Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Christmas Special: End-of-Year Winter Vacation to Japan in December 2014 ~ Section 3

Welcome to the third section of my 2014 Christmas special report detailing my end-of-year winter vacation to Japan in December 2014. This section of the 2014 Christmas special report will cover up a total of three focus topics. They will mainly be my very first day trip to Nagoya located in central Japan, our second family relaxations at the Shirouma Onsen cum visit to the Zenko-ji Temple in Nagano and my afternoon railway and shopping trip to Narita International Airport.

Part 1 ~ My First Day Trip To Nagoya In Central Japan

The next morning, which was Sunday (14 December), I woke up at seven o' clock after a well-earned good night's rest. Getting out of bed quietly, I went to have a nice, hot shower and changed into my day's attire before heading to prepare the remainder of my necessary belongings for the day. According to my Japanese railway itineraries, I was to be embarking on my first day trip to Nagoya to do some Christmas shopping. I was rather excited about this since this would be my very first time visiting Nagoya.

For the in-bound early afternoon journey to Nagoya, I would catch the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 518 bound for Nagano, which would be scheduled to depart Nagano Station at 10.11 a.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 11.31 a.m.. After arrival at Tokyo, I would have a layover of approximately 15 minutes before catching the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, which would be scheduled to depart Tokyo Station at 12.03 p.m., and arrive at Nagoya Station at 2.09 p.m..

I was lucky since I had made my seat reservations in advance at Nagano Station three days earlier. My dad, who happened to be awake, also offered to give me a lift to Nagano Station. With all my belongings ready, we put on our winter footwear and headed to our black rented Nissan car, which was parked near to an empty chalet and covered in snow. With the snow cleared out of our way and everything loaded in, we finally departed The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba at 8.35 a.m. for a short snowy morning road trip of 1 hour 10 minutes to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano, which was located much closer to Nagano Station.

The exterior view of our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba covered in snow

The view of the snowy surroundings outside our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Finally departing The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Travelling along the relatively snowy roads near The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Bypassing some housing areas in the sparse and popular, rural ski village of Hakuba through the snowy roads

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse and popular, rural ski village of Hakuba

Travelling along the snowy roads of Hakuba leading to Nagano via Ogawa

Travelling past a snow-covered hill forest in the sparse, rural and popular skiing village of Hakuba

Approaching the road tunnel leading to the sparse, rural village of Ogawa

Bypassing a snowy hill forest in the sparse, rural village of Ogawa

Travelling past some snow-covered housing areas in the sparse, rural village of Ogawa

Approaching the Nagano-Hakuba toll gate on a would-be snowy morning

Bypassing the Shinano River close to Nagano

Travelling parallel to the Shin'etsu Main Line and Nagano Shinkansen tracks in the mid-sized urban city of Nagano

About to turn to the road leading to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano near Nagano Station

Finally arriving at the main entrance to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano

After a snowy early morning road journey of 1 hour 10 minutes from the sparse, popular and rural ski village of Hakuba, we finally arrived at the main entrance to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano at 9.45 a.m.. Unloading my belongings from the car boot, I thanked my dad for the lift and he warned me to take care at all times. Leaving me to commence my train journey, I made my way to the South Entrance to Nagano Station, and took the escalators up to the Nagano Shinkansen concourse of the station, eventually arriving there by 9.55 a.m..

Once I was in the Nagano Shinkansen concourse itself, I immediately went to check to see which platform the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo would leave from. According to the departure information board, the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo would be scheduled to depart at 10.11 a.m. from Track No. 11. As there was less than 15 minutes left to board the train, I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate and took the elevator down to Tracks No. 11 and 12 for the trip.

The drop-off and pick-up area outside the main hotel lobby at the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano during the early afternoon hours

The exterior view of the South Side of Nagano Station on a cloudy winter's early afternoon

Finally arriving outside the South Entrance to Nagano Station

The interior of the main station concourse of Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

Bypassing the JR Ticket Office in the Nagano Shinkansen concourse of Nagano Station

The Nagano Shinkansen ticketing gates at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

The departure information board in the Nagano Shinkansen concourse at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

The Nagano Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

After taking the elevator down from the Nagano Shinkansen concourse, I finally arrived at Tracks No. 11 and 12 at ten o' clock, where I found a 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, waiting on Track No. 11. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly rushed to board the train via Car No. 12, which was the Gran Class car, and headed into Car No. 11, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, before settling into my assigned Seat No. 4D for the short morning journey of 1 hour 20 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat next to me, 4C, would remain empty for the entire morning journey from Nagano to Tokyo. However, due to a train delay causing late passenger arrivals on the Shin'etsu Main Line, there was a delay for about two minutes. Once the clock struck 10.13 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 518 finally pulled out for its morning journey of 1 hour 20 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo. Due to poor weather conditions in Niigata, the train had to slow down at Kumagaya Station to allow a delayed Joetsu Shinkansen train to depart, resulting in the service being delayed for a further four minutes.

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving some of the Nagano Shinkansen trains at Nagano Station during the late morning hours. This platform will be used for Hokuriku Shinkansen trains bound for Toyama and Kanazawa from the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015

The LED destination panel of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

The logo of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

The 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

A view of my seat, 4D, during the boarding process on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

Awaiting departure from Nagano Station

E7系新幹線 F11編成 あさま518号 東京行き 長野 (発車) ~ 上田 (通過)

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Ueda and Sakudaira Stations

Bypassing some snowy housing areas in the suburban city of Saku

Passing through Sakudaira Station

A view of my seat, 4D, between Sakudaira and Karuizawa Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, between Sakudaira and Karuizawa Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, between Sakudaira and Karuizawa Stations

E7系新幹線 F11編成 あさま518号 東京行き 軽井沢 (通過) ~ 高崎 (通過)

Bypassing some small housing areas by a forest in the suburban city of Takasaki

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

E7系新幹線 F11編成 あさま518号 東京行き 本庄早稲田 (通過) ~ 熊谷 (通過)

Bypassing some small housing areas in the suburban city of Kumagaya

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Okegawa

A view of my seat, 4D, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

Intersecting with the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks near Omiya Station

Making a brief stop at Omiya Stations

E7系新幹線 F11編成 あさま518号 東京行き 大宮駅から終点東京駅間

After a short morning journey duration of 1 hour 24 minutes from the mid-sized urban city of Nagano located in the Shin'etsu region, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 11.37 a.m. on Track No. 20, approximately six minutes behind schedule. Checking to see that I did not leave anything behind, I immediately alighted the train and took the escalators down to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse before eventually heading over to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates.

As I had only 10 minutes left before my connecting train to Nagoya, I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed interchange ticketing gate and went to the departure information board to check which platform the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama would be expected to depart at 12.03 p.m. from Track No. 15. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the escalators up to Tracks No. 14 and 15 in preparation for my upcoming train journey to Nagoya.

HIKARI (ひかり) is a high-speed Shinkansen train service operating on the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines in Japan. Slower than the limited-stop NOZOMI service but faster than the all-stations KODAMA service, the HIKARI is the fastest train service on the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen line that can be used with the Japan Rail Pass. Along with the major cities, the service generally stops at additional stations on both the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines, and is capable of reaching a maximum top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph).

The service commenced operations on 1 October 1964, in collaboration with the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen line from Tokyo to Shin-osaka, using 0 series sets at a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph), until they were finally phased out from revenue passenger service on 14 December 2008. From 1985 and 1992, 100 series and 300 series sets were introduced on these services at maximum speeds ranging between 230 km/h (143 mph) and 270 km/h (170 mph), until they were retired from revenue service on 16 March 2012.

From 1 October 2000, 700 series sets were introduced on these services at a maximum top speed of 285 km/h (177 mph), displacing the older 100 series and 300 series sets used by 16 March 2012. From 15 March 2008, N700 series sets were introduced on these services at a maximum top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), with more runs operated by N700 series sets gradually added from 15 March 2014. There is no smoking permitted on these services, with smoking permitted in segregated smoking areas in Cars No. 3, 7, 10 and 15.

On 11 March 2000, a special promotional service, known as HIKARI Rail Star (ひかりレールスター), was introduced by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) to provide competition with domestic airliners between Osaka and Fukuoka. The service is restricted to the Sanyo Shinkansen line, and uses special 8-car 700 series sets at a speed of 285 km/h (177 mph). These sets sport grey with a black stripe running across the windows, separated by a sunny yellow stripe below the window linings.

While no Green Car (first class) accommodation is available on these services, the reserved seating cars are arranged in a 2-2 configuration. However, with the opening of the Kyushu Shinkansen line from Hakata (Fukuoka) to Shin-yatsushiro on 12 March 2011, many HIKARI Rail Star services are gradually being replaced with newer SAKURA services, with more direct access to Kyushu. From the start of the revised timetable on 17 March 2012, HIKARI Rail Star services using the special 8-car 700 series sets became entirely non-smoking.

The Tokaido Shinkansen (東海道新幹線) is a major Japanese high-speed Shinkansen line linking between the major cities of Tokyo and Osaka in mainland Honshu, Japan. Operated by Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), it is the oldest Shinkansen line operating in Japan and the most heavily-travelled high-speed railway line in the world. Approximately 5.3 billion passengers travelled on this railway 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 opening of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with the first generation trains running at speeds ranging between 210 km/h (143 mph) and 270 km/h (170 mph). Shinagawa Station was opened on 1 October 2003 so as to relieve overcrowding at Tokyo Station. From 15 March 2008, both Shinagawa and Shin-yokohama Stations became mandatory stopping points for all trains. The line celebrated its 50th anniversary on 1 October 2014.

As of 15 March 2014, the 16-car 700 series and N700 series sets operate on the various NOZOMI, HIKARI and KODAMA services at maximum top speeds of 270 km/h (170 mph). NOZOMI trains are not viable for foreign tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass. From the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015, the maximum top speed is scheduled to be raised from 270 km/h (170 mph) to 285 km/h (177 mph), using 16-car N700A series sets or modified 16-car N700 series sets.

The logo of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, now operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 521 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

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

The Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station during the early afternoon hours

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

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

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

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station, indicating that the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama would be the next train to depart

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C17, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 653 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

A 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C17, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 653 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station. I remember riding on this particular train as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 460 between Kyoto and Tokyo in June 2014

Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama arrived at the station

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 14 and 15, a 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14 finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 11.47 a.m. on Track No. 15. The train had arrived from Shin-osaka as the Shinkansen KODAMA Superexpress No. 638 bound for Tokyo earlier, and was to undergo an extensive cleaning process before eventually becoming the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama. The entire cleaning process took less than just 10 minutes.

Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the train doors were finally opened again at 11.58 a.m., allowing the passengers to board the train. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly boarded the train through Car No. 8 and headed into Car No. 9, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, before settling into my assigned Seat No. 16D located at the rear of the train for the early afternoon journey duration of 2 hours 06 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Nagoya in the Chubu region.

