between the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier and Miyajima (Itsukushima)

The view of several lush green mountains on Miyajima (Itsukushima) as the ferry approaches Miyajima (Itsukushima)

The view of the floating Itsukushima Shrine as the ferry approaches the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

The view of several small hotels and shophouses as the ferry approaches the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

Finally arriving at the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

After a short JR Miyajima Ferry cruise of just 10 minutes from the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier, I finally arrived at the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier at 12.05 p.m.. Checking to see that I had left nothing behind on board, I disembarked from the ferry and walked into the ferry pier building. In the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier, I could see that the area by the entrance was undergoing renovation works for a ferry pier upgrade. Exiting the ferry pier, I went out to enjoy my day in Miyajima.

Once I was outside the main ferry terminal, I walked along the streets of Miyajima, and decided to purchase an ice cream from a nearby snack shop since it was a baking hot summer's day. Just as I was eating, a Sika deer came stalking me for the ice cream cone, which meant that I had to eat up quickly. Nevertheless, I spent the early afternoon enjoying the sea breeze in Miyajima, though I kept being stalked by some Sika deers who thought that I had something for them to eat.

The "Miyajima Maru" (みやじま丸) JR Miyajima Ferry at the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

The view of the Inland Sea from the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

The view of the Itsukushima Shrine from the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

The view of the small shady park near the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier on a bright summer's afternoon

The exterior view of the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier on a bright summer's afternoon

Stopping at a small snack shop to purchase a chocolate ice cream

Two Sika deers nudging each other by the ears in Miyajima (Itsukushima)

The view of the Inland Sea from Miyajima (Itsukushima) on a bright summer's afternoon

A Sika deer coming towards me in Miyajima (Itsukushima)

A male Sika deer with antlers sniffing at my baggage

Another male Sika deer with antlers resting lazily by a tree

A Sika deer nudging its hoof under the shade

A group of Sika deers hoarding around two visitors for some treats

Another group of Sika deers sniffing about near a water washing area

The view of the Inland Sea from Miyajima (Itsukushima) shortly before I decided to head back to the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

After spending approximately 1 hour 50 minutes of sea breeze and Sika deers in Miyajima (Itsukushima), the clock was finally showing 1.55 p.m.. Feeling quite hungry already, I decided to head back to Hiroshima Station for some light afternoon tea as there were not much cafeterias in Miyajima (Itsukushima). For the return trip back to Kyoto, I would catch a Sanyo Main Line local train bound for Shiraichi, which would depart Miyajimaguchi Station at 2.49 p.m., and arrive at Hiroshima Station at 3.18 p.m..

Upon arriving at Hiroshima Station, I was originally scheduled to have a layover of 2 hours 30 minutes before catching the Shinkansen SAKURA Superexpress No. 562 bound for Shin-osaka, which would be scheduled to depart Hiroshima Station at 5.48 p.m., and arrive at the Shin-osaka terminal at 7.24 p.m.. I was also to connect to a nearby Special Rapid Service train bound for Yasu via Kyoto, which would be scheduled to depart Shin-osaka Station at 7.49 p.m., and arrive at Kyoto Station at 8.14 p.m..

With that, I headed back to the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier and had a brief restroom break before heading into the main ferry pier concourse to see what time the closest JR Miyajima Ferry bound for the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier would depart from. According to the JR Miyajima Ferry timetable, the closest JR Miyajima Ferry bound for the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier would depart at 2.10 p.m.. While waiting for the 2.10 p.m. JR Miyajima Ferry, I decided to have some rest from my day-out at the island.

The outside of the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier while overlooking a small island hotel

The interior of the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier during the bright summer mid-afternoon hours

The JR Miyajima Ferry timetable in the main concourse of the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

After spending approximately 15 minutes of waiting in the ferry pier concourse, a Miyajima Maru JR Miyajima Ferry finally arrived at the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier at 2.05 p.m.. Once the jetty barrier was opened, all the passengers heading to the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier walked along the jetty towards the waiting ferry and boarded just in good time for a 2.10 p.m. departure from the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier.

