Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Christmas Special: End-of-Year Winter Vacation to Japan in December 2014 ~ Section 5

Welcome to the fifth section of my 2014 Christmas special report detailing my special end-of-year winter vacation in Japan in December 2014. There will be just two focus topics that will be covered in this segment of this year's Christmas special report. They will mainly be another Christmas shopping trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), and my last Christmas shopping trip to Kansai International Airport in Osaka on our last day.

Part 1 ~ Another Shopping Trip To Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The next morning, which was Saturday (20 December), I woke up at around 10.15 a.m. after having a well-earned good night's rest. Though it was still too early to do anything else, I got out of bed and went to have a nice, hot shower before changing into my day's attire. After I had changed up, I went to do some stuff on my laptop computer and prepare my necessary belongings for the day. Though I was still feeling somewhat exhausted from my very long day trip to Fukuoka the previous day, I wanted to do something constructive today.

As such, I decided to do another Christmas shopping at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). For the in-bound journey to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I would catch a Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart Shinjuku Station at 12.47 p.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 1.01 p.m.. Upon arrival at Tokyo, I would connect to a Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Ofuna, which would be scheduled to depart Tokyo Station at 1.18 p.m., and arrive at Hamamatsucho Station at 1.22 p.m..

After arriving at Hamamatsucho, I would immediately connect to a Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train, which would be expected to depart Hamamatsucho Station at 1.36 p.m., and arrive at the Haneda Airport Terminal 2 terminal station at 1.55 p.m.. As it was still too early to leave the hotel, I went over to my parents' Room No. 2601 next door to view a new Sony video camera, which they had just purchased for me in Akihabara the previous day. I then decided to use this new camera from the next major overseas trip in fiscal year 2015, since my Nikon N7000 video camera was already showing its age.

The view of my Room No. 2602 shortly after both my younger brother and I woke up

The view of several downtown infrastructure in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, from my Room No. 2602 on a cloudy winter's morning

The view of the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, from my Room No. 2602 on a cloudy winter's afternoon

After spending the rest of the morning resting in my Room No. 2602, the clock was finally showing 12.15 p.m.. Since I was ready to go to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I left my Room No. 2602 and took the elevator down to the hotel lobby, eventually arriving there at 12.25 p.m.. I then went out to the main hotel entrance and asked the free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus lady what time the next free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station would depart at.

According to the lady at the hotel entrance, the next free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the West Entrance to Shinjuku would depart at 12.30 p.m.. With that, I rolled behind some other people at the hotel shuttle bus stand. Soon enough, the free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus finally arrived at the main hotel entrance at 12.30 p.m.. Once the bus door was opened, I boarded the hotel shuttle bus and stored my baggage at the baggage rack before securing a window seat located at the front.

The bus was relatively crowded with lots of passengers heading to downtown Shinjuku for their Christmas shopping. Soon enough, within just a few seconds, the bus door was closed, and the free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus finally departed the Hilton Hotel Tokyo for its short road trip of not more than just five minutes to the West Entrance of Shinjuku Station. I was then on my way for a short routine free hotel shuttle bus ride of not more than just five minutes to the West Entrance of Shinjuku Station.

The interior of the main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo during the early afternoon hours

The lobby lounge in the main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo during the early afternoon hours

The view of the hotel reception counter in the main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo during the early afternoon hours

The 12.30 p.m. free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station arriving at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Finally departing the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Finally about to turn to the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, after departing the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Travelling on the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, during the early afternoon hours to Shinjuku Station

Going around the bend to the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station

Finally arriving at the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station

After a short free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus of just five minutes from the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, I finally arrived at the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station at 12.35 p.m.. Checking to see that none of my belongings had been left behind, I got down from the bus and headed into the Odakyu Line concourse of the station. I then changed to a set of escalators linking to the underground JR Line concourse and immediately headed over to the underground JR Line West Entrance ticketing gates.

Showing my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate, I went to see which platform the closest Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the departure information board, the nearest Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo would depart at 12.47 p.m. from Track No. 8. With that, I took the escalators up to Tracks No. 7 and 8 for the trip to Tokyo. But due to operational circumstances, train services on the Chuo Main Line were delayed by about six minutes.

The exterior view of the Odakyu Department Store Shinjuku located directly above Shinjuku Station on a cloudy winter's afternoon

The Odakyu Line ticketing concourse of Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hours

The Odakyu Line ticketing gate area at Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hours

The train departure information board in the underground JR Line concourse of Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hours

The underground JR Line ticketing gates near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hours

The underground JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Shinjuku Station

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the Chuo Main Line (Rapid) trains bound for Tokyo at Shinjuku Station

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

An 11-car E257 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Azusa" No. 17 bound for Matsumoto, on Track No. 9 at Shinjuku Station

Track No. 12 at Shinjuku Station shortly before the delayed 12.47 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" train bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending just five minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the delayed 12.47 p.m. Chuo Main Line Rapid Service bound for Tokyo, finally arrived at Shinjuku Station 12.53 p.m. on Track No. 8, approximately six minutes late. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train for the short 16-minute hop to Tokyo Station located in the heart of the lively hustle and bustle of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

The train was very crowded with lots of commuters trying to get to work for their afternoon shifts. At around 12.54 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 early afternoon trip of 1 hour 11 minutes from Takao to Tokyo. However, the train suddenly made an emergency stop between Yotsuya Station and Ochanomizu Station due to the activation of the train's emergency breaks, thereby increasing the journey to Tokyo from Shinjuku by three minutes.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the delayed 12.47 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo, arriving at Shinjuku Station on Track No. 8

The interior of the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the delayed 12.47 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 8 at Shinjuku Station

The LED destination indicator on board the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the delayed 12.47 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 8 at Shinjuku Station

Finally departing Shinjuku Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, shortly after departing Shinjuku Station

Making a brief stop at Yotsuya Station

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

Making a brief stop at Ochanomizu Station

Bypassing a shopping centre located in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Kanda Station

Making a brief stop at Kanda Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Tokyo Station

Finally arriving at the Tokyo terminal station

After a short journey duration of 17 minutes from Shinjuku Station in the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Shinjuku, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 1.11 p.m. on Track No. 2, approximately 10 minutes behind schedule. Checking to see that I did not leave anything behind, I alighted the train and took the escalator to the JR Line concourse of the station and went to check the departure information board to see which platform the nearest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Ofuna would depart from.

According to the train departure information board located in the JR Line concourse of the station, the closest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Ofuna would be scheduled to depart at 1.18 p.m. from Track No. 6. Without wasting anymore time, I got hold of my belongings and took the stairs all the way up to Tracks No. 5 and 6 in preparation for my short and quick Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line train journey to Hamamatsucho Station located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

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

The Chuo Main Line concourse leading to the platforms at Tokyo Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The passageway leading to the other JR Line platforms at Tokyo Station during the early afternoon rush hour

About to walk up the staircase linking to Tracks No. 5 and 6 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the Yamanote Line Outer Loop trains and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains bound for Ofuna at Tokyo Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Track No. 6 at Tokyo Station shortly before the 1.18 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" train bound for Ofuna arrived at the station

After spending just a few moments of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 1.18 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service bound for Ofuna, finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 1.18 p.m. on Track No. 6. Once all the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train and settled in for the short hop of just four minutes to Hamamatsucho Station located in the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Soon enough, within just a few seconds, all of the train doors were closed, and the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for the remainder of its early afternoon journey duration of 1 hour 49 minutes between Omiya and Ofuna. I was then on my way for a short early afternoon journey duration of no more than just four minutes to Hamamatasucho Station located in the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 1.18 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" bound for Ofuna, finally arriving at Tokyo Station on Track No. 6

The interior of the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 1.18 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" bound for Ofuna, during the boarding process on Track No. 6 at Tokyo Station

Finally departing Tokyo Station

Travelling parallel to the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks between Tokyo and Shimbashi Stations

Passing through Shimbashi Station

Finally arriving at Hamamatsucho Station

After a short early afternoon journey duration of just four minutes from Tokyo Station located in the lively hustle and bustle of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 1.22 p.m. on Track No. 4. Checking that I had all my belongings with me, I alighted the relatively crowded train and quickly took the escalator up to the main station concourse before proceeding to the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line interchange ticketing gates of the station.

Arriving at the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line interchange ticketing gates, I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer and went to check to see what time the closest Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) would depart from. According to the train departure information board, the closest Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) would depart at 1.36 p.m.. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the escalator up to the platform for the journey.

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the Yamanote Line Outer Loop trains and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains bound for Ofuna at Hamamatsucho Station during the early afternoon rush hour

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

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line interchange ticketing gates at Hamamatsucho Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse of Hamamatsucho Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information board on the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line platforms at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU, operating as the 1.28 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating as the 1.32 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line platforms at Hamamatsucho Station shortly before the 1.36 p.m. "Haneda Express" train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) arrived at the station

After spending approximately close to 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU finally entered Hamamatsucho Station at 1.33 p.m.. The train had arrived from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) as a Rapid Service train bound for Hamamatsucho earlier, and was to become the 1.36 p.m. Haneda Express service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Once all the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 6 and secured a panorama seat by the driver's cab.

Once the clock struck exactly 1.36 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train finally pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for its short early afternoon journey of just 19 minutes to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) located in the suburban outskirts of downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short early afternoon journey of just 19 minutes to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) located in the suburban outskirts of downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo.

