Friday, June 6, 2014

Special Mid-Term Summer Birthday Trip to Japan in June 2014 ~ Section 2

Welcome to the second segment of my special mid-term summer birthday vacation to Japan in June 2014. There will be a total of three focus topics that will be covered in this segment of the report. They will mainly be spending an entire mid-afternoon of shopping at Kansai International Airport, my first trip to Toyama and the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets, along with my birthday shopping trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in celebration of my 19th birthday.

Part 1 ~ Spending A Day Of Shopping At Kansai International Airport


The next morning, which was Monday (2 June), I woke up at around 9.30 a.m. after having a well-earned good night's sleep. All of my family members were still fast asleep at this time of the morning as they were quite tired from the previous day. The very first thing I did was to have a shower and change into my day's attire before doing anything else. I also had advanced travel plans to head back to Kansai International Airport for my own self-travel and shopping trip on this very day itself.


With that, I immediately called the MK Cab company using my mobile phone and arranged for an MK Cab to come and fetch me to Kyoto Station at 10.30 a.m.. The MK Cab phone recipient understood me immediately and agreed to do so. As I waited for my pre-arranged MK Cab to Kyoto Station, I packed up some of my necessary belongings in preparation for my upcoming train journey towards Kansai International Airport. My mum, however, was awake to see me off.

The relatively quiet street view outside the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya on a bright summer's morning

The logo of the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya located just outside the main entrance door

The exterior view of the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya with my mum at the main door

After preparing all my necessary belongings for the day, my pre-arranged MK cab to Kyoto Station finally arrived at our doorstep at 10.25 a.m., five minutes ahead of schedule. The driver then got out and opened the rear cab door, so that I could board the cab comfortably. I then informed the MK cab driver that my intended destination at Kyoto Station was the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance.

The MK cab driver then understood me and agreed to take me there. Soon enough, with my mum bidding me luck and promising to see me back later that night, I finally departed the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 10.30 a.m. sharp. The entire journey between the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya and the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance located at Kyoto Station took no more than approximately 15 minutes.

My pre-arranged MK cab towards Kyoto Station arriving at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

Travelling along the narrow streets of Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya on the way to Kyoto Station

About to turn towards the road leading to Kyoto Station located in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing some old traditional shophouses between Nakagyo-ku and Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Travelling adjacent to the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct near Kyoto Station

The exterior view of the New Miyako Hotel Kyoto just as I approach the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at Kyoto Station

After a short MK cab journey time of just 15 minutes from the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, I finally arrived at the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station at 10.45 a.m.. Paying my cab fare, I thanked the driver for his services and went into the station concourse to look for a Japan Rail Pass Exchange Office so that I could exchange my Japan Rail Pass Exchange Voucher for my one-week Green-type Japan Rail Pass. Soon enough, I finally found the JR Central Ticket Office and Travel Agency located near the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to the station.

Entering the ticket office itself, I went to the nearest ticketing counter, where I managed to exchange my Japan Rail Pass Exchange Voucher for my one-week Green-type Japan Rail Pass. The entire exchange process took no more than just 10 minutes, with my planned Japan Rail Pass use period lasting between Tuesday (3 June) and Sunday (9 June). Upon making my Japan Rail Pass exchange process, I proceeded to make my Green Car (first class) seat reservations to Kansai International Airport and to Tokyo for my 19th birthday on Wednesday.

I paid separate fare cash payments for these two trips, knowing that my 19th birthday trip to Tokyo would involve the use of NOZOMI trains, and that I could not use NOZOMI trains with my Japan Rail Pass. For the in-bound journey to Kansai International Airport, I would catch the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 12.15 p.m., and arrive at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 1.34 p.m..

Thanking the ticketing officer for her services, I immediately proceeded to the JR Line ticket gate, where I showed my limited express ticket to the station staff before walking through the underground passageway towards the JR Line platforms. I also went to check the train departure information board to check which platform the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport would depart at 12.15 p.m. from Track No. 30.

Without wasting anymore time, I walked along the underground passageway linking to the JR Line platforms, and took the escalators up to Tracks No. 30 and 31 in preparation for my afternoon trip to Kansai International Airport. While waiting for the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport to arrive, I spotted several commuter trains and a few limited express trains on the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line) and San'in Main Line arriving and departing from the station.

About to alight from the MK cab at the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station

Several shops located near the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station

Approaching the JR Central Ticket Office located near the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at Kyoto Station

The JR Central Ticket Office located near the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at Kyoto Station

The interior of the JR Central Ticket Office located near the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at Kyoto Station

The JR Line ticketing gates located near the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at Kyoto Station

The staircase and escalator linking to the JR Line concourse leading to the platforms

The JR Line concourse leading to the station platforms in Kyoto Station

The escalators leading up to Tracks No. 30 to 33 in the underground station concourse at Kyoto Station

Track No. 0 serving the limited express trains bound for the Chubu and Hokuriku regions at Kyoto Station

The passageway leading to Tracks No. 30 to 33 at Kyoto Station

The large and grand station concourse of Kyoto Station located below the Hotel Granvia Kyoto and JR Isetan Department Store

The overhead signboards leading to Tracks No. 30 to 33 at Kyoto Station

Approaching Tracks No. 30 to 33 at Kyoto Station

Tracks No. 31 to 33 serving the San'in Main Line trains at Kyoto Station

A 4-car 381 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Kinosaki" No. 3 bound for Kinosaki-onsen, awaiting departure from Track No. 31 at Kyoto Station

Track No. 30 serving the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" trains linking to Kansai International Airport at Kyoto Station

A 12-car 223 series EMU, operating on the "Special Rapid Service" bound for the Biwako Line, approaching Track No. 2 at Kyoto Station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the station platform, a 6-car 281 series EMU finally entered Kyoto Station at 11.31 a.m. on Track No. 30. The train had arrived as the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 14 from Kansai International Airport, and was to undergo extensive cleaning prior to becoming the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport. The entire cleaning process took no more than just 10 minutes.

Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the train doors were opened again at 11.41 a.m. to allow the passengers to board the train. I immediately boarded the train via Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) cabin, and went to my assigned Seat No. 3A for the short journey time of 1 hour 19 minutes to Kansai International Airport. The seat next to me, 3B, would remain empty throughout the entire afternoon journey between Kyoto and Kansai International Airport.

As soon as the clock struck exactly 12.15 p.m., all the train doors closed, and the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 23 finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for its bright early afternoon journey duration of just 1 hour 19 minutes to Kansai International Airport. I was then on my way for a short and quick journey duration of just 1 hour 19 minutes to Kansai International Airport located on the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay.

281系 関空特急はるか23号 関西国際空港行き 京都駅に入線シーン

The 6-car 281 series EMU, which would soon operate on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The LED destination panel of the 6-car 281 series EMU, which would soon operate on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The logo of the 6-car 281 series EMU, which would soon operate on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

A view of my seat, 3A, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the in-bound segment between Kyoto and Kansai International Airport

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, from my seat during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

The name plate of Kyoto Station on Track No. 30

Awaiting departure from Kyoto Station

281系 関空特急はるか23号 関西国際空港行き 京都 (発車) ~ 山崎 (通過)

Bypassing some houses in the sparse, suburban town of Oyamazaki

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, from my seat between Yamazaki and Shimamoto Stations

Passing through Shimamoto Station

Travelling past a rice paddy field in the suburban town of Shimamoto

Bypassing a local train yard in the suburban city of Takatsuki near Takatsuki Station

Passing through Takatsuki Station

Travelling through the suburban city of Takatsuki

Passing through Settsu-tonda Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ibaraki

Passing through Ibaraki Station

Bypassing a large shopping mall in the suburban city of Ibaraki

Crossing a flyover rail bridge towards the Umeda Freight Line between Ibaraki and Senrioka Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Settsu

Passing through Senrioka Station

Bypassing a freight railway container yard in the suburban city of Suita

Passing through Suita Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the in-bound segment between Kyoto and Kansai International Airport

Bypassing a small housing apartment in the suburban city of Suita

Passing through Higashi-yodogawa Station

Bypassing several housing apartments in Yodogawa-ku, Osaka

Making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

281系 関空特急はるか23号 関西国際空港行き 新大阪駅から天王寺駅間

Making a brief stop at Tennoji Station

281系 関空特急はるか23号 関西国際空港行き 天王寺 (発車) ~ 百舌鳥 (通過)

Passing through Uenoshiba Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, from my seat between Uenoshiba and Tsukuno Stations

Passing through Tsukuno Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Tsukuno and Izumi-fuchu Stations

A view of my seat, 3A, between Tsukuno and Izumi-fuchu Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Tsukuno and Izumi-fuchu Stations

Passing through Otori Station

Bypassing several housing areas in the suburban city of Izumi on the JR Hanwa Line

Passing through Kita-shinoda Station

Bypassing several housing areas between Kita-shinoda and Izumi-fuchu Stations

Passing through Shinodayama Station

Bypassing several housing areas near Izumi-fuchu Station

Passing through Izumi-fuchu Station

Bypassing several housing apartments in the suburban city of Kishiwada

281系 関空特急はるか23号 関西国際空港行き 久米田 (通過) ~ 関西空港 (到着)

After a short journey time of just 1 hour 19 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of the historical capital city of Japan, I finally arrived at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 1.34 p.m.. on Track No. 4. Checking to ensure that I had left none of my belongings behind on board, I alighted the train and took the elevator up to the station concourse, where I turned in my used limited express train ticket to the man at the staffed ticketing gate.

Feeling rather hungry already since I had yet to have breakfast that morning, I decided to find a good shop to shop at later on before finding a good restaurant to eat at for lunch. With that, I crossed the pedestrian footbridge from Kansai Airport Station and went into the main terminal building by 2.45 p.m., where I took the elevator up towards the third floor, where a majority of the shops and restaurants were located.

The 6-car 281 series EMU, which transported me to Kansai International Airport as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 from Kyoto earlier, on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the JR line trains towards downtown Osaka and Kyoto at Kansai Airport Station during the early afternoon hours

A 4-car 225 series EMU, operating on the "Kansai Airport Rapid Service" bound for central Osaka, on Track No. 3 at Kansai Airport Station

A 6-car Nankai 50000 series EMU, operating on the Nankai Airport Limited Express "Rapi:t β" No. 41 from Namba, arriving at the Kansai Airport terminal station on Track No. 1. This train is painted in the special "Neo Zeon" red livery until 30 June 2014

The JR line concourse and elevators linking towards the platforms at Kansai Airport Station during the early afternoon hours

The relatively crowded JR Ticket Office in the main station concourse of Kansai Airport Station during the early afternoon hours

The Nankai Tourist Support Center in the main station concourse of Kansai Airport Station during the early afternoon hours

The main station concourse of Kansai Airport Station during the early afternoon hours

The exterior view of Kansai Airport Station during the early afternoon hours

Looking up towards the third level of the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport

Looking up all the way towards the fourth level of the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport

The domestic flight level on the second floor of the passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

A lineup of shops on the third floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport shortly after I had arrived

A small area on the third floor of the passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport on the right side under renovation

Finally stumbling upon Hakuhinkan Toy Park in the third floor at Kansai International Airport

After a short walk of just five minutes from Kansai Airport Station, I finally stumbled upon a notable hobby and toy shop, by the name of Hakuhinkan Toy Park, on the third level of the main airport terminal building at 2.50 p.m.. This shop mainly specialises in selling plush toys for young children, but also sells aircraft models for true adult aviation enthusiasts. Entering the shop, I looked at the items on display carefully before making my selections on what I wanted to purchase.

Looking through the items available on display, I decided to purchase two new Scale 1:500 aircraft models, of which one of them was a Boeing 777 and the other was a new Boeing 787 model, which became my very first Boeing 787 model to be added into my collection. Upon paying for my aircraft models, I was starting to become rather hungry, so I decided to look around for a good restaurant to eat at for lunch. A majority of the restaurants in Kansai International Airport are also located on the third floor, like the shops.

As of my two newly-purchased Scale 1:500 aircraft models, they were, as follows:

1) ANA − All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-881 Dreamliner ANA Official Precision Models Scale 1:500 (NH 50074)

ANA − All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-881 Dreamliner ANA Official Precision Models Scale 1:500 (NH 50074)

2) Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5/ER Hogan Scale 1:500 (HG9185)

Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5/ER Hogan Scale 1:500 (HG9185)

A small shop selling travelling baggage in the third floor at Kansai International Airport

Walking along the passageway on the third level of the passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

A lineup of restaurants on the third floor of the passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

Finally stumbling upon KYK Restaurant in the third level of the passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

After walking through the main terminal building and shopping for approximately 10 minutes, I finally stumbled upon a small local restaurant specialising in making and serving deep-fried Tonkatsu pork, by the name of KYK Restaurant, at two o' clock. I was very familiar with this restaurant as I had eaten lunch here before when I came to Kansai International Airport back in June 2013. Since I was already feeling very hungry as I had yet to have something to eat, I immediately requested for a non-smoking table for myself.

With the food and beverage menus readily available at my table, I immediately made a good review through them before placing my main meal orders for lunch. Once I was ready to eat, a waitress finally came by to my table to take down my main meal orders for lunch. I ordered a deep-fried Tonkatsu Prime Fillet pork meal set, a side order of deep-fried Tonkatsu pork loin and a glass of red wine to accompany the upcoming Tonkatsu meal.

Soon enough, once my main dishes were delivered to my table, I had a very sumptuous and filling Tonkatsu meal at KYK Restaurant in Kansai International Airport. Upon finishing my Tonkatsu lunch, I was finally stuffed to the brim at 2.50 p.m.. Paying my lunch bill, I went up towards the international departures and check-in area for a quick washroom break prior to heading back down to the domestic flight level for a rest and brief water break.

Several miniature dishes on display outside KYK Restaurant

The cover page for the food and beverage menu in KYK Restaurant in the third level of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

Reviewing the food and beverage menu for KYK Restaurant in the third level of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

The interior of KYK Restaurant during lunch hours on the third floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

A glass of red wine to accompany my upcoming Tonkatsu meal

An overall view of my Tonkatsu meal during lunchtime

A platter of deep-fried Tonkatsu pork loin for myself

A deep-fried Tonkatsu pork fillet meal for myself as the main lunch course

The interior of KYK Restaurant during lunch hours on the third floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport shortly before I left

The exterior view of KYK Restaurant in the third floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

The international departures and check-in hall at Kansai International Airport during the late afternoon hours

The international departure information board in the international departures and check-in hall at Kansai International Airport during the late afternoon hours

The domestic flight level on the second floor of the passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport during the late afternoon hours

A cool and refreshing bottle of mineral water for myself while having a short rest

The interior of the domestic flight level in the Main Terminal building at Kansai International Airport shortly before I headed back to Kansai Airport Station

After spending approximately 1 hour 25 minutes of shopping at Kansai International Airport, the clock was finally showing 3.10 p.m.. Knowing that I had one hour left before my return train back to Kyoto, I decided to head back to Kansai Airport Station. For the return journey back to Kyoto, I would catch the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 26 bound for Kyoto, which would be scheduled to depart Kansai Airport Station at 4.16 p.m., and arrive at the Kyoto terminal station at 5.32 p.m..