Walking up to the passenger cabin, I secured a seat by the window for the short 10-minute cruise back to the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier. Once the clock struck exactly 2.10 p.m. sharp, the ferry ramp was pulled up and the Miyajima Maru JR Miyajima Ferry finally departed the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier. I was then on my way for a short ferry cruise of no more than just 10 minutes back to the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier via the Inland Sea.

The "Miyajima Maru" (みやじま丸) JR Miyajima Ferry at the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier waiting for departure

The interior of the "Miyajima Maru" (みやじま丸) JR Miyajima Ferry bound for Miyajima (Itsukushima) during the boarding process at the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

Finally departing the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

The view of the floating Itsukushima Shrine as the ferry pulls away from the Miyajima (Itsukushima) Ferry Pier

Crossing the Inland Sea between Miyajima (Itsukushima) and the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

The view of several hilly settlements in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi from the Inland Sea

The view of the large mountain in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi from the Inland Sea

The view of a few housing apartments by the Inland Sea as the ferry approaches the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

Finally arriving at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

After a short JR Miyajima Ferry cruise of just 10 minutes over the Inland Sea from Miyajima (Itsukushima), I finally arrived back at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier at 2.20 p.m.. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I immediately alighted from the ferry and headed to the underground passageway linking between the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier and Miyajimaguchi Station via the elevator, where I walked through the passageway for approximately five minutes.

Upon arriving back at Miyajimaguchi Station at 2.25 p.m., I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate and went to check to see which platform the closest Sanyo Main Line local train bound for Shiraichi would depart from. According to the departure information board, the nearest Sanyo Main Line local train bound for Shiraichi would depart at 2.49 p.m. from Track No. 3. With that, I took the elevator up to the station footbridge and went down to Tracks No. 3 and 4 for the journey back to Hiroshima.

The "Miyajima Maru" (みやじま丸) JR Miyajima Ferry at the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

The exterior view of the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier on a bright and sunny summer's afternoon

The entrance to the underground passageway linking between the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier and Miyajimaguchi Station

The interior of the underground passageway linking between the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier to Miyajimaguchi Station

The elevator linking to the underground passageway between Miyajimaguchi Station and the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Pier

The station concourse of Miyajimaguchi Station on a bright and sunny summer's afternoon

The "Thomas & Friends: 110 Children's Safety Stations" sticker at the staffed ticketing gate at Miyajimaguchi Station

The departure information board for trains departing for Hiroshima and Shiraichi on Track No. 1 at Miyajimaguchi Station

Track No. 1 serving the Sanyo Main Line trains bound for Iwakuni at Miyajimaguchi Station during the mid-afternoon hours

Overlooking the station platforms from the station footbridge at Miyajimaguchi Station

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the Sanyo Main Line trains bound for Hiroshima at Miyajimaguchi Station

A freight train heading towards Iwakuni passing through Miyajimaguchi Station

A freight train heading in the direction towards Hiroshima passing through Miyajimaguchi Station

A 4-car yellow 115 series EMU, operating on a Sanyo Main Line local service bound for Iwakuni, about to leave Miyajimaguchi Station on Track No. 1

Track No. 3 at Miyajimaguchi Station shortly before the 2.49 p.m. Sanyo Main Line local train bound for Shiraichi via Hiroshima arrived at the station

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on the station platforms, a 4-car 115 series EMU, operating on the Sanyo Main Line local service bound for Shiraichi via Hiroshima, finally arrived at Miyajimaguchi Station at 2.49 p.m.. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train and secured a seat for the short afternoon hop of no more than 29 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Hiroshima.