東京モノレール1000形 (1060F-1055F) 空港快速 東京国際空港行き 浜松町駅に入線シーン

The interior of the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating as the 1.36 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), during the boarding process at Hamamatsucho Station

The service type information placard above the train doors of the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating as the 1.36 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), during the boarding process at Hamamatsucho Station

Awaiting departure from Hamamatsucho Station

東京モノレール1000形 (1060F) 空港快速 東京国際空港行き 浜松町駅から羽田空港第2ビル駅間

After a short and quick cloudy early afternoon journey duration of 19 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of Hamamatsucho located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Haneda Airport Terminal 2 terminal station at 1.55 p.m. on Track No. 1. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind, I alighted the train and took the escalator up to the station concourse, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate.

Upon exiting the station concourse, I was beginning to feel very hungry as I had not eaten a proper meal since I woke up that morning. Before commencing my mid-afternoon Christmas shopping at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I decided to have some lunch at a restaurant in Domestic Terminal 2 first. With that, I headed to the closest elevator lobby and took the closest elevator up to the third level, where there were some restaurants available, and changed to a set of escalators to the fourth level to look through more restaurants.

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, now operating as the 1.59 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon hours

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

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

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

The elevator lobby linking to the other upper levels at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the early afternoon hours

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

Overlooking the departures & check-in hall at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 from the third floor during the mid-afternoon hours

The large Christmas tree in the departures & check-in hall at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the mid-afternoon hours

Overlooking the departures and check-in atrium and some shops in the second level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the mid-afternoon hours

Walking up the escalator to the fourth floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

Finally arriving at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant located on the fourth floor of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

After looking through the many restaurants available in Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2, I finally stumbled upon a very familiar Italian restaurant, known as Don Sabatini, at 2.10 p.m.. I was very familiar with this particular restaurant since I had eaten lunch here previously in June 2013June 2014 and just a week earlier. Entering the restaurant, I immediately requested for a non-smoking table for myself and put my baggage at the main counter located near the entrance.

Once I was directed to an empty non-smoking table, I was left with the menus to make my reviews before placing my orders for lunch. As soon as I was ready to eat, a waiter came by to my table to take down my main meal orders. I ordered myself a platter of Italian raw ham and grissini, a platter assorted sausages and a platter of spaghetti alla carbonara, together with a glass of white wine. Soon enough, with all my lunch orders delivered, I had a large and sumptuous Italian lunch at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant.

The interior of Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during lunchtime hours

Reviewing the food and beverage menus at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

A platter of Italian raw ham and grissini for myself

Reading through the most hilarious quote in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on iBooks in my iPad ー "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU," thundered his uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!"

A platter of assorted sausages for myself

A glass of white wine to accompany my lunch

A platter of spaghetti alla carbonara for myself

The interior of Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 shortly after I finished lunch

After having a large and hearty Italian lunch at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant, the clock was finally showing 2.55 p.m.. Feeling stuffed to the brim already and knowing that it was time to commence my Christmas shopping, I paid up my lunch bill and claimed my baggage before leaving the restaurant. I then proceeded to the elevator lobby and took the closest elevator all the way down to the first level of Domestic Terminal 2, where the arrivals and meeting hall was located.

Once I was on the first level, I headed out to the limousine bus stop for a free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus bound for the International Terminal, eventually arriving at the allocated bus stop by three o' clock. Since there was already a free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus, I quickly boarded the free shuttle bus for the short bus ride of 10 minutes to the International Terminal. Soon enough, once the bus doors were closed, I finally departed the bus curb side of Domestic Terminal 2 for a short 10-minute ride to the International Terminal.

The entrance to Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant shortly before I made my way to the first level at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

Overlooking the departures & check-in hall at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 from the fourth level as I make my way to the first level

The first floor housing the arrivals and meeting hall in Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

The bus drop-off and pick-up area located outside Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 on a rainy winter's afternoon

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus linking between the domestic terminals and the International Terminal finally arriving at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

The interior of the free inter-terminal shuttle bus linking between the domestic terminals and the International Passenger Flight Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at Domestic Terminal 2

Finally departing Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

Crossing a flyover bridge in the direction to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 from Domestic Terminal 2

Making a brief stopover at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

Several foreign aircraft parked at the International Passenger Flight Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), along with some local aircraft

The exterior view of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal on a somewhat rainy winter's afternoon

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

After a very short and quick intra-airport terminal free shuttle bus ride of approximately 10 minutes from Domestic Terminal 2, I finally arrived at the curb side below the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport at 3.10 p.m.. Grabbing my belongings, I alighted from the bus and immediately headed into the terminal building. Entering the terminal building, I immediately proceeded to the elevator lobby and took the nearest elevator all the way up to the third level, where the departures and check-in hall were located.

Once I arrived at the departures and check-in hall at 3.15 p.m., I changed to an additional two sets of escalators to the fifth floor via the fourth floor. Since I still had plenty of time left at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I decided to do some plane-spotting in the damp weather first. With that, I headed out into the observation deck and did some of my normal plane-spotting activities. However, given that the weather was relatively rainy, I had to ensure that I was covered with my umbrella to prevent myself from being drenched.

The bus drop-off and pick-up area located outside Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal on a rainy winter's afternoon

The interior of the entrance plaza on the first level at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal on a rainy winter's afternoon

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

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

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

The interior of the fifth level in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the late afternoon hours

The open-air observation deck on the fifth level of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on a rainy winter's afternoon

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-367/ER, registered B-KPS, being serviced at Gate No. 114 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her regional late afternoon return journey back home to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Cathay Pacific flight CX 549 bound for Hong Kong

A Japan Airlines Boeing 777-346/ER, registered JA732J and painted in the special "Oneworld" livery, resting at Gate No. 112 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) after arriving from her long overnight trans-Siberian journey from the French Republic as Japan Airlines flight JL 046 from Paris (Charles de Gaulle)

The view of the main airport tarmac at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) from the International Terminal on a rainy winter's late afternoon

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212/ER, registered 9V-SQN, resting at Gate No. 110 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) after arriving from her long morning journey from the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 632 from Singapore

A Japan Airlines Boeing 777-346/ER, registered JA739J, taxiing to the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) after arriving from her long overnight trans-Siberian journey from the United Kingdom as Japan Airlines flight JL 044 from London (Heathrow)

After spending just 10 minutes of plane-spotting at the damp open-air observation deck in the International Terminal of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), the clock was finally showing 3.30 p.m.. Since I had a few things left on my Christmas souvenir list, I went back into the terminal building and took the escalator down to the fourth floor to search for some souvenirs for my friends. I then stopped at a traditional crafts shop on the fourth floor, where I purchased two traditional Japanese hand fans (one light blue & one pink).

Once I had purchased the two traditional Japanese hand fans, I suddenly knew that my next and final stop would be Domestic Terminal 1. As the clock was already showing 3.40 p.m., I took the escalator down to the departures and check-in hall and took the elevator all the way down to the first floor before heading to the free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus stop. Soon enough, a free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus finally arrived at the curb side just below the International Terminal of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at 3.50 p.m..

I then immediately boarded the bus and settled in for the short free bus ride of 15 minutes to Domestic Terminal 1, with the bus departing the International Terminal in just a few seconds. Arriving at the curb side of Domestic Terminal 1 by 4.05 p.m., I immediately grabbed all my belongings and alighted the bus before entering the first floor of the terminal building. I then looked quickly at the various shops available carefully before selecting the most appropriate shop for my own tastes to shop at before ending my afternoon shopping trip to the airport.

The interior of the fifth level in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) shortly before making my way down to the fourth floor

Overlooking the international departures and check-in area from the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) as I begin to make my way to the first level downwards

The international departures and check-in area in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) as I make my way back down to the Entrance Plaza

The interior of the entrance plaza on the first level at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal during the late afternoon hours

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

Finally departing Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal

The exterior view of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal on the way to Domestic Terminal 1

Crossing a flyover bridge in the direction to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 from the International Terminal

Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 coming into view as I approach the terminal building

Finally arriving at the curb side at Domestic Terminal 1 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The interior of the first level at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the late afternoon hours

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

After looking through the various shops available in the first level of Domestic Terminal 1 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I finally stumbled upon a very familiar and well-known hobby shop, known as JALUX Sky Blue Shop, again. I was again very familiar with this particular hobby shop as I had been here many times before. Entering the shop itself, I looked through the various aircraft models available before making my selections on what to purchase. At the shop itself, I purchased two new Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft models.

Once I had purchased my two new Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft models, the clock was finally showing 4.10 p.m.. I then received a phone call from my mum, telling me to meet up at Akihabara for a charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) family dinner. For the upcoming short early evening journey to Akihabara, I would catch a Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho, which would be scheduled to depart Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station at 4.41 p.m., and arrive at the Hamamatsucho terminal station at 5.01 p.m..

After arrival at Hamamatsucho, I would have a short layover of approximately 10 minutes before connect to a Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Omiya, which would be scheduled to depart Hamamatsucho Station at 5.12 p.m., and arrive at Akihabara Station at 5.22 p.m.. With that, I grabbed hold of all my belongings and took the escalator down to the first basement of the terminal building before changing to another escalator down to the underground passageway leading to Domestic Terminal 2.

On the way, I stopped at a cafeteria, known as Tully's Coffee, for a quick drink of iced cocoa. Soon enough, I was finally in the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 at 4.25 p.m.. Heading to the main station concourse of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station, I immediately went to check the departure information board to see which platform and what time the closest Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho would be expected to departed from.

According to the departure information board, the closest Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho would depart at 4.41 p.m. from Track No. 2. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately proceeded to show my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate before taking the escalators all the way down to the platforms. Once I arrived at the platforms, I sorted out my belongings while waiting for the 4.41 p.m. Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho to arrive at the station.