With that, I left the terminal building by 3.15 p.m. and crossed the pedestrian footbridge to Kansai Airport Station, eventually arriving back there by 3.20 p.m.. The first thing I did upon reaching the station was to head to the JR Ticket Office, where I made my Green Car (first class) Shinkansen reservations for trip to Fukuoka for this coming Thursday (5 June) via a Shinkansen NOZOMI train between Shin-osaka and Hakata Stations, where I paid up the fares for both the in-bound and return.

Upon making my Green Car (first class) Shinkansen seat reservations for Fukuoka for this coming Thursday (5 June), I immediately went to check the departure information board in the main station concourse to see which platform the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 26 bound for Kyoto would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 26 bound for Kyoto would depart at 4.16 p.m. from Track No. 4.

Without wasting anymore time, I immediately showed my Green Car (first class) limited express ticket to the man at the staffed ticketing gate and took the elevator down to Tracks No. 3 and 4 in preparation for my return trip back to Kyoto. While waiting for the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 26 bound for Kyoto, I did my usual train-spotting on the platforms, including spotting a few Nankai Airport Limited Express Rapi:t trains going to and from Namba in downtown Osaka.

The Rapi:t (ラピート) is a limited express train operated by Nankai Electric Railway between Kansai International Airport and Namba Station located in downtown Osaka, Japan. The train service runs over the Nankai Main Line between Namba and Izumisano Stations, and on the Nankai Airport Line between Izumisano and Kansai International Airport. The service is capable of reaching a maximum top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph).

The service commenced on 4 September 1994, in collaboration with the opening of Kansai International Airport, using a dedicated fleet of six 6-car Nankai 50000 series EMUs at a top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph). These trains sport a purely navy blue livery with oval-shaped windows, making them look like modern passenger aircraft. Super Seat accommodation is provided in Cars No. 5 and 6, with all seats reserved and non-smoking.

There are two classes of Rapi:t service, which are Rapi:t α and Rapi:t β. All services usually stop at Shin-imamiya, Tengachaya, Izumisano and Rinku Town Stations between Namba and Kansai International Airport. However, the Rapi:t β service makes two additional stops at Sakai and Kishiwada Stations. The fastest journey time for the Rapi:t α services takes 34 minutes, and 39 minutes for the Rapi:t β services.

While the Rapi:t β service operates daily, there are only three Rapi:t α services heading only to Kansai International Airport on weekday mornings between seven o' clock and nine o' clock. A typical Super Seat ticket for the Nankai Airport Limited Express Rapi:t between Namba and Kansai International Airport costs ¥1,640 (S$20) each way, making the Rapi:t relatively cheaper than the Haruka service operated by JR West for foreign tourists without a Japan Rail Pass.

The exterior view of Kansai Airport Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The main station concourse of Kansai Airport Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The Nankai Line ticketing gates in the main station concourse of Kansai Airport Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The Nankai Tourist Support Center in the main station concourse of Kansai Airport Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The JR Line ticketing gates in the station concourse of Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon hours

The interior of the JR Ticket Office at Kansai Airport Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The ticketing gates at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon hours

The JR Line concourse of Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon hours

The JR Line platforms at Kansai Airport Station shortly after I had arrived

A 4-car 225 series EMU, operating on the "Kansai Airport Rapid Service" bound for downtown Osaka, awaiting departure from Track No. 3 at Kansai Airport Station

An out-of-service 6-car 281 series EMU on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station. This train had just arrived from Kyoto as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 27 bound for Kansai International Airport earlier

The overall view of the station platforms of Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon hours

The two limited express trains serving Kansai International Airport in a siding on the other side of Kansai International Airport

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the JR Line trains heading towards Tennoji, Osaka and Kyoto at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon hours

A 4-car 223 series EMU, operating on the "Kansai Airport Rapid Service" bound for Tennoji, on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

225系 関空快速 大阪市内行き 関西空港駅から出発シーン

南海50000系 空港特急ラピートβ56号 難波行き 関西空港駅に入線シーン

A 6-car Nankai 50000 series EMU, operating on the Nankai Airport Limited Express "Rapi:t β" No. 56 bound for Namba, on Track No. 1 at Namba Station

A 4-car 223 series EMU, operating on the "Kansai Airport Rapid Service" bound for downtown Osaka, on Track No. 3 at Kansai Airport Station

Track No. 4 serving the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" trains bound for Kyoto and Maibara shortly before the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 26 bound for Kyoto arrived at the platform

After spending approximately half an hour of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 6-car 281 series EMU, which would soon operate on the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 26 bound for Kyoto, finally entered Kansai Airport Station at 4.05 p.m. on Track No. 4. Once the doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and went towards my assigned Seat No. 4C for the short return trip of just 1 hour 16 minutes back to downtown Kyoto.

There were not much passengers in the Green Car (first class) cabin during the boarding process at Kansai Airport Station, most probably due to them switching to the much cheaper Nankai Airport Limited Express Rapi:t. Once the clock struck exactly 4.16 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 26 finally pulled out of Kansai Airport Station, taking me back for a very short journey duration of just 1 hour 16 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of the historical capital city of Japan.

281系 関空特急はるか26号 京都行き 関西空港駅に入線シーン

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 26 bound for Kyoto, during the boarding process at Kansai Airport Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 26 bound for Kyoto, during the boarding process at Kansai Airport Station

A view of my seat, 4C, during the boarding process at Kansai Airport Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the return segment between Kansai International Airport and Kyoto

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 26 bound for Kyoto, from my seat during the boarding process at Kansai Airport Station

Awaiting departure from Kansai Airport Station

281系 関空特急はるか26号 京都行き 関西空港 (発車) ~ 久米田 (通過)

Bypassing several housing areas in the suburban city of Kishiwada

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 26 bound for Kyoto, from my seat between Higashi-kishiwada and Izumi-fuchu Stations

Passing through Izumi-fuchu Station

Bypassing several housing areas in the suburban city of Izumi

Passing through Shinodayama Station

Passing through Kita-shinoda Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 26 bound for Kyoto, from my seat between Izumi-fuchu and Otori Stations

Bypassing several housing areas in the suburban city of Takaishi

Passing through Tonoki Station

Bypassing a local train depot near Otori Station

Passing through Otori Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Nishi-ku, Osaka

281系 関空特急はるか26号 京都行き 津久野 (通過) ~ 天王寺 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Tennoji Station

281系 関空特急はるか26号 京都行き 天王寺駅から新大阪駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 26 bound for Kyoto, while making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 26 bound for Kyoto, while making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

A view of my seat, 4C, while making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

Bypassing several housing areas in Yodogawa-ku, Osaka

Passing through Higashi-yodogawa Station

Bypassing several housing areas in the suburban city of Suita

Passing through Suita Station

Passing through Kishibe Station

Bypassing several housing areas in the suburban city of Settsu

Passing through Ibaraki Station

Bypassing several housing areas in the suburban city of Ibaraki

Passing through Settsu-tonda Station

Bypassing several housing areas in the suburban city of Takatsuki

281系 関空特急はるか26号 京都行き 高槻 (通過) ~ 京都 (到着)

After a short journey time of just 1 hour 16 minutes from the vicinity of Kansai International Airport located along the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay, I finally arrived back at the Kyoto terminal station at 5.32 p.m. on Track No. 30. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind, I alighted the train and informed my family that I had just arrived back in Kyoto. My dad then informed me that he had rented a small Toyota car for our use until Monday (9 June) from a nearby Toyota Rent-A-Car shop. My parents claim that even in Japan, they would feel crippled without a car, which may not necessarily be true.

My dad also informed me to exit via the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to the station, and cross the road towards the Ibis Styles Hotel Kyoto, where they would be waiting for me. With that, I immediately took the escalator up towards the main station concourse, where I turned in my used limited express ticket before crossing over to the Shinkansen concourse of the station. On the way, I stopped at the JR Central Ticket Office located in the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse to make my Green Car (first class) seat reservations for Toyama the next day.

The 6-car 281 series EMU, which took me back to Kyoto as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 26 from Kansai International Airport earlier, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

Tracks No. 30 and 31 serving the San'in Main Line trains and the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" trains bound for Kansai International Airport at Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

Track No. 0 serving the limited express trains bound for the Chubu and Hokuriku regions at Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

The main station concourse leading to the JR Line platforms at Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

Finally arriving at the JR Line ticketing gates at Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

The JR Line concourse of Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

Approaching the JR Central Ticket Office in the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

The interior of the JR Central Ticket Office in the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

The Tokaido Shinkansen ticketing gates at Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

The exterior view of the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto during the early evening hours

Crossing the road towards the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto from Kyoto Station during the early evening hours

The exterior view of Kyoto Station during the early evening hours

After a short walk of just 15 minutes from the busy and crowded station concourses of Kyoto Station, I finally met up with my family in our small rented brown Toyota car at 5.45 p.m.. Loading my belongings into the boot of the car, my parents informed me that we would be having dinner at an Italian restaurant located along the Kamo River. I also informed them that I would be activating my Green-type Japan Rail Pass from the next day until Monday (9 June).

My parents then replied that they would be exchanging their vouchers for their Japan Rail Passes at a later date. Once everything had been loaded into the boot of the car, we finally departed the lively hustle and bustle of Kyoto Station by 5.50 p.m. for an early evening road drive around the Kamo River in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto. As we neared downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, I could see that the views of the Kamo River were very breathtaking, especially during dusk.

Finally departing the lively compound of Kyoto Station

Bypassing a road crossing in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing a barbecue restaurant located between Shimogyo-ku and Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing another road junction near Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing several housing areas in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing some old shophouses in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing Sanjo Station in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Travelling along the roads between Higashiyama-ku and Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Crossing the Kamo River between Higashiyama-ku and Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing several urban infrastructure in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Turning away from the main road in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Finally arriving at a double-storey car parking area by the Kamo River in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

After a very scenic road drive along the Kamo River for approximately 15 minutes, we finally arrived at a double-storey car parking area by the Kamo River at 6.05 p.m.. Parking our car on the upper level of the parking area, we walked down the planked road and walked along the Kamo River very slowly. On the riverside, we saw a few ducks wading on the river bed, which was a very beautiful sight.

There were also some people sitting by the riverside to enjoy the evening tranquility of the Kamo River. Walking along the river, we climbed along a pathway leading to some riverside restaurants. There were a wide variety of restaurants around the vicinity near the Kamo River, including foreign and local restaurants. Walking through the lively shopping streets of Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, we searched for a good restaurant to eat at for dinner.

The view of the Kamo River from the double-storey car parking area in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, during the early evening hours

A stork wading in the middle of the Kamo River during the early evening hours

The view of a restaurant building by the Kamo River during the early evening hours

Several people enjoying the evening tranquility of the Kamo River

A small pedestrian and road bridge crossing the Kamo River in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, during dusk

The overall view of the Kamo River during dusk

Two ducks wading in the midst of the Kamo River

The riverside corniche by the Kamo River during dusk

Bypassing a sukiyaki restaurant near the Kamo River in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

An alley of restaurants located near the Kamo River in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, during dusk

Walking along the lively streets of Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, during dusk

Finally stumbling upon a riverside Italian restaurant, Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill

After walking through the very lively shopping districts of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, we finally stumbled upon an Italian restaurant, named Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill, at 6.35 p.m.. Feeling very hungry already, we promptly requested for an open-air table by the small riverside for the four of us. A waitress then showed us to an empty four-seat table located by the small riverside and provided us with the food and beverage menus for us to have a good review before placing our main meal orders for dinner.

Once we had a good review through the food and beverage menus, a waitress came by to our table to take down our main meal orders for dinner. We ordered several of the dishes which would suit our tastes and preferences, such as spaghetti alla carbonara, yakitori and potato wedges. That night, we had a very filling and sumptuous dinner at Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill Italian Restaurant Kyoto. The riverside view, especially at night, was very breathtaking, as this type of sight cannot be obtained in Singapore.

The interior of Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill as seen from our open-air table during dusk

The first view of the small stream flowing to the Kamo River as seen from our outdoor table at Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill during dusk

The cover page for the food and beverage menus at Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill

Reviewing the food and beverage menus at Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill

Overlooking several downtown infrastructure near the Kamo River in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, during dusk from the Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill

Overlooking the small stream flowing to the Kamo River from the Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill during dusk

My family posing for a photograph at Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill

Our alcoholic beverages on our dining table at Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill

Our first platter of potato wedges to be shared among us

A platter of salad to be shared among us

Our second platter of potato wedges to be shared among us

Several sticks of yakitori being grilled by the bar tables in Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill

Two platters of yakitori to be shared among us

A platter of spaghetti alla carbonara for myself

A platter of assorted meats to be shared among us

Two platters of assorted meats and salad to be shared among us

A platter of spaghetti alla carbonara for my younger brother

After having a very sumptuous and filling at Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill Kyoto, we were finally stuffed to the brim at 8.10 p.m.. Paying up our restaurant dinner bill, we departed the restaurant at 8.15 p.m. and walked along the lively nightlife streets of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto. The first thing we decided to do was to find a good supermarket to search for some groceries to buy before heading back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya.

Walking through the lively nightlife, we finally stumbled upon a supermarket by the name of Meidi-Ya. Entering the supermarket, we browsed through the various items on sale and bought a few items. We then walked back along the path where we had come through via the Kamo River. The night scenery was very beautiful by the Kamo River, and there was a fire entertainment show going on by the riverside corniche.

The main entrance to Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Grill shortly before we left the restaurant

The lively nightlife of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto at night

Walking through the streets of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, at night

Arriving at Meidi-Ya supermarket in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

The lively nightlife of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto at night shortly before we went back to the riverside car parking area

A fire performance going on by the Kamo River at night

A small pedestrian and road bridge crossing the Kamo River in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, at night

Several people enjoying the evening tranquility of the Kamo River at night

Walking along the corniche of the Kamo River at night

The overall view of the Kamo River at night

The view of the Kamo River from the double-storey car parking area in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, as we get nearer to it at night

Finally arriving at a double-storey car parking area by the Kamo River in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto at night

After a short and brisk night walk along the Kamo River from the lively nightlife of the alley of shops and restaurants located in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, we finally arrived back at the double-storey car parking area by the Kamo River at 8.40 p.m.. Walking up the plank to the upper level of the car parking area, we went towards our rented dark brown Toyota car and loaded all of our belongings into the car.

Once all of our belongings had been loaded into our rented car, we finally departed the very serene vicinity of the Kamo River by 8.45 p.m.. The entire short road journey duration back towards the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya located on the other side of downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto from the Kamo River took no more than just 15 minutes. Kyoto was still very lively, especially when it is at night.