Soon enough, in just a few seconds, all the train doors were closed, and the Sanyo Main Line local train finally pulled out of Miyajimaguchi Station for the remainder of its afternoon journey duration of 1 hour 44 minutes linking between Iwakuni and Shiraichi located in the suburban city of Higashihiroshima. I was then on my way back for a regional afternoon trip of just 29 minutes back towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Hiroshima.

A 4-car 115 series EMU, operating on the 2.49 p.m. Sanyo Main Line local service bound for Shiraichi via Hiroshima, arriving at Miyajimaguchi Station on Track No. 3

Finally departing Miyajimaguchi Station

Bypassing a bicycle parking area in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi near Ajina Station

The interior of the 4-car 115 series EMU, operating on the Sanyo Main Line local service bound for Shiraichi via Hiroshima, between Miyajimaguchi and Hatsukaichi Stations

Bypassing some hillside housing areas in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi between Miyauchikushido and Hatsukaichi Stations

Bypassing a vehicle yard in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi

Making a brief stop at Hatsukaichi Station

Bypassing some small housing apartments in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi between Hatsukaichi and Itsukaichi Stations

Making a brief stop at Itsukaichi Station

Bypassing a restaurant house and a petrol station in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi

Making a brief stop at Shin-inokuchi Station

Bypassing several housing apartments located in Nishi-ku, Hiroshima, between Shin-inokuchi and Yokogawa Stations

Bypassing a plantation area in Nishi-ku, Hiroshima

Crossing another river by the Sanyo Shinkansen viaduct near Minami-ku, Hiroshima

Making a brief stop at Yokogawa Station

Crossing the Ota River between Nishi-ku and Minami-ku, Hiroshima

Overlooking the Sanyo Shinkansen viaduct as the train approaches Hiroshima Station

Finally arriving back at Hiroshima Station

After a short journey of 29 minutes from Miyajimaguchi in the suburban city of Hatsukaichi, I finally arrived back at Hiroshima Station at 3.18 p.m. on Track No. 5. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted the train and went up to the JR Line concourse. Feeling quite hungry already, I decided to head over to a cafeteria located in the main station concourse for some afternoon tea. Soon enough, I finally stumbled upon a cafeteria, known as Café Estación, situated between the JR Line and Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at 3.25 p.m..

Entering the cafeteria itself, I went to grab an empty non-smoking table for myself before a waitress left me with the menu to make my reviews. Once I was ready to eat, a waitress came over to my table to take down my main orders for the afternoon tea. I ordered myself a piece of Tiramisu cake and a glass of iced Earl Grey Tea. That afternoon, I had a very nice and filling afternoon tea at Café Estación at Hiroshima Station. The iced Earl Grey Tea was quite refreshing as it helped me to cool off from the hot weather spent at Miyajima earlier, and the Tiramisu cake was also quite good.

Tracks No. 4 and 5 serving some of the Sanyo Main Line and Kure Line trains bound for Saijo, Mihara and Kure at Hiroshima Station

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Hiroshima Station during the late afternoon hours

The Sanyo Main Line concourse at Hiroshima Station during the late afternoon hours

Finally stumbling upon Café Estación in the JR Line concourse at Hiroshima Station

The interior of Café Estación at Hiroshima Station during the late afternoon hours

The Grand Menu of Café Estación at Hiroshima Station

Reviewing the Grand Menu at Café Estación at Hiroshima Station

A piece of Tiramisu cake and a glass of iced Earl Grey Tea with milk for myself

The interior of Café Estación at Hiroshima Station shortly before I left for the Sanyo Shinkansen concourse

After having a refreshing afternoon tea at Café Estación, the clock was finally showing 4.15 p.m.. Paying up my tea bill, I left the restaurant and decided to rebook myself on an earlier train back to Shin-osaka, as I found that it would take too long to wait for the Shinkansen SAKURA Superexpress No. 562 bound for Shin-osaka. With that, I immediately headed to the nearest JR Ticket Office and made my necessary return trip changes for the journey to Kyoto via Shin-osaka.