As for the two new Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft models I had purchased, they were, as follows:

1) Air Berlin Airbus A330-322 Herpa Scale 1:500 (524056)

Air Berlin Airbus A330-322 Herpa Scale 1:500 (524056)

2) American Airlines Boeing 777-323/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (523950-001)

American Airlines Boeing 777-323/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (523950-001)

Walking down the escalator to the first basement level at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

The first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the early evening hours

The entrance to Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station and underground passageway linking to Domestic Terminal 2 in the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

Stopping at a Tully's Coffee cafeteria for some iced cocoa near Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station

The Keikyu Line ticketing gates at Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station and entrance to the underground passageway linking to Domestic Terminal 2 in the second basement level at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

The interior of the underground intra-domestic terminal passageway linking between Domestic Terminals 1 and 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early evening hours

The exit linking to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 from the intra-domestic terminal underground passageway

Finally in the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

The main ticketing concourse at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early evening hours

The ticketing gates in the station concourse of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early evening hours

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early evening hours

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating as the 4.29 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating as the 4.35 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The departure information board in the station platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The disused station platform at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early evening hours

Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station shortly before the 4.41 p.m. Tokyo Monorail "Haneda Express" train bound for Hamamatsucho arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU finally arrived at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station at 4.37 p.m. on Track No. 2. The train had arrived from Hamamatsucho as a Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) earlier, and was to become the 4.41 p.m. Haneda Express service bound for Hamamatsucho. Once the train doors opened, I boarded the train through Car No. 1 and secured an observation seat by the driver's cab.

Once the clock struck exactly 4.41 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train finally pulled out of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station for its short and rainy evening routine journey of just 20 minutes to the very lively hustle and bustle of Hamamatsucho located in the heart of downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short and rainy evening routine journey of just 20 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of Hamamatsucho located in the central heart of downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

東京モノレール1000形 (1079F-1084F) 空港快速 浜松町行き 羽田空港第2ビル駅に入線シーン

The interior of the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating as the 4.41 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The service type information placard above the train doors of the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating as the 4.41 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

Awaiting departure from Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

東京モノレール1000形 (1079F) 空港快速 浜松町行き 羽田空港第2ビル駅から終点浜松町駅間

After a short and quick early evening journey of 20 minutes from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in the suburban outskirts of downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Hamamatsucho terminal station at 5.01 p.m.. Checking to see that I had left nothing behind on board, I alighted the train and took the escalators down to the Tokyo Monorail concourse of the station before showing my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line ticketing gate.

Exiting the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse, I took the escalators to the JR Line concourse and went to see which platform the closest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Omiya would depart from. According to the departure information board, the closest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Omiya would depart at 5.12 p.m. from Track No. 1. While I showed my Japan Rail Pass and went down to Tracks No. 1 and 2, train services were delayed by five minutes due to poor weather conditions.

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, now operating as the 5.04 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line arrival platform at Hamamatsucho Station during the early evening rush hour

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU, operating as the 5.08 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse of Hamamatsucho Station during the early evening rush hour

The escalators leading to the JR Line concourse of Hamamatsucho Station during the early evening rush hour

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

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Yamanote Line Inner Loop trains and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains bound for Omiya at Hamamatsucho Station during the early evening rush hour

Track No. 1 at Hamamatsucho Station shortly before the delayed 5.12 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train bound for Omiya arrived at the station

After spending a few minutes of anticipated waiting on the station platforms, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the delayed 5.12 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Omiya, finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 5.17 p.m. on Track No. 1, five minutes behind schedule. Once the train doors were opened, I held onto my belongings and immediately boarded the crowded train for the short journey of just 10 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of Akihabara in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

As the clock struck 5.18 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local train finally pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for the remainder of its somewhat long early evening commuter journey duration of 1 hour 55 minutes linking between Ofuna and Omiya. I was then on my way for a short early evening journey of just eight minutes to the lively shopping district and nightlife of Akihabara in the heart of the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the delayed 5.12 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Omiya, finally arriving at Hamamatsucho Station on Track No. 1

The interior of the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the delayed 5.12 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line local service bound for Omiya, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at Hamamatsucho Station

Finally departing at Hamamatsucho Station

Travelling adjacent to the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks between Hamamatsucho and Yurakucho Stations

Making a brief stop at Yurakucho Station

Making a brief stop at Tokyo Station

Travelling parallel to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Nagano Shinkansen tracks between Tokyo and Akihabara Stations

Finally arriving at Akihabara Station

After a short early evening journey duration of just eight minutes from Hamamatsucho in the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Akihabara Station at 5.26 p.m. on Track No. 1, approximately four minutes behind schedule. Alighting from the congested train, I immediately phoned my mum up to inform her that I had just arrived at the station. My mum then told me to meet her at a notable restaurant building, Niku no Mansei (肉の万世), as we would be having a charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) dinner there.

Without wasting anymore time, I immediately took the escalators down to the main station concourse, and showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate before heading out into the very lively main shopping streets and nightlife of Akihabara at 5.35 p.m.. Since it was already raining that evening, I had to be covered under my umbrella, especially when I crossed the Mansei Bridge to the Niku no Mansei restaurant building to meet my mum. The entire walk from Akihabara Station took approximately 10 minutes.

Akihabara Station (秋葉原駅) is a railway station located in Akihabara in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It serves as the centre railway station for the busy and notable electronics shopping street of Akihabara, and serves as the ninth-busiest railway station operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), with 240,327 passengers using the station daily in 2013. The station serves as a mandatory stopping point for all Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line, Yamanote Line and Chuo-Sobu Line trains.

The station also serves as an interchange station for the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, and is the 23rd-busiest Tokyo Metro station in downtown Tokyo. Akihabara Station then became an interchange station with the Tsukuba Express on 24 August 2005, with the station serving as the southern terminus for the line, housing one underground island platform. Prior to the opening of the Tsukuba Express, the whole station complex underwent refurbishment and was enlarged in preparation for the opening of the line.

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Yamanote Line Inner Loop trains and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains bound for Omiya at Akihabara Station during the early evening rush hour

The station name plate on Tracks No. 1 and 2 at Akihabara Station during the early evening rush hour

The overall view of the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line and Yamanote Line platforms at Akihabara Station during the early evening rush hour

Bypassing an open mini-gadget shop in the main station concourse at Akihabara Station

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

The JR Line entrance to Akihabara Station during the early evening rush hour

Bypassing a large electronic store in the lively shopping district of Akihabara near Akihabara Station

Bypassing some more electronic goods stores in Akihabara on the way to the Niku no Mansei restaurant building

The Niku no Mansei restaurant building coming into view on a rainy early evening

About to cross the Mansei Bridge towards the Niku no Mansei restaurant building at night

Overlooking the Akihabara shopping district before crossing the Mansei Bridge to the Niku no Mansei restaurant building

Crossing the Mansei Bridge across the Kanda River in the direction to the Niku no Mansei restaurant building at night

After a short and rainy walk of approximately 10 minutes from Akihabara Station, I finally arrived at the main entrance to the Niku no Mansei restaurant building at 5.45 p.m.. Entering the main restaurant building, I met up with my mum in the meeting area, where she asked me to check which level the charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) restaurant was located. Checking the restaurant level information board, I found the charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) restaurant level to be located on the fifth level.

With that, both my mum and I took the elevator up to the fifth floor, arriving at the charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) restaurant, Yakiniku Mansei Bokujo (焼肉万世牧場), at 5.50 p.m.. As there were lots of people rolling up to secure a dinner table as a first-come-first-serve basis, I went to the reception counter and put our names down for the four of us for a non-smoking table. Once the necessary reservation was made, both my mum and I took a seat to await our turn for our charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) dinner.

The butchery and sauce store in the first floor of the Niku no Mansei restaurant building near Akihabara

The logo of Yakiniku Mansei Bokujo (焼肉万世牧場) located on the fifth level of the Niku no Mansei restaurant building near Akihabara

The floor layout of the Niku no Mansei restaurant building near Akihabara located on the fifth floor

After waiting for approximately 20 minutes outside the main charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) restaurant entrance, our names were finally called out at 6.10 p.m.. With that, both my mum and I grabbed our belongings and were directed to a non-smoking window barbecue table. Hanging our jackets, one of the waitresses handed four food and beverage menus for us to make our reviews. At the same time, I sent a text message to my dad, telling him and my younger brother to come over to the restaurant immediately.

Soon enough, a waiter came by to take down our main meal orders for upcoming barbecue dinner. Both my mum and I ordered several grilled beef and seafood items for the upcoming dinner, ensuring that we ordered extra cuts in preparation for my dad and younger brother to come and join us. Later that evening, we all had a very nice, filling and sumptuous charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) dinner, though both my dad and younger brother eventually came over to join us for the dinner at around 6.45 p.m..