Finally arriving back at our rented Toyota car at the double-storey car parking area by the Kamo River

The view of the double-storey car parking area by the Kamo River from our rented Toyota car shortly before we left for the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

Bypassing the Hotel Okura Kyoto at night

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

Bypassing the Lawson convenience store in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, at night in our rented Toyota car

Finally arriving at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at night

After a short night drive along the Kamo River, we finally arrived back at the entrance to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at nine o' clock. Grabbing our belongings from the car, we all entered the Machiya, while my dad went to park the car at the car parking area located near the main road. Storing away our belongings and charging our electronic devices, we all had a nice, hot shower before changing into our pyjamas.

Upon changing into our pyjamas, I went to set up my camera batteries and mobile phone to be charged and set my alarm to wake me up at 6.15 a.m. the next morning before settling in further for the night. After that, I finally turned in by around midnight and one o' clock for a well-earned good night's sleep in preparation for my upcoming long morning train journey towards Toyama the next morning.

Part 2 ~ My First Day Trip To Toyama & Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets


The next morning, which was Tuesday (3 June), I woke up at precisely 6.15 a.m. after my mobile phone alarm blasted off early. Leaping out of bed, I went to have a nice, hot shower and changed into my attire for the day before preparing all of my necessary belongings in preparation for my upcoming morning train journey towards Toyama later on. I was quite lucky since I had made my Green Car (first class) seat reservations the day before the trip.

For the in-bound journey to Toyama, I would catch the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 3 bound for Toyama, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 8.11 a.m., and arrive at the Toyama terminal station at 11.05 a.m.. My dad, who happened to be awake at that time, offered to give me a lift to the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station once I was complete with the preparation of my necessary belongings for the day.

The interior of the kitchen in the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya during the early morning hours

The small garden and gazebo located outside our living room at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya during the early morning hours

The three washroom cubicles located outside our living room at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya during the early morning hours

After preparing all of my necessary belongings for the day, I was finally ready to leave the Machiya at 6.55 a.m.. My dad, who happened to be behind me, informed me that he, along with my mum and younger brother, would be driving up all the way towards the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets later that afternoon. He told me that I could meet up with them there if I wanted to do so. With that, we left the Machiya by seven o' clock, and walked towards the car parking area near the main road.

Arriving at the car parking area near the main road by 7.05 a.m., my dad went to pay the release cost at the automatic car parking payment machine, while I loaded my baggage into the boot of the car. Once all of the necessary preparations were completed, we finally left the car parking area near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 7.10 a.m.. The entire road trip to Kyoto Station took no more than just 15 minutes.

The relatively quiet street view outside the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya on a quiet early morning

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

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

Finally driving past some quiet housing areas in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, on a bright early summer morning

Bypassing some housing apartment flats in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, on a bright summer morning

Bypassing an old traditional and historical temple between Nakagyo-ku and Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, on a bright early summer morning

Bypassing an Aeon Department Store near Kyoto Station in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Kyoto Station coming into view shortly after we made a turn around the bend towards it

Finally approaching the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto

After a short road drive of just 15 minutes from the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya located in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, I finally arrived just outside the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto at 7.25 a.m.. Before leaving me to catch my train to Toyama, my dad warned me to take care at all times. Taking all of my baggage from the boot of the car, I thanked my dad for the lift before crossing the road to Kyoto Station.

Entering the station itself, I took the escalator up to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse and changed to another escalator up to the JR Line concourse. Upon arriving at the busy JR Line concourse, I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the lady at the staffed ticketing gate, and went to check the departure information board to see which platform the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 3 bound for Toyama would depart from.

According to the departure information board, the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 3 bound for Toyama would depart at 8.11 a.m. from Track No. 0. With that, I walked through the busy station concourse and went down to Track No. 0 in preparation for my trip to Toyama. The JR Line concourse and platforms were very crowded at that time since it was already the beginning of the early morning rush hour.

The Thunderbird (サンダーバード) is a limited express train service operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) between Osaka, Kanazawa, Wakura-onsen and Toyama in Japan. The service mainly runs over the Tokaido Main Line, Kosei Line and Hokuriku Main Line over its route. There are a total of 23 daily return workings running in each direction, with one service starting and terminating at Uozu Station. The service is capable of reaching a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).

The service commenced operations on 20 April 1995, using 681 series EMUs in three-car and six-car formation, with these sets frequently coupled to each other to form either nine or 12-car sets between Osaka and Kanazawa. From 3 March 2001, 683 series EMUs were introduced on these services in three-car and six-car formations. Like the earlier 681 series EMUs, these sets were often coupled together to form as nine-car or 12-car sets between Osaka and Kanazawa.

From 1 June 2009, new and enhanced 9-car 683 series EMUs were introduced on these services, displacing the older 485 series EMUs, which previously operated on Raicho services by 11 March 2011. From the start of the revised timetable on 12 March 2011, the name was standardised to simply Thunderbird. The new and enhanced 9-car 683 series trains feature gangway cabs at both ends, and are frequently coupled to the existing 681 series and 683 series EMUs between Osaka and Kanazawa.

Green Car (first class) accommodation is provided in Car No. 1, at the Osaka end. There are no extra charges for the Thunderbird for foreign tourists using the Japan Rail Pass. A typical journey duration between Osaka and Toyama takes 3 hours 15 minutes each way. From the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015, with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Nagano and Kanazawa, all Thunderbird services will be truncated to operate solely between Osaka and Kanazawa, with one daily return return working to and from Wakura-onsen.

The exterior view of Kyoto Station from across the road on a bright summer's early morning

A lineup of shops in the first floor concourse of Kyoto Station during the early morning hours

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 Line concourse of Kyoto Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information board in the JR Line concourse of Kyoto Station during the early morning rush hour

Walking through the busy JR Line concourse of Kyoto Station during the early morning rush hour

About to take the escalator down towards Track No. 0

A 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 1 bound for Toyama, on Track No. 0 at Kyoto Station

The logo of the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 1 bound for Toyama, on Track No. 0 at Kyoto Station

A 4-car 221 series EMU and 6-car 223 series EMU, operating on a morning local service bound for Maibara, arriving at Track No. 2 at Kyoto Station

A 12-car 223 series EMU, operating on the "Special Rapid Service" bound for Omi-shiotsu and Maibara, arriving at Track No. 0 at Kyoto Station

A 4-car 223 series EMU and 6-car 221 series EMU, operating on the morning local service bound for Maibara, arriving at Track No. 2 at Kyoto Station

A 12-car 223 series EMU, operating on the "Special Rapid Service" bound for Yasu, arriving at Track No. 0 at Kyoto Station

Track No. 0 serving the limited express trains bound for the Chubu and Hokuriku regions at Kyoto Station shortly before the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama arrived at the platform

After spending about 35 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, a 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 3 bound for Toyama, finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 8.10 a.m. on Track No. 0. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train through Car No. 2, and went into Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) cabin, before heading towards my assigned Seat No. 6A for the journey time of 2 hours 54 minutes towards Toyama.

The seat adjacent to me, 6B, would remain empty throughout my entire journey to Toyama. At exactly 8.11 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 3 finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for the remainder of its long morning journey time of 3 hours 25 minutes between Osaka and Toyama. I was then on my way for a long morning journey time of 2 hours 54 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of Toyama located in the Hokuriku region of Japan.

Toyama (富山市) is the prefectural capital of Toyama Prefecture in the Hokuriku region of Japan. With a population of 418,931, as of 1 May 2014, it is the second-largest city in the Hokuriku region, after Kanazawa, and the largest city in Toyama Prefecture. The city is served by Toyama Airport and Toyama Station on the Hokuriku Main Line and Takayama Main Line. Toyama will also have high-speed Shinkansen access with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Nagano and Kanazawa on 14 March 2015.

683系 特急サンダーバード3号 富山行き 京都駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

A view of my seat, 6A, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

Awaiting departure from Kyoto Station

683系 特急サンダーバード3号 富山行き 京都 (発車) ~ おごと温泉 (通過)

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, from my seat between Ogoto-onsen and Katata Stations

Passing through Katata Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the segment between Kyoto and Toyama

Bypassing some clustered housing areas in the suburban city of Otsu

Bypassing a farming field in the suburban city of Otsu

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, from my seat between Katata and Omi-maiko Stations

Bypassing some lakeside housing areas by Lake Biwa in the suburban city of Otsu

The view of Lake Biwa as seen from the Kosei Line between Katata and Omi-maiko Stations

Crafting out my report for the in-bound trip to Toyama on my blog

Passing through Shiga Station

Bypassing some more lakeside housing areas by Lake Biwa in the suburban city of Otsu

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, between Katata and Omi-maiko Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, between Katata and Omi-maiko Stations

Passing through Omi-maiko Station

A view of my seat, 6A, between Omi-maiko and Adogawa Stations

Bypassing some clustered housing areas in the suburban city of Takashima

Bypassing a farming field in the suburban city of Takashima

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, from my seat between Omi-maiko and Adogawa Stations

Passing through Adogawa Station

Passing through Omi-imazu Station

Bypassing some more clustered housing areas in the suburban city of Takashima

Bypassing another farming field in the suburban city of Takashima

A scene in "The Curse Of The Flying Dutchman (2011)", where James watches in disgust as Sir Topham Hatt has the runs in front of his own engines at Tidmouth Sheds

Passing through Makino Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, from my seat between Makino and Omi-shiotsu Stations

Watching one of my Airport Express (MTR) videos on my laptop. This video can also be found in the third segment of my combined mini-shopping vacation in Bangkok & Hong Kong in March 2014

Passing through Omi-shiotsu Station

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama

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

Crossing underneath a line flyover bridge near Omi-shiotsu Station

Passing through Shin-hikida Station

Bypassing some clustered housing areas in the suburban city of Tsuruga

Making a brief stop at Tsuruga Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, from my seat between Tsuruga and Takefu Stations

Passing through Imajo Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the sparse, rural town of Minamiechizen

Bypassing some housing areas in the sparse, rural city of Echizen

Bypassing a farming field in the sparse, rural city of Echizen

Making a brief stop at Takefu Station

Bypassing a farming field in the sparse, rural city of Sabae

Making a brief stop at Sabae Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, from my seat between Sabae and Fukui Stations

Bypassing a farming field in the suburban city of Fukui

Crossing the Echizen River between Sabae and Fukui Stations

Making a brief stop at Fukui Station

683系 特急サンダーバード3号 富山行き 福井駅から芦原温泉駅間

Making a brief stop at Awara-onsen Station

Bypassing a farming field in the sparse, rural city of Awara

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, from my seat between Awara-onsen and Kaga-onsen Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, between Awara-onsen and Kaga-onsen Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, between Awara-onsen and Kaga-onsen Stations

Passing through Daishoji Station

A scene from "CrimeWatch 2011 (Singapore): Episode 10", where a Police Investigation Officer arrests a man in connection with a case of theft of a container containing S$1 million worth of branded cosmetics and perfumes from a logistics hub in western Singapore in 2009

Making a brief stop at Kaga-onsen Station

Bypassing a farming field in the sparse, rural city of Kaga

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, from my seat between Kaga-onsen and Komatsu Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the sparse, rural city of Kaga

Passing through Awazu Station

Bypassing some rural housing areas in the suburban city of Komatsu

Bypassing a farming field in the suburban city of Komatsu

Bypassing some clustered housing areas in the suburban city of Komatsu

Making a brief stop at Komatsu Station

683系 特急サンダーバード3号 富山行き 小松駅から金沢駅間

Making a brief stop at Kanazawa Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, while making a brief stop at Kanazawa Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, while making a brief stop at Kanazawa Station

A poster advertising the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen line, scheduled to open on 14 March 2015, on board the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, while making a brief stop at Kanazawa Station

A view of my seat, 6A, while making a brief stop at Kanazawa Station

Bypassing a railway yard near Kanazawa Station

Overlooking the Hokuriku Shinkansen viaduct near Kanazawa Station. Note that this line is still undergoing test running, and expected to open on 14 March 2015

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, between Kanazawa and Isurugi Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, between Kanazawa and Isurugi Stations

Bypassing a farming field in the sparse, rural town of Tsubata

683系 特急サンダーバード3号 富山行き 石動 (通過) ~ 高岡 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Takaoka Station

683系 特急サンダーバード3号 富山行き 高岡駅から終点富山駅間

After an early morning journey duration of 2 hours 54 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto located in the Kansai region, I finally arrived at the Toyama terminal station at 11.05 a.m. on Track No. 6. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind, I alighted the train and walked across the station pedestrian footbridge before walking along the passageway leading to the main station concourse. The station building was undergoing renovations in preparation for the opening of the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen line linking between Nagano and Kanazawa from 14 March 2015.

Upon reaching the ticketing gates, I immediately showed my Japan Rail Pass to the man at the staffed ticketing gate, before heading to the JR Ticket Office to make my Green Car (first class) seat reservations for Sunday (8 June) as I was planning to travel to Nagano on that day. I then went to the tourist information office to get a map of the city of Toyama. Feeling very hungry already, I decided to look for a good restaurant to eat at for lunch before doing anything else. With that, I left the station at 11.30 a.m., and walked along the noisy streets near Toyama Station to look for a good restaurant to eat at for lunch.

Toyama Station (富山駅) is a railway station located in the city of Toyama, Japan. It is the main railway station serving Toyama and one of the major railway stations in the Hokuriku region of the country. The station serves as an interchange station for the Hokuriku Main Line, Takayama Main Line, Toyama Light Rail and Toyama Chiho Railway. The station will also serve as an interchange station for the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Nagano and Kanazawa, which will be scheduled to open on 14 March 2015.

The 9-car 683 series EMU, which took me from Kyoto as the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 3 bound for Toyama, on Track No. 6 at Toyama Station

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the Hokuriku Main Line trains bound for Itoigawa, Naoetsu and Echigo-yuzawa at Toyama Station

The station pedestrian footbridge linking to the platforms at Toyama Station

An out-of-service 3-car 413 series EMU on Track No. 2 at Toyama Station

Walking through the passageway linking between the platforms and the main station concourse. Note that the station is undergoing renovations to make way for the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen line from 14 March 2015

The main station concourse of Toyama Station during the early afternoon hours

The entrance to the JR Ticket Office in the main station concourse at Toyama Station

The "Thomas & Friends: 110 Children's Safety Stations" placard by the main entrance to the JR Ticket Office at Toyama Station

A model of an E7 Series Shinkansen train for the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen line in the JR Ticket Office counter at Toyama Station

A small cab stand located by the main entrance to Toyama Station

The exterior view of Toyama Station on a bright summer's afternoon

Finally approaching a nearby shopping mall, Marier

After a short walk through the scorching heat of downtown Toyama from Toyama Station, I finally arrived at a nearby shopping mall near to the station, with the name Marier, at 11.35 a.m.. Entering the shopping mall, I was relieved to have some cool air-conditioning from the hot surroundings from outside and took the elevator up to the sixth floor of the mall, where most of the restaurants were located. Once I was on the sixth floor, I looked at the various restaurants available to find a suitable one to eat at for lunch.