The seat next to me, 16C, would remain vacant through the entire afternoon trip from Tokyo to Nagoya. Once the clock struck exactly 12.03 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 471 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its long afternoon journey duration of 4 hours 17 minutes to the hustle and bustle of downtown Okayama in the Chugoku region of Japan. I was then on my way for an early afternoon trip of 2 hours 06 minutes to downtown Nagoya in the centre of the Chukyo Metropolitan Area.

700系新幹線 C14編成 ひかり471号 岡山行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The logo of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 14 and 15 serving some of the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station with the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama on Track No. 15

The departure information board for Tokaido Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station, indicating that the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama would be the first train to depart

Getting ready to board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, during the boarding process on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, during the boarding process on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 16D, during the boarding process on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

700系新幹線 C14編成 ひかり471号 岡山行き 東京駅から新横浜駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

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

Bypassing some housing areas in Asahi-ku, Yokohama, shortly after departing Shin-yokohama Station

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Atsugi

Bypassing a large farming field near the suburban town of Ninomiya

700系新幹線 C14編成 ひかり471号 岡山行き 小田原 (通過) ~ 熱海 (通過)

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, from my seat between Atami and Mishima Stations

Reading through the most hilarious quote in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on iBooks in my laptop, where Harry's Uncle Vernon throws a temper tantrum after Harry tells Dudley to say 'please' to get more breakfast ー "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU," thundered his uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!"

A view of my seat, 16D, between Atami and Mishima Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, between Atami and Shin-fuji Stations

Passing through Mishima Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, between Atami and Shin-fuji Stations

Bypassing some warehouses in the suburban city of Fuji

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, between Shin-fuji and Shizuoka Stations

Crossing the Fuji River onto the city of Shizuoka

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, between Shin-fuji and Shizuoka Stations

A view of my seat, 16D, between Shin-fuji and Shizuoka Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, from my seat between Shin-fuji and Shizuoka Stations

Bypassing some office infrastructure in downtown Aoi-ku, Shizuoka, as the train approaches Shizuoka Station

Making a brief stop at Shizuoka Station

A 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen train, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 31 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), bypassing my train at Shizuoka Station

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama

A box of Jagariko potato sticks (じゃがりこ) and a small bottle of Coca-cola and water for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Crossing the Abe River in downtown Aoi-ku, Shizuoka, shortly after departing Shizuoka Station

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Shimada

Passing through Kakegawa Station

Bypassing some industrial plants in the suburban city of Kakegawa

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, between Kakegawa and Hamamatsu Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, between Kakegawa and Hamamatsu Stations

A view of my seat, 16D, between Kakegawa and Hamamatsu Stations

Bypassing some office infrastructure in downtown Naka-ku, Hamamatsu, as the train approaches Hamamatsu Station

Making a brief stop at Hamamatsu Station

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

Crossing Lake Hamana bordering Shizuoka and Aichi Prefectures on a somewhat cloudy winter's afternoon

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

A view of my seat, 16D, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, from my seat between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

Passing through Toyohashi Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

700系新幹線 C14編成 ひかり471号 岡山行き 三河安城 (通過) ~ 名古屋 (到着)

After a quick early afternoon journey duration of 2 hours 06 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at Nagoya Station at 2.09 p.m. on Track No. 16. Checking to see that I did not leave anything behind on board, I alighted the train and took the escalator down to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse, before heading over to the Tokaido Shinkansen ticketing gates, showing my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate. Exiting the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse, I quickly proceeded to the tourist information office to get a map of the city of Nagoya.

Claiming a city map, I quickly realised that there was Christmas shopping to be done at JR Nagoya Takashimaya located above the station complex. Walking through the passageway to JR Nagoya Takashimaya, I was finally on the first level of JR Nagoya Takashimaya at 2.30 p.m.. Taking the escalator up to the second floor, I went to the elevator lobby, and took the nearest elevator up to the 13th floor, where most of the mall's restaurants were located. Feeling rather hungry for some local miso, I looked through the restaurants very carefully to ensure that I would be able to find one that would suit my tastes and preferences.

Nagoya Station (名古屋駅) is a major railway terminal located in downtown Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. It is the central railway terminal serving the city of Nagoya, and one of the largest railway terminals in the world, with a total floor area measuring 410,000 square kilometres. The station mainly houses the JR Central Towers as the main headquarters for Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), JR Nagoya Takashimaya Department Store and the Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel with at least 50 storeys.

The station serves as a mandatory stopping point for the Tokaido Shinkansen, as well as a major interchange railway station for the Tokaido Main Line, Chuo Main Line, Kansai Main Line, Aonami Line and the Nagoya Municipal Subway Higashiyama Line and Sakuradori Line. The station is directly connected to Meitetsu Nagoya Station, which is operated by Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu), and Kintetsu Nagoya Station located on the Kintetsu Nagoya Line. Most limited express trains by JR Central also start and terminate at Nagoya Station.

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, on Track No. 16 at Nagoya Station

The 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C14, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 471 bound for Okayama, awaiting departure from Nagoya Station on Track No. 16

700系新幹線 C14編成 ひかり471号 岡山行き 名古屋駅から出発シーン

The overall view of the Tokaido Shinkansen platforms at Nagoya Station during the mid-afternoon hours

A 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N5 (K5), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 128 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Nagoya Station on Track No. 15

The logo of the 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N5 (K5), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 128 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

A 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B1, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 651 bound for Nagoya, arriving at the Nagoya terminal station on Track No. 16

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 16 and 17 at Nagoya Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The Tokaido Shinkansen name plate on Tracks No. 16 and 17 at Nagoya Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Tracks No. 16 and 17 serving the westbound Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains bound for Shin-osaka, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka) at Nagoya Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Nagoya Station leading to the platforms during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The interior of the main station concourse at Nagoya Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The passageway leading to JR Nagoya Takashimaya and the Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel in the main station concourse at Nagoya Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The first floor of JR Nagoya Takashimaya during the mid-afternoon hours

The second floor of JR Nagoya Takashimaya during the mid-afternoon hours

The elevator lobby on the second floor of JR Nagoya Takashimaya during the mid-afternoon hours

Finally stumbling upon Tonkatsu Keitei Restaurant (とんかつ 恵亭) located on the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

After looking at the various restaurants located on the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya very carefully, I finally stumbled upon a local restaurant specialising in Tonkatsu, known as Tonkatsu Keitei (とんかつ 恵亭), at 2.40 p.m.. Given that the queue outside the restaurant was rather long, I joined the queue with some waiting patrons and was left with the menus to look through while waiting for my turn to come for 10 minutes. Soon enough, a waitress turned up in front of at 2.50 p.m., informing me that there was a table ready for me.

Once I was directed to my empty table, I was left with the menus to make my reviews before deciding on what to eat. As soon as I was ready to eat, a waitress came by to my table to take down my orders. I ordered myself a miso Tonkatsu fillet meal set, together with a small bottle and glass of local sake and a glass of Coca-cola. Soon enough, with my lunch orders brought to my table, I had a very sumptuous and filling lunch of Tonkatsu, with the local and famous Nagoya miso being the highlight of the meal.

The logo of Tonkatsu Keitei Restaurant outside the restaurant entrance on the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

The interior of Tonkatsu Keitei Restaurant on the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya during lunchtime hours

The cover page for the main menu at Tonkatsu Keitei Restaurant on the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

Reviewing the main menu at Tonkatsu Keitei Restaurant on the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

All my beverages for the upcoming lunch at Tonkatsu Keitei Restaurant on the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

My miso Tonkatsu fillet meal set at Tonkatsu Keitei Restaurant on the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

A glass of Coca-cola for myself

The interior of Tonkatsu Keitei Restaurant on the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya shortly after I had finished lunch

After having a very filling and sumptuous lunch of local miso Tonkatsu at Tonkatsu Keitei on the 13th level, the clock was finally showing 3.55 p.m.. Since I was feeling stuffed to the brim already, I paid up my lunch bill and left the restaurant by four o' clock with my personal belongings. Knowing that there was Christmas shopping to do, I took the elevator all the way down to the first basement, where the supermarket was located, and decided to shop for any Christmas confectioneries for the upcoming Christmas season.

Arriving at the first basement supermarket at 4.15 p.m., I looked at all the various Christmas confectioneries on sale. At the first basement supermarket, I managed to purchase a large box of assorted Christmas confectioneries worth ¥5,040 (S$61.49). Once I had purchased my parents' Christmas confectioneries, I immediately made my way up to the fifth floor via the elevator. Since I was in need for some dessert and tea, I decided to find a cafeteria on the fifth floor for some tea and cakes.

The 13th floor housing most of the restaurants at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

The view of the large Christmas tree stretching upwards from the 12th floor as seen from the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

Overlooking from the 12th floor from the 13th floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

The crowded supermarket located on the first basement filled with Christmas shoppers at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

Finally arriving at Café Menore on the fifth floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

After walking through the fifth floor of JR Nagoya Takashimaya carefully, I finally stumbled upon a French cafeteria, known as Café Menore, at 4.35 p.m.. Given that the queue at the waiting area was rather, I took a seat and waited for my turn to be called out. Soon enough, a waitress finally came up in front of me at 4.45 p.m.. Requesting for a non-smoking table for myself, I was escorted to a small empty table, and was left with the menus to make my good reviews before placing my dessert orders.

Once I was ready for some late afternoon tea, a waitress came by to my table to take down my orders. I ordered myself a Tiramisu cake and a pot of hot Earl Grey Tea to warm myself up from the cold outer surroundings and to freshen up before my early evening return trip to Nagano later on. Soon enough, with my afternoon tea orders delivered to my table in just a few minutes, I decided to sit back and enjoy my nice, warm and refreshing afternoon tea at Café Menore at JR Nagoya Takashimaya.

The interior of Café Menore on the fifth floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

The cover page of Café Menore on the fifth floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

A small plate of Tiramisu cake with a pot of hot Earl Grey Tea for myself at Café Menore on the fifth floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya

After having some tea & cakes at Café Menore at JR Nagoya Takashimaya, the clock was finally showing 5.10 p.m.. Knowing that it was soon time to be heading back to Nagano, I paid up my tea bill and left the cafeteria at 5.15 p.m. to head back over to the main elevator lobby. For the upcoming early evening return journey back to Nagano, I would catch the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, which would be expected to depart Nagoya Station at 6.34 p.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 8.40 p.m..

Upon arrival at Tokyo, I would have a layover of approximately 35 minutes before eventually catching to the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, which would be expected to depart Tokyo Station at 9.28 p.m., and arrive at the Nagano terminal station at 11.07 p.m.. Arriving at the elevator lobby at 5.20 p.m., I took the nearest elevator down to the first floor, and walked along the passageway leading to the station concourse of Nagoya Station, eventually arriving there 5.25 p.m..