The interior of Yakiniku Mansei Bokujo in the fifth floor of the Niku no Mansei restaurant building near Akihabara shortly after my mum and I were seated

The charcoal barbecue griller placed in the centre of the table

The cover page for the food and beverage menu at Yakiniku Mansei Bokujo at the Niku no Mansei restaurant building near Akihabara

Reviewing the food and beverage menu at Yakiniku Mansei Bokujo at the Niku no Mansei restaurant building near Akihabara

Overlooking downtown Akihabara from Yakiniku Mansei Bokujo at the Niku no Mansei restaurant building shortly before we had dinner

Our first platter of assorted beef tongue ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Our first platter of beef karubi ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Seven pieces of beef tongue grilling on the charcoal barbecue griller

Five pieces of beef karubi and two pieces of beef tongue being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A small platter of buttered scallops ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A platter of sliced marinated squid ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Four pieces of squid and two pieces of beef tongue being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

An assorted platter of beef tongue and beef karubi ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Five pieces of thickly-sliced beef tongue and four pieces of beef karubi being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

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

Two pieces of beef karubi and a few pieces of beef large intestines being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Three pieces of buttered scallops with a few more pieces of beef large intestines being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Our first platter of assorted beef karubi about to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Seven pieces of assorted beef karubi being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Several pieces of beef large intestines being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

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

Six pieces of beef tokujo karubi being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Our second-last platter of beef karubi about to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A platter of thickly-sliced beef tongue ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Four pieces of beef karubi and thickly-sliced beef tongue each being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Overlooking downtown Akihabara from Yakiniku Mansei Bokujo at the Niku no Mansei restaurant building during dinner

Our last platter of beef karubi ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

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

The interior of Yakiniku Mansei Bokujo in the fifth floor of the Niku no Mansei restaurant building near Akihabara shortly before we were finished with our charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) dinner

After having a filling and sumptuous charcoal barbecue (yakiniku) dinner at Yakiniku Mansei Bokujo at the Niku no Mansei restaurant building located very near Akihabara, the clock was finally showing 7.25 p.m.. Feeling stuffed to the brim already, we paid our dinner bill and left the restaurant by 7.30 p.m. before taking the elevator down to the first level of the restaurant building. Since we were beginning to feel rather exhausted, we decided to head back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo for a well-earned good night's rest.

With that, we exited the Niku no Mansei restaurant building at 7.35 p.m., and immediately flagged a nearby cab down. Once the cab stopped, we quickly loaded our belongings into the boot of the cab, with the cab driver asking us for our intended destination. Informing him that we were intending to head back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, we finally departed the Niku no Mansei restaurant building at 7.40 p.m. for a rainy road journey of 25 minutes back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

The roads of downtown Akihabara located outside the Niku no Mansei restaurant building at night

The main entrance to the Niku no Mansei restaurant building located near Akihabara in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, at night

The white cab that would soon take us back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo from the Niku no Mansei restaurant building

Finally departing the Niku no Mansei restaurant building located near Akihabara

Bypassing some office infrastructure located near Akihabara in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, at night

Bypassing some restaurants in the Yotsuya district of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, at night

Bypassing some office infrastructure and shops in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, at night

Crossing underneath a JR Line bridge close to Shinjuku Station in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, at night

Bypassing some office infrastructure near the Hilton Hotel Tokyo in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, at night

Finally arriving back at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

The main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo during the mid-evening hours

The interior of my Room No. 2602 during the late night hours shortly after my younger brother and I got back

After a short and very rainy early evening road trip of 25 minutes from the Niku no Mansei restaurant building near Akihabara in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, we finally arrived back at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at 8.05 p.m.. Paying our cab fare, my dad immediately went to claim our belongings from the boot of the cab before the cab driver left us at the hotel. Having everything with us, we thanked the cab driver for his services and went into the main hotel lobby before taking the elevator back up to the 26th floor.

Once we were on the 26th floor of the hotel, we headed back to our Rooms No. 2601 and 2602, eventually arriving back at 8.10 p.m.. Entering our Room No. 2602, we set up our electronic devices to be charged overnight and had a nice, hot shower before changing up for the night. As I was to be heading to Kansai International Airport early the next day, I set my mobile phone alarm to 4.50 a.m. and prepared some of my belongings. Soon enough, by eleven o' clock late that night, I finally turned in for a well-earned good night's rest.

Part 2 ~ Afternoon Christmas Shopping In Kansai International Airport

The next morning, which was Sunday (21 December), I woke up at precisely 4.50 a.m. after my mobile phone alarm blasted off early. Leaping out of bed quietly, I went to have a nice, hot shower and changed into my attire for the day before heading to prepare the remainder of my necessary belongings. As stated in my advanced Japanese train travel itineraries, I was to be heading to Kansai International Airport for a final overseas Christmas shopping before heading home to Singapore the next day.

For the upcoming early morning in-bound trip to Kansai International Airport, I would catch the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, which would depart Tokyo Station at seven o' clock, and arrive at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 9.33 a.m.. Upon arrival at Shin-osaka, I would have a short layover of approximately 15 minutes before connecting to a Special Rapid Service train bound for Yasu, which would depart Shin-osaka Station at 9.49 a.m., and arrive at Kyoto Station at 10.13 a.m..

After arrival at Kyoto, I would have another long layover of approximately 45 minutes before eventually connecting the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 11.15 a.m., and arrive at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 12.34 p.m.. I was also quite lucky since I had made my Green Car (first class) seat reservations at the JR Ticket Office at Hamamatsucho Station on Saturday (13 December).

Changing into my attire and ensuring that everything was packed up, I was officially ready to go at 5.10 a.m.. Sneaking out of my Room No. 2602 very quietly, I took the elevator down to the main elevator lobby, eventually arriving there by 5.25 a.m.. Heading over to the hotel concierge counter, one male staff member escorted me out to the main entrance, where my white pre-arranged cab to the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station was already waiting for my arrival.

The driver then got out of the cab and offered to help me load my baggage into the boot of his cab, as I informed him that my intended destination was the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station. Once everything had been loaded into the cab, I finally departed the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at 5.30 a.m.. I was then on my way for a short early morning pre-dawn cab ride of approximately just 20 minutes to the Yaesu Central Entrance of Tokyo Station located in the centre of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

The main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The lobby lounge in the main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The white cab that would soon take me to the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station

Finally departing the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Travelling on the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Bypassing the South Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Bypassing Yotsuya Station during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Travelling on the roads near the Imperial Palace in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Travelling along one of the moats surrounding the Imperial Palace in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Travelling on the roads of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, near the Marunouchi business district during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Going around the bend to the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Finally arriving at the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station

After a short pre-dawn early morning cab ride of approximately 20 minutes from the Hilton Hotel Tokyo located in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Yaesu Central Entrance of Tokyo Station at 5.50 a.m.. Upon paying my cab fare, the driver offered to help me unload my baggage from the boot. Being sure to check that I had left nothing behind, I thanked the driver for his very kind and warm services before heading into the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing concourse of the station.

Upon entering the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing concourse of the station, I headed over to the Shinkansen ticketing gates near the Yaesu South Entrance and immediately showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate. Upon doing this, I was finally in the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station at 5.55 a.m., and promptly went to check the departure information board to see which platform the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka would depart from.

According to the departure information board, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka would depart at seven o' clock from Track No. 19. Though it was still quite early before my early morning Shinkansen train journey to Shin-osaka, I took the elevator up to Tracks No. 18 and 19 in preparation for my journey to commence, arriving at the platforms at 6.05 a.m.. While waiting for my early morning Shinkansen train bound for Shin-osaka, I did some train-spotting on Tracks No. 18 and 19 to pass the time.

The Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the pre-dawn hours of the cold winter's morning

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen line ticketing gates in the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station near the Yaesu Central Entrance during the pre-dawn hours of the cold winter's morning

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station during the pre-dawn hours of the cold winter's morning

Overlooking the other Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen tracks from Tracks No. 18 and 19 at Tokyo Station during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z15 (X15), operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 631 bound for Nagoya, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 18 and 19 at Tokyo Station during the pre-dawn hours of the cold winter's morning

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z15 (X15), operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 631 bound for Nagoya, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z15 (X15), operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 631 bound for Nagoya, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z15 (X15), operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 631 bound for Nagoya, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

A 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N8 (K8), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), entering Tokyo Station on Track No. 18

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N8 (K8), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), during the boarding process on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N8 (K8), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), during the boarding process on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N8 (K8), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N8 (K8), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 17 and 18 serving some of the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 19, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka is the first train to depart

A 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N13 (K13), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 7 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), entering Tokyo Station on Track No. 18. I remember taking this train before as Set No. N13 as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 58 between Shin-osaka and Tokyo in June 2013

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N13 (K13), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 7 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR West N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. N13 (K13), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 7 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka arrived at the station

After spending approximately 40 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), which would operate as the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 6.43 a.m. on Track No. 19. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train via Car No. 8 and went into Car No. 9, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, before settling into my assigned Seat No. 14D for the early morning journey of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

The seat next to me, 14C, would remain vacant for the entire morning journey from Tokyo to Shin-osaka. Once the clock struck exactly seven o' clock sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 203 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its early morning journey of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located in the Kansai region of the country. I was then on my way for a quick early morning journey of 2 hours 33 minutes to the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located in the centre of the Keihanshin metropolitan region.