On the sixth floor, there was a wide variety of restaurants catering to both local and foreign cuisines. Soon enough, I finally managed to stumble upon a Chinese restaurant, bearing the name of Dragon Red River, at 11.40 a.m.. Feeling very hungry already, I immediately asked for a non-smoking table for myself. A waitress then directed me to an empty non-smoking table slightly near the entrance and gave me the food and beverage menus for my reviews before placing my main meal orders for lunch.

Upon making a good review through the food and beverage menus, a waitress then came by to my table to take down my main lunch order. I then ordered a plate of pork served in thick sauce on deep-fried noodles, deep-fried chicken and a platter of deep-fried shrimps, with a glass of white wine. Everything tasted filling but at an unusual taste, with the best part being the chicken. The deep-fried shrimps also tasted too strong for my taste buds.

The entrance to Marier shopping mall near Toyama Station on a bright summer's afternoon

The floor level layout of Marier Shopping Mall Toyama on the first level of the mall

The interior of the first level of Marier Shopping Mall Toyama

The sixth floor housing the restaurants in Marier Shopping Mall Toyama

Finally stumbling upon Dragon Red River on the sixth level of Marier Shopping Mall Toyama

The interior of Dragon Red River on the sixth floor of Marier Shopping Mall Toyama

Eyeing my intended main lunch dish outside the entrance to Dragon Red River

Reviewing the food and beverage menu of Dragon Red River

A platter of pork served in thick sauce and deep-fried noodles

A platter of deep-fried shrimps for myself, which tasted too strong

A small plate of deep-fried chicken for myself

A glass of white wine for myself

After having a strange but somewhat filling lunch at Dragon Red River, the clock was finally showing 12.30 p.m.. Feeling stuffed to the brim, I paid up my lunch bill and noticed that the weather outside was getting far too hot to enjoy the rest of Toyama. To get back to Kyoto, I was originally scheduled to catch the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 38 bound for Osaka, which would be scheduled to depart Toyama Station at 4.16 p.m., and arrive back at Kyoto Station at 7.08 p.m..

However, due to the extremely hot weather and considering the amount of time my family would be spending at the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets, I decided to meet up with them at the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets first. With that, I left the restaurant by 12.35 p.m. and took the elevator all the way down towards the first level of Marier, and exited the mall to Toyama Station, with the walk taking no more than five minutes. Arriving back at Toyama Station at 12.40 p.m., I went to the JR Ticket Office to change my seat reservations for the return trip.

For the journey to Sanda, I would catch the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 26 bound for Osaka, which would be scheduled to depart Toyama Station at 1.10 p.m., and arrive at the Osaka terminal station at 4.37 p.m.. Upon arriving at Osaka, I would immediately cross over to the Fukuchiyama Line Tambaji Rapid Service bound for Fukuchiyama, which would be expected to depart Osaka Station at 4.54 p.m., and arrive at Sanda Station at 5.34 p.m..

Upon making the necessary changes for my seat reservations, I immediately showed my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the man at the staffed ticketing gate, and went to check the departure information board to see which platform the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 26 bound for Osaka would depart from. According to the departure information board located in the main station concourse, the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 26 bound for Osaka would be scheduled to depart at 1.10 p.m. from Track No. 3.

Without wasting anymore time, I walked along the passageway linking to the platforms, and took the elevator up to the main station footbridge before transferring to another elevator to Tracks No. 3 and 4 in preparation for my trip to Sanda. While waiting for the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 26 bound for Osaka, I spotted a few limited express trains at the platforms awaiting departure from Toyama Station. The weather in Toyama was beginning to get more hot by this time.

The sixth level of Marier Shopping Mall Toyama shortly before I headed back to Toyama Station

The ongoing renovation works near Toyama Station in preparation for the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line on 14 March 2015

The exterior view of Marier Shopping Mall Toyama on a bright summer afternoon

The view of downtown Toyama on a bright summer afternoon as I make my way back to Toyama Station

Finally arriving back at Toyama Station

The main station concourse of Toyama Station shortly after I had arrived back

The ticketing gates in the main station concourse at Toyama Station during the mid-afternoon hours

Walking through the passageway linking between the platforms and the main station concourse again

The overall view of the station platforms from Track No. 2 at Toyama Station

The logo of the 8-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Shirasagi" No. 10 bound for Nagoya via Maibara, on Track No. 4 at Toyama Station

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the Hokuriku Main Line trains heading towards Kanazawa, Maibara and Osaka at Toyama Station

An 8-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Shirasagi" No. 10 bound for Nagoya via Maibara, on Track No. 4 at Toyama Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Shirasagi" No. 10 bound for Nagoya via Maibara, at Toyama Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Shirasagi" No. 10 bound for Nagoya via Maibara, at Toyama Station

A 3-car KiHa 85 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Hida" No. 14 bound for Nagoya via Takayama, awaiting departure from Track No. 1 at Toyama Station

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 9-car 683 series EMU, which would soon operate on the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 26 bound for Osaka, finally entered Toyama Station at 1.03 p.m. on Track No. 3. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and found my assigned Seat No. 5C for the long afternoon journey time to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

Between Toyama and Kanazawa, there would not be much passengers in the Green Car (first class) cabin. Once the clock struck exactly 1.10 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Thunderbird No. 26 finally pulled out of Toyama Station for its long journey time of 3 hours 27 minutes towards downtown Osaka. I was then on my way for a long afternoon journey duration of 3 hours 27 minutes towards the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located in the Kansai region of Japan.

683系 特急サンダーバード26号 大阪行き 富山駅に入線シーン

The 9-car 683 series EMU, which would soon operate on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, on Track No. 3 at Toyama Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, during the boarding process at Toyama Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, during the boarding process at Toyama Station

A view of my seat, 5C, during the boarding process at Toyama Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, during the boarding process at Toyama Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, during the boarding process at Toyama Station

Awaiting departure from Toyama Station

683系 特急サンダーバード26号 大阪行き 富山駅から高岡駅間

Making a brief stop at Takaoka Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the segment between Toyama and Osaka

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, between Takaoka and Kanazawa Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, between Takaoka and Kanazawa Stations

Bypassing a rural farming settlement in the sparse, rural town of Oyabe

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, from my seat between Takaoka and Kanazawa Stations

Crafting out my report for the trip to Sanda on my blog

Bypassing a rice farming field in the sparse, rural town of Tsubata

Passing through Tsubata Station

Bypassing some housing areas near Kanazawa Station

Bypassing a freight railway yard near Kanazawa Station

Making a brief stop at Kanazawa Station

683系 特急サンダーバード26号 大阪行き 金沢 (発車) ~ 美川 (通過)

Bypassing some houses in the sparse, rural city of Hakusan

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka

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

About to enjoy my box of almond chocolates

Passing through Komatsu Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, from my seat between Komatsu and Kaga-onsen Stations

Passing through Awazu Station

Bypassing a large farming field in the sparse, rural city of Kaga

Reading "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on iBooks on my iPad

Bypassing some houses located near Kaga-onsen Station

Making a brief stop at Kaga-onsen Station

Bypassing another rice paddy farming area in the sparse, rural city of Kaga

Passing through Daishoji Station

Bypassing a rural housing area by a forest in the sparse, rural city of Awara

Bypassing a farming field in the sparse, rural city of Awara

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, from my seat between Kaga-onsen and Awara-onsen Stations

Bypassing another rice paddy farming area in the sparse, rural city of Awara

Making a brief stop at Awara-onsen Station

Bypassing a rice paddy farming field in the sparse, rural city of Sakai, Fukui

Bypassing some suburban housing areas near Fukui Station

Making a brief stop at Fukui Station

683系 特急サンダーバード26号 大阪行き 福井駅から武生駅間

Making a brief stop at Takefu Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, from my seat between Takefu and Tsuruga Stations

Passing through Oshio Station

Bypassing a hilly forest in the sparse, rural city of Echizen

Passing through Nanjo Station

A scene from "Gordon's Christmas Carol: The Movie (2010)", where Gordon blatantly replies to Thomas and Percy that any engine on Sodor who goes about with "Merry Christmas" should be scrapped and embroiled in the Sodor Steamworks

An additional scene from "Gordon's Christmas Carol: The Movie (2010)", where in a future Christmas on Sodor, Smudger begs not to go for scrapping at the scrap yard

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, between Takefu and Tsuruga Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, between Takefu and Tsuruga Stations

A view of my seat, 5C, between Takefu and Tsuruga Stations

Bypassing an abandoned rail siding near Tsuruga Station

Making a brief stop at Tsuruga Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, between Tsuruga and Omi-shiotsu Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, between Tsuruga and Omi-shiotsu Stations

Bypassing a rural housing settlement between the sparse, rural cities of Tsuruga and Nagahama

A view of my seat, 5C, between Tsuruga and Nagahara Stations

Passing through Nagahara Station

Bypassing a hilly forest in the sparse, rural city of Takashima

683系 特急サンダーバード26号 大阪行き 近江中庄 (通過) ~ 安曇川 (通過)

Bypassing a large rice paddy farming area in the sparse, rural city of Takashima

The view of Lake Biwa as seen from the Kosei Line between Adogawa and Katata Stations

Bypassing a small paddy field near Lake Biwa on the Kosei Line between Adogawa and Katata Stations

Bypassing some housing areas near Lake Biwa on the Kosei Line between Adogawa and Katata Stations

Bypassing a large mountain on the Kosei Line between Adogawa and Katata Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, between Adogawa and Katata Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, between Adogawa and Katata Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 9-car 683 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 bound for Osaka, from my seat between Adogawa and Katata Stations

Passing through Katata Station

Bypassing some suburban housing settlements in the suburban city of Otsu

Bypassing some more housing areas in the suburban city of Otsu

Passing through Otsukyo Station

Crossing the rail flyover in Yamashina-ku, Kyoto, near Yamashina Station

Passing through Yamashina Station

The view of the Hotel Granvia Kyoto as the train approaches Kyoto Station

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station, where I had started off earlier that morning

A 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 31 bound for Kansai International Airport, awaiting departure from Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

Bypassing a freight railway container yard near Kyoto Station

Bypassing some suburban housing settlements in the suburban city of Muko

Bypassing the train depot near Mukomachi Station

Bypassing some hillside housing areas in the suburban town of Oyamazaki

683系 特急サンダーバード26号 大阪行き 高槻 (通過) ~ 大阪 (到着)

After a long afternoon journey duration of 3 hours 27 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Toyama in the Hokuriku region, I finally arrived at the Osaka terminal station at 4.37 p.m. on Track No. 3. Checking that I had left none of my personal belongings behind on board the train, I immediately alighted from the train and went over to check to see which platform the Tambaji Rapid Service train bound for Fukuchiyama via Takarazuka would depart from.

According to the departure information board located on the station platform, the nearest Tambaji Rapid Service bound for Fukuchiyama via Takarazuka would depart at 4.54 p.m. on Track No. 4. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately crossed over to Track No. 4 and did some of my usual train-spotting activities while waiting for my connecting Tambaji Rapid Service train bound for Fukuchiyama via Takarazuka Station on Tracks No. 3 and 4.

Osaka Station (大阪駅) is a major railway terminal located in the heart of the Umeda district in Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan. It serves as the central railway terminal of the hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka towards the north, and is the busiest railway terminal in the Kansai region, with more than two million commuters passing through the station daily. The station serves as an interchange station for the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line), Osaka Loop Line and Fukuchiyama Line (Takarazuka Line).

The station is also a mandatory stop for limited express trains heading towards the San'in region, and a starting point for limited express trains bound for the Hokuriku region. As of 15 March 2014, there are a total of five island platforms and one side platform serving eleven tracks. Between late 2007 and mid-2011, the entire station underwent a major renovation programme, with Track No. 11 being re-opened for service again on 20 December 2009.

The renovations were finally completed on 4 May 2011, with the opening of Osaka Station City (大阪ステーションシティ), a large and luxury shopping mall located directly above the station complex. The Hilton Hotel Osaka is also located just above the station complex. The station is directly connected to Umeda Station and Kitashinchi Station, both of which are within walking distance from the station itself.

The 9-car 683 series EMU, which transported me as the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 26 from Toyama earlier, on Track No. 3 at Osaka Station

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the limited express trains and Fukuchiyama Line trains bound for the San'in region at Osaka Station

The overall view of the station platforms at Osaka Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The view of Osaka Station City from Track No. 4 at Osaka Station

The departure information board for trains departing from Tracks No. 3 and 4 at Osaka Station

The stairway to the other platforms from Tracks No. 3 and 4 at Osaka Station

103系 大阪環状線 外回り 大阪駅から出発シーン

Track No. 4 serving the Fukuchiyama Line trains at Osaka Station shortly before the "Tambaji Rapid Service" arrived at Osaka Station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, an 8-car 223 series EMU, which would operate on the Tambaji Rapid Service bound for Fukuchiyama via Takarazuka, finally entered Osaka Station at 4.47 p.m. on Track No. 4. As soon as the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through the first car at the front and stood by the driver's cab for the short 40-minute trip towards Sanda.

Once the clock struck exactly 4.54 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Tambaji Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Osaka Station for its late afternoon journey time of 2 hours 23 minutes towards the suburban city of Fukuchiyama located to the northwest of Kyoto Prefecture. I was then on my way for a short journey time of just 40 minutes towards the suburban city of Sanda located slightly to the northeast of Kobe.

223系 丹波路快速 福知山行き 大阪駅に入線シーン

The interior of the 8-car 223 series EMU, operating on the "Tambaji Rapid Service" bound for Fukuchiyama via Takarazuka, during the boarding process at Osaka Station

Awaiting departure from Osaka Station

223系 丹波路快速 福知山行き 大阪駅から三田駅間 (1/3)

223系 丹波路快速 福知山行き 大阪駅から三田駅間 (2/3)

223系 丹波路快速 福知山行き 大阪駅から三田駅間 (3/3)

After a short regional travel duration of just 40 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka, I finally arrived at Sanda Station at 5.34 p.m. on Track No. 1. Checking that I had all of my belongings with me, I alighted the train and went up towards the main station concourse. I then informed my parents that I had just arrived at Sanda Station, to which, they told me to meet up with them at the waiting area near the bus and cab stands located on the other side of the station.

With that, I walked along the footbridge towards the other side of the station, and walked down the stairs to the waiting area, where my dad was waiting for me just outside our rented car. I then loaded my baggage into the boot of the car before boarding, where my mum and younger brother were already on board. Soon enough, we finally departed the compound of Sanda Station at 5.50 p.m.. The entire road journey between Sanda Station and the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets took no more than approximately 35 minutes.