For the new return trip back to Kyoto, I would catch the Shinkansen SAKURA Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, which would be scheduled to depart Hiroshima Station at 5.17 p.m., and arrive at the Shin-osaka terminal at 6.45 p.m.. Upon arriving at Shin-osaka, I would have a 35-minute layover before connecting to a Special Rapid Service train bound for Yasu via Kyoto, which would be expected to depart Shin-osaka Station at 7.19 p.m., and arrive at Kyoto Station at 7.44 p.m..

Upon making my seat reservation changes, I immediately showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gate before checking to see which platform the Shinkansen SAKURA Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Shinkansen SAKURA Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka would depart at 5.17 p.m. from Track No. 14. Though it was still too early, I headed up to Tracks No. 13 and 14 to do some train-spotting while waiting for my train to Shin-osaka.

SAKURA (さくら) is the name of a high-speed Shinkansen train service operating on the Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines in Japan. Slower than the MIZUHO but faster than the TSUBAME, the SAKURA is the fastest train service on the Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines that is covered under the Japan Rail Pass, with an average journey timing between Shin-osaka and Kagoshima-chuo taking four hours. The service stops along the stretch on the Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines, and has a maximum top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph).

The service commenced operations on 12 March 2011, in collaboration with the opening of the entire Kyushu Shinkansen line linking between Hakata (Fukuoka) and Shin-yatsushiro, gradually replacing the older HIKARI Rail Star services between Shin-osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka), which was the day after the March 11 Great East Japan Tsunami. The service mainly uses special 8-car N700 series EMUs painted in a special distinctive livery signifying through connections between Honshu and Kyushu. Some services truncated to the Kyushu Shinkansen line use the existing 6-car 800 series sets.

All services operated by the 6-car 800 series sets are mono-class, and do not feature Green Car (first class) accommodation. Green Car (first class) accommodation is provided in half of one car (Car No. 6) on services operated by the 8-car N700 series sets, which can seat up to 24 passengers. There is no smoking permitted on these services, with all services operated by the special 8-car N700 series trains featuring designated enclosed smoking rooms located in Cars No. 3 and 7. All services operated by the existing 6-car 800 series trains are entirely non-smoking.

The Sanyo Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates at Hiroshima Station during the late afternoon hours

The train departure information board in the Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at Hiroshima Station

The Sanyo Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Hiroshima Station

The Sanyo Shinkansen platforms at Hiroshima Station during the late afternoon hours

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z2, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 44 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z2, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 44 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z21, which would soon operate on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 138 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Hiroshima Station on Track No. 13

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z21, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 138 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 13 at Hiroshima Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z21, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 138 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Hiroshima Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z21, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 138 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Hiroshima Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z21, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 138 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 13 at Hiroshima Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G1, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 46 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G1, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 46 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station

N700系新幹線 Z21編成 のぞみ138号 東京行き 広島駅から出発シーン

An out-of-service 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z51, which previously operated on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 111 between Tokyo and Hiroshima, on Track No. 11 at Hiroshima Station

The departure information board for trains departing from Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Hiroshima Station

A 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N6, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 35 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), arriving at Hiroshima Station on Track No. 12. I remember riding on this train when I went on my first trip to Fukuoka in Kyushu as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 13 between Tokyo and Hakata (Fukuoka) in June 2013

The logo of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N6, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 35 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 12 at Hiroshima Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N6, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 35 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 12 at Hiroshima Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 48 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 48 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station

Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station shortly before the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka arrived at the station

After spending approximately 40 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, an 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen SAKURA Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, finally arrived at Hiroshima Station at 5.16 p.m. on Track No. 14. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 6, and went into the Green Car (first class) cabin before settling into my assigned Seat No. 14A for the short early evening travel duration of 1 hour 28 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

The seat next to me, 14B, would remain vacant throughout the entire short early evening trip back to Shin-osaka. Once the clock struck exactly 5.17 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen SAKURA Superexpress No. 560 finally pulled out of Hiroshima Station for the remainder of its long journey duration of 4 hours 03 minutes from Kagoshima-chuo to Shin-osaka. I was then on my way for a short early evening travel duration of just 1 hour 28 minutes back towards the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located in the Kansai region of the country.