N700系新幹線 Z12編成 のぞみ203号 新大阪行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

Getting ready to board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 14D, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

N700系新幹線 Z12編成 のぞみ203号 新大阪行き 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 Shin-osaka

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

Bypassing some suburban housing areas located just aft of downtown Kohoku-ku, Yokohama, shortly after departing Shin-yokohama Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ebina

Bypassing some hilly housing areas in the suburban city of Atsugi

Crafting out my report for the in-bound segment between Tokyo and Shin-osaka on my blog

Reading through the most hilarious quote in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on iBooks in my laptop 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 city of Isehara

A beautiful early morning view of Mount Fuji on a somewhat foggy winter's morning

Bypassing a large farming area in the suburban town of Nakai

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Ninomiya

N700系新幹線 Z12編成 のぞみ203号 新大阪行き 小田原 (通過) ~ 三島 (通過)

Bypassing some hilly housing areas in the suburban city of Mishima

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mishima and Shin-fuji Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mishima and Shin-fuji Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mishima and Shin-fuji Stations

A view of my seat, 14D, between Mishima and Shin-fuji Stations

A beautiful early morning view of Mount Fuji on a very bright and clear winter's morning

Bypassing some hilly housing areas in the suburban city of Fuji

Bypassing some workhouses in the suburban city of Fuji

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

Crossing the Fuji River onto the city of Shizuoka

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 downtown Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka

Crossing a truss bridge between downtown Shimizu-ku and Aoi-ku, Shizuoka

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Aoi-ku, Shizuoka

N700系新幹線 Z12編成 のぞみ203号 新大阪行き 静岡 (通過) ~ 浜松 (通過)

Bypassing a farming field in the suburban city of Hamamatsu

Crossing Lake Hamana bordering Shizuoka and Aichi Prefectures on a bright winter's morning

Bypassing a vegetable farming area in the sparse, rural city of Kosai

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Passing through Toyohashi Station

Bypassing a farming field in the suburban city of Toyokawa

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Okazaki

Bypassing more housing areas between the suburban cities of Okazaki and Anjo

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Anjo

Passing through Mikawa-anjo Station

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Kariya

A view of my seat, 14D, as the train approaches Nagoya Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, as the train approaches Nagoya Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, as the train approaches Nagoya Station

The view of several downtown infrastructure in downtown Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, as the train approaches Nagoya Station

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

N700系新幹線 Z12編成 のぞみ203号 新大阪行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 米原 (通過)

Bypassing a large and dry field in the suburban city of Maibara

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Hikone

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

Bypassing a farming field in the suburban city of Omihachiman

A view of my seat, 14D, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

Bypassing a large and dry farming field in the suburban city of Kusatsu

Bypassing some housing apartments in the suburban city of Otsu

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Yamashina-ku, Kyoto

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

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station

N700系新幹線 Z12編成 のぞみ203号 新大阪行き 京都駅から終点新大阪駅間

After a quick early morning journey duration of 2 hours 33 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 9.33 a.m. on Track No. 23. Checking to see that I had all my belongings, I alighted the train and took the escalators down to the Shinkansen concourse. Heading to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates, I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer and went to check to see which platform the closest Special Rapid Service train bound for Yasu would depart from.

According to the departure information board located in the JR Line concourse, the closest Special Rapid Service train bound for Yasu would be scheduled to depart at 9.49 a.m. from Track No. 14. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly headed to the nearest elevator and took the elevator down to Tracks No. 13 and 14 in preparation for my short morning hop to Kyoto. The whole JR Line concourse and platforms catering to commuter trains were rather crowded as it was still the early morning rush hour for many people.

Shin-osaka Station (新大阪駅) is a major railway station located in Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, Japan. It is one of the major railway terminals serving the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka and in the Keihanshin metropolitan area in the western Kansai region of Japan. The station serves as the western terminus for the Tokaido Shinkansen line, and as the eastern terminus for the Sanyo Shinkansen line. It also serves as an interchange station for the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line) and the Osaka Municipal Subway Midosuji Line.

The station was opened for passenger service on 1 October 1964, in collaboration with the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen line, owing to major construction problems in the city centre for Shinkansen trains. Other than serving as a major terminus for most Shinkansen trains, the station serves as a starting point for certain limited express trains bound for the San'in region and the Kii Peninsula. Shin-osaka serves as a mandatory stopping point for the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka service linking to Kansai International Airport.

At Shin-osaka Station, many Shinkansen trains coming from the Tokaido Shinkansen line offer direct service to the Sanyo Shinkansen line as far as Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka). Through train services for the Kyushu Shinkansen line running in shorter 8-car formations also begin and terminate here. On 16 March 2013, an additional eastbound platform with half-height platform screen doors, Track No. 27, was opened for service to ease overcrowding at the existing Shinkansen platforms during busy rush hours.

Tracks No. 23 and 24 serving some of the eastbound Tokaido Shinkansen trains bound for Nagoya and Tokyo at Shin-osaka Station during the early morning rush hour

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z12 (X12), which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 23 at Shin-osaka Station

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early morning rush hour

The JR Line interchange ticketing gates in the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early morning rush hour

The JR Line concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early morning rush hour

Tracks No. 13 and 14 serving some of the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line) trains bound for Takatsuki, Kyoto, Maibara and Tsuruga at Shin-osaka Station during the early morning rush hour

A 9-car 683 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 11 bound for Toyama, arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 12. From the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015, with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Nagano and Kanazawa, all "Thunderbird" limited express services will be truncated to operate solely between Osaka and Kanazawa

Track No. 13 at Shin-osaka Station shortly before the 9.49 a.m. "Special Rapid Service" train bound for Yasu via Kyoto arrived at the station

After spending close to five minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 12-car 223 series EMU, operating as the 9.49 a.m. Special Rapid Service bound for Yasu via Kyoto, finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 9.49 a.m. on Track No. 13. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train and settled in for the short morning rush journey of 24 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto located slightly to the northeast of downtown Osaka.

Soon enough, within a few seconds, all the train doors were closed, and the Special Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for the remainder of its relatively long early morning rush journey of 2 hours 02 minutes from Himeji to Yasu via Kyoto. I was then on my way for a short morning rush journey of approximately 24 minutes to the historical capital city of Japan located slightly to the northeast of downtown Osaka. Throughout the journey, most commuters were rushing to the suburbs located east of Osaka for work.

Kyoto (京都市) is a large major city located in the central part of the Kansai Region in the main island of Honshu, Japan. With a population of 1.47 million, as of 1 December 2014, it is the prefectural capital of Kyoto Prefecture, and is known for being the historical capital of Japan. The city served as the capital of Japan until 1868, when Tokyo gained that title after the Emperor of Japan moved there. The city plays a key role in the Keihanshin metropolitan region, and is well-known for the rich history of Japan, particularly the historical temples.

A 12-car 223 series EMU, operating as the 9.49 a.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Yasu via Kyoto, finally arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 13

The interior of the 12-car 223 series EMU, operating as the 9.49 a.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Yasu via Kyoto, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Shin-osaka Station

Finally departing Shin-osaka Station

Bypassing some small infrastructure in the suburban city of Suita

Bypassing some housing apartments in the suburban city of Ibaraki

Bypassing an Aeon Department Store in the suburban city of Takatsuki

Making a brief stop at Takatsuki Station

Overlooking the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct in the suburban town of Shimamoto

Bypassing a railway depot located in the suburban city of Muko

Passing through Katsuragawa Station

Travelling adjacent to the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct between Nishioji and Kyoto Stations

Finally arriving at Kyoto Station

After a short early morning rush journey of approximately 24 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka, I finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 10.13 a.m. on Track No. 2. Checking to see that I had left nothing behind, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalator up to the JR Line interchange concourse. Arriving at the JR Line interchange concourse, I quickly went to check to see which platform the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport would depart from.

According to the departure information board in the concourse, the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport would be scheduled to depart at 11.15 a.m. from Track No. 30. Though it was still too early before my connecting train to Kansai International Airport, I took the escalators down to Tracks No. 30 and 31 at 10.20 a.m. anyway. While waiting for the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, I did some train-spotting activities on Tracks No. 30 and 31.

The Haruka (はるか) is a dedicated limited express train service operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) linking Kansai International Airport with Kyoto and Maibara in Japan. Dubbed the "Kansai Airport Limited Express" (関空特急) by JR West, the Haruka is the fastest train service linking Kansai International Airport with Osaka, Kyoto and Maibara, with an average journey duration between Kansai International Airport and Kyoto taking 1 hour 15 minutes. The service is capable of reaching a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).

The service commenced operations on 4 September 1994, in collaboration with the opening of Kansai International Airport, using a dedicated fleet of 3-car and 6-car 281 series EMUs at a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). The 3-car sets mainly serve as an add-on to the 6-car sets to form as nine cars for some services. As of 15 March 2014, there are 24 daily return workings operating in both directions, with a few services going as far as either Kusatsu or Maibara during the early morning or late night hours.

Services normally make stop at Tennoji and Shin-osaka Stations only, though some services make additional stops at Hineno and Izumi-fuchu Stations during the early morning and late night hours. The service travels via the Umeda Freight Line to access the Osaka Loop Line after departing Shin-osaka Station, leaving none of the services going to Osaka Station. To gain access to Osaka Station with the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka service, it is mandatory to change to the JR Kyoto Line at Shin-osaka Station.

Service frequency is approximately every hour during the daylight hours and every half an hour during the early morning and late night hours. There are no extra charges required for the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka service for foreign tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass. Green Car (first class) accommodation is provided in Car No. 1 at the Kyoto & Maibara end. A typical Green Car (first class) ticket between Kansai International Airport and Kyoto costs approximately ¥4,130 (S$50.40) each way.

Kyoto Station (京都駅) is a major railway station located in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan. It is the central railway terminal serving the hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto and one of the major railway terminals serving the Keihanshin metropolitan area located in the western Kansai region of Japan. The station serves as a mandatory stopover point for the Tokaido Shinkansen line, and as a major interchange station for the Tokaido Main Line (JR Biwako & Kyoto Line), San'in Main Line, Kosei Line, Nara Line, Kintetsu Kyoto Line and the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line.

Kyoto Station has the second-largest railway terminal building in Japan in terms of floor area after Nagoya Station. The station also housed the Kyoto City Air Terminal until it was closed 31 August 2002, and serves as the northern terminus for the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka service linking to Kansai International Airport. Kyoto also serves as a mandatory stopover point for limited express trains bound for the Hokuriku region, and for some limited express trains bound for the San'in region. The station houses the Hotel Granvia Kyoto and JR Isetan Department Store above its complex.