Sanda Station (三田駅) is the main railway station located in the suburban city of Sanda, Hyogo, Japan. It serves as an interchange station for the Fukuchiyama Line (Takarazuka Line) operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) and the Kobe Electric Railway Sanda Line. As of 15 March 2014, there are two side platforms serving two tracks for the JR Line trains, and two bay platforms serving two tracks for the Kobe Electric Railway trains. The station is also a mandatory stops for all limited express trains on the Fukuchiyama Line.

The view of the station platforms at Sanda Station

The main station concourse at Sanda Station during the early evening hours

The pedestrian bridge linking towards Sanda Station from the bus and cab stands

Our rented car waiting for me below the pedestrian footbridge to Sanda Station

Travelling along the roads of Sanda near Sanda Station

Stopping at a convenience shop in the suburban city of Sanda

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Sanda

Travelling along the roads of Sanda between Sanda Station and the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets

Bypassing a local yakiniku restaurant, Yakiniku Maruyu (焼肉まるゆう), in Sanda

Bypassing some houses in Kita-ku, Kobe, near the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets

Approaching the road junction leading to the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets

Finally arriving at the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets

After a short road drive of just 35 minutes from Sanda Station in the suburban city of Sanda, we finally arrived at the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets at 6.25 p.m.. Parking our car at the car parking area, we took our belongings and went towards the entrance to the outlet mall. Our first stop at the outlet mall was a Godiva Chocolatier shop to purchase a dark chocolate milkshake for myself, which tasted very savoury. In the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets, there were a lot of shops selling branded luxury items, such as handbags and stylish clothing.

Looking through the shops available, we stopped by at a stylish shop specialising in sports footwear and clothing. At the shop itself, I purchased a new pair of sports shoes to replace my older ones, which were already showing wear and tear. We then looked around the mall a bit more after purchasing our necessary stuff. Through the surroundings, I could tell that the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets reminded me much of the Gotemba Premium Outlets, and is better than the Yeoju Premium Outlets in South Korea.

The exterior view of the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets during dusk

A small rest area located by some shops in the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets during dusk

The Godiva Chocolatier shop in the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets

An information board by some shops in the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets

Another small resting area located by some shops in the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets during dusk

Several luxury brand shops located in the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets during dusk

Another small resting area located by some shops in the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets during nightfall

The first signs of nightfall by several luxury brand shops in the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets

The entrance to the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets during nightfall

After spending approximately 40 minutes of shopping at the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets, the clock was finally showing 7.15 p.m.. Feeling very hungry already, we decided to have a dinner of local Kobe beef for dinner before heading back towards the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya. With that, we left the outlet mall and went back towards the main car parking area and loaded our merchandise into the boot of the car before hopping on board.

Once all of our belongings were loaded into the car and all of us were on board, we finally departed the compound of the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets at 7.20 p.m. As night drew closer, we drove around the suburban city of Sanda to look for a good local Kobe beef barbecue restaurant. In the end, the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets was of good quality, and I won't hesitate to go there again when the chance comes.

The car parking area outside the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets during nightfall

The view of a forested mountain from the car parking area at the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets during nightfall

Our rented car located at the car parking area at the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets

Finally departing the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets

Bypassing a suburban building near the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets in Kita-ku, Kobe

Bypassing an Aeon shopping mall near the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets in Kita-ku, Kobe

Bypassing a restaurant in the suburban city of Sanda during nightfall

Bypassing a petrol station in the suburban city of Sanda during nightfall

Finally arriving at Yakiniku Maruyu Restaurant (焼肉まるゆう)

After a short road drive of just 10 minutes from the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets, we finally stumbled upon a local charcoal barbecue restaurant, with the Yakiniku Maruyu (焼肉まるゆう), at 7.30 p.m.. Feeling very hungry already, we immediately parked our rented Toyota car at the nearest empty parking space and headed towards the restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant, we requested for a window table for the four of us, where we were directed to an empty one by a restaurant waitress.

Since we didn't like the smell of smoke and that there were no non-smoking tables, having a window table would let the smell out when it is open. We were then left with the food and beverage menus to make our reviews before placing our main meal orders for dinner, with the charcoal pot and barbecue grill being placed on our table. Upon making a good review through the food and beverage menus, a waitress came by to our dining table to take down our main meal orders for the upcoming charcoal barbecue yakiniku dinner.

For the main dinner course, we ordered several beef cuts, including a local Kobe beef cut set, along with several side orders, such as vegetables and kimchi. It was then that we developed this special golden policy, which was to have Kobe beef whenever we come to Kobe and its surrounding areas. Soon enough, that night, we ordered a second round of the Kobe beef set, which made this dinner very sumptuous, filling and worthy, though the beef large intestines were the only slight flaw.

The interior of Yakiniku Maruyu Restaurant shortly after we had entered the restaurant

The food and beverage menu of Yakiniku Maruyu Restaurant

The charcoal barbecue griller placed in the centre of our dining table

Our first platter of assorted local Kobe beef cuts ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Some pieces of Kobe beef karubi being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Several cuts of Kobe beef tongue being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A large bowl of kimchi to be shared among my parents

More pieces of Kobe beef karubi being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A large slice of Kobe sirloin steak grilling on the charcoal barbecue griller

A platter of beef large intestines ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Some pieces of Kobe beef large intestines and sliced beef brisket grilling on the charcoal barbecue griller

A platter of Kobe beef tongue ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

More pieces of Kobe beef tongue being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Our second platter of assorted local Kobe beef cuts ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

The last pieces of Kobe beef karubi being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

The last pieces of Kobe beef tongue being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

The last large slice of Kobe sirloin steak being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

The interior of Yakiniku Maruyu Restaurant shortly before we left the restaurant

After having a very large and sumptuous charcoal barbecue yakiniku dinner of Kobe beef at Yakiniku Maruyu Restaurant, the clock was finally showing 8.45 p.m.. Feeling very stuffed to the brim already, we paid up our restaurant dinner bill and decided to head back towards the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya for a good night's rest. With that, we left the restaurant and walked back to the car parking area near the restaurant, where we had parked our rented Toyota car earlier.

We then loaded all of our belongings into the boot of the car before boarding, and finally left the Yakiniku Maruyu Restaurant at 8.50 p.m. for the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya located in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto. The night drive time from the Yakiniku Maruyu Restaurant back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, took approximately 1 hour 05 minutes, bypassing several suburbs located in Hyogo and Osaka Prefectures along the Keihanshin Expressway on the way.

The exterior night view of the Yakiniku Maruyu Restaurant shortly before we headed back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

Our rented car located at the car parking area at Yakiniku Maruyu Restaurant

Travelling along the dark road of the suburban city of Sanda at night

Travelling along the first phase of the Keihanshin Expressway from Sanda at night

Bypassing a housing apartment along the Keihanshin Expressway in the suburban city of Toyonaka

Travelling along the up-down stretch of the Keihanshin Expressway at night

Travelling through a long road tunnel along the Keihanshin Expressway

Bypassing a secluded but well-lit car parking area in downtown Kyoto

Bypassing an Aeon shopping mall in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Travelling along the road between Ukyo-ku and Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, at night

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

Finally arriving at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

After a relatively quick night road drive of about 1 hour 05 minutes from the suburban city of Sanda over the Keihanshin Expressway, we finally arrived back at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 9.55 p.m.. While the rest of us unloaded our belongings from the car before my dad went to park it, we all entered the Machiya and stored our belongings in our respective rooms before setting up our mobile phones to be charged overnight.

Upon doing this, we had a nice, hot shower and changed into our pyjamas before settling in for the night. As I was to make a day trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in celebration of my 19th birthday, I set up my mobile phone and electronic device batteries to be charged and set my alarm on my mobile phone to 4.30 a.m. the next morning. At last, I turned in by around eleven o' clock for a well-earned good night's sleep.

Part 3 ~ Spending A Birthday Of Shopping In Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The next morning, which was Wednesday (4 June), I woke up at 4.30 a.m. after my alarm on my mobile phone blasted off early. This would be a special day for me, since it would mark my 19th birthday. As a special self-birthday treat, I would be spending the day at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Leaping out of bed, I had a nice, hot shower and changed into my attire for the special day to commence before packing up my necessary belongings for the day trip.


For the in-bound journey towards Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I would catch an early morning Rapid Service train bound for Himeji, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 6.20 a.m., and arrive at Shin-osaka Station at 6.51 a.m.. Upon arriving at Shin-osaka, I would connect to the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart Shin-osaka Station at 7.37 a.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 10.13 a.m..

After arriving at Tokyo, I would connect to the a Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Ofuna to Hamamatsucho before interchanging to a Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). My dad, who also happened to be awoken by my unexpected blast of my mobile phone alarm offered to give me a lift to Kyoto Station. For the rest of the early morning, I packed up the remainder of all of my necessary belongings and checked to see that nothing had been left unpacked for the day.

The interior of the kitchen in the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya during the wee hours of the early morning

The interior of the tatami-style living room in the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya during the wee hours of the early morning

The small garden and gazebo located outside our living room at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya during the wee hours of the early morning

After spending the remainder of the wee hours of the morning preparing my belongings for the day, I was officially ready to go at 5.20 a.m.. Grabbing my footwear and an umbrella from the Machiya, my dad and I left the Machiya to walk along the quiet street towards the car parking area near the main road, where our rented Toyota car was parked. While my dad went to pay the release fare at the car parking fare machine, I loaded my belongings into the boot of the car.


My dad then informed that while I would be away on my birthday trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), the rest of my family would be going on a road trip to Nara. With that, we finally departed the car parking area near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 5.30 a.m. for a short road drive of just 15 minutes towards Kyoto Station located in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, where my dad would drop me off just outside the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto and then I would cross the road to the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance of the station.

The exterior view of the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in the bright wee early morning hours

The quiet street near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in the bright wee early morning hours

Finally arriving at our rented Toyota car at the car parking area near the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in the bright wee early morning hours

Finally driving past some quiet housing areas in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, during the wee early morning hours

Bypassing some housing apartment flats in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, on a bright early morning, along with some downtown infrastructure

About to turn towards the road leading to downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Overlooking the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct near Kyoto Station during the wee early morning hours

Kyoto Station coming into view shortly after we made a turn around the bend towards it during the wee hours of the bright early morning

Finally approaching the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto in the wee hours of the bright early morning

After a short early morning drive from the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya located in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, I finally arrived at the roadside located near the Ibis Style Hotel Kyoto at 5.45 a.m.. Claiming my belongings from the boot of the car, my dad wished me an enjoyable birthday trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) and advised me to take care at all times. As soon as he left me to commence my trip, I crossed the road to Kyoto Station and took the escalator up to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse.

On the way to the JR Line concourse of Kyoto Station, I stopped at the JR Central Ticket Office to make some Green Car (first class) seat reservations for a planned trip to Narita International Airport on Friday (6 June). Upon making my necessary Green Car (first class) seat reservations, I immediately changed to another escalator to the JR Line concourse of the station, where there were not much commuters as it was yet to be the start of the early morning rush hour, which normally commences at seven o' clock in the morning.

Once I had arrived at the JR Line concourse, I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the lady at the staffed ticketing gate before checking the departure information board to check to see which platform the nearest early morning Rapid Service train bound for Himeji would depart from. According to the departure information board, the nearest Rapid Service train bound for Himeji would depart at 6.20 a.m. from Track No. 5. Without wasting anymore time, I took the escalator down to Tracks No. 4 and 5 in preparation for my first segment of the day from Kyoto to Shin-osaka.

The exterior view of Kyoto Station from across the road during the wee hours of the bright early morning

The first floor concourse with lockers and shops at Kyoto Station in the wee hours of the early morning

About to take the escalator up to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station

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

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

About to take another flight of escalators up to the JR Line concourse from the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse at Kyoto Station

The JR Line concourse of Kyoto Station during the wee hours of the early morning

A "Thomas & Friends: 110 Children's Safety Stations" placard by the staffed ticketing gate in the JR Line concourse of Kyoto Station

The departure information board for trains departing from Tracks No. 4 and 5 in the JR Line concourse at Kyoto Station

Finally approaching Tracks No. 4 and 5 at Kyoto Station

A 6-car 221 series EMU, operating on an early morning "Rapid Service" bound for Aboshi via Himeji, on Track No. 5 at Kyoto Station

Tracks No. 4 and 5 serving the commuter trains bound for Osaka, Kobe and Himeji at Kyoto Station during the early morning hours

The departure information board for trains departing from Tracks No. 4 and 5 at Kyoto Station

A 7-car 207 series EMU, operating on an early morning local service bound for Nishi-akashi, entering Kyoto Station on Track No. 4

Track No. 5 at Kyoto Station shortly before the 6.20 a.m. "Rapid Service" train bound for Himeji arrived at the station

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 6-car 221 series EMU, operating on the Rapid Service bound for Himeji, finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 6.19 a.m. on Track No. 5. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train through Car No. 1 and secured a good standing spot located by the driver's cab for the short and quick journey time of 31 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

At exactly 6.20 a.m., all of the train doors were closed, and the Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for the remainder of its long early morning travel duration of 2 hours 13 minutes towards the suburban city of Himeji located slightly to the west of Kobe. I was then on my way for a short and quick early morning journey duration of just 31 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located in the centre of the Keihanshin metropolitan area.

221系 快速列車 姫路行き 京都駅に入線シーン

The interior of the 6-car 221 series EMU, operating on the early morning "Rapid Service" bound for Himeji, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

Awaiting departure from Kyoto Station

221系 快速列車 姫路行き 京都駅から新大阪駅間 (1/2)

Making a brief stop at Takatsuki Station

221系 快速列車 姫路行き 京都駅から新大阪駅間 (2/2)

After a short early morning train travel duration of 31 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, I finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 6.51 a.m. on Track No. 17. Being sure to check that none of my belongings had been left behind, I alighted the train and took the escalator up towards the JR Line concourse before changing towards the Shinkansen concourse of the station. Arriving at the Shinkansen concourse by 6.55 a.m., I went over to check the train departure information board to see which platform the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo would depart from.

According to the departure information board in the Shinkansen concourse, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo would depart at 7.37 a.m. from Track No. 27. Knowing that I had only approximately 25 minutes left before my connecting Shinkansen train bound for Tokyo, I immediately headed over to a nearby kiosk to purchase some light food and beverages, and took the escalator up towards Track No. 27, eventually arriving at the platform just before 7.15 a.m.
.

NOZOMI (のぞみ) is the fastest train service operating along the Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen lines in Japan. The service stops solely at Shinagawa, Shin-yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto Stations on the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Shin-osaka, as well as certain stretch stations along the Sanyo Shinkansen line between Shin-osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka). The service is capable of reaching a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), with the fastest service between Tokyo and Hakata (Fukuoka) taking 4 hours 50 minutes, and 2 hours 25 minutes between Tokyo and Shin-osaka.