N700系新幹線 R10編成 さくら560号 新大阪行き 広島駅に入線シーン

The LED destination panel of the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Hiroshima Station

A view of my seat, 14A, during the boarding process at Hiroshima Station

N700系新幹線 R10編成 さくら560号 新大阪行き 広島駅から福山駅間

Making a brief stop at Fukuyama Station

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the return segment between Hiroshima and Shin-osaka

N700系新幹線 R10編成 さくら560号 新大阪行き 福山駅から岡山駅間

Making a brief stop at Okayama Station

A view of my seat, 14A, between Okayama and Aioi Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, between Okayama and Aioi Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, between Okayama and Aioi Stations

Bypassing some infrastructure near Kita-ku, Okayama

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Akaiwa

Bypassing some warehouses located by a tall lush green mountain in the sparse, rural city of Bizen

Bypassing a large farming field in the sparse, rural mountainous town of Kamigori

Bypassing a river flowing through the sparse, rural mountainous town of Kamigori

A box of milk chocolates and a bottle of Coca-cola for myself

Passing through Aioi Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Aioi

N700系新幹線 R10編成 さくら560号 新大阪行き 姫路 (通過) ~ 西明石 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Akashi

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, between Nishi-akashi and Shin-kobe Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, between Nishi-akashi and Shin-kobe Stations

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, between Nishi-akashi and Shin-kobe Stations

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, between Nishi-akashi and Shin-kobe Stations

A view of my seat, 14A, between Nishi-akashi and Shin-kobe Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 560 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Nishi-akashi and Shin-kobe Stations

Travelling through the Rokko Tunnel as the train approaches Shin-kobe Station

Making a brief stop at Shin-kobe Station

N700系新幹線 R10編成 さくら560号 新大阪行き 新神戸駅から終点新大阪駅間

After a short early evening journey duration of 1 hour 28 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Hiroshima in the Chugoku region, I finally arrived at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 6.45 p.m. on Track No. 20. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted the train and took the escalator down towards the Shinkansen concourse of the station before heading to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the interchange ticketing gates.

Upon reaching the JR Line concourse of the station, I immediately went to check the train departure information board to see which platform the closest Special Rapid Service train bound for Yasu via Kyoto would depart from. According to the departure information board, the closest Special Rapid Service train bound for Yasu via Kyoto would depart at 7.19 p.m. from Track No. 13. With that, I immediately went down to Tracks No. 13 and 14 at 6.55 p.m. in preparation for the continuing journey back to the hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto.

Track No. 20 serving some of the Sanyo & Kyushu Shinkansen trains bound for Hakata (Fukuoka) and Kagoshima-chuo at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 573 bound for Kagoshima-chuo, on Track No. 20 at Shin-osaka Station

The departure information board for trains departing from Track No. 20 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, now operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 573 bound for Kagoshima-chuo, on Track No. 20 at Shin-osaka Station

The 8-car JR Kyushu N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. R10, now operating on the Shinkansen "SAKURA" Superexpress No. 573 bound for Kagoshima-chuo, on Track No. 20 at Shin-osaka Station

The Shinkansen concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The JR Line interchange ticketing gates in the Shinkansen concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The JR Line concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The departure information board for trains departing from Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Shin-osaka Station

The train departure information list for commuter trains departing from Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Shin-osaka Station

A 12-car 223 series EMU, operating on a "Rapid Service" bound for Ogaki via Maibara, on Track No. 13 at Shin-osaka Station

Tracks No. 13 and 14 serving some of the JR Kyoto Line commuter trains bound for Takatsuki and Kyoto at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

223系 新快速 米原行き 新大阪駅で入線と出発シーン

A 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 34 bound for Kyoto, on Track No. 11 at Shin-osaka Station

A 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 41 bound for Kansai International Airport, arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 11

Track No. 13 at Shin-osaka Station shortly before the 7.19 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" train bound for Yasu via Kyoto arrived at the station

After spending approximately 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 12-car 223 series EMU, operating on the 7.19 p.m. Special Rapid Service bound for Yasu via Kyoto, finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 7.18 p.m. on Track No. 13. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through the first car and settled in for the short early evening journey back to the hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto.

Once the clock struck exactly 7.19 p.m., all of the train doors were closed, and the Special Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for its short early evening journey duration of 56 minutes towards the suburban city of Yasu located in Shiga Prefecture. I was then on my way for a short early evening journey duration of just 25 minutes back towards the lively hustle and bustle of the historical capital city of Japan.

223系 新快速 野洲行き 新大阪駅に入線シーン

223系 新快速 野洲行き 新大阪駅から京都駅間 (1/2)

223系 新快速 野洲行き 新大阪駅から京都駅間 (2/2)

After a short early evening journey duration of 25 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka, I finally arrived back at Kyoto Station at 7.44 p.m. on Track No. 2. Being sure to check that I had left none of my belongings on board, I alighted the train and called my dad to tell him that I had already arrived back. My dad went on to inform me that he had already returned our rented Toyota car at the Toyota Rent-a-Car station near Kyoto Station and that he was already waiting for me at the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto.

Without wasting anymore time, I immediately took the escalators all the way up to the JR Line concourse and showed my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate. Upon exiting the JR Line concourse, I took the escalators down to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse, and changed to another set of escalators down towards the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station before crossing the road leading to the Ibis Style Hotel, where my dad was waiting for me.

Reaching the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto at 7.50 p.m., I met my dad and we managed to hail a nearby MK cab for the journey back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya. Boarding the cab, we immediately informed the driver to take us back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto. Soon enough, once both of us were on board the MK cab with my belongings loaded in the boot, we finally departed the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto at 7.55 p.m. for a short 15-minute cab ride back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya.

Tracks No. 2 and 3 serving some of the commuter trains bound for the Biwako Line and Kosei Line at Kyoto Station during the evening rush hours

The departure information board in the JR Line concourse at Kyoto Station during the evening rush hours

The JR Line concourse at Kyoto Station during the evening rush hours

The Tokaido Shinkansen concourse at Kyoto Station during the evening rush hours

The JR Central Ticket Office in the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse at Kyoto Station during the evening rush hours

Approaching the Hachijo Shinkansen West Gate at Kyoto Station via the escalators

The exterior view of the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto at night

The exterior view of Kyoto Station near the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto at night

The MK cab stand located just below the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto at night

Travelling in the underground tunnel below the JR Kyoto Line tracks near Kyoto Station

Travelling between downtown Shimogyo-ku and Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Travelling along the alley close to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

After a short cab journey duration of 15 minutes from Kyoto Station in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, we finally arrived back at the entrance to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 8.10 p.m.. Paying our cab fare, my dad helped me to get my baggage from the boot of the cab before we went back into the Machiya. Entering the Machiya itself, both my mum and younger brother were inside, where my younger brother explained to me that he enjoyed himself mostly in Arashiyama, to which, I was glad that he did.

Putting my belongings aside in my room, I had a nice, hot shower and changed into another set of outing clothes before lying down to have a rest for a while for the rest of the evening. Soon enough, both my younger brother and I started to feel quite hungry at around nine o' clock. Feeling too tired to go anywhere downtown, we decided to eat at Big Boy Restaurant Shijo located just near the main road, where we had eaten dinner on the first day when we arrived in Kyoto, to which, my dad agreed to buy something for my mum and himself to eat.

With that, all three of us put on our footwear and grabbed our necessary belongings and left the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 9.25 p.m.. My mum, however, was too tired from all her outings from the past week, so she decided to stay in the Machiya so that she could pack up some of our baggage for the return journey back home to Singapore the next day. The walk linking between the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya and Big Boy Restaurant Shijo took about five minutes only.

The exterior view of the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at night

The dimly-lit alley near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, late at night

Walking past some closed shops in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, by some shops

Crossing a dimly-lit railway crossing to the other side of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, at night

Finally stumbling upon Big Boy Restaurant Shijo Kyoto

After a short five-minute walk from the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya, we finally arrived at the entrance to Big Boy Restaurant Shijo at 9.30 p.m.. Entering the restaurant, we promptly requested for a large table for the three of us, where we were directed to one empty table located near the entrance by a waitress. Arriving at our table, the waitress then left us with the food and beverage menus to make our reviews before we decided to place our main meal orders for dinner.

Once we were ready to eat, we pressed the attendant call button, where a waitress showed up at our table to take down our main meal orders for dinner. We managed to order several grilled steak dishes and side dishes, such as french fries and mozzarella cheese sticks for the main dinner course. That afternoon, both my younger brother and I had a very filling and sumptuous simple birthday late night dinner. At the middle of our dinner, my dad informed us that he would be leaving us to enjoy our dinner and offered to pay up our bill first.

Upon finishing dinner, both my younger brother and I were finally stuffed to the brim at 10.15 p.m.. Knowing that our dad went out to buy dinner for my mum and that he had already paid up for our dinner bill, we checked to see that we had left none of our belongings behind at the table. Soon enough, once we had our belongings with us, we left Big Boy Restaurant Shijo at 10.20 p.m. for a short late night walk of just five minutes back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya.

The interior of Big Boy Restaurant Shijo Kyoto shortly after we had entered the restaurant

The cover page for the Grand Menu at Big Boy Restaurant Shijo Kyoto

The interior of Big Boy Restaurant Shijo Kyoto facing towards the self-service soup and beverage corner

The self-service beverage corner in Big Boy Restaurant Shijo Kyoto

Two plates of mozzarella cheese sticks to be shared among us

A large basket of french fries to be shared among us

A sizzling plate of hamburg steak for my younger brother

A sizzling plate of Angus rib-eye steak for myself

Another two plates of mozzarella cheese sticks to be shared among us

Another large basket of french fries to be shared among us

The interior of Big Boy Restaurant Shijo Kyoto shortly before we left for the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

The exterior view of Big Boy Restaurant Shijo Kyoto late at night

Bypassing the Lawson convenience store in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, late at night

About to cross a railway crossing to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

The dimly-lit alley leading to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, late at night

Finally arriving back at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

After a short five-minute walk from Big Boy Restaurant Shijo, we finally arrived back at the entrance to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 9.30 p.m.. Entering the Machiya itself, both my younger brother and I had another nice, hot shower and changed up into our pyjamas before settling in further for the night. We also remembered to pack some of our belongings in preparation for the return journey back home to Singapore the next day.

Upon packing some of our belongings, we set up all of our electronic devices, including our mobile phones and cameras to be charged overnight so that we would have enough battery power for the journey back home before we were left to our laptops to keep us company for the rest of the night. Soon enough, by around midnight or one o' clock late that night, all of us finally turned in for a well-earned good night's rest for the journey home to Singapore the next day.

This officially brings the fourth segment of my special mid-term summer birthday vacation to Japan in June 2014 to a formal conclusion. The fifth and final segment of this report will be posted once I have selected the highest quality photographs and videos for that particular segment, so please do ensure that you keep yourselves tuned in for it!

2 comments:

  1. I took the Sakura 560 from Kagoshima-Chuo to Hakata on 9/4/2015. The train is R7, and I got seat 12A in the number 8 car.

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