Tracks No. 2 and 3 serving some of the Tokaido Main Line (Biwako Line) and Kosei Line trains bound for Maibara and Omi-imazu at Kyoto Station during the morning rush hour

The station name plate on Tracks No. 2 and 3 at Kyoto Station

The JR Line interchange concourse of Kyoto Station during the morning rush hour

About to take the escalators down to the San'in Main Line platforms at Kyoto Station

Walking along the passageway to the San'in Main Line platforms at Kyoto Station

Finally arriving at the San'in Main Line platforms at Kyoto Station

Tracks No. 31 and 32 serving the San'in Main Line trains bound for Sonobe, Fukuchiyama and Kinosaki-onsen at Kyoto Station on a bright winter's morning

Tracks No. 30 and 31 serving the limited express trains bound for Kansai International Airport and the San'in region at Kyoto Station on a bright winter's morning

A 7-car 287 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Hashidate" & "Maizuru" No. 3 bound for Amanohashidate and Higashi-maizuru, on Track No. 30 at Tokyo Station

A JR freight train passing through Kyoto Station

An out-of-service 6-car 281 series EMU, which previously operated as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 10 bound for Kyoto, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station shortly before the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport arrived at the station

After spending approximately 40 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 6-car 281 series EMU finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 11.01 a.m. on Track No. 30. The train had just arrived from Kansai International Airport as the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 12 bound for Kyoto earlier, and was to undergo an extensive cleaning process before becoming the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport. The entire cleaning process took less than 10 minutes.

Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the train-cleaning signs were removed at 11.11 a.m., thus allowing the passengers to board the train bound for Kansai International Airport. With that, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class), and settled into my assigned Seat No. 5A for the short early afternoon journey of just 1 hour 19 minutes to Kansai International Airport located on the artificial man-made island along the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay.

The seat next to me, 5B, would remain empty for the entire short early afternoon journey to Kansai International Airport from Kyoto. With the clock striking 11.15 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 21 finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for its short early afternoon trip of 1 hour 19 minutes to Kansai International Airport. I was then on my way for a short early afternoon journey duration of just 1 hour 19 minutes to Kansai International Airport located in the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay.

Kansai International Airport (関西国際空港) is a Japanese first-class airport situated on an artificial man-made island along the waters of Osaka Bay, Osaka, Japan. It serves as the central international airport serving downtown Osaka and the Keihanshin metropolitan area in the western Kansai region of the country, and is the fifth-busiest airport in Japan, in terms of the number of tourist arrivals. The airport serves as a major hub for All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Japan, Nippon Cargo Airlines and Peach.

The airport was opened on 4 September 1994, in order to relieve overcrowding at the older Osaka International Airport (Itami Airport), which has since catered to domestic flights only in the Keihanshin metropolitan area. Kansai International Airport is directly connected to the mainland via the Sky Gate Bridge R, which is the longest truss bridge in the world. Together with road traffic on the upper level, the bridge has the railway lines by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) and Nankai Electric Railway on the lower level.

The airport is directly accessible from Kyoto via the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka service, which connects directly to Kyoto in just 1 hour 15 minutes, with a few services going as far as Maibara. Direct rapid services to the city and stations on the Hanwa Line are also available, with both services covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Nankai Electric Railway offers the Nankai Airport Limited Express Rapi:t service, which directly connects to Nankai Namba Station in downtown Osaka in an average of 40 minutes.

281系 関空特急はるか21号 関西国際空港行き 京都駅に入線シーン

The 6-car 281 series EMU, now operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The logo of the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

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

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

Awaiting departure from Kyoto Station

281系 関空特急はるか21号 関西国際空港行き 京都 (発車) ~ 島本 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Shimamoto

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

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

Passing through Takatsuki Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Takatsuki

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ibaraki

Passing through Ibaraki Station

Diverging away from the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line) tracks before crossing the flyover bridge onto the Umeda Freight Line

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

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

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Ibaraki and Shin-osaka Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Ibaraki and Shin-osaka Stations

A view of my seat, 5A, between Ibaraki and Shin-osaka Stations

Making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

281系 関空特急はるか21号 関西国際空港行き 新大阪駅から天王寺駅間

Making a brief stop at Tennoji Station

Crossing the flyover rail bridge onto the Hanwa Line shortly after departing Tennoji Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Tennoji-ku, Osaka

Passing through Tsurugaoka Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Tennoji and Sugimotocho Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Tennoji and Sugimotocho Stations

Passing through Sugimotocho Station

Crossing the Yamato River onto the suburban city of Sakai

Passing through Uenoshiba Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Sakai

281系 関空特急はるか21号 関西国際空港行き 北信太 (通過) ~ 関西空港 (到着)

After a short and quick early afternoon journey of 1 hour 19 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, I finally arrived at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 12.34 p.m. on Track No. 4. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind, I quickly alighted the train and took the elevator up to the main station concourse, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate. Exiting through the ticketing gates, I walked along the overhead pedestrian bridge to the main terminal building.

Entering the main terminal building at 12.40 p.m., the very first thing I decided to do before commencing my final Christmas shopping at Kansai International Airport was to have a nice and warm cup of hot cocoa at a small cafeteria first. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly proceeded to the elevator lobby and headed up to the fourth floor, where the international departures and check-in hall was located. Arriving at the international departures and check-in hall, I looked around carefully to search for a nearby cafeteria to have some hot cocoa.

Kansai Airport Station (関西空港駅) is a ground level railway station located in the Kansai International Airport area in the town of Tajiri, Sennan District, Osaka, Japan. It serves as the central railway terminal for Kansai International Airport, and is directly connected to the main passenger terminal building through an overhead pedestrian footbridge. The station is jointly managed by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) and Nankai Electric Railway, and serves as the western terminus for the Kansai Airport Line and Nankai Airport Line.

The station has a total of two island platforms, with Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Nankai Line trains, including the Nankai Airport Limited Express Rapi:t trains, bound for Namba in downtown Osaka. Tracks No. 3 and 4 serve the JR Line trains, including the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka connecting Kyoto and Maibara. A turn-around point is located at the western side of the station building, where limited express trains undergo their turnabouts and cleaning processes before heading back to the station for their respective destinations.

A JR Ticket Office, located just close to the JR Line ticketing gates, is open daily from 5.30 p.m. to 11.00 p.m.. Foreign tourists can proceed to the JR Ticket Office to exchange their Japan Rail Pass Exchange Vouchers for their Japan Rail Passes upon arrival into Japan via Kansai International Airport. The Nankai Tourist Support Center is located just close to the Nankai Line ticketing gates, where passengers can purchase their Nankai Line train tickets, including tickets for the Nankai Airport Limited Express Rapi:t trains, to Nankai Namba.

The 6-car 281 series EMU, which previously operated as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally stumbling upon Eikokuya AZERIA Cafeteria (英国屋 アゼリア店) located at the rear of the international departures and check-in hall on the fourth floor at Kansai International Airport

After a short 10-minute walk through the main terminal building from Kansai Airport Station, I finally stumbled upon a small cafeteria, known as Eikokuya AZERIA (英国屋 アゼリア店), at 12.45 p.m.. I was quite familiar with this particular cafeteria since I had hot cocoa here in June 2014. Parking myself at an empty table, I set up my camera battery to be charged at a nearby power outlet before a waitress provided me with the food and beverage menus for my reviews before placing my orders.

Once I was ready for a hot and warm drink, the waitress came by to take down my orders. It was then that I ordered myself a simple cup of hot cocoa with sugar and whip cream. Soon enough, within five minutes, my cup of hot cocoa was finally delivered to my table at 12.55 p.m.. Taking a sip out of my hot cocoa, the taste was very exquisite and the sugar and whip cream were the most perfect accompaniments for it to help me keep warm from the cold air. Due to its delicate and warm taste, the temptation to order a second cup was irresistible.

The overall view of Eikokuya AZERIA Cafeteria (英国屋 アゼリア店) in the international departures and check-in area on the fourth floor at Kansai International Airport

The cover page for the food and beverage menu of Eikokuya AZERIA Cafeteria (英国屋 アゼリア店) in the international departures and check-in area on the fourth floor at Kansai International Airport

Reviewing the food and beverage menu of Eikokuya AZERIA Cafeteria (英国屋 アゼリア店) in the international departures and check-in area on the fourth floor at Kansai International Airport

My first cup of nice, warm hot cocoa at Eikokuya AZERIA Cafeteria (英国屋 アゼリア店)

My second cup of nice, warm hot cocoa at Eikokuya AZERIA Cafeteria (英国屋 アゼリア店)

After having two nice warm cups of hot cocoa at Eikokuya AZERIA Cafeteria, the clock was finally showing 1.10 p.m.. Since I was already beginning to feel hungry already, I decided to head down to the third floor, where most of the shops and restaurants were located. Without wasting anymore time, I paid my cafeteria bill and left Eikokuya AZERIA Cafeteria by 1.15 p.m., heading to the escalators leading to the third floor. Taking the escalators down to the third floor, I looked through the various restaurants and shops to see which one would suit my tastes and preferences.

Soon enough, I finally stumbled upon a local restaurant specialising in Tonkatsu, known as KYK Restaurant, at 1.20 p.m.. This particular restaurant was immediately very familiar to me since I had eaten lunch here previously in June 2013 and June 2014. Since I was already feeling rather hungry, I requested for a table and was promptly escorted to an empty table by one of the restaurant waitresses. Once I was already seated with my belongings settled, the waitress left me with the menus to make my good reviews before placing my main meal orders for lunch.

Having a good review through the lunch menus, the waitress finally came by to my table to take down my main meal orders for lunch. I ordered myself a deep-fried Tonkatsu fillet meal set and a separate side order of deep-fried Tonkatsu pork loin, together with a glass of red wine to accompany my upcoming Tonkatsu lunch meal. Soon enough, with my lunch orders delivered to my table, I had a very filling and sumptuous Tonkatsu lunch at KYK Restaurant. This would eventually make KYK Restaurant at Kansai International Airport one of the best places I have ever eaten at for Tonkatsu in Japan.