The service commenced operations on 14 March 1992, using 16-car 300 series equipment at a maximum speed of 270 km/h (170 mph), until they were retired from revenue service on 16 March 2012. From 22 March 1997, 500 series sets were introduced on these services at a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), until they were withdrawn from these services on 28 February 2010. From 13 March 1999, 700 series sets were introduced on these services at a maximum top speed of 285 km/h (177 mph). From 1 July 2007, N700 series sets were introduced on these services at a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), just like the 500 series sets.


All through regular NOZOMI services between Tokyo and Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka) were operated by newer N700 series trains from the start of the revised timetable on 13 March 2010. From the start of the revised timetable on 17 March 2012, all regularly scheduled NOZOMI services, including runs limited only to the Tokaido Shinkansen, were operated by newer N700 series trains. All services operated by newer N700 series sets are entirely non-smoking, with smoking permitted only within the designated enclosed smoking areas located in Cars No. 3, 7, 10 and 15 of the 16-car formation.


The NOZOMI service is not valid for tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass, as a large number of these services do not make stop at popular tourist destinations located in Hyogo, Kanagawa, Shiga, Shizuoka, and Yamaguchi Prefectures. If one plans to use a NOZOMI train, even with a Japan Rail Pass, the basic fare and the Shinkansen express charge must be paid, along with the Green Car (first class) surcharge when using a Green Car (first class) seat. Fare structures for the NOZOMI are generally more expensive than those for the HIKARI and KODAMA trains.


The Tokaido Shinkansen (東海道新幹線) is a major high-speed Japanese Shinkansen line operated by Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) between the two major cities of Tokyo and Osaka in Honshu, Japan. It is the oldest Shinkansen line in Japan and the most heavily-travelled high-speed railway line in the world, with 5.3 billion passengers travelling on the line between 1964 and 2012. The line has a maximum top speed of 270 km/h (170 mph).

The line was opened for service on 1 October 1964, in collaboration with the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with the first generation trains reaching between 210 km/h (130 mph) and 270 km/h (170 mph). Shinagawa Station was opened on 1 October 2003 in order to relieve overcrowding at Tokyo Station. From the start of the revised timetable on 15 March 2008, Shinagawa and Shin-yokohama Stations became mandatory stops for all services on the line. The line is scheduled to celebrate its 50th anniversary on 1 October 2014.

As of 15 March 2014, 16-car 700 series and N700 series sets operate along the line on the various NOZOMI, HIKARI and KODAMA services at a maximum top speed of 270 km/h (170 mph). The maximum top speed is scheduled to be raised to 285 km/h (177 mph) from spring 2015. As NOZOMI trains are not covered under the Japan Rail Pass, Japan Rail Pass holders are strongly advised to use either HIKARI or KODAMA trains to reduce their travel costs along the line.

Shin-osaka Station (新大阪駅) is a major railway station located in Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, Japan. The station is one of the major railway terminals serving downtown Osaka and the Keihanshin metropolitan area within the Kansai Region of Japan. The station serves as an interchange station for the Tokaido Shinkansen, Sanyo Shinkansen, Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line) and the Osaka Municipal Subway Midosuji Line.

Other than being a terminus for many Shinkansen trains, many limited express trains bound for the San'in Region and Kii Peninsula also start and terminate here. Shin-osaka is also a mandatory stop for the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka linking to Kansai International Airport. The station was opened on 1 October 1964, in collaboration with the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen, due to construction problems in the city centre for Shinkansen trains.

At Shin-osaka Station, many Shinkansen trains from the Tokaido Shinkansen offer through service to the Sanyo Shinkansen, with through train services for the Kyushu Shinkansen starting and terminating here. On 16 March 2013, an additional Shinkansen platform, Track No. 27, was opened to relieve overcrowding at the existing Shinkansen platforms. As of 15 March 2014, Track No. 27 is the only Shinkansen platform at Shin-osaka Station to be fitted with half-height platform screen doors.

Tracks No. 17 and 18 serving the limited express trains bound for Osaka and the San'in region at Shin-osaka Station

The JR Line concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early morning hours

The Shinkansen ticketing gates in the JR Line concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early morning hours

The Shinkansen concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early morning hours

Track No. 27 serving the eastbound Tokaido Shinkansen trains towards Nagoya and Tokyo during the early morning hours

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 508 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 508 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 508 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 508 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The departure information board for trains departing from Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 508 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel on the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G5, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 106 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The name plate of Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 27

The 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 508 bound for Tokyo, awaiting departure from Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

N700系新幹線 Z24編成 ひかり508号 東京行き 新大阪駅から出発シーン

Track No. 27 shortly before the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo arrived at Shin-osaka Station

After spending nearly 10 minutes of anticipated waiting along the station platform, a 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, which would soon be operating on the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, finally entered Shin-osaka Station at 7.20 a.m. on Track No. 27. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 8, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 15A for the morning journey duration of 2 hours 36 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.


The seat adjacent to me, 15B, would remain vacant throughout the early morning journey between Shin-osaka and Tokyo. Once the clock struck exactly 7.37 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 212 finally pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for its early morning journey duration of 2 hours 36 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo located in the Kanto region of Japan. I was then on my way for an early morning journey duration of 2 hours 36 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo located in the eastern Kanto region of Japan.

N700系新幹線 Z32編成 のぞみ212号 東京行き 新大阪駅に入線シーン

The Green Car (first class) logo of the 16-car N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

A view of my seat, 15A, during the boarding process at Shin-osaka Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, from my seat while awaiting departure from Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

Crafting out my essay report for this special birthday trip to Tokyo on my blog using Helvetica as the core font while awaiting departure from Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z56, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 108 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

Awaiting departure from Shin-osaka Station

N700系新幹線 Z32編成 のぞみ212号 東京行き 新大阪駅から京都駅間

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station, where I had started off earlier that morning

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

Bypassing some housing areas in Yamashina-ku, Kyoto

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo

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

Bypassing a large rice paddy field in the suburban city of Otsu

Watching one of my Airport Express (MTR) videos on my laptop. This video can also be found in the third segment of my combined mini-shopping vacation in Bangkok & Hong Kong in March 2014

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Kyoto and Maibara Stations

Bypassing a sparse, field in the sparse, rural city of Omihachiman

Bypassing a large rice paddy field by a forest in the sparse, rural city of Higashiomi

Bypassing a large farming field in the sparse, rural city of Hikone

Passing through Maibara Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Maibara

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

A scene from "Gordon's Christmas Carol: The Movie (2010)", where the Skarloey Railway engines cheer as the Mallard and Flying Scotsman pass through Crovan's Gate with the Santa train on Christmas Eve on the Island of Sodor

Bypassing a rural farming area near the suburban city of Ogaki

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ogaki

Bypassing an old run-down storehouse near the suburban city of Hashima

Passing through Gifu-hashima Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ichinomiya

Bypassing a farming area in the suburban city of Kiyosu

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

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

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

N700系新幹線 Z32編成 のぞみ212号 東京行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 豊橋 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kosai

N700系新幹線 Z32編成 のぞみ212号 東京行き 浜松 (通過) ~ 掛川 (通過)

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Kakegawa and Shin-fuji Stations

Bypassing a rice paddy farming field in the sparse, rural city of Kakegawa

Travelling alongside the Tomei Expressway between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure near the suburban city of Fuji

Bypassing some suburban housing areas in the suburban city of Fuji

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, from my seat shortly after passing through Shin-fuji Station

Bypassing some more housing areas in the suburban city of Fuji

Crossing the Fuji River between the suburban cities of Fuji and Mishima

One of the smoking rooms in Car No. 7 on the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, between Shin-fuji and Mishima Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, between Shin-fuji and Mishima Stations

A view of my seat, 15A, between Shin-fuji and Mishima Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, between Shin-fuji and Mishima Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Shin-fuji and Mishima Stations

N700系新幹線 Z32編成 のぞみ212号 東京行き 三島 (通過) ~ 小田原 (通過)

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 212 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

Bypassing some suburban housing areas near downtown Yokohama

Bypassing a leafy green hillside as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

N700系新幹線 Z32編成 のぞみ212号 東京行き 新横浜駅から終点東京駅間

After a quick early morning Shinkansen train journey duration of 2 hours 36 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka in the Kansai region, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 10.13 a.m. on Track No. 18. 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 Tokaido Shinkansen concourse before changing to the JR Line concourse of the station.

I then went to check the departure information board to see which platform the nearest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Ofuna would depart from. According to the departure information board, the nearest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Ofuna would depart at 10.24 a.m. from Track No. 6. Without wasting anymore time, I took the escalators up to Tracks No. 5 and 6 in preparation for the short hop to Hamamatsucho located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Tokyo Station (東京駅) is a major railway station located within the heart of the Marunouchi business district in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. It is the central railway terminal serving the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, and serves as the starting point for Japan's national high-speed Shinkansen trains. The station underwent a major renovation programme between mid-2007 and late 2012, with the renovations finally completed with the re-opening of the old Marunouchi station building. The station houses a Daimaru Department Store located directly above its complex.

Other than serving a majority of the high-speed Shinkansen lines, the station serves as the starting point for the Chuo Main Line, Tokaido Main Line, Sobu Main Line, Yokosuka Line and Keiyo Line, as well as a mandatory stopping point for the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line, Yamanote Line and the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line. The station also serves as a starting point for a majority of limited express trains heading towards the Izu Peninsula and Boso Peninsula, as well as a mandatory stop for the Narita Express limited express service linking towards Narita International Airport.

Tracks No. 18 and 19 serving some of the Tokaido Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z32, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 25 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

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

The JR Line concourse of Tokyo Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Taking the escalator up towards Tracks No. 5 and 6 at Tokyo Station

Finally approaching Tracks No. 5 and 6 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the Yamanote Line Outer Loop and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains bound for Yokohama and Ofuna at Tokyo Station

The departure information board for Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains bound for Yokohama and Ofuna departing from Track No. 6 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the Yamanote Line Outer Loop and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains bound for Yokohama and Ofuna at Tokyo Station shortly before the 10.24 a.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Ofuna arrived at the station

After spending a few minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating on the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Ofuna, finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 10.24 a.m.. I immediately boarded the train via one of the cars, and settled down for the short hop to Hamamatsucho in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo. Soon enough, all the train doors were closed, and the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for the remainder of its journey time of 1 hour 10 minutes to Ofuna in the suburban city of Kamakura. I was then on my way for a short morning ride of just five minutes to Hamamatsucho in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Hamamatsucho Station (浜松町駅) is a major railway station serving the lively and busy district of Hamamatsucho in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan. The station serves as an interchange station for the Yamanote Line and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line via a cross-platform interchange, and as the northern terminus for the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line linking to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). The Tokaido Shinkansen and Tokaido Main Line run adjacent to the station located underneath the Tokyo Monorail tracks without stopping.

The 10.24 a.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Ofuna finally arrives at Tokyo Station

The interior of the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating on the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Ofuna, at Tokyo Station

Finally departing Tokyo Station

The station information screen on board the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating on the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Ofuna, indicating that the next station is Shimbashi

Making a brief stop at Shimbashi Station

Finally arriving at Hamamatsucho Station

After a short ride for just five minutes on the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line from Tokyo Station in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 10.29 a.m. on Track No. 4. Alighting from the somewhat crowded train, I went up towards the main station concourse before heading towards the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse for the remaining segment to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Showing my Japan Rail Pass to the Tokyo Monorail staff at the staffed ticketing gate, I went up to the platform by 10.35 a.m. for my remaining segment to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

However, upon reaching the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line platforms, there was an announcement to all passengers that due to a power outage earlier that morning, services in both directions were disrupted and were not expected to resume as per normal until at least after 12 noon. It was then that I decided to catch the nearest resumed Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), which would be scheduled to depart Hamamatsucho Station at 12.12 p.m.. However, I was not bothered by the delays and used my iPad and mobile phone as I waited for the first resumed Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

The Tokyo Monorail (東京モノレール) is a dedicated monorail system that directly connects Hamamatsucho located within downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, with Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) along the coast of Tokyo Bay in Tokyo, Japan. It is the busiest and most profitable monorail line in the world, with at least 300,000 commuters using the line daily, and the fastest and most scenic way linking from downtown Tokyo to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

The line was opened for revenue service on 17 September 1964, in collaboration with the 1964 Summer Olympic Games, with the older rolling stock gradually replaced until 1989. The six-car 1000 series and 2000 series EMUs operate at a maximum speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), with observation cars provided at each end to give passengers a scenic view as the trains travel along the line. From July 2014, new 6-car 10000 series EMUs are scheduled to be introduced to increase capacity on the line. All trains are based at Showajima Depot.

On 18 March 2007, a passing loop at Showajima Station was opened, eventually allowing Haneda Express services to commence. As of 15 March 2014, the three services, mainly the Haneda Express (空港快速), Rapid (区間快速) and Local (普通) trains, operate along the line throughout most of the day. During the daylight hours, the local trains make brief stops at Showajima Station for a short while in order to allow faster Haneda Express services to pass through.

A typical ticket between Hamamatsucho Station and Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) costs approximately ¥470 (S$5.73) each way. On 21 October 2010, in collaboration with the opening of the Haneda Airport International Terminal Station and the new and larger international passenger terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), the Tokyo Monorail can be used by foreign tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass. A Travel Service Center owned by JR East is available at Haneda Airport International Terminal Station, with its business hours between eleven o' clock in the morning and 6.30 p.m. daily.

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains bound for Yokohama and Ofuna and the Yamanote Line Outer Loop trains at Hamamatsucho Station

The JR Line concourse at Hamamatsucho Station during the late morning hours

The passageway linking to the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse from the JR Line concourse at Hamamatsucho Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse at Hamamatsucho during the late morning hours

The departure information board for Tokyo Monorail trains departing to Tokyo International Airport on the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line platform at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on the delayed 8.46 a.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at the Tokyo Monorail departure platform at Hamamatsucho Station. This set was repainted into the original Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU black, white and red stripe livery in June 2013

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on the delayed 8.50 a.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at the Tokyo Monorail departure platform at Hamamatsucho Station

Overlooking the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks from the Tokyo Monorail departure platform

The overall view of the monorail track-switching points at Hamamatsucho Station from the arrival platform

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU, operating on the delayed 8.53 a.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), awaiting departure from Hamamatsucho Station

The weekday timetable for the Tokyo Monorail trains departing for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on the delayed 9.06 a.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), awaiting departure from Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU approaching Hamamatsucho Station. This set is currently painted in the "100 series" blue with light blue and white livery to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the line in 2004

The delayed 9.10 a.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) awaiting departure from Hamamatsucho Station

The view of several downtown infrastructure in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, as seen from the Tokyo Monorail departure platform at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on the 12.04 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on the 12.08 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), awaiting departure from Hamamatsucho Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line departure platform at Hamamatsucho Station shortly before the 12.12 p.m. "Haneda Express" train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) arrived at the station

After spending approximately 1 hour 35 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU finally entered Hamamatsucho Station at 12.09 p.m.. The train had arrived as the Rapid Service from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) earlier, and was to undergo a change of direction before becoming the 12.12 p.m. Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Once the boarding doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train and secured a panorama seat located by the driver's cab.