In the concourse, I went over to the Tokaido Shinkansen ticketing gates, showing my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticket gate, eventually arriving at the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse at 5.30 p.m.. I then went to check the departure information board to see which platform the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the train departure information board in the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse, the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo would depart at 6.34 p.m. from Track No. 15.

Though I still had an hour before my Shinkansen train to Tokyo, I took the escalators up to Tracks No. 14 and 15 in preparation for the first segment of my evening return trip back to Nagano. It was then that I decided to do some Shinkansen train-spotting and sort out all my belongings while I was waiting for the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo on Tracks No. 14 and 15. All the platforms were somewhat crowded as it was already the start of the early evening rush hour.

The interior of Café Menore on the fifth floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya shortly before I left for Nagoya Station

The main elevator lobby on the fifth floor at JR Nagoya Takashimaya during the early evening hours

The first floor of JR Nagoya Takashimaya during the early evening peak hour

The interior of the main station concourse at Nagoya Station during the early evening rush hour

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Nagoya Station leading to the platforms during the early evening rush hour

The overall view of the Tokaido Shinkansen platforms at Nagoya Station during the early evening rush hour

A 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C42, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 385 bound for Shin-osaka, arriving at Nagoya Station on Track No. 15. I clearly remember riding on this train as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 800 between Odawara and Tokyo in June 2013

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C42, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 385 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 16 at Nagoya Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C42, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 385 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 16 at Nagoya Station

A 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C30, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 388 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Nagoya Station on Track No. 15

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C30, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 388 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C30, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 388 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

Overlooking JR Nagoya Takashimaya and JR Central Towers from Tracks No. 14 and 15 at Nagoya Station

Overlooking the JR Line platforms from Tracks No. 14 and 15 at Nagoya Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G15, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 38 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G15, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 38 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

The logo of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C17, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 674 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagoya Station. I clearly remember riding on this train as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 460 between Kyoto and Tokyo in June 2014

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C17, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 674 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagoya Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 392 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagoya Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 392 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagoya Station

A 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C57, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 479 bound for Okayama, arriving at Nagoya Station on Track No. 16

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C57, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 479 bound for Okayama, on Track No. 16 at Nagoya Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C43, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 676 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C43, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 676 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z5, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 136 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagoya Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z5, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 136 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagoya Station

Tracks No. 14 and 15 serving some of the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains at Nagoya Station during the early evening rush hour

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 14 and 15 at Nagoya Station during the early evening rush hour

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station during the early evening rush hour

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z64, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 530 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagoya Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z64, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 530 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagoya Station

Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station shortly before the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending about one hour worth of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 14 and 15, a 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, finally arrived at Nagoya Station at 6.33 p.m. on Track No. 15. As soon as the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 8, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 9A for the early evening return trip of 2 hours 06 minutes back to downtown Tokyo.

The seat next to me, 9B, would remain empty for the entire trip between Nagoya to Tokyo. Once the clock struck exactly 6.34 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 478 finally pulled out of Nagoya Station for the remainder of its long early evening journey of 4 hours 16 minutes from Okayama to Tokyo. I was then on my way for an early evening return journey of 2 hours 06 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan located in the Kanto region.

700系新幹線 C38編成 ひかり478号 東京行き 名古屋駅に入線シーン

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

A view of my seat, 9A, during the boarding process on Track No. 15 at Nagoya Station

Awaiting departure from Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 C38編成 ひかり478号 東京行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 豊橋 (通過)

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

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

Crossing Lake Hamana bordering Aichi and Shizuoka Prefectures at night

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

A view of my seat, 9A, between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

Making a brief stop at Hamamatsu Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen train, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 248 bound for Tokyo, bypassing my train at Hamamatsu Station

Crossing the Tenryu River shortly after departing Hamamatsu Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, between Hamamatsu and Kakegawa Stations

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo

A box of Jagariko potato sticks (じゃがりこ) and a small bottle of Coca-cola and water for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Passing through Kakegawa Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, between Kakegawa and Shizuoka Stations

A view of my seat, 9A, between Kakegawa and Shizuoka Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Kakegawa and Shizuoka Stations

Making a brief stop at Shizuoka Station

A 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B13, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, bypassing my train at Shizuoka Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen train, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 44 bound for Tokyo, bypassing my train at Shizuoka Station

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

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

Crossing the Fuji River between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

Bypassing some housing areas close to the suburban city of Mishima at night

Making a brief stop at Mishima Station

700系新幹線 C38編成 ひかり478号 東京行き 熱海 (通過) ~ 小田原 (通過)

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

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 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 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

A view of my seat, 9A, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in Asahi-ku, Yokohama, as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

700系新幹線 C38編成 ひかり478号 東京行き 新横浜駅から終点東京駅間

After a quick early evening journey duration of 2 hours 06 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Nagoya in the Chukyo Metropolitan Area, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 8.40 p.m. on Track No. 19. Checking to see that I did not leave anything behind on board, I immediately alighted the train and took the escalator down to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse and promptly headed over to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates.

At the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates, I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer, and went to check the departure information board to see which platform number the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano would be scheduled to depart at 9.28 p.m. from Track No. 23. Though it was still early, I went up to Tracks No. 22 and 23 in preparation for the return trip back to Nagano.

Tracks No. 18 and 19 serving some of the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station during the mid-evening hours

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, now operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 807 bound for Mishima, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, now operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 807 bound for Mishima, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates in the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station during the mid-evening hours

The Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station during the mid-evening hours

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J56, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 221 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J56, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 221 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

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

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J7, operating as the Shinkansen "TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 473 bound for Takasaki, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

An out-of-service 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U11 and 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z15 joint together on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

The departure information board for Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station during the mid-evening hours

Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano arrived at the station

After spending about 20 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 22 and 23, a 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4 finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 9.16 p.m. on Track No. 23. The train had just arrived as the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 548 bound for Tokyo earlier from Nagano, and was to undergo extensive cleaning before it became the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano. It took no more than about 10 minutes to clean the entire inside of the train.

Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the train doors were finally opened again at 9.25 p.m., allowing the passengers to board the train for their late night trips to Nagano. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately boarded the train via Car No. 11, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 10A for the short late evening return journey duration of 1 hour 39 minutes back to the mid-sized urban city of Nagano located in the Shin'etsu region of the country.

The seat next to me, 10B, would remain empty for the whole short late evening return trip from Tokyo to Nagano. Once the clock struck exactly 9.28 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 553 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its short late evening return journey of 1 hour 39 minutes to the mid-sized urban city of Nagano located in the Shin'etsu region. I was then on my way for a short late night return journey of 1 hour 39 minutes back to the mid-sized urban city of Nagano.

E7系新幹線 F4編成 あさま553号 長野行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, during the boarding process on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, during the boarding process on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 10A, during the boarding process on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E7系新幹線 F4編成 あさま553号 長野行き 東京駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E7系新幹線 F4編成 あさま553号 長野行き 上野駅から大宮駅間

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the return segment from Tokyo to Nagano

A box of Jagariko potato sticks (じゃがりこ) and a small bottle of Coca-cola and water for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

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

E7系新幹線 F4編成 あさま553号 長野行き 熊谷 (通過) ~ 本庄早稲田 (通過)

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, from my seat between Honjo-waseda and Takasaki Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, between Honjo-waseda and Takasaki Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, between Honjo-waseda and Takasaki Stations

A view of my seat, 10A, between Honjo-waseda and Takasaki Stations

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

Making a brief stop at Takasaki Station

E7系新幹線 F4編成 あさま553号 長野行き 高崎駅から軽井沢駅間

Making a brief stop at Karuizawa Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban skiing town of Karuizawa

Reading through the most hilarious quote in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on iBooks in my laptop, where Harry's Uncle Vernon throws a temper tantrum after Harry tells Dudley to say 'please' to get more breakfast ー "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU," thundered his uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!"

Making a brief stop at Sakudaira Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Saku

A view of my seat, 10A, between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

Making a brief stop at Ueda Station

E7系新幹線 F4編成 あさま553号 長野行き 上田駅から終点長野駅間

After a short and quick evening journey duration of 1 hour 39 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived back at the Nagano terminal station at 11.07 p.m. on Track No. 13. Checking to see that nothing had been left behind, I alighted the train and took the escalator up to the Nagano Shinkansen concourse, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate. The entire Nagano Shinkansen concourse was deserted as the last train service to Tokyo had already departed.

In the deserted Nagano Shinkansen concourse, I rung up my parents to inform them that I had already arrived back. In turn, they informed me to meet up with them at the alley close to the multi-storey car parking area located near the South Side of the station. With that, I grabbed hold of my belongings and walked through the deserted station concourse to the South Exit of the station. Exiting the station building by 11.15 p.m., I walked on the streets leading to the alley close to the multi-storey car parking area near the station's South Side.

Arriving at the alley near the multi-storey car parking area by 11.20 p.m., I finally found my family waiting in our black rented Nissan car. While my dad got out and offered to assist in loading my baggage into the car boot, I got in for the late night road journey back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba. Soon enough, once everything was loaded into the car boot, we finally departed Nagano Station for a late night road trip of just 50 minutes back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba in the sparse, rural ski village of Hakuba.

The logo of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 13 at the Nagano terminal station

The 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F4, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 13 at the Nagano terminal station

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

The Nagano Shinkansen ticketing concourse at Nagano Station during the late night hours

The interior of the main station concourse of Nagano Station during the late night hours

The cab stands located near the South Entrance to Nagano Station

Finally arriving at the alley located near the multi-storey car parking area near the South Side of Nagano Station

Finally travelling along the roads near Nagano Station late at night

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nagano at night

Travelling to a road leading to the Nagano-Hakuba road at night

Travelling alongside the Shinano River on the way back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba at night

Travelling along the windy road between the mid-sized urban city of Nagano and the sparse, rural village of Ogawa at night

Travelling alongside the Shinano River near Ogawa late at night

Bypassing some dark housing areas in the sparse, rural village of Ogawa

Travelling along the snowy road between Ogawa and Hakuba at night

Bypassing some dark housing areas near the sparse, rural and popular skiing village of Hakuba

About to turn to the snowy road leading to the village centre of Hakuba late at night

Travelling along the dark roads of Hakuba close to the direction leading to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Turning to the hilly road leading to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba late at night

Finally arriving back at our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

After a short late night road trip of just 50 minutes from the mid-sized urban city of Nagano, we finally arrived back at our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba at 12.10 a.m.. Unloading my belongings from the boot of the car, my dad went to park the car, while I followed both my mum and younger brother into the chalet. Entering the chalet itself, we all had a nice, hot shower and changed into our pyjamas before settling in further for the remainder of the night.

Seeing that I was feeling rather hungry from my day trip to Nagoya, my parents cooked up some supper, and I chatted with them about the Christmas confectioneries that I bought for them. My parents also told us that we were to have another private family onsen relaxation at the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉) the next day, with the reservation made for 12 noon to two o' clock, just like on Thursday (11 December). Soon enough, by around two o' clock late that night, we finally turned in for a well-earned good night's rest.

Overall, my first day trip to Nagoya had been decent, together with my Shinkansen HIKARI train journey between Tokyo and Nagoya. Just like all other Shinkansen services, the Korea Train Express (KTX) in South Korea proves to be no match for the HIKARI service, and that I would rate the HIKARI service as a four-star Shinkansen service, having taken the service many times before. Personally, I would not mind taking another day trip to Nagoya and see more of it when the opportunity comes in future.

Part 2 ~ Another Family Onsen Relaxation At Shirouma Onsen Cum Zenko-ji Temple

The next morning, which was Monday (15 December), we all woke up at around ten o' clock after having a well-earned good night's rest. Getting out of bed, we had a nice, hot shower and changed into our attire for the day before preparing our belongings. According to my parents, we were to have another private family relaxation at the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉) on this day, having been there on the day after we had arrived in Hakuba. Our private onsen reservation was also scheduled from 12 noon to two o' clock.

Upon preparing our necessary belongings for the day, the clock was finally showing 11.20 a.m.. Knowing that our reservation at the Shirouma Onsen would be in 40 minutes' time, we put on our winter footwear, while my dad went to get our rented Nissan car after clearing the snow away, which was parked just two chalets away from us. With our belongings ready, he eventually showed up at the front of our Chalet No. 1, allowing us to secure the door lock and to load our belongings into the car at the same time.

Soon enough, once everything was loaded into the boot of our black rented Nissan car, we finally departed Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba at 11.35 a.m. for a short and snowy road journey of just 20 minutes to the Shirouma Onsen, which was located not far from our chalet. Along the way, we stopped by at the Lawson convenience store to purchase some light bites and beverages, so that we would not feel hungry during our relaxations at the Shirouma Onsen later on.

The interior of the kitchen area in our Chalet No. 1 in The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba shortly after we all woke up

The interior of the dining area in our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba shortly after we all woke up

The view of the snow-covered surroundings outside our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Our rented black Nissan car parked just outside our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Finally departing The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Travelling along the wet and slushy roads near The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba as we begin our trip to the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉)

Turning to the roads leading to the village centre of Hakuba from The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Approaching a Lawson convenience store to purchase some light bites and beverages

The view of a snowy mountain in the sparse and popular, rural ski village of Hakuba on a cloudy winter's early afternoon as seen from the Lawson convenience store

Travelling along the roads of Hakuba again to the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉)

About to turn towards the road leading to the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉)

Finally arriving at the main entrance to the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉)

After a short road trip of 20 minutes from The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba, we finally arrived at the main entrance to the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉) at 11.55 a.m.. Taking our belongings from the car, we went into the private onsen and headed to the footwear storage room to store our footwear before proceeding to the reception counter. The private onsen owner, who immediately recognised us, provided us with the room key to the same private onsen room we had previously used on Thursday (11 December).

Escorting us to our private onsen room located downstairs, we unlocked the private onsen room door and put our belongings into their respective storage spaces. Upon doing so, we immediately changed into our swimming attires before eventually entering the private hot spring room. Soon enough, that afternoon, we had another entire private family hot spring relaxation at the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉), also having lunch out of our light stuff we had purchased from the Lawson convenience store earlier on the way.

Finally arriving at the main entrance to the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉)

The interior of the main entrance lobby at the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉) on a cloudy winter's afternoon

The interior of the living room area in our private onsen room at the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉)

The view of the hot spring (onsen) bath area in our private onsen room at the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉)

After spending approximately 1 hour 45 minutes of relaxing in the private family hot spring bath (onsen) at the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉), the clock was finally showing 1.45 p.m.. Knowing that our private onsen usage duration was scheduled to end in 15 minutes' time, we changed back into our standard winter attires and sorted out our belongings, checking to see that none of them had been left unpacked in our private onsen room at the same time before eventually leaving the room.

Locking up the private onsen room, we headed back upstairs to return the room key at the reception counter, and claimed our footwear from the footwear container room. Since there was still much to do for the rest of the day, we decided to head over to the city of Nagano to visit the Zenko-ji Temple. Boarding the car after loading our belongings into the car boot, we finally departed the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉) at 2.05 p.m. for a mid-afternoon road trip of just one hour to the mid-sized urban city of Nagano.

The exterior of the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉) hot spring bathhouse on a cloudy winter's afternoon

Our rented black Nissan car parked at the car parking area near the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉)

Finally departing the Shirouma Onsen (白馬温泉)

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse and popular, rural ski village of Hakuba on the way to Nagano

Bypassing a 7-Eleven convenience store and some houses in the sparse and popular, rural skiing village of Hakuba

Bypassing a mountainous skiing resort covered in snow in the sparse and popular, rural skiing village of Hakuba

Overlooking a cloud-covered snowy mountain in the sparse and popular, rural skiing village of Hakuba on the way to Nagano

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural village of Ogawa

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural village of Ogawa near a hilly snow forest on the way to the Nagano-Hakuba toll gate

Approaching the Nagano-Hakuba toll gate on a cloudy winter's afternoon

Bypassing the Shinano River close to Nagano

Travelling parallel to the Shin'etsu Main Line and Nagano Shinkansen tracks in the mid-sized urban city of Nagano

Bypassing some small office infrastructure in the mid-sized urban city of Nagano

Bypassing the South Entrance undergoing renovation works at Nagano Station on a cloudy winter's afternoon

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nagano in the direction close to a multi-storey car parking building located near the South Entrance to Nagano Station

About to park our rented black Nissan car at an empty parking space in the multi-storey car parking building located near the South Entrance to Nagano Station

After a short mid-afternoon road journey of one hour from the sparse and popular, rural ski village of Hakuba, we finally arrived at the multi-storey car parking area near the South Side of Nagano Station at 3.05 p.m.. Parking our car, my family decided to explore around to see whether there was anything else to purchase, while I decided to head to Nagano Station to make some of seat reservations. With that, I walked along the alley and streets to Nagano Station, eventually arriving at the South Entrance to the station at 3.10 p.m..

Entering the station building through the South Entrance, I promptly took the escalator up to the Nagano Shinkansen concourse, arriving there by 3.15 p.m.. In the Nagano Shinkansen concourse itself, I quickly proceeded to the JR Ticket Office, where I made two Green Car (first class) seat reservations for Narita International Airport for Tuesday (16 December) and for the upcoming one-way journey to Tokyo for Wednesday (17 December). It took less than approximately 10 to 15 minutes to make both my Green Car (first class) seat reservations.

Walking along the streets of downtown Nagano in the direction to the South Side of Nagano Station

Finally arriving at the South Entrance to Nagano Station

The interior of the main station concourse of Nagano Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The interior of the JR Ticket Office located in the Nagano Shinkansen concourse of Nagano Station during the late afternoon hours

After making my necessary Green Car (first class) seat reservations for the upcoming train journeys to Narita International Airport and Tokyo, the clock was finally 3.25 p.m.. Taking the escalator back down to the South Entrance of the station, I informed my parents that I was making my way back to the multi-storey car parking area close to the South Side of Nagano Station. The walk from Nagano Station to the multi-storey car parking area located near the station's South Side took no more than approximately five minutes.

Soon enough, I finally arrived back at the multi-storey car parking area near the South Side of Nagano Station at 2.35 p.m.. Reaching the black rented Nissan car, I found my family still waiting for me to board. Loading all my belongings into the car, we finally departed the multi-storey car parking building near the South Side of Nagano Station by 3.40 p.m. for the short remainder of the trip to the Zenko-ji Temple, with the entire road journey to the temple taking no more than approximately 10 minutes.

The interior of the main station concourse of Nagano Station as I begin to make my way back to the multi-storey car parking area located near the station's South Side

The exterior view of the South Side of Nagano Station as I make my way back to the multi-storey car parking area located near the station's South Side

Walking along the streets of downtown Nagano in the direction to the multi-storey car parking area located near the South Side of Nagano Station

Finally arriving back at the multi-storey car parking building located close to the South Side of Nagano Station

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nagano in the direction to the Zenko-ji Temple

Overlooking a somewhat snowy mountain forest in the mid-sized urban city of Nagano on the way to the Zenko-ji Temple

The exterior view of the main building at Zenko-ji Temple on a cloudy winter's afternoon from our black rented Nissan car

Going around the bend to the main entrance to the Zenko-ji Temple

After a short 10-minute drive from the South Side of Nagano Station, we finally arrived at the main entrance to the Zenko-ji Temple at 3.50 p.m.. Alighting the car, my dad went to find a nearby car parking area to park our car, while I followed both my mum and younger brother into the temple compound. Entering the temple compound itself, we headed to the temple's Main Hall and walked up the staircase to the inner prayer chamber, which was accessible to visitors until four o' clock.

Entering the inner prayer chamber room, a staff member quickly approached us and told us we were lucky to be the last visitors to be admitted into the chamber, which would be closing shortly. Purchasing our tickets at the temple's ticket vending machine, we entered the prayer area and noticed the ambience and tranquility of the temple. My parents also went down to the very dark room, which probably contained the Secret Buddha (秘仏), for which, under the strict temple commandments, absolutely no one is allowed to view it.

Upon completing our explorations in the temple's secret prayer room, the clock was finally showing four o' clock. Knowing that the inner prayer chamber would be closing shortly for the day, we took our belongings and exited the prayer chamber. Since we still had some time left before we felt hungry for some late afternoon tea, we decided to head over to the temple's small souvenir store to purchase some lucky charms and talismans to help us to prosper in the upcoming fiscal year 2015.

Zenko-ji (善光寺) is a traditional Buddhist temple located in the city of Nagano, Japan. Built in the 600s, it is one of the oldest Buddhist temples and one of the few remaining Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the country. The temple is historically notable for being the headquarters of Uesugi Kenshin in the 1500s during his battles with Takeda Shingen. The temple is also known for housing the main Buddhist image, known as the Secret Buddha (秘仏), for which under the temple commandments, absolutely no one is permitted to view it, since it was the first sign of Buddhism to be brought into Japan.

The exterior view of the Main Hall at the Zenko-ji Temple on a cloudy winter's late afternoon

Overlooking the entrance concourse from the Main Hall at the Zenko-ji Temple on a cloudy winter's late afternoon

After spending approximately 15 minutes of exploring the Zenko-ji Temple for the rest of the late afternoon, the clock was finally showing 4.10 p.m.. Since we were beginning to feel a bit hungry, we decided to find a small cafeteria for some late afternoon tea before heading back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba. With that, we departed the compound of the Zenko-ji Temple, and proceeded to the car parking area located near the temple, where our black rented Nissan car was parked.

Upon reaching our black rented Nissan car at the temple's car parking area, we loaded our belongings into the car and climbed in for the drive around Nagano to search for a cafeteria for some late afternoon tea. Soon enough, once everyone was on board, we finally departed the Zenko-ji Temple at 4.15 p.m. for a short drive of approximately five minutes around the mid-sized urban city of Nagano in search for a good cafeteria for some light afternoon tea located close to the Zenko-ji Temple.

Walking to the car parking area close to the Zenko-ji Temple

Our rented black Nissan car parked at the car parking area near the Zenko-ji Temple

Finally departing the car parking area near the Zenko-ji Temple

The exterior view of the main building at Zenko-ji Temple on a cloudy winter's late afternoon

Bypassing some traditional shops and cafeterias in Nagano near the Zenko-ji Temple

Finally stopping at a car parking area near a street filled with traditional souvenir shops and cafeterias in Nagano

After a short five-minute drive from the Zenko-ji Temple, we finally arrived at a car parking area close to an alley of cafeterias and traditional shops at 4.20 p.m.. Parking our car, we walked along the streets and looked at all the different cafeterias and traditional craft shops for a while before selecting a suitable cafeteria for our short afternoon tea. Soon enough, we finally arrived at a two-storey cafeteria and shop, known as PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop, at 4.30 p.m..

Entering the cafeteria building, we went up to the second floor and promptly requested for a table for the four of us. Soon enough, a waitress directed us to an empty table near one that was close to the window, and left us with the menus to make our tea reviews. Once we were ready, a waitress came by to take down our afternoon tea orders. We ordered several light food, like curry rice, cakes and hot cocoa for tea. Soon enough, that evening, we had a nice, refreshing late afternoon tea at PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop.

The car parking area located near the alley of cafeterias and traditional shops in Nagano on a cloudy winter's late afternoon

The view of the traditional shops and cafeteria street facing the direction to Zenko-ji Temple in Nagano on a cloudy winter's late afternoon

About to cross the roadway to the other side of the traditional cafeteria and shop alley in Nagano

The view of the traditional shops and cafeteria street facing the direction to downtown Nagano on a cloudy winter's late afternoon

Bypassing the Pâtisserie Heigoro confectionery and bakery in the traditional shops and cafeteria alley in Nagano

Finally arriving at the main entrance to PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop Nagano

Reviewing the beverage menu at PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop Nagano

The interior of PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop during the early evening hours

A platter of Shinshu Wagyu beef curry rice to be shared between my parents

A small platter of chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and whip cream for myself

Two cups of hot cocoa for my younger brother and I

The interior of PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop during the early evening hours shortly before we left for Hakuba

After having some light afternoon tea at PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop Nagano, the clock was finally showing 5.25 p.m.. Since there was nothing much left to do in Nagano, we decided to head back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba. With that, we paid up our afternoon tea bill and left the cafeteria by 5.35 p.m.. Since the rest of us were too tired to continue on to the car parking area, my dad opted to take the car and fetch us from outside the cafeteria and shop, while we waited for him.

Soon enough, my dad finally arrived in our black rented Nissan car at 5.40 p.m. outside the PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop Nagano. Without wasting anymore time, we boarded the car with all our belongings for the long early evening road journey back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba. Once everyone on board, we finally departed PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop for an early evening road journey of 1 hour 15 minutes back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba located in the sparse, rural ski village of Hakuba.

The rear entrance to PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop Nagano at night

The roads of Nagano near the traditional shop and cafeteria area near Zenko-ji Temple at night

Our rented black Nissan car picking us up near the PEAKs Café Dining & Life Style Shop Nagano

Finally travelling along the roads leading to downtown Nagano at night

Travelling past a Nissan car showroom and shop in Nagano at night

Travelling alongside the Shinano River on the way back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba at night

Travelling a hilly snow-covered road near the sparse, rural village of Ogawa at night

Travelling along the snowy road between Ogawa and Hakuba at night

About to turn to the snowy road leading to the village centre of Hakuba late at night

Travelling along the dark roads of Hakuba close to the direction leading to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Turning to the hilly road leading to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba late at night

Finally arriving back at our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

After an early evening road journey duration of 1 hour 15 minutes from the mid-sized urban city of Nagano, we finally arrived back outside our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba at 6.55 p.m.. While my mum, my younger brother and I alighted from the car, my dad went over to park the car near the chalet next to us. Entering the chalet, we went to have a nice, hot shower before changing into our attire and settling in for our private electronic devices for the night.

Later that evening, my parents cooked up some dinner for us, and we headed over to put up our electronic devices to be charged overnight. As I was to be embarking on a train journey cum shopping trip to Narita International Airport the next day, I decided to prepare some of my necessary belongings and set up my mobile phone alarm for 7.15 a.m. the next morning. Soon enough, once I had done all the necessary preparations, I finally turned in at midnight for a well-earned good night's sleep.

Part 3 ~ My Shopping Trip To Narita International Airport

The next morning, which was Tuesday (16 December), I woke up at around 7.15 a.m. after my mobile phone alarm went off early. Getting out of bed, I went to have a nice, hot shower and changed into my attire for the day before heading over to prepare the remainder of my necessary belongings for the upcoming train journey to Narita International Airport. As for the in-bound journey to Narita International Airport, I would catch the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, which would be expected to depart Nagano Station at 10.30 a.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 12.12 p.m..

After arriving at Tokyo, I would have a layover of about 15 minutes before connecting to a Yamanote Line Inner Loop train, which would be expected to depart Tokyo Station at 12.25 p.m., and arrive at Ikebukuro Station at 12.48 p.m.. Upon arrival at Ikebukuro, I would have a 15-minute layover before changing to the Limited Express Narita Express No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, which would be expected to depart Ikebukuro Station at 1.03 p.m., and arrive at the Narita Airport (Terminal 1) terminal station at 2.29 p.m..

I was lucky since I had made my Green Car (first class) seat reservations at the JR Ticket Office at Nagano Station the day before the trip in advance. My dad, who also happened to be awake at that time, offered to give me a lift to Nagano Station after he had a shower and changed up for the day. I then asked him to drop me off at the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano, so that I would have easier access to the South Entrance of Nagano Station. Soon enough, I was finally ready to go at 8.15 a.m..

Putting on our winter boots, my dad used the spade to shovel the snow out of the way and fetch our black rented Nissan car. Arriving outside our Chalet No. 1 at 8.30 a.m., I opened the car door and loaded my belongings into the rear of the car before climbing into the front passenger seat for the snowy early morning road journey to Nagano. Soon enough, once everything was loaded into the car, we finally departed The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments at 8.35 a.m. for a snowy road journey of one hour to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano.

The view of the snowy surroundings outside our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Finally departing The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Travelling through the slippery roads of the village centre of Hakuba on a cloudy winter's morning

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse and popular, rural ski village of Hakuba

Bypassing some housing areas in the sparse and popular, rural ski village of Hakuba through the snowy roads

Travelling along the snowy roads of Hakuba leading to Nagano via Ogawa

Travelling past a small housing area near a snow forest in the sparse and popular, rural skiing village of Hakuba

Approaching a road tunnel leading to the sparse, rural village of Ogawa

Travelling past some snow-covered housing areas in the sparse, rural village of Ogawa

Travelling along the windy road leading to Nagano in the sparse, rural village of Ogawa

Approaching the Nagano-Hakuba road toll gate on a cloudy winter's morning

Bypassing the Shinano River close to Nagano

Travelling parallel to the Shin'etsu Main Line and Nagano Shinkansen tracks in the mid-sized urban city of Nagano

Crossing the Shinano River into downtown Nagano on a cloudy winter's afternoon

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nagano close to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano and Nagano Station

Finally approaching the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano near the South Side of Nagano Station

After a short and snowy morning road journey of just one hour from The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba, we finally arrived outside the main entrance to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano at 9.35 a.m.. Alighting the car, I unloaded all my belongings from the car boot and thanked my dad for the lift. He also warned me to be careful at all times before he left me to commence my journey. Once my dad left me at the hotel entrance, I promptly headed over to the South Entrance of Nagano Station, arriving there by 9.40 a.m..

Reaching the South Entrance of Nagano Station, I took the escalator up to the main station concourse and headed over to the Nagano Shinkansen concourse. Once I had arrived at the Nagano Shinkansen concourse itself, I went to check to see which platform number the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the departure information board in the Nagano Shinkansen concourse, the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo would be scheduled to depart at 10.30 a.m. from Track No. 14.

Though it was still early before my train to Tokyo, I took the elevators down to Tracks No. 13 and 14 for the trip. Arriving at Tracks No. 13 and 14 by 9.50 a.m., I found a 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8 waiting on Track No. 14. The train had initially arrived from Tokyo as the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 507 bound for Nagano, and was still undergoing extensive cleaning before becoming the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo. Boarding scheduled to commence at 10.15 a.m., approximately 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure timing.

The drop-off and pick-up area outside the main hotel lobby at the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano during the early afternoon hours

Finally arriving outside the South Entrance to Nagano Station

The interior of the main station concourse of Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

Bypassing the JR Ticket Office in the Nagano Shinkansen concourse of Nagano Station

The Nagano Shinkansen ticketing concourse at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

The Nagano Shinkansen ticketing gates at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

The departure information board in the Nagano Shinkansen concourse at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

The Nagano Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

Finally arriving on Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Nagano Station

The 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The logo of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

Getting ready to board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The overall view of the Nagano Shinkansen platforms at Nagano Station during the early afternoon hours

A 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Nagano Station

Overlooking the soon-to-be-open Hokuriku Shinkansen line in the direction to Toyama and Kanazawa from Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Nagano Station

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

The LED destination panel of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station shortly before boarding commenced

After spending approximately 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 13 and 14, the doors of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, were finally opened again at 10.15 a.m.. Without wasting anymore time, I boarded the train via Car No. 10 and went into Car No. 11, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, before settling into my assigned Seat No. 6D for the short early afternoon journey duration of 1 hour 42 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat next to me, 6C, would remain empty for the entire early afternoon journey of 1 hour 42 minutes from Nagano to Tokyo. With the clock striking exactly 10.30 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 520 finally pulled out of Nagano Station for its short early afternoon journey duration of 1 hour 42 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo. I was then on my way for an early afternoon trip of 1 hour 42 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan in the Kanto region.

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

A view of my seat, 6D, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

A 12-car W7 Series Shinkansen Set No. W4 stopping at Track No. 12 at Nagano Station after undergoing test running on the soon-to-be-open Hokuriku Shinkansen line. This train will be used on the various "KAGAYAKI", "HAKUTAKA" and "TSURUGI" services once the Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Nagano and Kanazawa opens on 14 March 2015

The logo of the 12-car W7 Series Shinkansen Set No. W4, undergoing test running on the soon-to-be-open Hokuriku Shinkansen line, on Track No. 12 at Nagano Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Nagano Station

Awaiting departure from Nagano Station

E7系新幹線 F8編成 あさま520号 東京行き 長野駅から上田駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueda Station

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

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ueda

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Ueda and Sakudaira Stations

A view of my seat, 6D, between Ueda and Sakudaira Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, between Ueda and Sakudaira Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, between Ueda and Sakudaira Stations

Bypassing some sparse farming fields in the suburban city of Saku

Making a brief stop at Sakudaira Station

Reading through the most hilarious quote in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on iBooks in my laptop, where Harry's Uncle Vernon throws a temper tantrum after Harry tells Dudley to say 'please' to get more breakfast ー "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU," thundered his uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!"

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban skiing town of Karuizawa

Overlooking a snow-covered ski mountain in the suburban skiing town of Karuizawa as the train approaches Karuizawa Station

Making a brief stop at Karuizawa Station

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo

A box of Jagariko potato sticks (じゃがりこ) and a small bottle of Coca-cola and water for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Making a brief stop at Annaka-haruna Station

E7系新幹線 F8編成 あさま520号 東京行き 安中榛名駅から高崎駅間

Making a brief stop at Takasaki Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Takasaki

E7系新幹線 F8編成 あさま520号 東京行き 本庄早稲田 (通過) ~ 熊谷 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Okegawa

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

A view of my seat, 6D, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

Intersecting with the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks near Omiya Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 520 bound for Tokyo, from my seat as the train approaches Omiya Station

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

E7系新幹線 F8編成 あさま520号 東京行き 大宮駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E7系新幹線 F8編成 あさま520号 東京行き 上野駅から終点東京駅間

After a short early afternoon journey duration of 1 hour 42 minutes from the mid-sized urban city of Nagano, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 12.12 p.m. on Track No. 23. Checking to see that I did not leave anything behind, I alighted from the train and proceeded down to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates, arriving at the manned interchange ticket gate by 12.15 p.m.. Showing my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer, I quickly made my way to the Yamanote Line and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line concourse.

In the Yamanote Line and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line concourse itself, I went to see which platform number the closest Yamanote Line Inner Loop train would depart from. According to the departure information board, the closest Yamanote Line Inner Loop train would depart at 12.25 p.m. from Track No. 4. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately proceeded up to Tracks No. 3 and 4 in preparation for the short journey to Ikebukuro, eventually arriving at the platforms by 12.20 p.m..

The 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, now operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 523 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F8, now operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 523 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

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

The Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station during the early afternoon rush hour

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

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 early afternoon rush hour

The departure information board for Yamanote Line Inner Loop trains departing from Track No. 4 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 4 at Tokyo Station shortly before the 12.25 p.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop train arrived at Tokyo Station

After spending almost five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 3 and 4, an 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 12.25 p.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop service, finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 12.25 p.m. on Track No. 4. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train and settled in for the short early afternoon journey duration of 23 minutes to Ikebukuro. Soon enough, all the train doors were closed, and the Yamanote Line Inner Loop train finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its routine afternoon trip across the major districts downtown Tokyo.

Ikebukuro Station (池袋駅) is a major railway station located in the busy Ikebukuro district in downtown Toshima-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It is the second-busiest railway terminal in the world in terms of the number of passengers passing through the station after Shinjuku Station, and the busiest railway station operated by Seibu Railway, Tobu Railway and Tokyo Metro. The station serves passengers heading to and from Saitama Prefecture, and is a major stopping point for limited express heading to Tochigi Prefecture, with the Narita Express linking to and from Narita International Airport also stopping here.

An 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 12.25 p.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop service, finally arriving at Tokyo Station on Track No. 4

The interior of the 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 12.25 p.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop service, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Tokyo Station

Finally departing Tokyo Station

Bypassing some small office infrastructure in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, on a cloudy winter's afternoon

Making a brief stop at Kanda Station

Bypassing some downtown infrastructure in downtown Taito-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Ueno Station

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

Making a brief stop at Nishi-nippori Station

Overlooking the Tohoku, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen viaduct shortly after departing Nishi-nippori Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Toshima-ku, Tokyo, near Ikebukuro

Approaching Ikebukuro Station on a cloudy winter's afternoon

Finally arriving at Ikebukuro Station

After a short early afternoon travel duration from Tokyo Station located in downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at Ikebukuro Station at 12.48 p.m. on Track No. 6. Struggling my way through the crowded train with all my belongings, I alighted the train and took the escalators down to the JR Line concourse. In the JR Line concourse itself, I quickly went to check the departure information board to see which platform number the Limited Express Narita Express No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport would depart from.

According to the departure information board in the JR Line concourse, the Limited Express Narita Express No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport would be scheduled to depart at 1.03 p.m. from Track No. 2. Without wasting anymore time, I grabbed hold of my belongings and took the escalators up to Tracks No. 1 and 2 in preparation for my continuing journey to Narita International Airport. I then proceeded to do some train-spotting while waiting for the Limited Express Narita Express No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport.

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the Yamanote Line Inner Loop trains at Ikebukuro Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Ikebukuro Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Saikyo Line and Shonan-Shinjuku Line trains bound for Osaki and Odawara at Ikebukuro Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Tracks No. 1 and 2 at Ikebukuro Station shortly before the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 6-car E259 series EMU, which would operate as the Limited Express Narita Express No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, finally arrived at Ikebukuro Station at one o' clock on Track No. 2. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train through Car No. 6, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 4D for the early afternoon trip of 1 hour 26 minutes to Narita International Airport in the suburban city of Narita.

The seat adjacent to me, 4C, would remain vacant for the entire early afternoon journey to Narita International Airport. Once the clock struck exactly 1.03 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Narita Express No. 29 finally pulled out of Ikebukuro Station for its short early afternoon trip of 1 hour 26 minutes to Narita International Airport in the suburban city of Narita. Between Tokyo and Narita International Airport, my train was to be coupled with another 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the same train service from Yokohama, to form as 12 cars.

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス29号 成田国際空港行き 池袋駅に入線シーン

The 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

A view of my seat, 4D, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス29号 成田国際空港行き 池袋駅から渋谷駅間

Making a brief stop at Shibuya Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the segment between Ikebukuro and Narita International Airport

A view of my seat, 4D, between Shibuya and Shinagawa Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, between Shibuya and Shinagawa Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, between Shibuya and Shinagawa Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, between Shibuya and Shinagawa Stations

Travelling parallel to the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks near Shinagawa Station

Passing through Shinagawa Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, between Shinagawa and Tokyo Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, between Shinagawa and Tokyo Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, between Shinagawa and Tokyo Stations

Making a brief stop at Tokyo Station

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス29号 成田国際空港行き 東京 (発車) ~ 西船橋 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Funabashi

Passing through Funabashi Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, between Nishi-funabashi and Chiba Stations

A view of my seat, 4D, between Nishi-funabashi and Chiba Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, between Nishi-funabashi and Chiba Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, between Nishi-funabashi and Chiba Stations

Bypassing a commuter train depot in the suburban city of Narashino

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Narashino

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Inage-ku, Chiba

Passing through Chiba Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Yotsukaido

Passing through Yotsukaido Station

Bypassing a lush green forest in the suburban city of Yotsukaido

Bypassing some small shacks near a farming field in the suburban city of Sakura

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport

A box of Jagariko potato sticks (じゃがりこ) and a small bottle of Coca-cola for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Sakura

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Shisui

Passing through Shisui Station

Bypassing a large open field and green forest in the suburban city of Narita

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス29号 成田国際空港行き 成田 (通過) ~ 成田空港 (到着)

After a short and damp afternoon travel duration of 1 hour 26 minutes from Ikebukuro in the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Toshima-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Narita Airport (Terminal 1) terminal station at 2.29 p.m. on Track No. 1. Checking that not a single piece of baggage had been left behind on board, I alighted the train and took the escalators up to the main station concourse, where I showed my passport to the security officers by the ticketing gates at the passport security checkpoint for security reasons.

Upon clearing the passport security checkpoint, I immediately showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate and headed over to the elevator lobby to the South Wing of Terminal 1. Reaching the South Wing elevator lobby, I took the elevator up to the South Wing departures and check-in hall located on the fourth floor, arriving there by 2.40 p.m.. In the fourth floor, I then decided to take the escalators to the fifth floor to look for a shop having items that would suit my tastes and preferences before having lunch.

Narita Airport Station (成田空港駅) is an underground railway terminal located below Narita International Airport in the suburban city of Narita, Chiba, Japan. The station is located just below Narita International Airport Terminal 1, and is jointly managed by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Keisei Electric Railway. The station currently serves as the eastern terminus for the Narita Line (Airport Branch Line), also including the Narita Express limited express trains, together with both the Keisei Main Line and Keisei Narita Airport Line (Narita Sky Access Line).

As of 15 March 2015, there is one island platform serving two tracks for the JR Line trains, and two island platforms serving five tracks for the Keisei Line trains. Since 17 July 2010, following the opening of the Keisei Narita Airport Line (Narita Sky Access Line), the Keisei Line platforms and concourses were segregated, with one platform serving the Keisei Main Line trains, and another one serving the Narita Sky Access Line. For separate fare structural reasons, passengers not using the Narita Sky Access Line must pass through an additional ticketing gate before accessing the Keisei Main Line platforms.

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the JR Line trains at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The JR Line name plate on Tracks No. 1 and 2 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The 6-car E259 series EMU, which previously took me from Ikebukuro as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, on Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The JR Line concourse at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The JR East Travel Service Center in the main station concourse at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the mid-afternoon hours

The departures and check-in hall of Terminal 1 (South Wing) at Narita International Airport during the mid-afternoon hours

A large shopping area at Terminal 1 at Narita International Airport during the mid-afternoon hours

Finally stumbling upon Biplane Museum Shop on the fifth floor in Narita International Airport Terminal 1

After having a good look at the various shops available on the fourth and fifth floors at Narita International Airport Terminal 1, I finally arrived at a notable hobby shop, known as Biplane Museum Shop, at 2.45 p.m.. I was very familiar with this particular hobby shop since I had been here a few times during my past trips to Japan. Entering the shop itself, I looked at the various miniature aircraft models available very carefully to see which type of aircraft models would suit my tastes and preferences.

While I was shopping at Biplane Museum Shop, I purchased two All Nippon Airways Boeing 777 aircraft models, which were newly released. Upon purchasing my two aircraft models, I went back down to the fourth floor via the escalators to look for a good restaurant to eat at, since I was beginning to feel very hungry already. Soon enough, I finally stumbled upon a local restaurant, known as Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳), at 2.55 p.m.. Entering the restaurant, I promptly requested for a table for myself.

Soon enough, I was escorted to an empty table by a waiter and was left with the menus to make my reviews before placing my main meal orders for lunch. Once I was ready to eat, a waiter came over to my table to take down my main meal orders for lunch. I ordered myself a deep-fried Tonkatsu pork loin meal seat, together with some locally-grilled omelette and some conger eel (anago; 穴子) sushi, as well as some grilled pork jowl and Coca-cola. Soon enough, with my meal orders delivered, I had a sumptuous and filling lunch at Keisei Yuzen.

As for the two new All Nippon Airways Boeing 777 Scale 1:500 aircraft models I had newly purchased, they were, as follows:

1) ANA − All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381 "Pokémon Peace Jet" ANA Official Precision Models Scale 1:500 (NH 50069)

ANA − All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381 "Pokémon Peace Jet" ANA Official Precision Models Scale 1:500 (NH 50069)

2) ANA ー All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381/ER ANA Official Precision Models Scale 1:500 (NH 50084)

ANA − All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381/ER ANA Official Precision Models Scale 1:500 (NH 50084)

Finally back on the fourth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Finally stumbling upon a local restaurant, Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳), on the fourth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1

The cover page for the main menu at Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) on the fourth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Reviewing the main menu at Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) on the fourth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1

A small platter of conger eel (anago; 穴子) sushi and local-style grilled omelette on my dining table

A large deep-fried Tonkatsu pork loin meal set and a small platter of grilled pork jowl for myself

The interior of Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) during lunchtime hours on a cloudy winter's afternoon

After having a very filling and sumptuous local lunch at Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳), the clock was finally showing 3.45 p.m.. Feeling stuffed to the brim already, I paid up my bill and left the restaurant to do some late afternoon plane-spotting before heading back down to Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station. Taking the escalators up to the fifth floor, I quickly headed over to the open-air observation area, only to find that the weather was quite damp and that I had to open up my umbrella to ensure that I did not get drenched.

Outside, as the rain began to pour down more, I could only spot at most one aircraft taking off from Narita International Airport. With that, I immediately headed back into the terminal building and decided to do some plane-spotting from inside instead. Finding a nearby free massage area, I sat by the window and had a rest for a while before heading back down to Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station, also spotting a few aircraft parked at the North Wing of Terminal 1 and at the cargo apron from inside the terminal building.

The entrance to Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) on the fourth floor of Narita International Airport Terminal 1

The open-air observation deck on the fifth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 on a damp winter's afternoon

A China Southern Airlines Airbus A330-223, registered B-6515, speeding along the runway for her late afternoon journey back home to the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as China Southern Airlines flight CZ 386 bound for Guangzhou

Resting at the free massage chair use area on the fifth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Overlooking the cargo tarmac from the fifth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 on a damp winter's afternoon

Spotting two major SkyTeam carriers parked at the North Wing from the fifth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 on a damp winter's afternoon

The interior of the free massage chair use area on the fifth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1

One last view of the cargo tarmac from the fifth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 shortly before heading back down to Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

After spending approximately 1 hour 30 minutes of shopping, plane-spotting and dining at Narita International Airport, the clock was finally showing 4.10 p.m.. For the early evening return journey to Nagano, I would catch the Limited Express Narita Express No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, which would be scheduled to depart Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station at 4.44 p.m., and arrive at the Shinjuku terminal station at 6.15 p.m.. After arrival at Shinjuku, I was to connect to a Chuo Main Line Rapid Service bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart Shinjuku Station at 6.26 p.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 6.39 p.m..

After arrival at Tokyo Station, I would have a layover of approximately half an hour prior to catching the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, which would be scheduled to depart Tokyo Station at 7.24 p.m., and arrive at the Nagano terminal station at 9.03 p.m.. Grabbing my belongings with me, I took the escalators down to the North Wing departures and check-in hall on the fourth floor and changed to the elevator lobby, catching the nearest elevator down to the first floor, where the arrivals and meeting hall was located, eventually arriving there by 4.15 p.m..

Once I was in the arrivals and meeting hall in the North Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1, I quickly changed to another set of escalators down to Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station. Arriving at the main station concourse at 4.20 p.m., I promptly proceeded to the JR Line ticketing gates and showed my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate. I then went to check the departure information board to see which platform number the Limited Express Narita Express No. 38 bound for Shinjuku and Ofuna via Yokohama would depart from.

According to the departure information board in the JR Line concourse, the Limited Express Narita Express No. 38 bound for Shinjuku and Ofuna via Yokohama would be scheduled to depart at 4.44 p.m. from Track No. 1. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately took the escalators down to Tracks No. 1 and 2 in preparation for the upcoming return journey back to Shinjuku, eventually arriving at the platforms by 4.25 p.m.. I also did some train-spotting on the JR Line platforms while waiting for the Limited Express Narita Express No. 38 bound for Shinjuku and Ofuna via Yokohama.

The departures and check-in hall of Terminal 1 (North Wing) at Narita International Airport during the late afternoon hours

The arrivals and meeting hall in Terminal 1 (North Wing) at Narita International Airport during the late afternoon hours

The escalators leading to the main entrance to Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the late afternoon hours

The interior of the main station concourse of Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the late afternoon hours

The JR Line ticketing gates at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the late afternoon hours

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the JR Line trains at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the late afternoon hours

The JR Line name plate on Tracks No. 1 and 2 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station in the early evening

Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station shortly before the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku and Ofuna via Yokohama arrived at the station

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 12-car E259 series EMU finally arrived at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station at 4.31 p.m. on Track No. 1. The train had arrived from Yokohama and Ikebukuro as the Limited Express Narita Express No. 37 bound for Narita International Airport earlier, and was to undergo extensive cleaning prior to becoming the Limited Express Narita Express No. 38 bound for Shinjuku and Ofuna via Yokohama.

The entire cleaning process lasted less than 10 minutes. Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the train doors were opened again at 4.39 p.m., allowing the passengers to board the train. With that, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 12, which was the Green Car (first class) coach for the train bound for Shinjuku, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 5A for the short early evening journey of 1 hour 31 minutes to the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Shinjuku located in the heart of downtown Tokyo.

The seat next to me, 5B, would remain empty for the early evening return journey of 1 hour 31 minutes from Narita International Airport to Shinjuku. Once the clock struck exactly 4.44 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Narita Express No. 38 finally pulled out of Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station for its routine evening journey to the lively hustle and bustle of the Greater Tokyo Area, with Cars No. 1 to 6 bound for Ofuna via Yokohama and Cars No. 7 to 12 bound for Ikebukuro.

I was then on my way for an early evening journey duration of 1 hour 31 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, located in the heart of the national capital of Japan. However, as the train was travelling between Airport Terminal 2 Station and Narita Station, it suddenly made an emergency stop on the Narita Line (Airport Branch Line) viaduct due to the emergency button being activated. This then led to the entire train service being delayed for approximately 12 minutes.

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス38号 大船・新宿行き 成田空港駅に入線シーン

The 12-car E259 series EMU, now operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku and Ofuna via Yokohama, on Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The logo of the 12-car E259 series EMU, now operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku and Ofuna via Yokohama, on Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

A view of my seat, 5A, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

Awaiting departure from Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス38号 新宿行き 成田空港 (発車) ~ 成田付近 (緊急停車)

Bypassing some suburban shopping malls in the suburban city of Narita at night

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the segment between Narita International Airport and Shinjuku

Passing through Sakura Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, from my seat between Sakura and Yotsukaido Stations

Bypassing a forested area in the suburban city of Sakura at night

A view of my seat, 5A, between Sakura and Chiba Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, between Sakura and Chiba Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, between Sakura and Chiba Stations

Passing through Yotsukaido Station

Reading through the most hilarious quote in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on iBooks in my laptop, where Harry's Uncle Vernon throws a temper tantrum after Harry tells Dudley to say 'please' to get more breakfast ー "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU," thundered his uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!"

Passing through Chiba Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, from my seat between Chiba and Shin-koiwa Stations

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス38号 新宿行き 新小岩 (通過) ~ 東京 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, while making a brief stop at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, while making a brief stop at Tokyo Station

Passing through Shimbashi Station

Bypassing some downtown infrastructure in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, at night

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, between Tokyo and Shibuya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 38 bound for Shinjuku, between Tokyo and Shibuya Stations

Making a brief stop at Shibuya Station

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス38号 新宿行き 渋谷駅から終点新宿駅間

After a short and very damp early evening journey duration of 1 hour 43 minutes from Narita International Airport, I finally arrived at the Shinjuku terminal station at 6.27 p.m. on Track No. 5. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind, I alighted the train and quickly headed down to the underground JR Line interchange concourse. In the concourse itself, I immediately went to check to see which platform number the closest Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo would depart from.

According to the train departure information board situated in the underground interchange concourse, the closest Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo would depart at 6.26 p.m. from Track No. 8. However, in view of power faults caused by the damp adverse weather conditions, several commuter trains on the Chuo Main Line were delayed. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately rushed through the concourse to Tracks No. 7 and 8 to catch the nearest available Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo.

The 6-car E259 series EMU, now operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No.  51 bound for Narita International Airport, on Track No. 5 at Shinjuku Station

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the limited express trains bound for Tobu Nikko, Kinugawa-onsen, and Narita International Airport at Shinjuku Station on a damp early winter's evening

The underground JR Line concourse leading to Tracks No. 7 and 8 from Tracks No. 5 and 6 at Shinjuku Station

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the Chuo Main Line (Rapid) trains bound for Tokyo at Shinjuku Station on a damp early winter's evening

After rushing through the underground JR Line interchange passageway from Tracks No. 5 and 6, I finally arrived at Tracks No. 7 and 8 of Shinjuku Station at 6.30 p.m.. On Track No. 8, there was a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the delayed 6.26 p.m. Chuo Main Line Rapid Service bound for Tokyo, waiting for several commuters to board during the evening rush hour. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly boarded the crowded train for the short evening journey of just 14 minutes to Tokyo Station in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

At around 6.35 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Shinjuku Station for the remainder of its evening rush commuter trip of 1 hour 21 minutes between Ome and Tokyo. I was then on my way for a evening rush trip of 14 minutes to Tokyo Station located at the core of the lively Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. As it was already the peak of the early evening rush hours, almost every train was packed with commuters rushing to return home after work.

The departure information board for Chuo Main Line (Rapid) trains departing from Track No. 8 at Shinjuku Station

Finally departing Shinjuku Station

The interior of the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the delayed 6.26 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo, between Shinjuku and Yotsuya Stations

Making a brief stop at Yotsuya Station

Bypassing some office infrastructure between downtown Shinjuku-ku and Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Bypassing some office infrastructure in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Kanda Station

Making a brief stop at Kanda Station

Finally arriving at the Tokyo terminal station

After a short and damp early evening journey duration of 14 minutes from Shinjuku Station located in the heart of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 6.49 p.m. on Track No. 1, approximately 10 minutes behind schedule. Struggling my way through the crowd, I alighted the train and took the escalator down to the JR Line concourse, and made my way to the Shinkansen interchange concourse of the station with my belongings, eventually arriving at the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse at 6.55 p.m..

I then showed my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate, and went to check the train departure information screens to see which platform the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano would depart from. According to the train departure information screens, the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano would be scheduled to depart at 7.24 p.m. from Track No. 21. Because it was still early, I decided to do some Shinkansen train-spotting on Tracks No. 22 and 23 first before heading over to Tracks No. 20 and 21 at 7.05 p.m..

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Chuo Main Line (Rapid) trains at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

Walking down the escalator to the JR Line concourse at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

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

Finally arriving at the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station

The Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates at Tokyo Station at the JR Line concourse during the early evening rush hour

The Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

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

A 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B15, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station. I clearly remember riding on this particular train as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 469 bound for Okayama between Tokyo and Mishima in May & June 2010

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B15, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U11 and 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z15, now operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" & "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 33 bound for Shin-aomori and Akita, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U11, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 33 bound for Shin-aomori, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U11, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 33 bound for Shin-aomori, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 20 and 21 serving some of the Tohoku, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour on a damp winter's evening

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J58 and 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L64, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" & "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 157 bound for Sendai and Shinjo via Yamagata, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J58, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 157 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano arrived at the station

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting on the Tracks No. 20 and 21, an 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10 finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 7.12 p.m. on Track No. 21. The train had initially arrived as the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 542 bound for Tokyo from Nagano earlier, and was to undergo extensive cleaning before it became the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano. It took less than approximately 10 minutes to clean the entire inside of the train.

Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the train doors were finally opened again at 7.20 p.m., allowing the passengers to board the train for the early evening return journey from Tokyo to Nagano. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 7, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 5A for the short early evening return journey duration of 1 hour 39 minutes back to the mid-sized urban city of Nagano located in the Shin'etsu region of Japan.

The seat next to me, 5B, would remain vacant for the entire early evening journey duration of 1 hour 39 minutes from Tokyo to Nagano. Once the clock struck exactly 7.24 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen ASAMA Superexpress No. 545 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its short early evening travel duration of 1 hour 39 minutes to the mid-sized urban city of Nagano located in the Shin'etsu region of Japan. I was then on my way for a short early evening return journey of 1 hour 39 minutes to the mid-sized urban city of Nagano.

E2系新幹線 N10編成 あさま545号 長野行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, now operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station. I remember riding on this particular train as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 529 bound for Nagano from Tokyo on Saturday (13 December)

The logo of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 20 and 21 serving some of the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

Getting ready to board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 21 at Nagano Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 5A, during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E2系新幹線 N10編成 あさま545号 長野行き 東京駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E2系新幹線 N10編成 あさま545号 長野行き 上野駅から大宮駅間

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the return segment from Tokyo to Nagano

Finally diverging away from the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks at night

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, from my seat between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

The on-board trolley refreshment service on board the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano

A box of Jagariko potato sticks (じゃがりこ) and a small bottle of Coca-cola and water for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

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

E2系新幹線 N10編成 あさま545号 長野行き 熊谷 (通過) ~ 本庄早稲田 (通過)

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

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, from my seat between Honjo-waseda and Takasaki Stations

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

Making a brief stop at Takasaki Station

E2系新幹線 N10編成 あさま545号 長野行き 高崎駅から軽井沢駅

Making a brief stop at Karuizawa Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban skiing town of Karuizawa

A view of my seat, 5A, between Karuizawa and Sakudaira Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, between Karuizawa and Sakudaira Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, between Karuizawa and Sakudaira Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, from my seat between Karuizawa and Sakudaira Stations

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

Making a brief stop at Sakudaira Station

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

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, from my seat between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

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

Bypassing some housing areas between the suburban cities of Saku and Ueda at night

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, between Sakudaira and Ueda Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ueda

Making a brief stop at Ueda Station

E2系新幹線 N10編成 あさま545号 長野行き 上田駅から終点長野駅間

After a short and quick early evening journey duration from the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Nagano terminal station at 9.03 p.m. on Track No. 12. Being sure to check that I did not leave any of my belongings behind on board, I alighted the train and took the escalators up to the Nagano Shinkansen concourse, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticket gate. Reaching the Nagano Shinkansen concourse, I immediately rung up my family to inform them that I had already arrived back at Nagano.

My parents then informed me to proceed to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano, where my dad dropped me off earlier that morning, and wait for them in the main hotel lobby. With that, I walked through the JR Line concourse and took the escalators back down to the South Exit of the station building, exiting it by 9.15 p.m.. I then walked over to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano, eventually arriving there just before 9.20 p.m.. While waiting for my family to arrive, I decided to have a rest inside the main hotel lobby and sort out my belongings.

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving some of the Nagano Shinkansen trains at Nagano Station during the late evening hours. This platform will be used for the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen trains bound for Toyama and Kanazawa from the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015

The logo of the 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 12 at the Nagano terminal station

The 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 545 bound for Nagano, on Track No. 12 at the Nagano terminal station

The Nagano Shinkansen train timetable on Tracks No. 11 and 12 at Nagano Station during the late evening hours

The Nagano Shinkansen ticketing gates in the Nagano Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Nagano Station during the late evening hours

The Nagano Shinkansen concourse of Nagano Station during the late evening hours

The interior of the main station concourse of Nagano Station during the late evening hours

The exterior view of the South Entrance of Nagano Station during the early evening hours

The exterior view of the Heiando Department Store Nagano at night

Finally arriving at the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano at night

The drop-off and pick-up area outside the main hotel lobby at the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano during the late evening hours

The interior of the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano during the late evening hours

After having a short five-minute rest in the hotel lobby at the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano, I finally received a mobile phone call from my mum at 9.25 p.m.. She then informed me that the rest of the family was already waiting for me outside the hotel's main entrance in our black rented Nissan car and told me to go out to meet them. Without wasting anymore time, I grabbed my belongings and headed to the hotel's entrance, where my family was already in our black rented Nissan car waiting for me.

Loading my belongings into the boot of the car, I immediately hopped on board for the short road drive. Noticing that I was feeling rather hungry after my relatively long day trip to Narita International Airport, my family decided to stop somewhere to have dinner on the way back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba. Soon enough, we finally departed the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano at 9.30 p.m. for a short 15-minute road drive around Nagano to search for a good restaurant to eat at for dinner.

Our black rented Nissan car waiting for me outside the main entrance to the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano

Finally departing the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nagano at night near the vicinity of Nagano Station

Stopping at a petrol station to fill up petrol for the car in downtown Nagano

Travelling on the roads of Nagano in search for a good restaurant to eat at for dinner

Finally arriving at Denny's Restaurant in downtown Nagano

After driving around downtown Nagano for approximately 15 minutes, we finally arrived at a roadside western restaurant, known as Denny's, at 9.45 p.m.. While I followed my mum and younger brother into the restaurant itself, my dad went to park the car at the restaurant's car parking area. Entering the restaurant, we promptly requested for a non-smoking table for the four of us. Soon enough, a waitress directed us to an empty non-smoking window side table and provided us the menus to make our reviews before placing our dinner orders.

Once my dad joined us in the restaurant for the dinner menu reviewing and as soon as we were ready to have our family dinner, a waitress came by to our table to take down our main meal orders for dinner. We ordered several items that would suit our tastes and preferences, like sukiyaki, toast with marmalade, steak, spaghetti alla carbonara, a glass of white wine and some hot cocoa. Soon enough, that night, we all had a very sumptuous and filling family dinner at Denny's Restaurant.

The interior of Denny's Restaurant Nagano shortly after we were all seated for dinner

The cover page for the Grand Menu at Denny's Restaurant Nagano

Reviewing the main menu of Denny's Restaurant Nagano

A glass of white wine for myself

A nice, warm cup of hot cocoa for myself

A platter of french fries to be shared among us at Denny's Restaurant

A platter of roast beef with mashed potatoes and vegetables for my dad at Denny's Restaurant

A hot sizzling point of sirloin steak for my mum at Denny's Restaurant

A hot sizzling plate of hamburg steak for my younger brother at Denny's Restaurant

A beef sukiyaki meal set for myself at Denny's Restaurant

A platter of toast with marmalade to be shared among my parents

A nice chocolate ice cream sundae for myself to end off dinner

A platter of spaghetti alla carbonara for my younger brother at Denny's Restaurant

The interior of Denny's Restaurant Nagano shortly before we headed back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

After having a sumptuous and filling family dinner at Denny's Restaurant Nagano, the clock was finally showing 10.40 p.m.. As we were feeling stuffed to the brim already, we decided that we did not have anything left to do other than to head back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba. Without wasting anymore time, we paid up our dinner bill and left the restaurant before heading back to our black rented Nissan car, which was parked just near the car parking area by the restaurant.

Loading our belongings into the boot of the car, we immediately got in for the late night road trip back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba located in the sparse, popular and rural skiing village of Hakuba. Once everything had been loaded in and we were inside the car, we finally departed Denny's Restaurant Nagano at 10.50 p.m. for a short late night road trip of 1 hour 05 minutes back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba located in the sparse, popular and rural skiing village of Hakuba.

The exterior view of Denny's Restaurant Nagano late at night shortly before heading back to The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

Finally driving along the roads of downtown Nagano again at night

Travelling past some old traditional shophouses in downtown Nagano late at night

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nagano at night near the Heiando Department Store

About to cross the bridge leading to the Nagano-Hakuba road in downtown Nagano late at night

Travelling parallel to the Shinano River close to Nagano

About to turn to the road leading to Ogawa and Hakuba at a dimly-lit road junction near Nagano

Travelling along the snowy and windy roads near the sparse, rural village of Ogawa late at night

Travelling past some old houses in the sparse, rural village of Ogawa late at night

Travelling along the snowy roads between the sparse, rural villages of Ogawa and Hakuba late at night

Travelling across a snowy road bridge in the sparse, popular and rural skiing village of Hakuba late at night

Finally arriving back at our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba

After a short late night road trip of 1 hour 05 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Nagano, we finally arrived back at our Chalet No. 1 at The Big Bear Chalets & Apartments Hakuba. With the rest of us getting out and unloading our belongings from the car, my dad went to park our car and we went into the chalet to have a nice, hot shower before changing into our pyjamas and settling in further for the remainder of the night to have our electronic device batteries charged up.

Since we would be heading to Tokyo to spend the rest of our vacation the next morning, we prepared some of our baggage in advance. My parents then reminded us not to stay up too late as we had to get up before nine o' clock and check out of the chalet an hour later. While I would be taking the Nagano Shinkansen directly to Tokyo, my family intended to drive and stop at the Gotemba Premium Outlets to shop on the way. By around one o' clock late that night, we finally turned in for a well-earned good night's rest.

This officially brings the third segment of my 2014 Christmas special report about my end-of-year winter vacation to Japan in December 2014 to a formal conclusion. The remaining three segments of this 2014 Christmas special report will be published once I have selected the highest quality photographs and videos for them. While these require time and effort to publish the photographs and videos, please stay tuned in preparation for them to be posted.

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