The international departures and check-in hall at Kansai International Airport during the early afternoon hours as I begin to make my way to the third floor

Bypassing some shops on the third floor of the main terminal building at Kansai International Airport while looking for a good restaurant for lunch

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

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

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

An overall view of my Tonkatsu meal during lunchtime

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

After having a very sumptuous and filling lunch of Tonkatsu at KYK Restaurant, the clock was finally showing 1.55 p.m.. Since I was feeling stuffed to the brim already, I paid up my lunch bill and left the restaurant by two o' clock to commence my Christmas shopping at Kansai International Airport. Feeling that there were some treats on my Christmas shopping list and that it would not be nice to come back to school empty-handed, I decided to find a good confectionery shop to find some sweet goodies.

Looking through the various shops available on the third floor, I finally stumbled upon a very large confectionery store, known as Applause (アプローズ), at 2.05 p.m.. As I looked at all the various confectioneries, such as local sweets and chocolates available, I purchased two boxes of Kobe Cocoa Milk Chocolates in preparation for the new school year to commence. Along with the three boxes of Royce' chocolates I had purchased from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) a week earlier, I knew that these would make excellent souvenirs.

Upon purchasing my two final Japanese souvenirs before the commencement of the new school year, the clock was finally showing 2.15 p.m.. Since I was starting to feel tired from my long early morning journey from Tokyo, I decided to sit somewhere to have a rest first before heading back to Kansai Airport Station. With that, I took the escalators down to the second floor, which was the domestic flights level, and found some rest tables located near the domestic arrival area to charge my electronics and have a short rest.

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

Bypassing Hakuhinkan Toy Park in the third level of the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport

Stopping at Applause confectionery and souvenir store in the third level of the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport

The departure and arrival flights information screens located on the third floor of the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport

Bypassing more restaurants and cafeterias located on the third floor of the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport

Finally on the second floor of the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport

The arrivals area in the domestic flight level located on the second floor of the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport

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

After spending two hours of dining and Christmas shopping at Kansai International Airport, the clock was finally showing 2.40 p.m.. Since it was time to head back to Tokyo, I packed up my belongings and left the rest tables near the domestic arrivals area for Kansai Airport Station. For the long return journey back to Tokyo, I would catch the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 24 bound for Kyoto, which would be expected to depart Kansai Airport Station at 3.16 p.m., and arrive at the Kyoto terminal station at 4.32 p.m..

Upon arrival at Kyoto, I would immediately connect to a Special Rapid Service train bound for Himeji, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 4.59 p.m., and arrive at Shin-osaka Station at 5.22 p.m.. After arrival at Shin-osaka, I would have a layover of about half an hour before eventually catching the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart from Shin-osaka Station at 5.56 p.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 8.30 p.m..

Exiting the main passenger terminal, I walked across the pedestrian footbridge linking to Kansai Airport Station, eventually arriving there by 2.45 p.m.. Heading to the staffed JR Line ticketing gate, I showed my Japan Rail Pass and went to see which platform the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 24 bound for Kyoto would depart from. According to the train departure information board, the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 24 bound for Kyoto would depart at 3.16 p.m. from Track No. 4. Though I had 15 minutes left before my train to Kyoto, I took the elevator down to the platforms in preparation for my journey.

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

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

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

Crossing the pedestrian footbridge linking between the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport and Kansai Airport Station

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

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

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

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

Overlooking the Nankai Line concourse of Kansai Airport Station from the JR Line concourse during the mid-afternoon hours

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the JR Line trains at Kansai Airport Station during the mid-afternoon hours

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

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

A 6-car Nankai 50000 series EMU, operating as the Nankai Airport Limited Express "Rapi:t β" No. 52 bound for Namba, on Track No. 1 at Kansai Airport Station

The JR Line name plate on Tracks No. 3 and 4 at Kansai Airport Station

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

Track No. 4 serving the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" trains bound for Kyoto and Maibara shortly before the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto arrived at Kansai Airport Station

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 6-car 281 series EMU, which would soon operate as the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 24 bound for Kyoto, finally entered Kansai Airport Station at 3.04 p.m.. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 6C for the short mid-afternoon trip of 1 hour 16 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto.

As the clock struck 3.16 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 24 finally pulled out of Kansai Airport Station for its short mid-afternoon journey of 1 hour 16 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto. I was then on my way for a short mid-afternoon trip of just 1 hour 16 minutes to the very lively hustle and bustle of the historical capital city of Japan. However, due to a delayed Special Rapid Service train departing Takatsuki Station late, there was a delay for three minutes.

281系 関空特急はるか24号 京都行き 関西空港駅に入線シーン

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

A view of my seat, 6C, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

Awaiting departure from Kansai Airport Station

281系 関空特急はるか24号 京都行き 関西空港 (発車) ~ 北信太 (通過)

Bypassing a local train depot near Otori Station

Passing through Otori Station

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

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, between Otori and Mozu Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, between Otori and Mozu Stations

Passing through Mozu Station

Bypassing a small housing apartment in downtown Sakai-ku, Sakai, near Sakaishi Station

Crossing the Yamato River onto downtown Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, on a somewhat cloudy winter's late afternoon

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, from my seat between Sakaishi and Sugimotocho Stations

Passing through Sugimotocho Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, between Sugimotocho and Abikocho Stations

Passing through Abikocho Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Abeno-ku, Osaka, near Tsurugaoka Station

Passing through Tsurugaoka Station

About to intersect with the Osaka Loop Line and Yamatoji Line tracks as the train approaches Tennoji Station

Making a brief stop at Tennoji Station

281系 関空特急はるか24号 京都行き 天王寺駅駅から新大阪駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

Bypassing some housing areas near the suburban city of Ibaraki

Passing through Takatsuki Station

Bypassing some small houses in the suburban city of Takatsuki

Overlooking the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct in the suburban town of Shimamoto

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban town of Shimamoto

Passing through Shimamoto Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Oyamazaki

281系 関空特急はるか24号 京都行き 山崎 (通過) ~ 京都 (到着)

After a short and quick late afternoon journey duration of 1 hour 19 minutes from Kansai International Airport located on the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay, I finally arrived at the Kyoto terminal station at 4.35 p.m. on Track No. 30, three minutes behind schedule. Being sure to check that nothing had been left behind on board, I immediately alighted the train and proceeded to the escalators leading to the JR Line interchange concourse, eventually arriving there by 4.40 p.m..

In the JR Line interchange concourse, I quickly went to check to see which platform the closest Special Rapid Service train bound for Himeji would depart from. According to the departure information board, the closest Special Rapid Service train bound for Himeji would depart at 4.59 p.m. from Track No. 5. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately took the escalators down to Tracks No. 4 and 5 in preparation for the short early evening journey to Shin-osaka, as the early evening rush hour was already commencing.

The 6-car 281 series EMU, now operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 33 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

Tracks No. 30 and 31 serving the limited express trains bound for Kansai International Airport and the San'in region at Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

Tracks No. 31 and 32 serving the San'in Main Line trains bound for Sonobe, Fukuchiyama and Kinosaki-onsen at Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

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

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

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

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

Track No. 5 at Kyoto Station shortly before the 4.59 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" train bound for Himeji arrived at the station

After spending close to approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, an 8-car 225 series EMU and 4-car 223 series EMU, operating as the 4.59 p.m. Special Rapid Service bound for Himeji, finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 4.57 p.m. on Track No. 5. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train and managed to secure a jump seat for the short early evening rush journey of just 23 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

Once the clock showed exactly 4.59 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Special Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for its somewhat long early evening rush journey of 3 hours 10 minutes linking between Tsuruga and Himeji. I was then on my way for a short early evening return journey of just 23 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka. By this time, the train was very crowded as many people were rushing to get home from work.

An 8-car 225 series EMU and 4-car 223 series EMU, operating as the 4.59 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Himeji, finally arriving at Kyoto Station on Track No. 5

The interior of the 8-car 225 series EMU, operating as the 4.59 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Himeji, during the boarding process on Track No. 5 at Kyoto Station

Finally departing Kyoto Station

Crossing the Katsura River onto the suburban city of Muko

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Muko

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Oyamazaki

Making a brief stop at Takatsuki Station

The interior of the 8-car 225 series EMU, operating as the "Special Rapid Service" bound for Himeji, between Takatsuki and Shin-osaka Stations

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Ibaraki

Passing through Kishibe Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Suita

Finally arriving at Shin-osaka Station

After a short and quick early evening journey duration of just 23 minutes from the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, I finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 5.22 p.m. on Track No. 16. Checking that I had left none of my belongings behind, I alighted the train and took the escalator to the JR Line concourse before heading to the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates. Arriving at the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates, I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gates before heading into the concourse.

Once I had reached to Shinkansen concourse at 5.30 p.m., I immediately went to check the departure information board to see which platform the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo would depart at 5.56 p.m. from Track No. 26. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the elevator up to Tracks No. 25 and 26 in preparation for the early evening return Shinkansen trip back to Tokyo.

Tracks No. 15 and 16 serving some of the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto & Kobe Line) and Fukuchiyama Line commuter trains bound for Osaka, Sanda and Himeji at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Overlooking Tracks No. 17 and 18 from Track No. 16 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

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

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

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Finally arriving on Tracks No. 25 and 26 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C29, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 678 bound for Tokyo, entering Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 27

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C29, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 678 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 25 and 26 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Tracks No. 25 and 26 serving some of the eastbound Shinkansen trains bound for Nagoya and Tokyo at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C35, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C35, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z57 (X57), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 248 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 (700A) Series Shinkansen Set No. Z57 (X57), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 248 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The departure information board for Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo would be the first train to depart

Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station shortly before the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending close to 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 5.54 p.m. on Track No. 26. Once the train doors were opened, I immediately boarded the train via Car No. 8, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 1A at the back of the cabin for the early evening return journey of 2 hours 34 minutes back to the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat adjacent to me, 1B, would remain vacant for the entire early evening return journey from Shin-osaka to Tokyo. Once the clock struck exactly 5.56 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 180 finally pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for the remainder of its very long early evening journey of 5 hours 18 minutes from Hakata (Fukuoka) to Tokyo. I was then on my way for an early evening return journey of 2 hours 34 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan in the Kanto region of the country.