Once the clock struck exactly 12.12 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train finally pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for its short travel duration along the coastline of Tokyo Bay towards Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). However, due to track inspections and a train still at the next station, the train had to make a brief emergency stop at Seibijo Station, which resulted in the service being delayed for approximately four minutes.

Tokyo International Airport (東京国際空港), more commonly known as Haneda Airport (羽田空港), is a major airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area located in Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It is the busiest and largest domestic airport operating in Japan, and serves as a major hub for Air Do, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Skymark Airlines and Solaseed Air. The airport also serves as one of the oldest airports operating in Japan.

Haneda Airport was the sole international gateway towards Tokyo until Narita International Airport was opened in 1978. From 1978 until 2010, the airport catered mostly to domestic flights within Japan. However, limited international charter flights to Mainland China, Hong Kong and South Korea were introduced from late 2003, with Domestic Terminals 1 and 2 being the two core terminals of the airport, and a smaller international terminal isolated from the main domestic terminals.

A new and much larger international terminal and a fourth runway were opened for service on 21 October 2010, allowing the airport to handle more international flights during the early morning and late night hours and resulting in competition with Narita International Airport. However, due to complaints of lack of facilities during the late night hours, an expansion was planned. Daytime international operations were also introduced at the airport from 31 March 2014 in order to make tourist arrivals into downtown Tokyo more convenient.

東京モノレール1000形 (1036F-1031F) 空港快速 東京国際空港行き 浜松町駅に入線シーン

The interior of the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on the 12.12 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), during the boarding process at Hamamatsucho Station

Awaiting departure from Hamamatsucho Station

東京モノレール1000形 (1036F-1031F) 空港快速 東京国際空港行き 浜松町駅から羽田空港第2ビル駅間 (1/2)

東京モノレール1000形 (1036F-1031F) 空港快速 東京国際空港行き 浜松町駅から羽田空港第2ビル駅間 (2/2)

After a short journey time of just 23 minutes from the very busy and lively hustle and bustle of Hamamatsucho in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Haneda Airport Terminal 2 terminal station at 12.35 p.m. on Track No. 2, approximately four minutes behind schedule. Checking to see that I had all of my belongings with me, I alighted the train and took the escalator up to the main station concourse, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the man at the staffed ticketing gate before exiting the station.

Upon exiting Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station, I headed to the underground passageway linking between Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminals 1 and 2, since I wanted to find a shop to shop at first in Domestic Terminal 1. Walking through the underground passageway towards Domestic Terminal 1 from Domestic Terminal 2, I arrived at Domestic Terminal 1 at 12.45 p.m., where I took the escalator up to the first floor of the terminal building to look for a good shop to shop at.

Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station (羽田空港第2ビル駅) is an underground monorail station in Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan. The station is located directly below Domestic Passenger Flight Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), and currently serves as the southwestern terminus for the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line from Hamamatsucho in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo. The station was opened for service on 1 December 2004, with one island underground platform serving a total of two tracks. There is also an additional underground island platform, which is not used for regular passenger service.

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, which took me as the 12.12 p.m. "Haneda Express" train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The station platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early afternoon hours

The station concourse leading to the platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The main station concourse of Haneda Airport Terminal 1 Station during the early afternoon hours

The information center located just adjacent to Haneda Airport Terminal 1 Station during the early afternoon hours

The elevators linking up to the upper floors of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

Gazing up at the upper floors of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 from the first basement level

The glass panel escalators linking towards the upper floors at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

Finally stumbling upon JALUX Blue Sky Shop in the first level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

After looking at the various shops available carefully in Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1, I finally stumbled upon a hobby shop, known as JALUX Blue Sky Shop, at 12.50 p.m.. I was very familiar with this shop since I had been here twice in May & June 2010 and June 2013. Entering the shop, I looked at the various aircraft models available on sale carefully before making my selections to expand my Herpa Wings aircraft collection to greater heights.

While shopping there, I managed to purchase a total of six new Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft models. Upon purchasing my new Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft models, I decided to head to the International Passenger Flight Terminal to see what was on offer. With that, I left the shop at one o' clock and headed to the bus stop located outside the terminal building to catch a free inter-terminal shuttle bus linking between both domestic flight terminals and the International Terminal.

Soon enough, a teal and white inter-terminal free shuttle bus linking between both domestic terminals and International Terminal arrived at the bus stop at 1.05 p.m.. Boarding the bus, I settled in for the short ride to the International Terminal. Within just a few seconds, I finally departed Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 for a short free inter-terminal shuttle bus ride of just five minutes towards the International Passenger Flight Terminal.

As of the six new Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 commercial aircraft models I had purchased, they were, as follows:

1) Aéromexico Boeing 777-2Q8/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (524483)

Aéromexico Boeing 777-2Q8/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (524483)

2) Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-28E/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (523660)

Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-28E/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (523660)

3) Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5 Herpa Scale 1:500 (510509)

Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5 Herpa Scale 1:500 (510509)

4) Lufthansa Airbus A330-343X Herpa Scale 1:500 (514965-001)

Lufthansa Airbus A330-343X Herpa Scale 1:500 (514965-001)

5) Lufthansa Airbus A340-313X Herpa Scale 1:500 (516549-001)

Lufthansa Airbus A340-313X Herpa Scale 1:500 (516549-001)

6) Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A330-343X Herpa Scale 1:500 (523134-001)

Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A330-343X Herpa Scale 1:500 (523134-001)

The multi-storey car parking building located adjacent to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

A free inter-domestic terminal shuttle bus linking between both domestic flight terminals at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The departure information screen for free intra-domestic terminal shuttle buses at the bus stop outside Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus linking between the domestic terminals and the International Terminal finally arriving at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

The interior of the free inter-terminal shuttle bus linking between the domestic terminals and the International Passenger Flight Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at Domestic Terminal 1

Finally departing Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

Travelling along the roads near the two domestic flight terminals at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Travelling through an underground road tunnel below the runways at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Travelling along the road near the International Passenger Flight Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Several foreign aircraft parked at the International Passenger Flight Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

A hotel under construction at the International Passenger Flight Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Finally arriving at the International Passenger Flight Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

After a short free inter-terminal shuttle bus ride of just five minutes from Domestic Terminal 1 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I finally arrived at the International Terminal at 1.10 p.m.. Grabbing my belongings, I alighted from the bus and went into the passenger terminal building, where I took the elevator up towards the departures and check-in hall, which was located on the third floor of the passenger terminal building, eventually arriving there by 1.15 p.m..

Once I was in the departures and check-in hall of the International Terminal, I took another escalator up to the fourth floor, and another set of escalators up to the fifth floor, where some shops and the observation hall was located. As it was still to early to do anything first, I decided to do some plane-spotting to pass some time before looking for a good shop to shop at. With that, I went out to the observation mall, where I managed to spot several local airliners, as well as some foreign airliners parked at the terminals.

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus linking between the domestic terminals and the International Terminal stopping at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus stop at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The interior of the bus and car rental area on the first level of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The international departure flight information screen in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The international departures and check-in area in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon hours

Overlooking the international departures and check-in area from the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon hours

The fourth floor housing several souvenir shops and restaurants in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon hours

The interior of the fifth level in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

An Air China Airbus A330-243, registered B-6091 and painted in the special "Star Alliance" livery, being serviced at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her regional afternoon journey back home towards the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as Air China flight CA 182 bound for Beijing

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-430, registered D-ABVM, being serviced at Gate No. 107 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her long afternoon trans-Siberian journey back home towards the Federal Republic of Germany as Lufthansa flight LH 717 bound for Frankfurt

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381/ER, registered JA782A, resting on the tarmac near the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The overall view of the observation deck in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The list of foreign airlines serving Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in the observation deck at the International Terminal

A China Airlines Airbus A330-302, registered B-18351, being serviced at Gate No. 111 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her regional afternoon journey back home to the Republic of China (Taiwan) as China Airlines flight CI 221 bound for Taipei (Songshan)

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381, registered JA753A, taxiing along the tarmac at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) shortly after landing

A China Eastern Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered B-6127, being serviced at Gate No. 113 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her regional afternoon journey back home towards the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as China Eastern Airlines flight MU 538 bound for Shanghai (Hongqiao)

A Japan Airlines Boeing 767-346/ER, registered JA652J, being towed away from Gate No. 114 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 767-381/ER, registered JA610A, taxiing towards the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-412, registered B-HKV, taxiing towards the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) after arriving from her regional morning journey from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Cathay Pacific flight CX 548 from Hong Kong. This aircraft was once operated by Singapore Airlines as 9V-SPD until it was transferred to Cathay Pacific on 1 August 2007. These Boeing 747s operated by Cathay Pacific are expected to be retired from revenue service on 1 September 2014

The international flight arrivals information screen on the fifth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Finally stumbling upon Hakuhinkan Toy Park in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

After spending some time spotting several aircraft at the open-air observation deck of the International Terminal, the clock was finally showing 1.40 p.m.. Heading back into the main terminal building, I stumbled upon another notable hobby shop, by the name of Hakuhinkan Toy Park on the fifth floor. Entering the shop, I looked around the items on display carefully before making my selections. While shopping there, I managed to purchase a brand new Japan Airlines Boeing 777-300 Hogan Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft model for myself.

Upon purchasing my aircraft model, I took the escalators all the way back down towards the departures and check-in hall, where I spotted a few Tokyo Monorail trains before heading down to the first floor of the terminal building via the elevators, where the free inter-terminal shuttle bus station was located. Reaching the first floor of the International Terminal at 1.50 p.m., I went to the free inter-terminal shuttle bus stop located outside the terminal building, where I waited for a free inter-terminal shuttle bus to take me to Domestic Terminal 2.

Soon enough, the free inter-terminal shuttle bus finally arrived at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at 1.55 p.m.. Boarding the bus, I grabbed a seat and settled in for the very short free inter-terminal shuttle bus ride towards Domestic Terminal 2. Within just a few seconds, I finally departed the International Terminal for a very short and quick free inter-terminal airport shuttle bus ride of just five minutes to Domestic Terminal 2 located on the other side of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

As for the new Hogan Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft model I had purchased, it was, as follows:

1) JAL − Japan Airlines Boeing 777-346 Hogan Scale 1:500 (BJE3014)

JAL − Japan Airlines Boeing 777-346 Hogan Scale 1:500 (BJE3014)

Walking down the escalator from the fifth to the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

An overall view of the fourth level of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon hours

Overlooking the international departures and check-in area from the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon hours again

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on a "Haneda Express" service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), approaching Haneda Airport International Terminal Station

The international arrivals and meeting area in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon hours

The bus stop and pick-up area outside the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus linking between the domestic terminals and the International Terminal finally arriving at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal

The interior of the free inter-terminal shuttle bus linking between the domestic terminals and the International Passenger Flight Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at the International Terminal

Finally departing Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal

The exterior view of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) as seen from the free inter-terminal airport shuttle bus

Several foreign aircraft parked at the International Passenger Flight Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on my way towards Domestic Terminal 2

Overlooking the expressway leading towards downtown Tokyo at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The view of the control tower near the two domestic terminals at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Finally arriving at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

After a short five-minute free inter-terminal shuttle bus ride from the International Terminal, I finally arrived at the bus stop located just outside the entrance to Domestic Flight Terminal 2 at two o' clock. Grabbing my belongings and feeling rather hungry already, I went into the main terminal building to find a good restaurant to eat at for my self-birthday lunch. Without wasting anymore time, I entered the main terminal building and took the elevator up to the third level, where most of the restaurants were located.

Browsing through all the restaurants available on the third level of Domestic Terminal 2, I managed to stumble upon an Italian restaurant, known as Don Sabatini, at 2.05 p.m.. I was very familiar with this restaurant since I had eaten lunch here before in June 2013. As I was feeling very hungry already, I entered the restaurant and promptly requested for a single non-smoking table for myself. The restaurant waiter was kind and offered to look after my baggage at the entrance to the restaurant.

Directing me to an empty non-smoking table, the waiter provided me with both the food and beverage menus to make my reviews before placing my main meal orders for lunch. Once I was ready, a waitress came by to take down my main meal orders for lunch. I then ordered a plate of spaghetti alla carbonara and a platter of assorted sausages, accompanied by a glass of white wine. That afternoon, I had a very sumptuous and filling self-birthday lunch at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant, self-toasting to the last upcoming teenage year for me to be well-spent.

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus stop at Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Looking up towards the upper floors in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Overlooking the departures and check-in hall from the third floor in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Finally arriving at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant

The interior of Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant during lunchtime hours

The cover page for the food and beverage menu of Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant

Looking through the food and beverage menu of Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant

A large glass of white wine for myself to accompany the upcoming self-birthday lunch

A platter of assorted sausages on my dining table

A mouthwatering platter of spaghetti alla carbonara for myself

The interior of Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant during lunchtime hours shortly before I left for Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

After having a very hearty and filling self-birthday lunch at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant, the clock was finally showing 2.45 p.m.. Having spent two hours of birthday shopping and plane-spotting at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), it was time to head back to Kyoto. For the return journey back towards Kyoto, I would catch a Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho, which would be scheduled to depart Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station at 3.17 p.m., and arrive at the Hamamatsucho terminal station at 3.37 p.m..

Upon arriving at Hamamatsucho, I would change to a nearby Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Omiya, which would depart Hamamatsucho Station at four o' clock, and arrive at Tokyo Station at 4.06 p.m.. After arriving at Tokyo, I would catch the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, which would be scheduled to depart Tokyo Station at five o' clock, and arrive at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 7.33 p.m.. Upon arriving at Shin-osaka, I would connect to a Special Rapid Service train bound for Yasu, 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 paid my restaurant bill and left the restaurant by 2.50 p.m. and headed towards the elevator lobby, where I took the escalator all the way down to the first basement level, eventually arriving there by 2.55 p.m.. Arriving at the main station concourse of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station, I immediately went to check the train departure information board to see which platform number the closest Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho would depart from.

According to the departure information board in the main station concourse, the closest Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho would depart at 3.17 p.m. from Track No. 1. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately showed my Japan Rail Pass to the man at the staffed ticketing gate and took the escalators down to the platforms for the first segment of the return trip to Hamamatsucho located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

The entrance to Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant shortly before I made my way to Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

Passing by a Chinese restaurant in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Overlooking the departures and check-in hall from the third floor in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) as I begin to make my way back to Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The panoramic elevator lobby on the third floor in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The interior of the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the mid-afternoon hours

The main station concourse at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon hours

A "Thomas & Friends: 110 Children's Safety Stations" placard by the staffed ticketing gate at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The station concourse leading to the platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The station platforms of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station shortly after I had arrived back at the station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on the 3.02 p.m. local service bound for Hamamatsucho, awaiting departure from Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station. This set has been repainted into the original Tokyo Monorail 1000 series livery consisting of black and white, separated by a red stripe, since June 2013

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on the 3.05 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, awaiting departure from Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The overall view of the station platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon hours

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating on the 3.11 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Hamamatsucho, awaiting departure from Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU, operating on the 3.14 p.m. local service bound for Hamamatsucho, awaiting departure from Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station shortly before the 3.17 p.m. "Haneda Express" train bound for Hamamatsucho arrived at the station

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU finally entered Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station at 3.14 p.m. on Track No. 1. The train had arrived as a Rapid Service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) from Hamamatsucho, and was to become the 3.17 p.m. Haneda Express service bound for Hamamatsucho. Once the doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through the first car at the front and secured a seat located by the driver's cab.


Once the clock struck exactly 3.17 p.m., all the doors were closed, and the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train finally pulled out of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station for its short journey duration of 20 minutes to Hamamatsucho in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short journey duration of just 20 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of Hamamatsucho located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, and for the first segment of my return trip back to Kyoto in the Kansai region of Japan.

東京モノレール2000形 (2021F-2026F) 空港快速 浜松町行き 羽田空港第2ビル駅に入線シーン

The interior of the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU, operating on the 3.17 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, during the boarding process at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A typical set of train doors found on the Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMUs

The car number labelling on board the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU, operating on the 3.17 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, during the boarding process at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

東京モノレール2000形 (2021F) 空港快速 浜松町行き 羽田空港第2ビル駅から終点浜松町駅間

After a Tokyo Monorail train ride of just 20 minutes from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in Ota-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Hamamatsucho terminal station at 3.37 p.m.. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind, I alighted from the train and spotted just two Tokyo Monorail trains departing and arriving at the station before taking the escalators down towards the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse of the station.

Upon reaching the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse of the station, I quickly showed my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the man at the staffed ticketing gate and walked along the passageway leading towards the JR Line concourse, eventually reaching there by 3.45 p.m.. I then went to check the departure information board to see which platform the nearest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Omiya would depart from.

According to the departure information board, the nearest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Omiya would depart at four o' clock from Track No. 1. Without wasting any time, I immediately went through the staffed ticketing gate and took the elevator all the way down towards Tracks No. 1 and 2 in preparation for the short hop to Tokyo Station. All the station platforms were already very crowded with waiting commuters by this time.

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU, which took me as the 3.17 p.m. "Haneda Express" service from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) earlier, at Hamamatsucho Station

The 3.40 p.m. "Rapid Service" train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) awaiting departure from Hamamatsucho Station

The 3.40 p.m. "Rapid Service" train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) pulling out of Hamamatsucho Station

Two Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMUs near Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU, which would soon operate on the 3.44 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), approaching Hamamatsucho Station

The 3.44 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at Hamamatsucho Station

Walking down the escalator to the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse at Hamamatsucho Station

The staffed ticketing gate in the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse at Hamamatsucho Station

The staircase and escalators linking between the Tokyo Monorail and JR Line concourses at Hamamatsucho Station

The JR Line ticketing gates at Hamamatsucho Station

The overall view of the JR Line platforms at Hamamatsucho Station during the late afternoon hours

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line and Yamanote Line Inner Loop trains towards Tokyo, Ueno and Omiya

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating on the 3.55 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Omiya, on Track No. 1 at Hamamatsucho Station

The departure information board for Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains departing from Track No. 1 at Hamamatsucho Station

Track No. 1 at Hamamatsucho Station shortly before the four o' clock Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Omiya arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the station platforms, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating on the four o' clock Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Omiya, finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station on Track No. 1. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through the first car at the end and settled down for the short hop to Tokyo Station located in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

Soon enough, within just a few seconds, all of the train doors were closed, and the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train finally pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for the remainder of its journey duration of 53 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of downtown Saitama in Saitama Prefecture. I was then on my way back for a short journey duration of six minutes to Tokyo Station located in the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating on the four o' clock Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Omiya, arriving at Track No. 1 at Hamamatsucho Station

The interior of the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating on the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Omiya, at Hamamatsucho Station

Travelling along the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line between Hamamatsucho and Shimbashi Stations

Shimbashi Station coming into view

Making a brief stop at Shimbashi Station

Travelling along the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line between Shimbashi and Yurakucho Stations

Making a brief stop at Yurakucho Station

The view of the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks just as the train approaches Tokyo Station

Finally arriving at Tokyo Station on Track No. 3

After a short train travel duration of six minutes from the lively and busy hustle and bustle of Hamamatsucho in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 4.06 p.m. on Track No. 3. Alighting from the crammed train, I took the escalator down to the JR Line concourse and made my way to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of the station, arriving there by 4.10 p.m.. In the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse itself, I went to check the train departure information board to see which platform the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka would depart from.

According to the departure information board located in the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka would depart at five o' clock from Track No. 17. Though it was still early before my train, I went up to Tracks No. 16 and 17 at 4.15 p.m. in preparation for my high-speed Shinkansen train journey towards downtown Osaka. While waiting for the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka to arrive, I spotted several Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains arriving and departing Tokyo Station.

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the Yamanote Line Inner Loop trains and the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains bound for Ueno and Omiya at Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

Taking the escalator down to the JR Line concourse at Tokyo Station

The JR Line concourse of Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The passageway linking between the JR Line and Shinkansen concourses at Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gates at Tokyo Station during the late afternoon hours

The departure information board for Shinkansen "NOZOMI" trains in the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station

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

The logo of a 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N16, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 49 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 16 at Hakata Station

Tracks No. 16 and 17 serving some of the Tokaido Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The departure information board departing for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 16 and 17 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N16, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 49 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

The logo of an out-of-service 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X80 (formerly Z80) on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 16 and 17 at Tokyo Station with two N700 Series Shinkansen trains at the platforms

The logo of a 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G5, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 241 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G5, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 241 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The train departure information board for Tokaido Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station, indicating that the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 521 bound for Shin-osaka is the first train to depart at 4.33 p.m.

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z61, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 521 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z61, operating on the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 521 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z58, operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 51 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

The departure information board for Tokaido Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka arrived at the station

After spending approximately half an hour of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), which would soon operate on the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, finally entered Tokyo Station at 4.43 p.m. on Track No. 17. Once all the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 10, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 2D in preparation for the afternoon journey duration of 2 hours 33 minutes to the hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

With the cabin being approximately half-filled, the seat next to me, 2C, would remain empty throughout the journey to Osaka. Once the clock struck five o' clock, all of the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 243 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its early evening run of 2 hours 33 minutes towards the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located within the Kansai region of Japan. I was then on my way for an early evening journey duration of 2 hours 33 minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located to the west of the country.

N700系新幹線 X48(Z48)編成 のぞみ243号 新大阪行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 2D, during the boarding process on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

N700系新幹線 X48(Z48)編成 のぞみ243号 新大阪行き 東京駅から新横浜駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat shortly after departing Shin-yokohama Station

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

Bypassing some suburban housing areas near downtown Yokohama

Bypassing several suburban housing areas in the suburban city of Fujisawa

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

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure between the suburban cities of Chigasaki and Hiratsuka

Bypassing some suburban housing areas in the suburban city of Hiratsuka

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

N700系新幹線 X48(Z48)編成 のぞみ243号 新大阪行き 小田原 (通過) ~ 三島 (通過)

Bypassing some sparse, rural housing areas in the suburban city of Mishima

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Mishima and Shin-fuji Stations

Crossing the Fuji River between Mishima and Shin-fuji Stations

Bypassing some rural and hilly housing areas near the suburban city of Fuji

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Shin-fuji and Shizuoka Stations

Bypassing some housing areas near downtown Shizuoka

N700系新幹線 X48(Z48)編成 のぞみ243号 新大阪行き 静岡 (通過) ~ 浜松 (通過)

Bypassing a green farming field near the suburban city of Hamamatsu

Crossing Lake Hamana between the border of Shizuoka and Aichi Prefectures

Another beautiful view of Lake Hamana during the early evening hours

Bypassing a farming area in the suburban city of Kosai

Bypassing an industrial power plant in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Bypassing some suburban housing areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Passing through Toyohashi Station

Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-28E/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (523660)

Bypassing some housing areas between the suburban cities of Toyohashi and Toyokawa

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, between Toyohashi and Nagoya Stations

A view of my seat, 2D, between Toyohashi and Nagoya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, between Toyohashi and Nagoya Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Toyohashi and Nagoya Stations

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Toyokawa

Bypassing some housing apartments in the suburban city of Anjo

Passing through Mikawa-anjo Station

Bypassing a large farming area in the suburban city of Anjo

Bypassing several suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Kariya

Bypassing several suburban housing areas near downtown Nagoya

Several tall infrastructure located in downtown Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, as the train approaches Nagoya Station

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

N700系新幹線 X48(Z48)編成 のぞみ243号 新大阪行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 米原 (通過)

Bypassing a large rural farming field in the sparse, rural city of Maibara

Bypassing some sparse, rural settlements in the suburban city of Hikone

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

A view of my seat, 2D, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), operating on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

Bypassing some suburban settlements between the suburban cities of Omihachiman and Yasu

Bypassing more suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Kusatsu

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Otsu

Bypassing several housing areas in Yamashina-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing more infrastructure located in downtown Yamashina-ku, Kyoto

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station, where I had started off earlier that morning

N700系新幹線 X48(Z48)編成 のぞみ243号 新大阪行き 京都駅から終点新大阪駅間

After a relatively quick evening Shinkansen journey duration of 2 hours 33 minutes from the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 7.33 p.m. on Track No. 23. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings on board, I alighted the train and took the escalator down to the Shinkansen concourse of the station. Arriving at the Shinkansen concourse, I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the man at the interchange ticketing gate and went to the JR Line concourse.

Upon arriving at the JR Line concourse of the station, I quickly went to check the 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 7.49 p.m. from Track No. 13. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately headed down to Tracks No. 13 and 14 for the final segment of the day back to Kyoto.

Tracks No. 23 and 24 serving some of the Tokaido Shinkansen trains bound for Tokyo at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. X48 (formerly Z48), which previously operated on the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 243 from Tokyo, on Track No. 23 at Shin-osaka Station

The Shinkansen concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early night rush hour

The JR Line connecting ticket gates in the Shinkansen concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early night rush hour

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

Tracks No. 13 and 14 serving some of the commuters trains on the JR Kyoto Line at Shin-osaka Station during the early night rush hour

A 5-car HOT 7000 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hakuto" No. 12 bound for Kyoto, awaiting departure from Track No. 12 at Shin-osaka Station

A 7-car 321 series EMU, operating on a JR Kyoto Line local service bound for Kyoto, awaiting departure from Track No. 14 at Shin-osaka Station

Tracks No. 13 and 14 serving some of the commuters trains on the JR Kyoto Line at Shin-osaka Station shortly before the 7.49 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Yasu via Kyoto arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 12-car 223 series EMU, operating on the 7.49 p.m. Special Rapid Service bound for Yasu via Kyoto, finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 7.48 p.m. on Track No. 13. Once the doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through the first car at the front and settled in for the short and quick hop back to downtown Kyoto.

Once the clock struck exactly 7.49 p.m. sharp, all of the train doors were closed, and the Special Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for its remaining journey of 56 minutes towards the suburban city of Yasu in Shiga Prefecture via Kyoto. I was then on my way for a short evening journey of just 25 minutes back towards the lively hustle and bustle of the historical capital of Japan.

223系 新快速 京都方面野洲行き 新大阪駅に入線シーン

223系 新快速 京都方面野洲行き 新大阪駅から京都駅間 (1/2)

223系 新快速 京都方面野洲行き 新大阪駅から京都駅間 (2/2)

After a short evening journey duration of just 25 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka, I finally arrived back at Kyoto Station at 8.14 p.m. on Track No. 2. Being sure that I had all of my belongings with me, I alighted the train and made my way up to the JR Line concourse of the station, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the lady located at the staffed ticketing gate before exiting the platform concourse area of the station.

Upon leaving the JR Line concourse, I took the escalator down to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of the station, where I changed to another set of escalators to the cab stands by the entrance to the station, where my family was waiting for me in our rented car. Loading my belongings into the boot of the car, we finally departed Kyoto Station at 8.25 p.m. for the trip back to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya, dropping my mum at a nearby supermarket to purchase some groceries along the way.

Tracks No. 2 and 3 serving some of the commuters trains bound for the Biwako and Kosei Lines at Kyoto Station during the early night rush hour

The JR Line concourse of Kyoto Station during the early night rush hour

Approaching the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station during the early night rush hour

The Tokaido Shinkansen concourse of Kyoto Station during the early night rush hour

Finally departing Kyoto Station on a damp and cloudy night

Bypassing the Hotel Granvia Kyoto in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing a large piece of infrastructure in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Bypassing Shijo-omiya Station

Stopping at a supermarket for my mum to purchase some groceries

Bypassing a Family Mart in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Travelling along a narrow road in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, at night

Finally arriving at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

After a short and quick early night road drive of just 20 minutes from Kyoto Station located in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, we finally arrived back at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 8.45 p.m.. Claiming my belongings from the boot of the car, both my younger brother and I alighted the car before my dad left us to fetch my mum from the convenience grocery store located near downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto. Entering the Machiya itself, I immediately had a nice, hot shower and changed into my pyjamas before setting up my electronic devices to be charged for the night.

Once my parents returned to the Machiya at around 9.20 p.m., they immediately went to the kitchen area to cook up a simple home-made birthday supper as I was already beginning to feel rather hungry. While sitting down in the tatami-style living room for supper, I chatted with my family about how much I had enjoyed my self-birthday trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). They too were happy that I had enjoyed myself excessively, though I was not with them when they went to Nara.

Upon finishing off our supper, the tatami-style dining table was immediately cleared and we were left with our own devices for our own entertainment purposes for the rest of the night. Knowing that I would be taking a day trip to Fukuoka in Kyushu the next morning, I decided to prepare some of my belongings so that I would not have to take the trouble to pack them all over again before the actual high-speed Shinkansen trip. Once my necessary belongings were prepared, I finally turned in by one o' clock late that night for a good night's rest.

Overall, I can safely say that this was one of the best birthday experiences I have ever had, with the highlights of the day being the Shinkansen NOZOMI train ride and my first birthday visit to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Just like all of my previous Shinkansen NOZOMI train rides, this was even better than the Korea Train Express (KTX). I shall never hesitate to go on a Shinkansen NOZOMI train and visit Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) again for my birthday when I get the opportunity to do so.

This officially brings the second segment of my special mid-term summer birthday trip to Japan in June 2014 to an official conclusion. The remaining three segments of the entire report will be published once I have managed to select the highest quality photographs and videos for these areas. Do keep yourselves tuned for the remaining three segments of the entire blog report!

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