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ180号 東京行き 新大阪駅に入線シーン

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

A view of my seat, 1A, during the boarding process on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

Awaiting departure from Shin-osaka Station

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ180号 東京行き 新大阪駅から京都駅間

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station

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

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Otsu

A view of my seat, 1A, between Kyoto and Maibara Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, between Kyoto and Maibara Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, between Kyoto and Maibara Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Kyoto and Maibara Stations

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 sparse, rural city of Maibara

Passing through Maibara Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

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

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Hashima

Passing through Gifu-hashima Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Nagoya as the train approaches Nagoya Station

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ180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

Crossing Lake Hamana bordering Aichi and Shizuoka Prefectures at night

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ180号 東京行き 浜松 (通過) ~ 静岡 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka, late at night

A view of my seat, 1A, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

Crafting out my report for the return segment between Shin-osaka and Tokyo on my blog

Reading through the most hilarious quote in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on iBooks in my laptop ー "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU," thundered his uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!"

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

Crossing the Fuji River onto the suburban city of Fuji at night

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

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

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ180号 東京行き 三島 (通過) ~ 小田原 (通過)

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

A view of my seat, 1A, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ180号 東京行き 新横浜駅から終点東京駅間

After an early evening journey duration of 2 hours 34 minutes from the very lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located in the Kansai region of Japan, I finally arrived back at the Tokyo terminal station at 8.30 p.m. on Track No. 15. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings behind, I alighted the train and took the escalators down to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of the station before heading over to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates to catch the Chuo Main Line (Rapid) for the remaining segment back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Shinjuku.

Reaching the JR Line interchange ticketing gates, I quickly showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate and proceeded via the JR Line passageway to the Chuo Main Line (Rapid) concourse. In the Chuo Main Line (Rapid) concourse, I went to check to see which platform the closest Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Takao would depart from. Seeing that the closest Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Takao would depart at 8.48 p.m. from Track No. 2, I took the escalators up to Tracks No. 1 and 2 for the short early evening return trip back to Shinjuku.

The logo of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, now operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 425 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, now operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 425 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

Gazing back at the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, now operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 425 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

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

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

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

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

Track No. 2 at Tokyo Station shortly before the 8.48 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" train bound for Takao arrived at the station

After spending approximately a few moments of anticipated waiting on the platforms, a 10-car E233 series EMU finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 8.44 p.m. on Track No. 2. The train had initially arrived from Takao as a Chuo Main Line Special Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo, and was to become the 8.48 p.m. Chuo Main Line Rapid Service bound for Takao. With that, I boarded the train and settled down for the evening rush journey of 15 minutes to lively hustle and bustle of Shinjuku in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

Once the clock struck exactly 8.48 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Shinjuku Station for its short early evening rush journey duration of 1 hour 13 minutes to Takao in the suburban city of Hachioji located in the western outskirts of Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short early evening rush return journey of approximately 15 minutes back to the very lively hustle and bustle of Shinjuku in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, which would soon operate as the 8.48 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" bound for Takao, arriving at Tokyo Station on Track No. 2

The interior of the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 8.48 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" bound for Takao, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Tokyo Station

Finally departing Tokyo Station

Travelling past Akihabara between Tokyo and Ochanomizu Stations at night

Travelling alongside the Kanda River between Ochanomizu and Yotsuya Stations at night

Bypassing some small housing apartments near downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, at night

Approaching Shinjuku Station at night

Finally arriving back at Shinjuku Station

After a short and quick early evening journey of just 15 minutes from Tokyo Station located in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Shinjuku Station at 9.03 p.m. on Track No. 12. Checking that I did not leave any of my belongings behind, I alighted the train and promptly headed down to the underground JR Line concourse before proceeding over to the West Exit ticketing gates. Showing my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate, I exited the underground JR Line concourse to find a route to Bus Stop No. 21.

Since the Keio Department Store was already closed for the day, I went through the Odakyu Line concourse and exited the station, eventually arriving at Bus Stop No. 21 at 9.10 p.m.. Knowing that the next free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the Hilton Hotel Tokyo would depart at 9.20 p.m., I waited in line with some other passengers, who also happened to be heading to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo. Soon enough, the 9.20 p.m. free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the Hilton Hotel Tokyo finally arrived at Shinjuku Station at 9.15 p.m..

Once the bus door was opened, I rolled up behind a few other passengers and boarded the bus. Storing my belongings at the baggage rack, I secured an empty window seat located close to the driver's seat and the bus door. Soon enough, with the clock striking exactly 9.20 p.m. sharp, the bus door was closed, and the free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus finally pulled out of Shinjuku Station for a short and quick evening road journey of five minutes to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo.

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving the Chuo Main Line (Rapid) trains bound for Hachioji, Takao and Otsuki at Shinjuku Station during the early evening rush hour

The underground JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Shinjuku Station during the early evening rush hour

The underground JR Line concourse at Shinjuku Station during the early evening rush hour

The Odakyu Line ticketing concourse of Shinjuku Station during the early evening rush hour

The exterior view of the Odakyu Department Store Shinjuku located directly above Shinjuku Station at night

Finally arriving at Bus Stop No. 21 located outside the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station at night

The 9.20 p.m. free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the Hilton Hotel Tokyo finally arriving at the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station

The interior of the 9.20 p.m. free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the Hilton Hotel Tokyo during the boarding process at Shinjuku Station

Finally departing Shinjuku Station

Bypassing the Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, late at night

Travelling along the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo late at night

Finally arriving back at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

After a short and quick free hotel shuttle bus ride of just five minutes from Shinjuku Station, I finally arrived back at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at 9.25 p.m.. Claiming my belongings from the baggage rack, I alighted the bus and went into the main hotel lobby to inform my family that I had already arrived back at the hotel. My dad informed me that there was a dinner reservation made for us at 9.30 p.m. at Dynasty Chinese Restaurant (王朝), as it was their idea to eat there on our last day.

He also informed us that a Peking duck had already been ordered, and were now waiting for me to come up to the restaurant. I remember that restaurant very well since I ate here with both my dad and younger brother for dinner three days earlier. Craving for some local food, I quickly headed to the elevator lobby and took the nearest elevator up to the second floor. Arriving at Dynasty Chinese Restaurant at 9.30 p.m., I saw that dinner had already started and a menu had been left for me.

Looking through the menu, a waiter came by to our table to see whether there was anything else we wanted. Since there were several slices of Peking duck already, we ordered several other dishes such as fried rice, gyoza dumplings (餃子) and braised beef rib. That night, with everyone of us present, we had a very filling and sumptuous local Chinese family dinner at Dynasty Chinese Restaurant. It was a very pleasant dining experience to have a taste of our own local cuisine in Japan, especially before heading home to Singapore.

The main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo during the mid-evening hours

The logo of Dynasty Chinese Restaurant (王朝) in the main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Walking through the second floor of the Hilton Hotel Tokyo to Dynasty Chinese Restaurant

A plate of braised beef rib in black pepper sauce, fried potato floss and Asian greens to be shared among us

A plate of sliced Peking duck skin and meat to be shared among us

A platter of gyoza (jiaozi) dumplings to be shared among us

A bowl of Peking duck soup for myself

A platter of crispy vegetable noodles to be shared among us

A platter of fried rice for my younger brother

The interior of Dynasty Chinese Restaurant located on the second floor at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo shortly before we headed back to our Rooms No. 2601 and 2602

Walking through the second floor of the Hilton Hotel Tokyo to the elevator lobby

The interior of my Room No. 2602 during the late night hours shortly after my younger brother and I got back

After having a very sumptuous and filling local Chinese family dinner at Dynasty Chinese Restaurant, the clock was finally showing 9.50 p.m.. Feeling stuffed to the brim already, we paid up our dinner bill, which would be included in our hotel bills, and headed back to the elevator lobby. Taking the elevator back up to the 26th floor, we arrived back at our Rooms No. 2601 and 2602 by ten o' clock. Entering our rooms, we had a very nice, hot shower and changed up into our pyjamas before settling in for our last night in Japan.

Since we would be heading back home to Singapore the next morning, we prepared all our attires and some of our baggage. We were lucky since I had made an advanced reservation for an airport limousine bus to take us back to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal at 7.40 a.m. on the day we arrived in Tokyo. Soon enough, between midnight to one o' clock late that night, all of us finally turned for a well-earned good night's rest in preparation for the return journey back home to Singapore the next morning.

Overall, both my Shinkansen NOZOMI train rides on the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines have been pleasant, smooth and comfortable, particularly the first time using the NOZOMI service on an older 700 Series Shinkansen set. Like all my previous Shinkansen train rides in Japan, the NOZOMI service was indeed very much better than the Korea Train Express (KTX), and deserves to be one of the Shinkansen services to have five-star rating. None of my trips to Honshu, Japan, will be complete without one or two rides on NOZOMI trains on the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines.

This officially brings the fifth section of my 2014 Christmas special report about my end-of-year winter vacation to Japan in December 2014 to a formal conclusion. The sixth and final section of this year's end-of-year Christmas special report will be readily published once I have selected the highest quality photographs and videos for it. However, since this requires time and effort to publish, please do be patient and keep yourselves tuned in for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment