Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2015 Christmas Special: End-of-Year Christmas Winter Vacation to Japan in December 2015 ~ Section 5

Welcome to the fifth section of my 2015 Christmas special trip report about my end-of-year winter vacation to Japan in December 2015. This will be the final segment of this year's Christmas special trip report for my blog. There will be two focus topics, not counting the closing sequences, that will be covered up in this section of the report. They will mainly be the long return road trip from the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand back to Narita International Airport, and the evening return flight back home to Singapore.

Part 1 ~ The Long Journey Back To Narita International Airport

After spending eight enjoyable days of shopping, sightseeing, dining and railways in Japan for the end of the year, it was finally time to head back home to Singapore. On the relatively cloudy morning of Sunday (13 December), everyone woke up at around nine o' clock after having a well-earned good night's rest. Getting out of bed, we had a hot bath and changed into our attire before preparing the remainder of belongings in preparation for the return trip back home to Singapore, having prepared part of them the night before.

For the late night return flight back to Singapore, we would be flying with Singapore Airlines on flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore directly, which would be scheduled to depart from Narita International Airport at 8.50 p.m. that night, and then arrive back at Singapore Changi Airport at 3.30 a.m. early the next morning. This flight would also be a continuing flight from Los Angeles in California, United States, and was to have a stopover at Narita International Airport for a brief re-fueling process.

Part 2 ~ The Flight Back Home To Singapore

Airline: Singapore Airlines
Flight No.: SQ 011
From: Tokyo, Narita International Airport (NRT / RJAA), Narita, Chiba, Japan
To: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN / WSSS), Singapore
Aircraft: Airbus A380-841
Registration No.: 9V-SKT
Class: Business Class
Seat No.: 94A
Date: Sunday, 13 December 2015

After spending approximately 1 hour 40 minutes of relaxing and charging up our electronic devices inside the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge, the clock was finally showing 7.45 p.m.. Knowing that boarding for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore would commence in half an hour's time, I promptly packed my belongings and departed the lounge at 7.50 p.m. for Gate No. 46, with my family promising to meet up with me 10 minutes later. The entire walk linking from the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge to Gate No. 46 took approximately not more than five minutes.

Soon enough, I ultimately arrived at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46 by 7.55 p.m.. Observing the number of waiting passengers in the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46, I could see that Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore would be close to being filled to the brim tonight, with some passengers originating from Los Angeles. Given that the aircraft had initially arrived from Los Angeles, it was making a stop in Narita International Airport for a re-fueling process before continuing its long transpacific journey back home to the Republic of Singapore.

Just as promised, my family finally met me at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46 at eight o' clock. However, an announcement was made that due to the aircraft's late arrival from Los Angeles and ground technical issues, the flight would be delayed by approximately 10 minutes to nine o' clock. Boarding would also commence at 8.35 p.m., 25 minutes before the new scheduled departure time. While waiting for boarding for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore commence, I spotted some aircraft near Gates No. 46 and 47.

Tonight, Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore would be operated using an Airbus A380-800 aircraft, registered 9V-SKT and powered using four Rolls-Royce Trent 970 engines. 9V-SKT was delivered new to Singapore Airlines on 6 September 2012 as the 19th Airbus A380 for the entire airline. The overall delivery would make the aircraft approximately 3.2 years old today, and is the seventh aircraft from the second batch of seven Airbus A380s for Singapore Airlines to have its entire upper deck fitted with a Business Class cabin, unlike the older batch of Airbus A380s.

The interior of the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge located at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) shortly before I departed for Gate No. 46

The main entrance to the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge located at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) as I begin to make my way to Gate No. 46

Finally arriving at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

Our aircraft for tonight, 9V-SKT, being serviced at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) in preparation for her long late evening return trip back home to the Republic of Singapore from the United States as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore from Los Angeles via Tokyo (Narita)

The departure flight information screens at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) detailing important information for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore from Los Angeles

The view of the damp airport tarmac near Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) from Gate No. 46

The departure flight information screens located near Gates No. 41 to 47 in Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

The overall view of the relatively damp airport tarmac overlooking the terminal building at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 767-381/ER, registered JA619A, resting at Gate No. 36 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) after arriving back from her regional evening return flight from the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as All Nippon Airways flight NH 928 from Qingdao

Another view of 9V-SKT being serviced at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) in preparation for her long continuing evening return flight back home to the Republic of Singapore from the United States as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore from Los Angeles via Tokyo (Narita)

The departure flight information screens at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) detailing important information for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore from Los Angeles shortly before boarding commenced

The passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) shortly before the first boarding announcements for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore from Los Angeles were made

After spending approximately 40 minutes of anticipated waiting near the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46, the first boarding announcements for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 bound for Singapore were ultimately made at 8.35 p.m.. The Singapore Airlines Suites and Business Class passengers, together with the KrisFlyer club members and special needs passengers, were called to board the aircraft first. Given that we were among the first ones being called to board the aircraft, we rolled up at the front in order for the boarding process to commence smoothly.

Walking across the jet bridge leading to the aircraft's upper deck, we were finally on board 9V-SKT by 8.40 p.m., which was just in good time for a nine o' clock departure. Arriving at the upper deck entrance, two cheery flight attendants warmly welcomed us on board and showed the direction to our seats in the Business Class cabin. Stowing our belongings into their storage spaces, we settled into our assigned Seats No. 92A, 93A, 94A and 95A for the late evening return flight of 7 hours 40 minutes back to the Republic of Singapore.

Stir-fried beef with black bean sauce with assorted Chinese vegetables and fried rice.

3.05 a.m., approximately 25 minutes ahead of schedule.

After taxiing across the airport tarmac to Concourse A at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 for approximately five minutes, we finally docked onto our assigned arrival gate, Gate No. A4, at 3.10 a.m..

Singapore Airlines Flight 011 Score Report

Seat: 19 / 20
Food: 20 / 20
Service: 17 / 20
Aircraft cleanliness: 18 / 20
Legroom space: 16 / 20
Total: 90 / 100

Part 3 ~ The Closing Sequences

Shortly after disembarking from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 from Los Angeles via Tokyo (Narita) at Gate No. A4 in Concourse A, we walked through the passageway leading to the arrivals and immigration checkpoints in Terminal 3 near Concourse A, with the entire walk taking approximately five minutes. Arriving at the arrivals and immigration checkpoints by 3.20 a.m., we headed to the automated thumb fingerprint checkpoint, where we cleared the immigrations checkpoints in less than a few minutes.

Upon clearing the immigrations checkpoints successfully by 3.25 a.m., I promptly went to check which baggage belt our check-in baggage would be arriving at. According to the baggage belt information screens, all check-in baggage from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 011 from Los Angeles via Tokyo (Narita) would be scheduled to arrive at Belt No. 42. With that, while my mum headed to a nearby duty-free shop to purchase some duty-free items, I followed both my dad and younger brother to Belt No. 42 with two baggage trolleys to claim our bulkier check-in baggage.

3.50 a.m..

4.15 a.m..

This now officially brings this year's 2015 Christmas special vacation trip report to a formal conclusion. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed looking through this trip report, and I would like to thank you for taking the time to read it! Now, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas 2015 and a Happy New Year 2016! May the upcoming fiscal year 2016 be a very fruitful and pleasant year for everyone, especially to bloggers! Lastly, but certainly not least, do have a safe, fun and pleasant blogging experience!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2015 Christmas Special: End-of-Year Christmas Winter Vacation to Japan in December 2015 ~ Section 4

Welcome to the fourth segment of my 2015 Christmas winter special trip report detailing my end-of-year winter vacation to Japan in December 2015. There will be a total of three focus topics that will be covered in this section of the entire Christmas special trip report. They will be travelling luxuriously northwards to Aomori via Gran Class on the Tohoku Shinkansen line, a westward shopping day journey to Kansai International Airport and spending our last day of Christmas shopping again at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

Part 1 ~ Journeying Luxuriously Northwards To Aomori In Gran Class

Early the next morning, which was Thursday (10 December), I woke up at precisely 5.30 a.m. after my mobile phone alarm blasted off early and I had received a wake-up call from the hotel reception counter. Leaping out of bed as quietly as I could, I went to have a nice, hot bath and changed to my day attire before preparing the remaining half of whatever that was necessary. According to my annual Japanese rail itineraries, I was to be undertaking a luxurious northbound Shinkansen trip to Aomori today.

For the in-bound early morning trip to Aomori, I would catch a Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, which would be scheduled to leave Yokohama Station at 6.51 a.m., and arrive at Tokyo Station at 7.18 a.m.. After arrival at Tokyo Station, I would have a somewhat long layover of approximately close to 50 minutes before catching the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, which would be scheduled to depart Tokyo Station at 8.20 a.m., and then arrive at the Shin-aomori terminal station at 11.19 a.m..

I was quite lucky since I had managed to make my Gran Class seat reservations at Echigo-yuzawa Station five days before the trip. At the same time, I was relieved since I had called the hotel reception to help me arrange a cab to Yokohama Station at 6.30 a.m.. They also advised me to be down at the hotel concierge located in the entrance hall before 6.20 a.m., which was approximately 10 minutes before my scheduled cab reservation timing. Before I left the room to commence my trip, I checked through my necessary belongings to see that everything required was already in hand.

The overall beautiful view of Tokyo Bay from my Room No. 2603 at the crack of dawn

The view of my Room No. 2603 at the crack of dawn

After spending rest of the the pre-dawn hours of the early morning preparing my required belongings for the day, I was ultimately ready to depart at 6.05 a.m.. Leaving my Room No. 2603 as quietly as possible, I took the elevator down to the grand entrance hall, eventually arriving there by 6.10 a.m.. Heading to the hotel concierge counter, the hotel butler positively saw my advanced cab reservation to Yokohama Station at 6.30 a.m.. I was then escorted to the hotel's front main entrance by the hotel butler.

Soon enough, my pre-arranged black luxury cab to Yokohama Station finally showed up at the front entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at 6.15 a.m.. With the cab door opened for me, the hotel butler informed the driver to take me to the East Entrance of Yokohama Station, where the JR Line entrance was located. Soon enough, in less than a minute, I finally departed the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand for an early morning cab trip of just 10 minutes to Yokohama Station located in the heart of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama.

The marble staircase in the grand entrance hall of the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand in the early morning

My pre-arranged luxury black cab to Yokohama Station arriving at the front entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Finally departing the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, near the Minato Mirai 21 district on route to Yokohama Station as dawn begins to break over the modern satellite port city of Yokohama

Travelling past a cab depot located in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, on route to Yokohama Station

Turning to the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, in the direction to Yokohama Station

Finally arriving at the East Entrance to Yokohama Station

After a short and quick early morning black luxury cab journey of approximately 10 minutes from the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand located next the Minato Mirai 21 district of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, I finally arrived at the East Entrance to Yokohama Station at 6.25 a.m.. Paying my cab fare, the driver offered to help with my baggage while I checked around the cab to see that nothing had been left behind on board. Thanking the driver for his services, I went down to the first basement of the Lumine department store, where the East Entrance to the station building was located.

Entering the JR Line concourse at 6.30 a.m., I went to check the nearest departure timing for the nearest Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line. According to the departure information board, the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line would be scheduled to depart at 6.51 a.m. from Track No. 7. Since it was still early, I did some brief-train-spotting on Tracks No. 9 and 10 before proceeding to Tracks No. 7 and 8 at 6.35 a.m. for the trip to Tokyo.

Yokohama Station (横浜駅) is an interchange railway terminal complex located in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. With 760 million passengers passing through the station annually, it is the main railway terminal serving the ultra-modern satellite port city of Yokohama, the busiest railway terminal in Kanagawa Prefecture, and the fifth-busiest railway terminal in the world. Many railway lines operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) intersect at this interchange station via the Tokaido Main Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Yokosuka Line, Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line and Yokohama Line.

The station serves as a mandatory stop point for Narita Express services linking to Narita International Airport, and for limited express trains bound for the Izu Peninsula. Yokohama Station also serves as a major interchange station for the Tokyu Toyoko Line, Minatomirai Line, Sagami Railway Main Line, Keikyu Main Line and the Yokohama Municipal Subway Blue Line. As of 14 March 2015, there are four elevated island platforms serving the JR Lines, with an island platform serving the Keikyu Main Line trains. An underground island platform also serves the Tokyu Toyoko Line and Minatomirai Line trains.

The exterior view of the Lumine department store above the East Entrance to Yokohama Station on a bright and clear early winter's morning

The JR Line ticketing concourse at Yokohama Station during the early morning rush hour

The JR Line ticketing gates in the JR Line ticketing concourse of Yokohama Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screens for eastbound Tokaido Main Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line trains departing from Tracks No. 7 and 8 in the main JR Line concourse at Yokohama Station

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Yokohama Station during the early morning rush hour

Tracks No. 9 and 10 serving the Yokosuka Line, Sobu Main Line and Shonan-Shinjuku Line trains at Yokohama Station during the early morning rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 7 and 8 at Yokohama Station

The departure information screen for eastbound Tokaido Main Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line trains departing from Track No. 7 at Yokohama Station during the early morning rush hour

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the eastbound Tokaido Main Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line trains at Yokohama Station during the early morning rush hour

A 14-car 285 series EMU, operating as the Sleeper Limited Express "Sunrise Seto" & "Sunrise Izumo" bound for Tokyo, arriving at Yokohama Station on Track No. 7

Overlooking Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the westbound Tokaido Main Line trains bound for Odawara, Atami and Numazu during the early morning rush hour

Track No. 7 at Yokohama Station shortly before the 6.51 a.m. Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line arrived at the station

After spending almost 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on on Tracks No. 7 and 8, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 6.51 a.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, finally arrived at Yokohama Station at 6.50 a.m. on Track No. 7. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No 4, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, and stood adjacent to the frontmost doorway for the short early morning trip of just 27 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

Given that all the best seats in the bi-level Green Car (first class) coaches had already been taken up due to the early morning rush hour, I had no choice but to stand at the train doors for the duration of the trip. Once the clock struck exactly 6.51 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokaido Main Line local train finally pulled out of Yokohama Station for the remainder of its long early morning commuter rush trip of 3 hours 50 minutes from Atami to Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line. I was then on my way for an early morning commuter rush trip of 27 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

E233系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 高崎行き 横浜駅に入線シーン

Awaiting departure from Yokohama Station

E233系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 高崎行き 横浜駅から川崎駅間

Making a brief stop at Kawasaki Station

Travelling across the Tama River between Kawasaki and downtown Tokyo

Bypassing some suburban housing areas in downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo

Bypassing a school in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Shinagawa Station

Making a brief stop at Shinagawa Station

Bypassing a railway yard under construction shortly after departing Shinagawa Station

Travelling parallel to the Tokaido Shinkansen and Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line tracks near Hamamatsucho between Shinagawa and Shimbashi Stations

Making a brief stop at Shimbashi Station

E233系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 高崎行き 新橋駅から東京駅間

After a short early morning commuter journey of 27 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of the modern port city of Yokohama, I finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 7.18 a.m. on Track No. 7. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind on board, I promptly alighted from the train and took the escalator down to the JR Line concourse before proceeding to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates, where I arrived at 7.20 a.m. to show my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed interchange ticketing gate.

Entering the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse, I quickly went to check to see which platform the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori would depart from via the train departure information screens. According to the departure information screens located in the main Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse itself, the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori would be departing at 8.20 a.m. from Track No. 23. Given that I had less than 45 minutes left before my train to Aomori, I headed up to Tracks No. 22 and 23 in preparation for the long morning trip to Aomori, eventually reaching there by 7.25 a.m..

HAYABUSA (はやぶさ) is a high-speed Shinkansen train service operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) between Tokyo and Shin-aomori via the Tohoku Shinkansen line in Japan. It is currently the fastest train service on the Tohoku Shinkansen line, and is one of the two services that can go as far north as Aomori from Tokyo, with the fastest trip between Tokyo and Shin-aomori taking three hours. The service is capable of reaching a maximum top speed of 320 km/h (200 mph), like most TGV high-speed services in France.

The service commenced operations on 5 March 2011, using 10-car E5 series sets, initially with three daily return workings (two to Shin-aomori; one to Sendai) and at a maximum top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). These sets feature luxurious Gran Class accommodation in Car No. 10, which seats up to 18 passengers in a 2-1 configuration, making the E5 series sets the first Shinkansen trains in Japan to feature these accommodations. Most services feature dedicated attendant service providing light meals and beverages to passengers.

From the start of the revised timetable on 16 March 2013, the maximum top speed for the service was raised to 320 km/h (200 mph), allowing the fastest travel durations from Tokyo to Shin-aomori to be reduced to three hours. More daily return workings were introduced, with some services operating coupled with Akita Shinkansen SUPER KOMACHI services, operated by new 7-car E6 series sets, between Tokyo and Morioka. These services were limited to a maximum top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph).

From the start of the revised timetable on 15 March 2014, the top speed for all services was increased to 320 km/h (200 mph). From the same date, most services operated coupled with Akita Shinkansen KOMACHI services, operated by 7-car E6 series sets, from Tokyo to Morioka. No extra charges are required for the HAYABUSA service for foreign tourists with a Japan Rail Pass. However, the use of ultra-luxury Gran Class accommodation requires the payments of the Shinkansen express charge and Gran Class surcharge.

From the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016, with the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line between Shin-aomori and Shin-hakodate-hokuto, the HAYABUSA will be used for services operating between Tokyo, Sendai and Shin-hakodate-hokuto. There will be 10 daily return workings between Tokyo and Shin-hakodate-hokuto, with one daily return working between Sendai and Shin-hakodate-hokuto, with the fastest service between Tokyo and Shin-hakodate-hokuto expected to take 4 hours 02 minutes. H5 series sets are also scheduled to be introduced on these services from the same date.

The Tohoku Shinkansen (東北新幹線) is a Japanese high-speed Shinkansen railway line linking between downtown Tokyo and Aomori and Aomori Prefecture in the northernmost Tohoku region in Japan. Measuring 674 kilometres (419 miles) in length, it is the longest Shinkansen line in Japan, and generally travels through sparsely populated areas in the Tohoku region of Honshu. Operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), the line has two mini-Shinkansen lines, which are the Yamagata Shinkansen from Fukushima and the Akita Shinkansen from Morioka. The line has a maximum top speed of 320 km/h (200 mph).

The line was opened for service on 23 June 1982 between Omiya and Morioka, and was then extended to Tokyo via Ueno Station from 20 June 1991. From 1 December 2002, the line was extended to Hachinohe from Morioka, allowing HAYATE services to commence using new 10-car E2 series sets at a maximum top speed of 275 km/h (170 mph). From 4 December 2010, the line was eventually extended from Hachinohe to Shin-aomori, which allowed new HAYABUSA services to commence using new 10-car E5 series sets.

However, on the fateful afternoon of 11 March 2011, the line was adversely affected by the Great East Japan Tsunami, with major damages ranging from collapsed station roofs and bent power lines. The line was gradually re-opened in stages between 15 March 2011 and 29 April 2011, but train services had to operate at lower speeds due to re-construction and maintenance works conducted on the line. The pre-earthquake and tsunami timetable was ultimately re-instated from 23 September 2011.

As of 14 March 2015, the E2 series, E3 series, E5 series and E6 series sets operate on the HAYABUSA, HAYATE, KOMACHI, YAMABIKO, TSUBASA and NASUNO services ranging from 240 km/h (150 mph) to 320 km/h (200 mph). Two trains can be coupled to form up to 17 cars between Tokyo, Fukushima and Morioka. From the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016, the line is scheduled to be extended to the upcoming Hokkaido Shinkansen line to Hakodate via the undersea Seikan Tunnel, with new 10-car H5 series sets also to be introduced from the same date.

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the Ueno-Tokyo Line trains bound for Takasaki, Kagohara and the Joban Line at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

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

The departure information screen for Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains in the Shinkansen interchange concourse at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

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

The Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse during the early morning rush hour

The departure information board for Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains in the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

An 8-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. N10, operating as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 603 bound for Nagano, awaiting departure from Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station. I remember riding on this train twice in December 2014

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U15, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 3 bound for Shin-aomori, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

A 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z1, operating as the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 3 bound for Akita, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U15 and 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z1, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" & "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 3 bound for Shin-aomori and Akita, joined together on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

An out-of-service 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C39, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 800 bound for Tokyo from Mishima, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station. I remember riding on this particular train as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 533 bound for Shin-osaka from Tokyo to Kyoto in June 2014

The logo of the out-of-service 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C39, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 800 bound for Tokyo from Mishima, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J52, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 125 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J52, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 125 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J52, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 125 bound for Sendai, during the boarding process on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J52, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 125 bound for Sendai, during the boarding process on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

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

The LED destination panel of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J52, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 125 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The train departure information board for Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 22 and 23 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z1, operating as the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 3 bound for Akita, during the boarding process on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z1, operating as the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 3 bound for Akita, during the boarding process on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z1, operating as the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 3 bound for Akita, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

Two 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Sets No. P8 and P51, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 305 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

A 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "HAKUTAKA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Kanazawa, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station. I remember riding on this particular train as the Shinkansen "ASAMA" Superexpress No. 518 bound for Tokyo from Nagano in December 2014

The logo of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "HAKUTAKA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Kanazawa, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of a 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F11, operating as the Shinkansen "HAKUTAKA" Superexpress No. 553 bound for Kanazawa, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

A 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B4, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 637 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B4, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 637 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The train departure information board for Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station, indicating that the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori would be the second train to depart from Track No. 23

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J71 and 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L61, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" & "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 127 bound for Sendai and Yamagata, joined together on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J71, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 127 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

A 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L61, operating as the Shinkansen "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 127 bound for Yamagata, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 22 and 23 at Tokyo Station serving more Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains during the early morning rush hour

The logo of a 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z47 (X47), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 209 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z47 (X47), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 209 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori arrived at the station

After spending almost 40 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 22 and 23, a 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6 finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 8.07 a.m. on Track No. 23. The train had initially arrived from Sendai as the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 2 bound for Tokyo earlier, and was to undergo a quick and extensive cleaning process before becoming the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori. It took approximately 10 minutes to clean the entire interior of the train.

Upon completion of the entire cleaning process, the train doors were finally re-opened again at 8.17 a.m., thus allowing the passengers to board the train bound for Shin-aomori. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 10, which was the Gran Class car, and settled down into my assigned Seat No. 1A for the long early morning trip of three hours to the mid-sized northern suburban port city of Aomori located just across the northern island of Hokkaido at the northern tip of the Tohoku region near the Tsugaru Strait.

I then stowed my baggage in the overhead compartment in preparation for the trip to begin. Once the clock struck precisely 8.20 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 5 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its long early morning trip of three hours to the mid-sized northern suburban port city of Aomori at the northern end of Honshu. I was then on my way for a long and luxurious early morning trip of three hours to the mid-sized northern suburban port city of Aomori at the northern tip of Honshu across the Tsugaru Straits.

Aomori (青森市) is a northern urban port city located at the northernmost tip of Honshu in Aomori Prefecture located in the Tohoku region of Japan. Located in the Tsugaru Strait, it is the capital of Aomori Prefecture, and is the northernmost prefectural capital in the central island of Honshu. Aomori is connected directly to Hokkaido via the undersea Seikan Tunnel, which provides limited express railway service to Hakodate, though this will eventually be replaced by the Hokkaido Shinkansen line from 26 March 2016. The city has a population of 288,029, as of 1 December 2015, and is well-known for receiving more snowfall outside of Hokkaido.

E5系新幹線 U6編成 はやぶさ5号 新青森行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, now operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

Getting ready to board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The Gran Class logo on the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, still undergoing extensive cleaning on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, during the boarding process on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, during the boarding process on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 1A, during the boarding process on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E5系新幹線 U6編成 はやぶさ5号 新青森行き 東京駅から大宮駅間

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

My Gran Class Shinkansen ticket for the in-bound segment between Tokyo and Shin-aomori

The cover page for the Gran Class menu on the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori

The complimentary welcome message in the Gran Class menu on the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori

Reviewing the Gran Class menu on the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori

A glass and bottle of Gran Class exclusive white wine for myself on my cocktail table

Travelling parallel to the Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen tracks shortly after pulling out of Omiya Station

A mealbox consisting of conger eel (anago; 穴子) sushi for myself for breakfast

Bypassing an open farming field near the suburban town of Nogi

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Oyama

Passing through Oyama Station

A glass of Gran Class exclusive Diet Coca-cola for myself

Bypassing an open farming field near the suburban city of Utsunomiya

E5系新幹線 U6編成 はやぶさ5号 新青森行き 宇都宮 (通過) ~ 新白河 (通過)

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Shin-shirakawa and Koriyama Stations

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Shin-shirakawa and Koriyama Stations

A view of my seat, 1A, between Shin-shirakawa and Koriyama Stations

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, from my seat between Shin-shirakawa and Koriyama Stations

Bypassing some open and sparse farming fields in the sparse, rural village of Ten'ei

Bypassing some open farming fields in the sparse, rural city of Sukagawa

E5系新幹線 U6編成 はやぶさ5号 新青森行き 郡山 (通過) ~ 福島 (通過)

Bypassing some open farming fields in the sparse, rural city of Shiroishi

Passing through Shiroishi-zao Station

Another glass and bottle of Gran Class exclusive white wine for myself on my table

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Shiroishi-zao and Sendai Stations

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Shiroishi-zao and Sendai Stations

A view of my seat, 1A, between Shiroishi-zao and Sendai Stations

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, from my seat between Shiroishi-zao and Sendai Stations

Bypassing some housing apartment blocks in downtown Taihaku-ku, Sendai, as the train approaches Sendai Station

Making a brief stop at Sendai Station

Another glass of Gran Class exclusive Diet Coca-cola for myself on my dining table

Bypassing some housing apartment blocks in downtown Aoba-ku, Sendai, shortly after departing Sendai Station

Bypassing some sparse settlements in the sparse, rural town of Rifu

Bypassing some sparse housing settlements in the sparse, rural town of Osato

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Osaki

Passing through Furukawa Station

A view of my seat, 1A, between Furukawa and Ichinoseki Stations

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Furukawa and Ichinoseki Stations

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Furukawa and Ichinoseki Stations

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, from my seat between Furukawa and Ichinoseki Stations

Bypassing a large open farming field located near the suburban city of Osaki

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

E5系新幹線 U6編成 はやぶさ5号 新青森行き 一ノ関 (通過) ~ 北上 (通過)

Another glass of Gran Class exclusive Diet Coca-cola for myself on my cocktail table

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, from my seat between Kitakami and Morioka Stations

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

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Kitakami and Morioka Stations

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Kitakami and Morioka Stations

A view of my seat, 1A, between Kitakami and Morioka Stations

Bypassing some open farming fields in the sparse, rural town of Shiwa

Crossing the Kitakami River as the train approaches Morioka Station

Making a brief stop of Morioka Station

E5系新幹線 U6編成 はやぶさ5号 新青森行き 盛岡 (発車) ~ いわて沼宮内 (通過)

A view of my seat, 1A, between Iwate-numakunai and Ninohe Stations

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Iwate-numakunai and Ninohe Stations

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, between Iwate-numakunai and Ninohe Stations

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 5 bound for Shin-aomori, from my seat between Iwate-numakunai and Ninohe Stations

Bypassing some sparse housing settlements in the sparse, rural city of Ninohe

Passing through Ninohe Station

E5系新幹線 U6編成 はやぶさ5号 新青森行き 八戸 (通過) ~ 新青森 (到着)

After a long and luxurious early morning journey of approximately three hours from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Shin-aomori terminal station at 11.19 a.m. on Track No. 11. Checking to see that nothing had been left behind on my seat, I quickly alighted the train and took the elevators to the Shinkansen concourse of the station, reaching there by 11.30 a.m.. Upon showing my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed Shinkansen ticketing gate, I took the elevator down to the first floor concourse, where a cab stand was located.

Since I was already in Aomori, I decided to head to the Asamushi Aquarium, where I had been to during my first trip here in December 2014. Upon hailing the nearest cab down, I quickly informed the driver to transport me to the Asamushi Aquarium, which was located adjacent to Mutsu Bay. With the driver helping me to load the baggage into the cab boot, I finally departed Shin-aomori Station at 11.35 a.m. for a road journey of approximately 35 minutes to the Asamushi Aquarium located close to Mutsu Bay.

Shin-aomori Station (新青森駅) is a major railway terminal serving the northern suburban port city of Aomori, Japan. Operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), it is one of the two main railway terminals serving Aomori, and is the northern terminus for the Tohoku Shinkansen line. The station serves as an interchange station for the Ou Main Line, with the Hakucho and Super Hakucho limited express services providing connections to Hakodate via Aomori Station, though these will eventually be replaced with the Hokkaido Shinkansen line from the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016.

The station was opened on 1 November 1986 as a small unstaffed station on the Ou Main Line. It then underwent a major renovation programme between 2007 and 2010 following the decision to extend the Tohoku Shinkansen line from Hachinohe to Shin-aomori. Finally, on 4 December 2010, it became an interchange station with the Tohoku Shinkansen line, making Shin-aomori Station the northernmost Shinkansen terminus in Japan. However, this will not last long as from the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016, Shin-hakodate-hokuto Station will replace Shin-aomori Station as the northernmost Shinkansen station in Japan with the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line.

The 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, now operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 18 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Shin-aomori Station

Tracks No. 11 and 12 at Shin-aomori Station with two E5 Series Shinkansen sets in the early afternoon

Overlooking the soon-to-be-open Hokkaido Shinkansen tracks leading to Shin-hakodate-hokuto via the Seikan Tunnel from Shin-aomori Station in the early afternoon, which is scheduled to open for revenue passenger service on 26 March 2016

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U15, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 20 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The LED destination panel of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U15, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 20 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The logo of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U15, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 20 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The logo of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 18 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Shin-aomori Station

The LED destination panel of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 18 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The departure information screens for Tohoku Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 11 and 12 at Shin-aomori Station in the early afternoon

The Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Shin-aomori Station in the early afternoon

An advertisement commercial machine counting down the number of days left before the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line in the main station concourse at Shin-aomori Station

Bypassing the View Plaza Travel Service Agency in the main station concourse at Shin-aomori Station in the early afternoon

The main ticketing concourse at Shin-aomori Station during the early afternoon

The entrance to Shin-aomori Station on a cloudy winter's early afternoon

The silver Toyota cab that would soon take me to the Asamushi Aquarium from Shin-aomori Station waiting by the cab stand

Finally departing Shin-aomori Station

Overlooking the soon-to-be-open Hokkaido Shinkansen line viaduct shortly after departing Shin-aomori Station

Travelling past some gaming arcades and petrol stations in the mid-sized northern suburban port city of Aomori on route to the Asamushi Aquarium

The view of the Aomori Bay Bridge and Mount Hakkoda as the cab crosses the flyover over the Ou Main Line tracks and Aoimori Railway line tracks near Aomori Station

Travelling along the roads of downtown Aomori with Mount Hakkoda coming into view

A beautiful panoramic view of Mount Hakkoda on the expressway to the Asamushi Aquarium via Mutsu Bay

Travelling along the coastal road by Mutsu Bay on route to the Asamushi Aquarium

Turning to a somewhat hilly road in the direction to the Asamushi Aquarium

Finally arriving at the Asamushi Aquarium

After a short and cloudy afternoon cab ride of approximately 35 minutes along the coastline of Mutsu Bay from Shin-aomori Station, I finally arrived at the front entrance to the Asamushi Aquarium at 12.10 p.m.. Paying my cab fare, the driver offered to help unload my baggage from the cab boot as I checked the seating area to see that nothing had been left behind on board. Thanking the cab driver for his kind and warm services, the driver even promised to meet me again outside the aquarium by three o' clock to transport me back to Shin-aomori Station.

Upon entering the aquarium, I bought myself a one-day adult aquarium ticket pass at the automated ticketing machine and went through the ticketing gate to commence my aquatic and marine day at the Asamushi Aquarium. At the Asamushi Aquarium, I managed to see various creatures ranging from freshwater to saltwater, such as seals, sea lions, freshwater carps and penguins. There was also a dolphin show, which commenced at 1.30 p.m., that showcased the dolphins' exercise and close bonding talents with their trainers, allowing me to enjoy my time peacefully at the Asamushi Aquarium.

The Asamushi Aquarium (浅虫水族館) is a public aquarium located in the Asamushi area near Mutsu Bay in Aomori, Japan. Opened to the general public in 1924, it is currently the largest public aquarium in the Tohoku region, and the northernmost aquarium in the main island of Honshu. It mainly houses 11,000 animals from 500 different species, including a variety of aquatic and marine creatures over the globe and Aomori Prefecture's abundant marine resources. The aquarium is open daily from nine o' clock in the morning to five o' clock in the evening, with the final entry at 4.30 p.m. per visitor.

The automated ticketing machines in the Asamushi Aquarium in the early afternoon

The first interior view of the Asamushi Aquarium as I begin my afternoon tour around the aquarium itself

A large tank housing the sea turtles in the Asamushi Aquarium

A large saltwater tank containing red sea bream and other small fish in the Asamushi Aquarium

A small pufferfish swimming in the saltwater tank with the red sea bream at the Asamushi Aquarium

A large tank housing the penguins in the Asamushi Aquarium

A large fish tank housing the sea lions and seals in the Asamushi Aquarium

A large freshwater fish tank housing several freshwater fish in the Asamushi Aquarium

The beautiful view of Mutsu Bay on a cloudy winter's afternoon from the Asamushi Aquarium

The names of the dolphins performing for the dolphin shows at the marine animal show amphitheatre at the Asamushi Aquarium

A wafer cone of chocolate ice cream for myself at the mini aquarium cafeteria near the marine animal show amphitheatre in the Asamushi Aquarium

The mini-light snack cafeteria near the marine animal show amphitheatre in the Asamushi Aquarium

The dolphin show about to commence at 1.30 p.m. at the Asamushi Aquarium

Pippi and Mirai showing off their abilities to flap out of the water belly first during the dolphin show at the Asamushi Aquarium

The four dolphins showing the audience their abilities to dive into the water head first during the dolphin show

The four dolphins showcasing their abilities to jump out of the water and back in during the dolphin show

Lucky about to receive his bond with his trainer during the dolphin show at the Asamushi Aquarium

Smile showing his ability to breathe while submerged underwater during the dolphin show at the Asamushi Aquarium

Pippi showing the audience her ability to lie down and stretch out of the water with her trainer

Smile and Lucky showing the audience their ability to breathe while underwater during the dolphin show

Pippi and Mirai showing the audience their abilities to keep themselves underwater while breathing at the same time during the dolphin show

The four dolphins showing their ability to waddle on their flippers in water

Pippi showing off her ability to jump over hoops above the water during the dolphin show

The finale of the dolphin show at the Asamushi Aquarium finally approaches

Smile showing off his ability to jump over some flowing water from a hose during the dolphin show

The dolphins with their trainers bidding their gratitude to the spectators for watching the dolphin show at the end

The entrance to the underwater tunnel in the Asamushi Aquarium in the mid-afternoon

An aquarium tank of moray eels in the Asamushi Aquarium

A large fish tank containing moorish idols and several saltwater fish in the Asamushi Aquarium

The interior view of the Asamushi Aquarium shortly before I completed my afternoon tour at the aquarium itself

After spending approximately two hours of marine creature discovery and exploration at the Asamushi Aquarium, the clock was finally showing 2.10 p.m.. Given that I was finished with my aquatic and marine creature exploration for the day, I exited the aquarium through the main exit and headed back to the front entrance, where the same cab with the same driver were already waiting to take me back to Shin-aomori Station, so that I could have an early afternoon tea before my long early evening return trip back to Yokohama via Tokyo.

Helping me load my baggage into the cab boot, I got into the cab for the mid-afternoon trip back to Shin-aomori Station, with the driver offering to take me along the coastal route by Mutsu Bay to show me some beautiful views. Once everything had been loaded in the cab boot, I finally departed the Asamushi Aquarium at 2.15 p.m. for a mid-afternoon return cab trip of 45 minutes back to Shin-aomori Station, with the driver showing me the breathtaking and beautiful coastline of Mutsu Bay along the way.

In the final analysis, my aquatic marine creature day visit to the Asamushi Aquarium was a pleasant one, as in December 2014. Although the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Osaka was bigger and better, the Asamushi Aquarium was still better than the COEX Aquarium located in Seoul, South Korea, owing to its peace and tranquility. Overall, the dolphin show was the highlight of the visit, and I shall not hesitate to undertake another marine visit the Asamushi Aquarium by Mutsu Bay again should the opportunity come.

The exterior view of the Asamushi Aquarium on a cloudy winter's afternoon shortly before I departed back to Shin-aomori Station

The silver Toyota cab that would soon take me back to Shin-aomori Station from the Asamushi Aquarium

Finally departing the Asamushi Aquarium

The beautiful view of Mutsu Bay on a cloudy winter's afternoon on the way back to Shin-aomori Station

Travelling across the coastal road of Mutsu Bay by Asamushi Onsen on route back to Shin-aomori Station

Travelling along the coastal road by Mutsu Bay on route back to Shin-aomori Station from the Asamushi Aquarium

Travelling past a leafless mountainous forest near the Asamushi Aquarium on route back to Shin-aomori Station

Travelling past some roadside restaurants and cafeterias in downtown Aomori on route back to Shin-aomori Station

Crossing the Aomori Bay Bridge on route to Shin-aomori Station close to downtown Aomori

Travelling along the flyover bridge with downtown Aomori coming into background

The beautiful view of the Tsugaru Strait on a cloudy winter's afternoon on the way back to Shin-aomori Station

Another beautiful view of the Tsugaru Strait on a cloudy winter's afternoon, though I was unable to see Hokkaido in the background due to the cloudy weather

A beautiful view of Mount Hakkoda while crossing the JR Line and Aoimori Railway Line tracks close to Aomori Station

Travelling past some small houses in the mid-sized northern suburban port city of Aomori located somewhere close to Shin-aomori Station

Finally arriving back at Shin-aomori Station

After a mid-afternoon return trip of 45 minutes from the Asamushi Aquarium located along the coastline of Mutsu Bay, I finally arrived back at Shin-aomori Station at three o' clock. Paying my cab fare, I checked to see that nothing had been left behind on the seats while the driver got out to help unload my baggage from the cab boot. Thanking the driver for his kind and warm services, I went into the station concourse on the first floor to search for a good cafeteria to have some afternoon tea.

For the upcoming evening return trip back to Yokohama, I would be scheduled to catch the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart at 5.22 p.m., which would be scheduled to depart Shin-aomori Station at 5.22 p.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 8.32 p.m.. Upon arrival at Tokyo Station, I would quickly change to a Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Hiratsuka, which would depart Tokyo Station at 8.53 p.m., and arrive at Yokohama Station at 9.19 p.m..

Soon enough, I finally stumbled upon a local ramen noodles cafeteria located  in the first floor concourse at 3.05 p.m.. Entering the café itself, I promptly requested for a table for myself, where I was directed to one by a waitress before being provided with the dining menus to review before ordering my main course. Once I was ready to eat, the waitress came by to take my order. Ordering myself a bowl of char siew pork ramen noodles with some Diet Coca-cola, I had a filling afternoon tea at the cafeteria itself.

The entrance to Shin-aomori Station on a cloudy winter's afternoon

The main entrance to the restaurant and souvenir shop arcade in the first floor concourse of Shin-aomori Station

Finally arriving at a small ramen noodle cafeteria in the first floor concourse at Shin-aomori Station

The interior of the small ramen noodle cafeteria in the first floor concourse at Shin-aomori Station

A glass of water and Diet Coca-cola for myself

A bowl of char siew ramen noodles for myself

After having a late afternoon tea at the ramen noodles café in the first floor concourse, the clock was showing 3.30 p.m.. Though the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo would be departing in less than two hours' time, I decided to pay up my bill and make my way up via the escalators to the Shinkansen concourse with my belongings before heading to the Shinkansen ticket gates. Showing my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed Shinkansen ticket gate, I quickly went to check which platform the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo would depart from.

According to the departure information screens located in the Shinkansen concourse, the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo would be departing at 5.22 p.m. from Track No. 12. With that, I went up to Tracks No. 11 and 12 at 3.40 p.m., before finding a 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8 on Track No. 12. The train had arrived from Tokyo as the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 19 bound for Shin-aomori earlier, and was still undergoing a long, extensive cleaning process before becoming the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo. Boarding was also to commence at 5.07 p.m., approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled departure timing.

The exterior view of the ramen noodles cafeteria in the first floor concourse of Shin-aomori Station shortly before I went up to the Shinkansen concourse

The first floor concourse housing the restaurants and shops at Shin-aomori Station during dusk

The main station concourse on the second level at Shin-aomori Station during dusk

The Shinkansen ticketing gates in the main station concourse at Shin-aomori Station during dusk

The Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Shin-aomori Station during dusk

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 11 and 12 at Shin-aomori Station at dusk

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 19 bound for Shin-aomori from Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U7, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 26 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 13 at Shin-aomori Station

Overlooking the soon-to-be-open Hokkaido Shinkansen tracks leading to Shin-hakodate-hokuto via the Seikan Tunnel from Shin-aomori Station at dusk, which is scheduled to open for passenger service on 26 March 2016

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving some of the southbound Tohoku Shinkansen trains to Morioka, Sendai and Tokyo at Shin-aomori Station during dusk

The logo of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 19 bound for Shin-aomori from Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

Overlooking Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Shin-aomori Station during dusk. From the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016, with the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line to Shin-hakodate-hokuto via the Seikan Tunnel, these platforms will be used for trains heading to Shin-hakodate-hokuto via the Seikan Tunnel and Kikonai

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U2, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 28 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Shin-aomori Station. I remember riding on this particular train as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo from Shin-aomori in December 2014

The LED destination panel of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U2, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 28 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Shin-aomori Station

The logo of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U2, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 28 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Shin-aomori Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U2, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 28 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 11 at Shin-aomori Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U2, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 28 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 11 at Shin-aomori Station

Tracks No. 11 and 12 at Shin-aomori Station with two E5 Series Shinkansen sets at night

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U26, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 21 bound for Shin-aomori from Tokyo, on Track No. 13 at the Shin-aomori terminal station

The departure information screens for trains departing from Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, now operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, awaiting for boarding on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The logo of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, now operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The LED destination panel of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, now operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station shortly before boarding for the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo commenced

After spending almost 1 hour 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 11 and 12, the train doors of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, were finally opened again at 5.07 p.m.. Without wasting anymore time, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 10, which was the Gran Class car, and settled down into my assigned Seat No. 6C at the rear of the cabin for the long early evening return trip of 3 hours 10 minutes back to the lively hustle of bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The train was to operate coupled with the Shinkansen KOMACHI Superexpress No. 30 from Akita, operated by a 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z17, between Morioka and Tokyo on the way. Once the clock struck exactly 5.22 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 30 ultimately pulled out of Shin-aomori Station for its long early evening trip of 3 hours 10 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo in the Kanto region. I was then on my way for a long early evening return trip of 3 hours 10 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan.

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

Another rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

Another front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The cover page for the Gran Class menu on the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo

The complimentary welcome message in the Gran Class menu on the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo

Reviewing the Gran Class menu on the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo

A view of my seat, 6C, during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 12 at Shin-aomori Station

Awaiting departure from Shin-aomori Station

E5系新幹線 U8編成 はやぶさ30号 東京行き 新青森 (発車) ~ 八戸 (通過)

Travelling through a railway tunnel between Hachinohe and Ninohe Stations at night

A glass and bottle of Gran Class exclusive white wine for myself on my cocktail table

Bypassing some sparse housing settlements in the sparse, rural city of Ninohe at night

Passing through Ninohe Station

Travelling through the Iwate-Ichinohe Tunnel between Ninohe and Iwate-numakunai Stations

E5系新幹線 U8編成 はやぶさ30号 東京行き いわて沼宮内 (通過) ~ 盛岡 (到着)

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, from my seat during the brief stopover on Track No. 11 at Morioka Station

A view of my seat, 6C, during the brief stopover on Track No. 11 at Morioka Station

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, during the brief stopover on Track No. 11 at Morioka Station

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, during the brief stopover on Track No. 11 at Morioka Station

The 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, awaiting coupling with the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 30 from Akita on Track No. 11 at Morioka Station

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving some of the southbound Tohoku Shinkansen trains to Sendai and Tokyo at Morioka Station

Track No. 11 at Morioka Station shortly before the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station to be coupled directly behind my train

E6系新幹線 Z17編成 こまち30号 東京行き 盛岡駅ではやぶさ30号と連結シーン

The 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8 and 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z17, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" & "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, coupled together on Track No. 11 at Morioka Station

The 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z17, operating as the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Morioka Station

Awaiting departure from Morioka Station

E5系新幹線 U8編成 はやぶさ30号 東京行き 盛岡 (発車) ~ 一ノ関 (通過)

A glass of Gran Class exclusive Diet Coca-cola for myself

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Ichinoseki and Furukawa Stations

A view of my seat, 6C, between Ichinoseki and Furukawa Stations

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, between Ichinoseki and Furukawa Stations

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, between Ichinoseki and Furukawa Stations

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

Passing through Furukawa Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the sparse, rural town of Rifu at night

Bypassing some housing apartment blocks in downtown Aoba-ku, Sendai, as the train approaches Sendai Station

Making a brief stop at Sendai Station

Bypassing some housing apartment blocks in downtown Aoba-ku, Sendai, shortly after departing Sendai Station

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

Passing through Shiroishi-zao Station

Bypassing some housing areas between the suburban cities of Shiroishi and Fukushima at night

E5系新幹線 U8編成 はやぶさ30号 東京行き 福島 (通過) ~ 郡山 (通過)

The overall view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Koriyama and Shin-shirakawa Stations

A view of my seat, 6C, between Koriyama and Shin-shirakawa Stations

The rear view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, between Koriyama and Shin-shirakawa Stations

The front view of the Gran Class cabin on board the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, between Koriyama and Shin-shirakawa Stations

A glass and bottle of Gran Class exclusive white wine and Diet Coca-cola for myself on my cocktail table

Bypassing some housing areas in the sparse, rural village of Nishigo

Passing through Shin-shirakawa Station

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

E5系新幹線 U8編成 はやぶさ30号 東京行き 宇都宮 (通過) ~ 小山 (通過)

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

Intersecting with the Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen line viaduct as the train approaches Omiya Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Omiya-ku, Saitama, as the train approaches Omiya Station

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

E5系新幹線 U8編成 はやぶさ30号 東京行き 大宮駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E5系新幹線 U8編成 はやぶさ30号 東京行き 上野駅から終点東京駅間

After a long early evening trip of 3 hours 10 minutes from the mid-sized northern urban port city of Aomori located at the northern tip of Honshu, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 8.32 p.m. on Track No. 23. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind, I promptly alighted the train and took the escalators down to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse before proceeding to the JR Line interchange ticketing gate to show my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed JR Line interchange ticketing gate.

Entering the JR Line concourse at 8.35 p.m., I proceeded to check the departure information screens for the departure time for the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Hiratsuka. According to the departure information screens, the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Hiratsuka would be scheduled to depart at 8.53 p.m. from Track No. 10. Since I had less than 15 minutes left before my connecting train to Yokohama, I promptly took the escalators to Tracks No. 9 and 10 to catch the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Hiratsuka.

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

The logo of the out-of-service 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 23 at the Tokyo terminal station

The out-of-service 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 23 at the Tokyo terminal station

The out-of-service 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U8 and 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z17, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" & "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, joined together on Track No. 23 at the Tokyo terminal station

The out-of-service 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z17, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 23 at the Tokyo terminal station

The logo of the out-of-service 7-car E6 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z17, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "KOMACHI" Superexpress No. 30 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 23 at the Tokyo terminal station

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J59, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 159 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

A 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L69, operating as the Shinkansen "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 159 bound for Yamagata, on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

The 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J59 and 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L69, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" & "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 159 bound for Sendai and Yamagata, joined together on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

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

The Shinkansen interchange concourse in the JR Line interchange concourse at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

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

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 9 and 10 at Tokyo Station

A 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 8.50 p.m. Tokaido Main Line "Commuter Rapid Service" bound for Odawara, on Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station shortly before the 8.53 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Hiratsuka arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 9 and 10, a 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 8.53 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Hiratsuka via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 8.52 p.m. on Track No. 10. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 5, which was one of the bi-level Green Car (first class) coaches, and secured Seat No. 6D located in the upper deck for the short early evening return trip of 26 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Yokohama.

It was not that long until I was finally ready to depart for Yokohama. Once the clock struck exactly 8.53 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokaido Main Line local train finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for the remaining half of its long evening commuter journey of 2 hours 33 minutes from Koganei to Hiratsuka via the Ueno-Tokyo Line. I was then on my way for a very short and quick evening return commuter trip of just 26 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Yokohama located across Tokyo Bay.

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 平塚行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 8.53 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Hiratsuka via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, during the boarding process on Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 6D, during the boarding process on Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 平塚行き 東京駅から品川駅間

Making a brief stop at Shinagawa Station

Bypassing a local train depot between Shinagawa and Kamata Stations

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

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 8.53 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Hiratsuka via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, from my seat between Shinagawa and Kawasaki Stations

Crossing the Tama River between downtown Tokyo and Kawasaki late at night

Making a brief stop at Kawasaki Station

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 平塚行き 川崎駅から横浜駅間

After a short early evening commuter rush trip of just 26 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Yokohama Station at 9.19 p.m. on Track No. 6. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind, I alighted from the train and took the escalators back down to the main station concourse. Showing my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate, I went to the East Exit close to the Lumine department store, where I had arrived via the cab stand located on the upper level.

Reaching the cab stand on the upper level at 9.25 p.m., I promptly hailed the nearest cab down near the Lumine department store above the East Entrance to Yokohama Station. With the driver asking me for my intended destination, I quickly told him to take me back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand near the Minato Mirai 21 district in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama. With everything loaded into the cab boot, I finally departed Yokohama at 9.30 p.m. for a short late night road trip of five minutes back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand.

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the eastbound Tokaido Main Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line trains at Yokohama Station during the early evening rush hour

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

The JR Line ticketing concourse at Yokohama Station during the early evening rush hour

The East Entrance to Yokohama Station below the Lumine department store during the early evening rush hour

The exterior view of the Lumine department store near the East Entrance to Yokohama Station at night

The black cab that would soon take me back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at the cab stands near the Lumine department store near the East Entrance to Yokohama Station

Finally departing Yokohama Station

Travelling in the narrow underground roadway close to Yokohama Station in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, at night

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, on a damp night near Yokohama Station

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, near the Minato Mirai 21 district on route back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Finally arriving back at the front main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

The grand entrance hall in the first floor at the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand late at night

After a short late night cab ride of just five minutes from Yokohama Station located in further downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, I finally arrived back at the entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at 9.35 p.m.. Paying my cab fare, I checked the rear seating area to ensure that nothing had been left behind on board while the cab driver helped me to unload my baggage from the boot of the cab. Thanking the driver for his kind and warm services, I went into the grand entrance hall before heading to the elevator lobby.

Taking the elevator back up to the 26th floor, I finally arrived back at my Room No. 2603 at 9.45 p.m., where my younger brother was already asleep. Setting up my electronic devices to be charged up overnight, I went to have a nice, hot bath before preparing my belongings for a westbound railway trip to Kansai International Airport the next morning. Setting up my mobile phone to wake me up at 4.30 a.m. and arranging with the hotel reception to give me a wake-up call, I finally turned in by 10.30 p.m. for a well-earned good night's rest.

Overall, my northbound journey to Aomori via the HAYABUSA train service on the Tohoku Shinkansen in Gran Class has been a very pleasant experience, which would mark the second time I undertook a luxurious Gran Class Shinkansen trip. Like my very first trip to Aomori in December 2014, the HAYABUSA service was much better than the Korea Train Express (KTX) in South Korea, with the Gran Class service being rather good, allowing me to rate the HAYABUSA as a five-star train service and the best train I have ever taken in my life. I shall not hesitate to undertake another Gran Class trip when the opportunity comes.

Part 2 ~ Spending A Westbound Shopping Day At Kansai International Airport

Early the next morning, which was Friday (11 December), I woke up at precisely 4.30 a.m. after my mobile phone alarm blasted off early. The first thing I did was to have a hot shower and change up into my daily attire before preparing the remainder of my belongings needed for the day. According to my Japanese rail plans, I had planned to undertake a shopping trip to Kansai International Airport in the Keihanshin metropolitan area near Osaka Bay, since my one-week Green Car-type Japan Rail Pass was due to expire today.

For the in-bound morning trip to Kansai International Airport, I would catch an early morning Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, which would be expected to depart Yokohama Station at 5.53 a.m., and arrive at Tokyo Station at 6.19 a.m.. After arrival at Tokyo, I would have a layover of approximately 35 minutes before connecting to the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, which would be scheduled to depart from Tokyo Station at 7.13 a.m., and arrive at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 9.46 a.m..

After arrival at Shin-osaka, I would quickly connect to a Special Rapid Service train bound for Nagahama via the Biwako Line, which would depart Shin-osaka Station at 10.05 a.m., and arrive at Kyoto Station at 10.28 a.m.. Upon arriving at Kyoto, I would finally connect to the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, which would depart Kyoto Station at 11.15 a.m., and arrive at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 12.34 p.m.. Having made my seat reservations a few days before the trip, I was lucky since I had also arranged with the hotel for a cab to take me to Yokohama Station at 5.30 a.m.. I then proceeded to prepare the remainder of what I needed for the day.

The overall beautiful view of Tokyo Bay from my Room No. 2603 during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The view of my Room No. 2603 during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

After preparing whatever belongings that I required for the day, I was finally ready to depart at five o' clock. Taking my necessary belongings with me, I departed my Room No. 2603 as silently as I could, and took the elevator down to the grand entrance hall, eventually arriving there at 5.10 a.m.. Heading to the hotel concierge, the hotel butler escorted me to the main entrance, where my pre-arranged yellow cab to Yokohama Station finally showed up outside the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at 5.15 a.m..

Once the cab door was opened, the driver helped to load my baggage into the cab boot as he instructed him to transport me directly to the East Entrance of Yokohama Station. Seeing that everything was in order, I promptly boarded the yellow cab for the short pre-dawn early morning cab trip of five minutes to Yokohama Station located further downtown located in the heart of Nishi-ku, Yokohama. Soon enough, I finally departed the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand in less than a few seconds for a short pre-dawn early morning trip of five minutes to Yokohama Station in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama.

The marble staircase in the grand entrance hall of the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

My pre-arranged yellow cab to Yokohama Station at the front main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Finally departing the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, close to the Minato Mirai 21 district on route to Yokohama Station in the damp pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, near Yokohama Station in the damp pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Travelling past the Lumine department store located near the East Entrance to Yokohama Station

Finally arriving at the underground East Entrance to Yokohama Station

After an early morning cab ride of five minutes from the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand situated near the Minato Mirai 21 district of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, I finally arrived at the underground East Entrance to Yokohama Station at 5.20 a.m.. Paying my cab fare, I checked my seat to see that nothing had been left behind in the cab while the driver helped to unload my baggage from the cab boot. Thanking the cab driver for his warm and kind services, I walked past some closed shops before reaching the JR Line concourse of the station by 5.25 a.m..

Showing my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate, I headed to check which platform the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line would be scheduled to depart from. According to the departure information screens, the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line would depart at 5.52 a.m. from Track No. 7. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly went up to Tracks No. 7 and 8 to catch my pre-dawn early morning train to Tokyo, eventually arriving at the platforms by 5.30 a.m..

Walking past some closed shops in the Lumine department store on route to the East Entrance to Yokohama Station

The East Entrance leading to the main station concourse at Yokohama Station during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Finally approaching the JR Line ticketing gates in the JR Line ticketing concourse at Yokohama Station during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Yokohama Station during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 7 and 8 at Yokohama Station

The departure information screen for eastbound Tokaido Main Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line trains departing from Track No. 7 at Yokohama Station during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Overlooking Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the westbound Tokaido Main Line trains bound for Odawara, Atami and Numazu during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

A 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 5.48 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Numazu, arriving at Yokohama Station at 5.47 a.m. on Track No. 6

Track No. 7 at Yokohama Station shortly before the 5.53 a.m. Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line arrived at the station

After spending approximately 20 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 7 and 8, a 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 5.53 a.m. Tokaido Main local service bound for Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, finally arrived at Yokohama Station at 5.52 a.m. on Track No. 7. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 5, which was one of the bi-level Green Car (first class) coaches, and secured Seat No. 7D located in the upper deck for the short pre-dawn early morning commuter trip of just 26 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

It was not long until I was finally ready to depart Yokohama for Tokyo. Once the clock struck precisely 5.53 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokaido Main Line local train finally pulled out of Yokohama Station for the remainder of its long pre-dawn morning journey of 3 hours 42 minutes from Atami to Takasaki via the Ueno-Tokyo Line. I was then on my way for a short pre-dawn early morning commuter journey of just 26 minutes to the busy hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan.

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 高崎行き 横浜駅に入線シーン

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 高崎行き 横浜駅から品川駅間

Making a brief stop at Shinagawa

Crossing the Tama River between Kawasaki and downtown Tokyo in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Travelling past some suburban housing areas in downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo, in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Making a brief stop at Shinagawa Station

Travelling past some downtown infrastructure in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, between Shinagawa and Shimbashi Stations in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Making a brief stop at Shimbashi Station

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 高崎行き 新橋駅から東京駅間

After a short pre-dawn early morning commuter trip of just 26 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Yokohama, I finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 6.19 a.m. on Track No. 7. Checking to see that nothing had been left behind on board, I alighted from the train and took the escalator to the JR Line concourse before heading to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates. Upon arriving at the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gates, I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen interchange ticketing gate.

Entering the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at 6.20 a.m., I quickly went to check the departure information screen to see which platform number the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka would depart from. According to the departure information screen, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka would be scheduled to depart at 7.13 a.m. from Track No. 14. Though it was still early prior to my train to Osaka, I took the escalators up to Tracks No. 14 and 15, eventually arriving there by 6.25 a.m..

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the Ueno-Tokyo Line trains bound for Takasaki, Kagohara and the Joban Line at Tokyo Station in the wee hours of the early morning

The JR Line interchange concourse of Tokyo Station during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The passageway linking between the JR Line and Shinkansen interchange concourses during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates in the JR Line interchange concourse at Tokyo Station in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The departure information board for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains in the main Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

The main Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Tokyo Station during the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 14 and 15 at Tokyo Station in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning

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

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U26, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYABUSA" Superexpress No. 1 bound for Shin-aomori, about to depart from Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The logo of a 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z2 (X2), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 201 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z2 (X2), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 201 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G13, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 295 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G13, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No 295 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 as dawn begins to break over the station complex

The train departure information board for Tokaido Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka would be the next train to depart from Track No. 14

Overlooking Tracks No. 22 and 23 serving some of the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station from Tracks No. 14 and 15

A 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B5, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 461 bound for Okayama, on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka arrived at the station

After spending almost half an hour of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 14 and 15, a 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, which would operate as the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, finally entered Tokyo Station at 6.56 a.m. on Track No. 14. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 7 and went to Car No. 8, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, before settling into my assigned Seat No. 17D for the early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka in western Japan.

The seat next to me, 17C, would remain vacant for the early morning trip duration of 2 hours 33 minutes from Tokyo to Shin-osaka. Once the clock struck exactly 7.13 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka in western Japan. I was then on my way for a rainy early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka located in the centre of the Keihanshin metropolitan area.

700系新幹線 C50編成 のぞみ297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 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

Getting ready to board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 17D, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

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

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

700系新幹線 C50編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 東京駅から新横浜駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

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

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

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

700系新幹線 C50編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 小田原 (通過) ~ 三島 (通過)

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

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fuji

700系新幹線 C50編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 静岡 (通過) ~ 浜松 (通過)

Bypassing a green farming field near the suburban city of Hamamatsu

Crossing Lake Hamana between the border of Shizuoka and Aichi Prefectures

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

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

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

Passing through Toyohashi Station

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Toyokawa

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Okazaki

Bypassing a large farming field between the suburban cities of Okazaki and Anjo

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Anjo

Passing through Mikawa-anjo Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Anjo

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

A view of my seat, 17D, between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

Bypassing several suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Kariya

Several tall infrastructure located in downtown Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, as the train approaches Nagoya Station

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 C50編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 米原 (通過)

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Maibara

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Hikone

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

A view of my seat, 17D, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Omihachiman

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Yasu

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kusatsu

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat as the train approaches Kyoto

A view of my seat, 17D, as the train approaches Kyoto

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, as the train approaches Kyoto

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, as the train approaches Kyoto

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

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station

700系新幹線 C50編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 京都駅から終点新大阪駅間

After a rainy early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 9.46 a.m. on Track No. 21. Checking that nothing had been left behind, I alighted from the train and took the escalators down to the main Shinkansen concourse before making my way to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates to show my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate, eventually reaching there by 9.50 a.m..

Entering the JR Line concourse, I went to check which platform number the closest Special Rapid Service train bound for Nagahama via the Biwako Line would depart from. According to the departure information screens, the next Special Rapid Service train to Nagahama via the Biwako Line would depart at 10.05 a.m. from Track No. 13. Heading down to Tracks No. 13 and 14 at 9.55 a.m., an announcement was made that due to adverse weather conditions on the Kisei Main Line near the Kii Peninsula, all train services would be slightly delayed.

Tracks No. 21 and 22 serving some of the Tokaido, Sanyo & Kyushu Shinkansen trains bound for Okayama, Hiroshima, Hakata (Fukuoka) and Kagoshima-chuo at Shin-osaka Station on a relatively rainy winter's morning

Looking back at the out-of-service 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka from Tokyo, on Track No. 21 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The logo of the out-of-service 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C50, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka from Tokyo, on Track No. 21 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The Shinkansen concourse of Shin-osaka Station leading to the platforms during the early morning rush hour

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

The departure information screens for JR Line trains in the JR Line concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early morning rush hour

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

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

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

Track No. 13 at Shin-osaka Station shortly before the delayed 10.05 a.m. "Special Rapid Service" train bound for Nagahama via the Biwako Line arrived at the station

After spending close to 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 13 and 14, a 12-car 223 series EMU, now operating as the delayed 10.05 a.m. Special Rapid Service bound for Nagahama via the Biwako Line, finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station 10.08 a.m. on Track No. 13, approximately four minutes behind schedule. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 4 and settled in for the short but rainy early afternoon commuter trip of 23 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto.

Once the clock struck around 10.09 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Special Rapid Service train pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for the remainder of its long morning commuter rush journey of 2 hours 45 minutes from Himeji to Nagahama via the Biwako Line. I was then on my way for a very short and quick afternoon commuter trip of just 23 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of the ancient and historical capital city of Japan located just slightly northeast of Osaka in the Keihanshin metropolitan area.

A 12-car 223 series EMU, operating as the delayed 10.05 a.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Nagahama via the Biwako Line, finally arriving at Shin-osaka Station at 10.08 a.m. on Track No. 13, approximately three minutes behind schedule

Finally departing Shin-osaka Station

Bypassing some small housing areas in the suburban city of Suita

Bypassing some housing apartments in the suburban city of Takatsuki as the train approaches Takatsuki Station

Making a brief stop at Takatsuki Station

Bypassing some small houses in the suburban city of Takatsuki

Overlooking the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks between Takatsuki and Shimamoto Stations

Bypassing some housing apartments in the suburban town of Shimamoto

Passing through Shimamoto Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Oyamazaki

Travelling past a JR Line railway yard in the suburban city of Muko

Crossing the Katsura River onto downtown Kyoto on a cloudy winter's early afternoon

Travelling parallel to the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct near Kyoto Station

Overlooking several downtown infrastructure in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, as the train approaches Kyoto Station

Finally arriving at Kyoto Station

After a short and quick cloudy early afternoon trip of 23 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka, I finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 10.32 a.m. on Track No. 2, approximately four minutes behind schedule. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators to the JR Line interchange concourse. Reaching the JR Line interchange concourse at 10.35 a.m., I went 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 screens in the JR Line interchange 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. Without wasting anymore time, I took the escalators down to Track No. 0 and headed over to Tracks No. 30 and 31 for the continuing trip to Kansai International Airport. However, due to adverse weather conditions occurring on the Kii Peninsula leading to all train services in the Kansai area to be delayed, the service was running relatively behind schedule.

The Haruka (はるか) is a dedicated limited express train service operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) between Kyoto and Kansai International Airport in western Japan. Popularly dubbed the Kansai Airport Limited Express (関空特急) by JR West, the Haruka is the fastest service between Kansai International Airport and downtown Osaka with Kyoto, with an average trip 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 281 series EMUs at a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). Services are normally formed as six cars, but can be lengthened up to nine cars, with three add-on cars coupled to some services during busy periods. Green Car (first class) accommodation is provided in Car No. 1, at the Kyoto / Maibara end. Services generally stop only at Tennoji and Shin-osaka Stations through the course of the day, with some services making additional stops at Hineno and Izumi-fuchu Stations during the early morning and late evening hours.

There are no extra charges required for the Haruka service with the Japan Rail Pass. As of 14 March 2015, there are 24 daily return workings operating in each direction, with service frequencies every half an hour in the early morning and late evening hours, and every one hour through the day. Some services start or continue on to Kusatsu or Maibara instead of terminating at Kyoto. From the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016, the number of daily return workings is scheduled to be increased from the current 24 to 30, with services operating approximately every half an hour throughout the day. From the same date, some services will stop at Takatsuki Station during the early morning and evening hours.

Kyoto Station (京都駅) is a large and major interchange railway terminal complex located in downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan. It is the main railway terminal serving the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, and is one of the major railway terminals in the Keihanshin metropolitan area in western Japan, making it the third-busiest railway terminal in western Japan. Kyoto serves as a mandatory stopping point for the Tokaido Shinkansen line, and as a major interchange station for the Tokaido Main Line (JR Biwako Line & Kyoto Line), San'in Main Line, Kosei Line and Nara Line. The Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line and Kintetsu Kyoto Line also serve the station.

Kyoto Station is the second-largest railway terminal in Japan in terms of overall floor area after Nagoya Station, and housed the Kyoto City Air Terminal until 31 August 2002. The station serves as a major terminus for the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka service linking to Kansai International Airport, and for limited express trains bound for the San'in region via the San'in Main Line. The station also serves as a mandatory stopping point for limited express trains heading to the Hokuriku, Shin'etsu and Chubu regions, with some limited express trains bound for the Kii Peninsula also starting and terminating here.

Tracks No. 2 and 3 serving some of the JR Line commuter trains bound for the Biwako & Kosei Lines at Kyoto Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The JR Line interchange concourse at Kyoto Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information board in the JR Line interchange concourse showing the departure timings for the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" services bound for Kansai International Airport at Kyoto Station

The passageway linking between Track No. 0 and the San'in Main Line platforms at Kyoto Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information screens for JR Line trains departing for the San'in region and Kansai International Airport near Tracks No. 30 to 34 at Kyoto Station

Tracks No. 31 to 33 serving the San'in Main Line trains at Kyoto Station during the early afternoon rush hour

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

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

Overlooking the other JR Line platforms from Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station on a cloudy winter's early afternoon

Overlooking the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct from Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station on a cloudy winter's early afternoon

A 9-car 683 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Thunderbird" No. 15 bound for Kanazawa, approaching 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 Tracks No. 30 and 31, a 6-car 281 series EMU finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 11.17 a.m. on Track No. 30, which was approximately 16 minutes behind schedule. 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 a quick and extensive cleaning process before becoming the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport.

It took approximately less than five minutes to clean the entire interior of the train. Once the entire cleaning process was completed, the train-cleaning signs were finally removed at 11.21 a.m., thus allowing the passengers to board the train to Kansai International Airport. Without wasting anymore time, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coaches, and settled in my assigned Seat No. 5A for the short and quick rainy early afternoon trip of 1 hour 17 minutes to Kansai International Airport located on the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay.

The seat next to me, 5B, would remain vacant for the entire rainy afternoon trip of 1 hour 17 minutes from Kyoto to Kansai International Airport. Once the clock struck around 11.22 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 21 finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for its cloudy and rainy early afternoon trip of 1 hour 17 minutes to Kansai International Airport located on the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay. I was then on my way for a relatively damp but quick early afternoon trip of 1 hour 17 minutes to Kansai International Airport located on the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay.

Kansai International Airport (関西国際空港) is a major Japanese international airport located on the coast of Osaka Bay between Izumisano, Sennan and Tajiri, Osaka, Japan. It serves as the main international airport for downtown Osaka and the Keihanshin metropolitan area, and is located on a reclaimed man-made island on the coast of Osaka Bay. Classified as a first-class airport under Japanese law, it is the fifth-busiest airport in Japan, in terms of the number of arriving tourists. The airport serves as a major hub for All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Japan, Nippon Cargo Airlines and Peach.

The airport was opened up for revenue passenger service on 4 September 1994 to relieve overcrowding at the older Osaka International Airport (Itami Airport). Since that date, Osaka International Airport (Itami Airport) has catered only to domestic flights in and out of Osaka, with Kansai International Airport taking over the role of handling international traffic arriving and departing from Osaka. The airport is only connected to the mainland via the Sky Gate Bridge, which is the world's longest truss bridge, handling the road traffic on the upper level, and railway traffic on the lower level.

The airport is easily accessible from Kyoto via the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka service by JR West, which provides direct access Kyoto in 1 hour 15 minutes, with some services continuing on to Maibara. Rapid services to downtown Osaka are also available, with connecting services to Wakayama via Hineno Station, for which, these are covered under the Japan Rail Pass. Nankai Electric Railway also has the Airport Limited Express Rapi:t, which provides direct access to Namba Station in downtown Osaka, making it the cheapest option to reach downtown Osaka from the airport.

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 LED destination panel 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

Getting ready to board 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 on Track No. 30 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) ~ 高槻 (通過)

Travelling through the suburban city of Takatsuki

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

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ibaraki

Passing through Ibaraki Station

About to cross the flyover rail bridge to the Umeda Freight Line between Ibaraki and Senrioka Stations

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

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

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

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 between Ibaraki and Shin-osaka Stations

Bypassing several housing apartments in Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, as the train approaches Shin-osaka Station

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 railway flyover bridge onto the Hanwa Line above the Yamatoji Line tracks shortly after departing Tennoji Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Abeno-ku, Osaka, on a rainy winter's early 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. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, from my seat between Tennoji and Sakaishi Stations

A view of my seat, 5A, between Tennoji and Sakaishi 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 Sakaishi 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. 21 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Tennoji and Sakaishi Stations

Crossing the Yamato River between the cities of Osaka and Sakai

Passing through Asaka Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Sakai-ku, Sakai, near Sakaishi Station

Passing through Mikunigaoka Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Nishi-ku, Sakai, between Tsukuno and Otori Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in Nishi-ku, Sakai, near Otori Station

Passing through Otori Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Takaishi

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

After a short and quick rainy early afternoon trip of 1 hour 17 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, I finally arrived at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 12.39 p.m. on Track No. 4, approximately five minutes behind schedule. Checking to ensure that I had not left anything behind, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalator up to the JR Line concourse before eventually heading to the staffed JR Line ticketing gates to show my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate.

Reaching the station concourse, I walked across the elevated pedestrian footbridge to the main passenger terminal building, arriving there by 12.45 p.m.. Since I was feeling rather hungry from my long pre-dawn morning trip from Yokohama without breakfast, I decided to search for a good restaurant to eat at for lunch before commencing my Christmas shopping around Kansai International Airport. With that, I took the elevator up to the third floor, where the shops and restaurants were located and searched for somewhere nice to eat carefully.

Kansai Airport Station (関西空港駅) is a ground level railway station located in the reclaimed artificial island of Kansai International Airport in Tajiri, Sennan District, Osaka, Japan. It is the main railway station serving Kansai International Airport, and is directly connected to the main passenger terminal building via an elevated pedestrian footbridge. Jointly managed by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) and Nankai Electric Railway, the station currently serves as the western terminus for the Kansai Airport Line and Nankai Airport Line.

As of 14 March 2015, the station has two island platforms serving four tracks. Tracks No. 1 and 2 serve the Nankai Electric Railway trains, including the Airport Limited Express Rapi:t trains, to Namba Station in downtown Osaka. Tracks No. 3 and 4 serve the JR Line trains, including the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka trains, bound for downtown Osaka and Kyoto. A cul-de-sac is located at the west part of the station, where limited express trains undergo their cleaning processes before returning to the platforms for their return trips back to Namba and Kyoto respectively.

The 6-car 281 series EMU, now operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 84 bound for Kyoto, on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the JR line trains bound for downtown Osaka and Kyoto during the early afternoon rush hour

The JR line concourse linking to the platforms at Kansai Airport Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The JR Line ticketing gates in the main station concourse at Kansai Airport Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The JR Ticket Office in the main station concourse at Kansai Airport Station during the early afternoon rush hour

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

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

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

The exterior view of Kansai Airport Station from the pedestrian bridge to the main terminal building on a cloudy winter's early afternoon

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

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

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

After walking for approximately 10 minutes across the main passenger building to the third floor from Kansai Airport Station, I finally stumbled upon a local Tonkatsu pork restaurant, known as KYK Restaurant, at 12.50 p.m.. This particular restaurant was immediately quite familiar to me since I had previously eaten lunch here several times before for the past two years. Entering the restaurant itself, I quickly requested for a table for myself, where I was directed to one large table by a restaurant waitress.

Upon taking a seat at my table, I was provided with the dining menus to make my reviews before placing my main meal orders for lunch. Once I was ready to eat, a waitress came to my dining table to take my main lunch order. I ordered myself a deep-fried Tonkatsu pork loin meal set, together with a side order of deep-fried Tonkatsu pork loin and a glass of red wine to accompany my lunch. That afternoon, I had a sumptuous and filling Tonkatsu pork lunch at KYK Restaurant 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

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

A glass of red wine to accompany my upcoming Tonkatsu meal

A deep-fried Tonkatsu pork loin meal set for myself

A deep-fried Tonkatsu pork fillet side order to accompany my main course set

An overall view of my Tonkatsu meal during lunchtime

After having a sumptuous deep-fried Tonkatsu pork lunch at KYK Restaurant, the clock was finally showing 1.20 p.m.. Since I was already feeling stuffed to the brim, I paid up my lunch bill and departed the restaurant to commence my Christmas shopping around the airport. Soon enough, I finally arrived at a confectionery souvenir shop, known as Applause (アプローズ), at 1.25 p.m.. Entering the confectionery shop itself, I went to purchase some local sweet confectionery goodies for my school as I felt it would not be nice to come back for the upcoming school year empty-handed.

At Applause confectionery duty-free store, I purchased several local confectionery cookies in preparation for the new school year 2016 to commence. Upon getting my sweet goodies for school, I immediately took the escalators up to the fourth floor, where the international departures and check-in hall was located, since I was in the mood for some dessert and a hot beverage to warm up from the cold air outside. I then looked through the cafeterias on the other side of the international departures and check-in hall carefully before I picked the one that looked most attractive to my taste buds.

Soon enough, I finally stumbled upon a cafeteria, called Eikokuya Azalea Cafeteria (英國屋 アゼリア店), at 1.35 p.m.. Securing a good table for myself, a waitress then left me with the menus to make my reviews before ordering my dessert. With a waitress coming by to take my dessert order, I ordered myself a cup of hot cocoa with some whip cream, together with a cone of local vanilla ice cream on a cone holder. With my dessert orders delivered to my table, I sat back to enjoy my post-lunch and shopping afternoon dessert.

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

The international departure information board in the third floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

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

Finally arriving at the Eikokuya Azalea Cafeteria (英國屋 アゼリア店) in the international departures and check-in concourse on the fourth floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

The view of the Eikokuya Azalea Cafeteria (英國屋 アゼリア店) in the international departures and check-in concourse on the fourth floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

The cover page for the main menu at the Eikokuya Azalea Cafeteria (英國屋 アゼリア店) in the international departures and check-in concourse in the fourth floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

A cone of local vanilla ice cream on a cone holder for myself as dessert

A nice, warm cup of hot cocoa with whip cream to warm up from the cold outer surroundings

The view of the Eikokuya Azalea Cafeteria (英國屋 アゼリア店) in the international departures and check-in concourse on the fourth floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport shortly before I headed back to Kansai Airport Station

After spending approximately 1 hour 30 minutes worth of afternoon shopping and dining at Kansai International Airport, the clock was finally showing 2.20 p.m.. Given that it was time for me to be heading to Kyoto, I paid my cafeteria bill and walked across the international departures and check-in hall to the elevators leading to the other lower levels of the main passenger terminal building. For the late afternoon trip to Kyoto, I would catch the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 24 bound for Kyoto, which would depart Kansai Airport Station at 3.16 p.m., and arrive at the Kyoto terminal station at 4.32 p.m..

Taking the elevator down to the second floor of the main passenger terminal, I exited the terminal and walked across the pedestrian footbridge to Kansai Airport Station. Reaching the main station concourse at 2.30 p.m., I quickly headed to the JR Line ticketing gates to show my one-week Green Car-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate. Entering the JR Line concourse, I went to check which platform the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 24 bound for Kyoto would depart from.

According to the train departure information screens in the JR Line concourse, the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 24 bound for Kyoto would be scheduled to depart at 3.16 p.m. from Track No. 4. Though it was still quite early before my late afternoon train to Kyoto, I took the escalators down to Tracks No. 3 and 4, eventually reaching the platforms before 2.35 p.m.. I then did some normal train-spotting activities on the JR Line platforms while waiting for my train to Kyoto to arrive at the station.

The international departures and check-in hall at Kansai International Airport during the mid-afternoon rush hour shortly before I headed back to Kansai Airport Station

Looking up all the way towards the fourth level of the main passenger terminal at Kansai International Airport as I make my way back to Kansai Airport Station

The exterior view of Kansai Airport Station on a cloudy winter's mid-afternoon

Finally arriving back at the main station concourse at Kansai Airport Station

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

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

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

Finally on Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the JR Line trains bound for downtown Osaka and Kyoto at Kansai Airport Station

A 4-car 225 series EMU, operating as the 2.32 p.m. "Kansai Airport Rapid Service" bound for downtown Osaka, awaiting departure from Track No. 3 at Kansai Airport Station

A 6-car 281 series EMU, which previously operated as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 25 bound for Kansai International Airport from Kyoto, on Track No. 4 at the Kansai Airport terminal station

A 6-car Nankai 50000 series EMU, operating as the Nankai Airport Limited Express "Rapi:t β" No. 43 bound for Kansai International Airport from Nankai Namba, arriving at the Kansai Airport terminal station on Track No. 2

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

After spending almost half an hour of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 3 and 4, 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. on Track No. 4. No sooner the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled down in my assigned Seat No. 8C for the late afternoon trip of 1 hour 16 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto.

I then stowed my baggage in the baggage rack before heading back to my seat for the trip to Kyoto. Once the clock struck precisely 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 and cloudy late afternoon trip of 1 hour 16 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto. I was then on my way for a short and cloudy late afternoon trip of 1 hour 16 minutes to the historical capital city of Japan.

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, 8C, 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

The LED destination panel of the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

Getting ready to board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 24 bound for Kyoto, 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

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) ~ 鳳 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in Nishi-ku, Sakai, near Tsukuno Station

Passing through Tsukuno Station

A view of my seat, 8C, between Tsukuno and Tennoji 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. 24 bound for Kyoto, between Tsukuno and Tennoji 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 Tsukuno and Tennoji Stations

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 Tsukuno and Tennoji Stations

Crossing the Yamato River between the cities of Sakai and Osaka

Passing through Sugimotocho Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, on a cloudy winter's late afternoon

Passing through Tsurugaoka Station

Intersecting 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 天王寺駅から新大阪駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, shortly after departing Shin-osaka Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Suita

Passing through Suita Station

Bypassing a railway yard in the suburban city of Suita

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Settsu

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ibaraki

Passing through Ibaraki Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Takatsuki

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

After a short and cloudy late afternoon return journey of just 1 hour 16 minutes from Kansai International Airport located on the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay, I finally arrived at the Kyoto terminal station at 4.32 p.m. on Track No. 30. Checking to see that nothing had been left behind, I alighted from the train and went to the Central Ticketing Gate, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate before heading over to the open concourse escalator to get upstairs to the sixth level of the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto to search for a good restaurant for an early dinner.

Reaching the sixth floor of the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto by 4.40 p.m., I promptly transferred to the elevator lobby, where I changed to the nearest elevator to get up to the 11th floor, where most of the restaurants and cafeterias were located. Upon reaching the topmost 11th floor, I had a good look through whatever restaurants were available via the restaurant information board located beside the elevator lobby before eventually choosing the one that would look most attractive to my tastes and preferences.

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

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. 31 to 33 serving the San'in Main Line trains at Kyoto Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The passageway leading to Track No. 0 and the Central Ticketing Gates at Kyoto Station during the late afternoon rush hour

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

The Central Ticketing Gates near Track No. 0 at Kyoto Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The interior of the Central ticketing concourse at Kyoto Station during the late afternoon rush hour

Overlooking the Central ticketing concourse at Kyoto Station on the way up to the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto during the late afternoon rush hour

A large Christmas tree overlooking the Central ticketing concourse at Kyoto Station at the JR Isetan Department Store

The 11th floor housing the restaurants and cafeterias in the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto

The restaurant information board on the 11th floor at the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto

Finally arriving at a local sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant, known as Moritaya (モリタ屋), on the 11th floor at the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto

After a short and quick walk of not more than 10 minutes from Kyoto Station across the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto, I stumbled on well-known local sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant, known as Moritaya (モリタ屋), at 4.45 p.m.. Given that I was feeling hungry by the time I entered the restaurant, I requested for a window table, where I was then directed to one by one of the restaurant waiters. Settling down, I was left with the main dining menus to make my review before placing my main meal orders. Once I was ready to eat, a waitress came by to my table to take my main order for my early sukiyaki dinner.

I ordered a Take (竹) sukiyaki course meal, with a Fanta grape juice to accompany the meal. With my main sukiyaki course order delivered to my dining table, the waitress began to put in the condiments, including the marbled beef and mixed raw egg, to be cooked. I then had a sumptuous early sukiyaki dinner at Moritaya. Like the Moritaya restaurant branch in Osaka Station City, this would be one of the best sukiyaki dinners I have ever eaten in Japan, and it was better than Garim Steamboat Restaurant in the Shinsegae Department Store in Seoul, South Korea.

The interior of Moritaya (モリタ屋) sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant on the 11th floor at the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto during dinnertime

Overlooking the Kyoto Tower from Moritaya (モリタ屋) sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant on the 11th floor of the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto as dusk begins to break over Kyoto

Overlooking downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, from Moritaya (モリタ屋) sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant on the 11th floor of the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto during dusk

The main menus for Moritaya (モリタ屋) sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant on the 11th floor at the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto

The beautiful view of downtown Kyoto as dusk begins to break over the city

The sukiyaki hot pot and sauce accompaniments placed on my dining table

The platters of sliced Take (竹) beef sukiyaki and vegetables to accompany my sukiyaki meal

The first slice of Take (竹) sliced beef sukiyaki grilling in the sukiyaki pot with sugar

About to enjoy my first slice of Take (竹) sliced beef sukiyaki in beaten raw egg

The second slice of Take (竹) sliced beef for sukiyaki grilling in the sukiyaki pot with the beef tallow

The final condiments of my sukiyaki dinner grilling in the sukiyaki hot pot

The interior of Moritaya (モリタ屋) sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant on the 11th floor at the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto shortly before I headed back to Kyoto Station

After having a very sumptuous and filling early sukiyaki dinner at Moritaya at the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto, the clock was finally 5.40 p.m.. Since it was already time to head back to Yokohama, I quickly paid up my dinner bill and departed the restaurant, promising the restaurant staff that I would come back again whenever the opportunity comes in future. For the early evening return trip back to Yokohama, I would be scheduled to catch a Special Rapid Service train bound for Himeji, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 5.44 p.m., and arrive at Shin-osaka Station at 6.08 p.m..

Upon arrival at Shin-osaka Station, I would have a long layover of approximately 1 hour 25 minutes before catching the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart Shin-osaka Station at 7.30 p.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 10.03 p.m.. After arrival at Tokyo Station, I would have another layover of approximately half an hour before connecting to a Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Odawara, which would be scheduled to depart Tokyo Station at 10.32 p.m., and then arrive at Yokohama Station at eleven o' clock.

Taking the elevator down to the second floor of the department store, I passed the perfume section and left the store by 5.45 p.m.. Heading to the main JR Line ticketing concourse, I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate, only to realise that due to adverse weather conditions leading to a fallen tree on the JR Kobe Line from Amagasaki, the 5.44 p.m. Special Rapid Service bound for Himeji was running 15 minutes behind schedule, and was re-assigned to end at Osaka instead.

Fearing further delays, I quickly took the nearest elevator down to Tracks No. 4 and 5 for my train to Shin-osaka. Soon enough, an announcement was made across the JR Line section of the station that due to adverse weather conditions leading to a tree being uprooted on the JR Kobe Line west of Amagasaki, all train services operating on the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line) would be re-routed to end at either Osaka or Amagasaki instead. Full service on the JR Kobe Line was also not expected to resume until ten o' clock, where the tracks would be cleared.

The entrance to Moritaya (モリタ屋) sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant on the 11th floor of the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto during dinnertime

The entrance to the JR Isetan Department Store Kyoto above Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

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

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

The departure information screens for commuter trains departing from Tracks No. 4 and 5 at Kyoto Station during the early evening rush hour

Track No. 5 at Kyoto Station shortly before the delayed 5.44 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" train bound for Osaka arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the crowded Tracks No. 4 and 5, a 12-car 223 series EMU, operating as the delayed 5.44 p.m. Special Rapid Service bound for Osaka, finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 5.58 p.m. on Track No. 5, approximately 16 minutes behind schedule. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 2 and settled in for the crowded early evening rush commuter trip of 24 minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

It was not long until I was ready to depart for the busy and ultra-modern hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka in the centre of the Keihanshin metropolitan area. Once the clock struck around 5.59 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Special Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for the remainder of its reduced evening commuter rush trip of 2 hours 08 minutes from Omi-shiotsu to Osaka via the Biwako Line. I was then on my way for an early evening commuter rush trip of 24 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

A 12-car 223 series EMU, operating as the delayed 5.44 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Osaka, arriving at Kyoto Station at 5.58 p.m. on Track No. 5, approximately 16 minutes behind schedule

The interior of the 12-car 223 series EMU, operating as the delayed 5.44 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 5 at Kyoto Station

Finally departing Kyoto Station

Bypassing a school infrastructure in the suburban city of Muko at night

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

Passing through Nagaokakyo Station

Making a brief stop at Takatsuki Station

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

Passing through Ibaraki Station

Bypassing a freight container rail yard in the suburban city of Suita at night

Bypassing some small housing apartments in downtown Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, at night

Finally arriving at Shin-osaka Station

After a short early evening rush commuter journey of 24 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, I finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 6.23 p.m. on Track No. 16, approximately 15 minutes behind schedule. Squeezing across the crowd with my stuff, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators up to the JR Line concourse, where I went to the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates. It was then that I showed my one-week Green-type Japan Rail Pass at the staffed Shinkansen interchange ticketing gate.

Entering the Shinkansen concourse at 6.30 p.m., I proceeded to check which platform the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the train departure information screens in the Shinkansen concourse, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo would be scheduled to depart from Track No. 26 at 7.30 p.m.. Though it was still quite early before my return journey back to Tokyo, I decided to take the escalators back up to Tracks No. 25 and 26 to spot some trains, arriving at the platforms by 6.35 p.m..

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

The JR Line interchange concourse of Shin-osaka Station leading to the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates during the early evening rush hour

The departure information board for Shinkansen trains in the JR Line interchange concourse of Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

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

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 25 and 26 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The train departure information board for the eastbound Shinkansen trains for Nagoya and Kyoto departing from Tracks No. 25 and 26 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G7, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 48 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 26

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G7, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 48 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G7, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 48 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C18, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 480 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 25

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C18, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 480 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C18, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 480 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of a 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G8, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 252 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G8, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 252 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C56, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C56, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C56, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N14 (K14), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 182 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 26

The logo of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N14 (K14), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 182 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N14 (K14), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 182 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of a 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G20, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 50 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G20, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 50 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z75 (X75), which would soon operate as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 410 bound for Tokyo, entering Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 26

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z75 (X75), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 410 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z75 (X75), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 410 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The train departure information board for Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 410 bound for Tokyo is the first train to depart from Track No. 26

The train departure information board for Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo would be the next train to depart from Track No. 26

A 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C44, which would operate as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 412 bound for Tokyo, entering Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 24

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C44, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 412 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station shortly before the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending almost 55 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 25 and 26, a 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo, finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 7.28 p.m. on Track No. 26. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 8, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 1A for the evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo in eastern Japan.

The seat next to me, 1B, would remain empty for the entire evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from Shin-osaka to Tokyo. Once the clock struck exactly 7.30 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 184 finally pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for the remaining half of its long early evening trip of 5 hours 10 minutes from Hakata (Fukuoka) to Tokyo. I was then on my way for an early evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan.

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ184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. 184 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station. I clearly remember riding on this particular train as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 180 bound for Tokyo from Shin-osaka in December 2014

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. 184 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. 184 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

The overall 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, from my seat 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184号 東京行き 新大阪駅から京都駅間

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Yamashina-ku, Kyoto, late at night

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Otsu late at night

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

Bypassing some housing areas and suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Kusatsu

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

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

Passing through Maibara Station

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

Bypassing a rural farming area near the suburban city of Ogaki at night

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

Passing through Gifu-hashima Station

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

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo, between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo, between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

The overall 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

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

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ184号 東京行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 豊橋 (通過)

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

The overall 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

Bypassing some housing areas located near Lake Hamana late at night

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

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo, between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo, between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu Stations

Bypassing some housing apartments in the suburban city of Hamamatsu at night

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ184号 東京行き 浜松 (通過) ~ 静岡 (通過)

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

The overall 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

A view of my seat, 1A, 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

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

Crossing the Fuji River late at night

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

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

The overall 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Shin-fuji and Mishima Stations

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

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo, between Shin-fuji and Mishima 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, between Shin-fuji and Mishima Stations

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

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ184号 東京行き 三島 (通過) ~ 小田原 (通過)

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

The overall 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

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. 184 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. 184 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

Travelling through a railway tunnel between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

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

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

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

700系新幹線 C12編成 のぞみ184号 東京行き 新横浜駅から終点東京駅間

After an early evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka in western Japan, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 10.03 p.m. on Track No. 15. Checking to see that I had left none of my belongings, I alighted the train and took the escalators down to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse prior to heading to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed JR Line interchange ticketing gate.

Since the last trains to Nagoya and Shin-osaka had already departed, and that train service was still available as far as Mishima and Shizuoka, there were only a few passengers in the Shinkansen concourse. I quickly went to check which platform the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Odawara. According to the departure information screens in the JR Line concourse, the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Odawara would depart at 10.32 p.m. from Track No. 10. As there was not much time left, I quickly went up to Tracks No. 9 and 10 at 10.15 p.m. for the late evening return trip back to Yokohama.

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

Looking back at the out-of-service 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo from Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the out-of-service 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C12, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 184 bound for Tokyo from Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse of Tokyo Station relatively deserted during the late night hours after the last trains to Nagoya and Shin-osaka had departed, with train service still available only as far as Mishima and Shizuoka

The departure information board for Tokaido Main Line trains in the JR Line interchange concourse of Tokyo Station

Walking across the crowded JR Line interchange concourse of Tokyo Station during the late evening rush hour

The JR Line interchange concourse at Tokyo Station crowded with evening rush commuters trying to get home

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 9 and 10 at Tokyo Station

A 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 10.21 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Numazu via Odawara, arriving at Tokyo Station on Track No. 10

Tracks No. 9 and 10 serving the westbound Tokaido Main Line trains to Shinagawa, Yokohama, Odawara and Atami during the late evening rush hour

Overlooking Tracks No. 20 and 21 serving some of the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station from Track No. 10

Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station shortly before the 10.32 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Odawara arrived at the station

After spending almost 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 9 and 10, a 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 10.32 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Odawara, ultimately arrived at Tokyo Station at 10.31 p.m. on Track No. 10. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 4, which was one of the bi-level Green Car (first class) coaches, and took Seats No. 7C and 7D in the upper deck for the short and quick late evening commuter trip of just 28 minutes back to the busy and modern satellite port city of Yokohama.

It was not that long until I was finally ready to depart for Yokohama. Once the clock struck exactly 10.32 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokaido Main Line local train finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for the remainder of its late evening commuter rush journey duration of 2 hours 46 minutes from Kagohara to Odawara via the Takasaki Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line. I was then on my way for a short late evening return commuter trip duration of just 28 minutes back to the busy and modern satellite port city of Yokohama.

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 小田原行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 10.32 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Odawara via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, during the boarding process on Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 7D, during the boarding process on Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 10.32 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Odawara via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 小田原行き 東京駅から品川駅間

Making a brief stop at Shinagawa Station

Bypassing a local train depot between Shinagawa and Kamata Stations

Passing through Kamata Station

Crossing the Tama River between downtown Tokyo and Kawasaki late at night

Making a brief stop at Kawasaki Station

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 小田原行き 川崎駅から横浜駅間

After a short and quick late evening return trip of just 28 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived back at Yokohama Station at eleven o' clock on Track No. 6. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind, I alighted from the train and took the escalators back down to the concourse, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate near the South Entrance. By this time, train service was still available as far as to Odawara, Kamakura and Tokyo as it was already close to midnight.

Showing my Japan Rail Pass, I made my way to the East exit of the station building located past the Keikyu Line concourse, where I headed to the underground cab stand located near the Lumine department store. Hailing the nearest cab down, I informed the driver to take me back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand. With the cab driver understanding my intended destination, he helped to load my baggage into the cab boot, and I finally departed Yokohama Station at 11.10 p.m. for a short late night cab trip of just five minutes back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand near the Minato Mirai 21 district.

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the eastbound Tokaido Main Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line trains at Yokohama Station during the late night rush hour

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Yokohama Station during the late night rush hour

The JR Line ticketing gates near the South Entrance to Yokohama Station during the late night rush hour

The JR Line ticketing concourse at Yokohama Station during the late night rush hour

The passageway to the JR Line concourse at Yokohama Station during the late night rush hour

The staircase leading to the first basement of the Lumine department store near the East Entrance to Yokohama Station during the late night hours

Walking past some closed shops in the Lumine department store on route to the basement cab stand below the store

The yellow cab that would soon take me back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand from the Lumine department store above Yokohama Station

Finally departing Yokohama Station

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, near Yokohama Station at night

Travelling along the roads of the Minato Mirai 21 district in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, with the Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel in the background near the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Turning to the roadway leading to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Finally arriving back at the front main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

The grand entrance hall in the first floor at the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand late at night

The view of my Room No. 2603 shortly after I arrived back late at night

After a short and quick late night cab trip of five minutes from Yokohama Station located in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, I finally arrived back at the entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at 11.15 p.m.. Paying my cab fare, I checked my seating area to see that nothing had been left behind while the driver helped to unload my baggage from the boot of his cab. Thanking the driver for his services, I headed into the grand entrance hall and took the elevator up to the 26th floor, arriving back at my Room No. 2603 at 11.20 p.m..

My younger brother was almost asleep by the time I got back to my Room No. 2603. Having a nice, hot bath and changing into my attire for the night. Given that I was planning to take another regional trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) the next morning, which would be our last day of the vacation, I set my mobile phone alarm to wake me up at 8.30 a.m. and to have my electronics charged up overnight. Soon enough, I ultimately turned in by midnight for a well-earned good night's sleep, thus ending my validity period of my Japan Rail Pass.

Overall, I have enjoyed my two NOZOMI train rides on the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Shin-osaka on this particular trip, using older 700 series sets, as I had wanted to catch these trains before they are eventually withdrawn from Tokaido Shinkansen services and truncated to Sanyo Shinkansen services by 2019. Like my Shinkansen NOZOMI train rides previously, the NOZOMI service was much better than the Korea Train Express (KTX) in South Korea, leading me to rate it as a five-star train service. I shall not hesitate to use NOZOMI trains on the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines again on future Japan trips when the time comes.

Part 3 ~ Spending The Very Last Day Of Christmas Shopping At Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Early the next morning, which was Saturday (12 December), I woke up at exactly 8.30 a.m. after my mobile phone blasted off early. The very first thing I did upon getting out from bed was to have a nice, hot bath and change into my attire for the day. Since it was still rather early to set out anywhere early that morning, I decided to depart my hotel room for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at around ten o' clock, also calling the hotel reception to arrange for a cab to Yokohama Station at 10.15 a.m. later on.

For the in-bound afternoon trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I would be scheduled to catch a Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Kagohara via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, which would depart Yokohama Station at 10.32 a.m., and arrive at Tokyo Station at 10.58 a.m.. Upon arrival at Tokyo, I would connect to a Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Ofuna from Tokyo to Hamamatsucho, and then connect to a Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) upon reaching Hamamatsucho Station.

Given that my Green-type Japan Rail Pass had already expired the previous day, I knew that I would need to purchase separate fare tickets for this regional trip, with the individual fare tickets for each section of the journey to be purchased separately at Yokohama and Tokyo Stations. On the other hand, my family would be driving on the roads to the Gotemba Premium Outlets for some premium shopping later that morning. I then spent the rest of the time preparing my necessary belongings for my shopping trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

The overall beautiful view of Tokyo Bay from my Room No. 2603 on a bright and clear winter's early morning

Overlooking the Yokohama Bay Bridge near Tokyo Bay from my Room No. 2603 on a bright and clear winter's early morning

The view of my Room No. 2603 shortly after my younger brother and I woke up on a bright and clear winter's early morning

After spending the entire morning preparing my necessary belongings in preparation for the regional shopping jounrey to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), the clock was finally showing 9.50 a.m.. Checking that none of my necessary belongings had been left, I left my Room No. 2603 at ten o' clock and took the elevator down to the grand entrance hall and headed to the concierge counter. A hotel butler then came over to escort me out to the main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand, and hailed the nearest cab down for me.

Soon enough, in less than just a minute, a yellow cab finally showed up at the entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at 10.05 a.m.. Once the cab door was opened for me, the driver got out to help me load my baggage into the boot of the car, while I told him that I wanted to go to Yokohama Station. Within just a few seconds, I finally departed the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand for a short morning cab trip of not more than just 10 minutes to Yokohama Station located in further downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama.

The marble staircase in the grand entrance hall of the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand on a bright and clear early winter's morning

My pre-arranged yellow cab to Yokohama Station at the front main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Finally departing the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, near the Minato Mirai 21 district on route to Yokohama Station

Turning to the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, in the direction to Yokohama Station

Finally arriving at the East Entrance to Yokohama Station

After a short morning cab trip of just 10 minutes from the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand near the Minato Mirai 21 district in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, I finally arrived at the East Entrance to Yokohama Station at 10.15 a.m.. Paying my fare, I promptly checked around the rear seating area to ensure that nothing had been left unpacked while the driver got out to help unload my baggage from the boot. Thanking the cab driver for his services, I went into the Lumine department store and went down to the first basement to access the East Entrance to Yokohama Station.

Entering the JR Line concourse before 10.20 a.m., I quickly headed to the nearest ticketing machine to purchase my Green Car (first class) ticket for the first segment of the journey to Tokyo. Upon purchasing my Green Car (first class) ticket, I headed to the JR Line ticketing gates, where I inserted my ticket into the automatic ticketing gate before entering the main JR Line concourse. I then went to check which platform number the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Kagohara via the Ueno-Tokyo Line would depart from.

According to the departure information screens in the JR Line concourse, the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Kagohara via the Ueno-Tokyo Line would be scheduled to depart at 10.32 a.m. from Track No. 7. Since I had very little time left before my first railway segment of the day to Tokyo, I quickly headed up to Tracks No. 7 and 8 to catch my train to Tokyo, eventually reaching the platforms by 10.25 a.m.. I then spotted some trains across the other platforms while waiting for my Tokaido Main Line local train to Tokyo to arrive.

The exterior view of the Lumine department store above the East Entrance to Yokohama Station on a bright and clear early winter's afternoon

The JR Line ticketing concourse at Yokohama Station during the early afternoon rush hour

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

The departure information screens for eastbound Tokaido Main Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line trains departing from Tracks No. 7 and 8 in the main JR Line concourse at Yokohama Station

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the eastbound Tokaido Main Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line trains at Yokohama Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Track No. 7 at Yokohama Station shortly before the 10.32 a.m. Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Kagohara via the Ueno-Tokyo Line arrived at the station

After spending just five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 7 and 8, a 10-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 10.32 a.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound Kagohara for via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, finally arrived at Yokohama Station at 10.31 a.m. on Track No. 7. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 5, which was one of the bi-level Green Car (first class) coaches, and secured Seats No. 11A and 11B for the short and quick early afternoon commuter trip of just 26 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

It was not long until I was finally ready to depart Yokohama for downtown Tokyo. Once the clock struck exactly 10.32 a.m. sharp, the train doors were closed, and the Tokaido Main Line local train finally pulled out of Yokohama Station for the remaining half of its relatively long early morning commuter rush journey of 3 hours 09 minutes from Atami to Kagohara via the Ueno-Tokyo and Takasaki Lines. I was then on my way for a short and quick early afternoon trip of just 26 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan.

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 籠原行き横浜駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 10-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 10.32 a.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Kagohara via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Yokohama Station

A view of my seat, 11A, during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Yokohama Station

Awaiting departure from Yokohama Station

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 籠原行き 横浜駅から川崎駅間

Making a brief stop at Kawasaki Station

Travelling across the Tama River between Kawasaki and downtown Tokyo

Bypassing a school in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Shinagawa Station

Making a brief stop at Shinagawa Station

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 籠原行き 品川駅から東京駅間

After a short early afternoon commuter journey of 26 minutes from the modern satellite port city of Yokohama, I finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 10.58 a.m. on Track No. 7. Checking that I had not left anything behind, I alighted from the train and headed down to the JR Line interchange concourse before heading to the ticketing gates located near the Marunouchi Central Exit, where I promptly inserted my Green Car (first class) ticket into the automated ticketing gate, before eventually proceeding to the automated JR Line ticketing machines to purchase my ticket to Hamamatsucho.

Upon purchasing my fare ticket for the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line to Hamamatsucho at the automated ticketing machines, I went through the automated ticketing gates and headed to check the next departure timing for the next  Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for  Ofuna. According to the departure information screens, the next Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Ofuna would depart at 11.08 a.m. from Track No. 6. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly went up to Tracks No. 5 and 6 for the short trip to Hamamatsucho, arriving back the platforms by 11.05 a.m..

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the Ueno-Tokyo Line trains bound for Takasaki, Kagohara and the Joban Line at Tokyo Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The interior of the main station concourse located near the Marunouchi Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The automatic ticketing gates in the Marunouchi Central concourse of Tokyo Station during the early afternoon rush hour

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

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 5 and 6 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 6 at Tokyo Station shortly before the 11.08 a.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" train bound for Ofuna arrived at the station

After spending less than five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 5 and 6, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 11.08 a.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service bound for Ofuna, ultimately arrived at Tokyo Station at 11.08 a.m. on Track No. 6. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 2 and settled down for the short and quick early afternoon rush commuter trip of four minutes to lively hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

It was not long until I was finally ready to depart Tokyo Station for Hamamatsucho. Soon enough, in less than a few seconds, the train doors were closed, and the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train ultimately pulled out of Tokyo Station for the remaining half of its early afternoon commuter trip of 1 hour 49 minutes from Omiya to Ofuna. I was then on my way for a short and quick early afternoon rush commuter trip of four minutes to lively hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 11.08 a.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 11.08 a.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

Passing through Yurakucho Station

Bypassing some downtown infrastructure in the Yurakucho district of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, on a bright and clear early winter's afternoon

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

Passing through Shimbashi Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, near the Hamamatsucho district

Finally arriving at Hamamatsucho Station

After a short early afternoon commuter rush trip of just four minutes from Tokyo Station in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 11.12 a.m. on Track No. 4. Checking that I had everything with me, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators up to the JR Line concourse before heading to the Tokyo Monorail interchange ticketing gates. Reaching the Tokyo Monorail interchange ticketing gates by 11.15 a.m., I inserted my fare ticket into the automatic ticketing gate before entering the Tokyo Monorail concourse.

In the Tokyo Monorail concourse itself, I went to check the nearest departure timing for the next Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). According to the departure information screens, the next Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) would be scheduled to depart at 11.24 a.m.. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the escalator up to the departure platform, arriving there in less than a minute.

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

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1042F-1037F, painted in the special "Pokémon Monorail" livery and operating as the 11.16 a.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line platforms at Hamamatsucho Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information screen on the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line departure platform at Hamamatsucho Station during the early afternoon rush hour

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10026F-10021F, operating as the 11.20 a.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 11.24 a.m. "Haneda Express" train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) arrived at the station

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU Set No. 2046F-2041F finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 11.21 a.m.. The train had initially arrived from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) as a 10.59 a.m. Rapid Service train bound for Hamamatsucho earlier, and was to undergo a quick change of direction before eventually becoming the 11.24 a.m. Haneda Express service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Once the train doors were opened for the passengers, I boarded the train via Car No. 6 (2046F) and secured a good observation seat by the driver's cab.

Once the clock had struck exactly 11.24 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train ultimately pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for its routine early afternoon trip of just 19 minutes to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) located in the suburban outskirts of downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo, on the surrounding waters of Tokyo Bay. I was then on my way for a short and routine early afternoon trip of 19 minutes to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in the outskirts of downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo, on the surrounding waters of Tokyo Bay.

東京モノレール2000形 (2046F-2041F) 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 Car No. 6 (2046F) on board the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU Set No. 2046F-2041F, operating as the 11.24 a.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2000形 (2046F) 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 routine early afternoon trip of 19 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Haneda Airport Terminal 2 terminal station at 11.43 a.m. on Track No. 2. Checking to see that I had left nothing behind on board, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators up to the main station concourse, where I inserted my fare ticket into the automated ticketing gate before leaving the main station ticketing concourse itself.

Since I was feeling rather hungry after foregoing breakfast at the hotel earlier, I decided to find a good restaurant for lunch first before beginning my Christmas shopping trip around Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). With that, I headed to the elevator lobby and took the elevator up to the fourth floor of the main passenger terminal building at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2, where a majority of the cafés and restaurants were located, also looking carefully to see which one would interest me.

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU Set No. 2041F-2046F, now operating as the 11.47 a.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

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

The main station concourse leading to the platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The ticketing gates at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The ticket vending machines in the ticketing concourse at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The ticketing concourse at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The elevator lobby linking to the upper floors of the main passenger terminal building at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 on a bright and clear early winter's afternoon

Overlooking the departures and check-in hall from the fourth floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the early afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant

After taking the elevator from Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station up to the fourth floor of the main passenger terminal building, I ultimately arrived at an Italian restaurant, known as Don Sabatini, at 11.50 a.m.. This particular restaurant was very familiar to me, since I had eaten here several times during my past visits to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). As soon as I entered the restaurant, I promptly requested for a table for myself, with the waiter allowing me to store my baggage for safe-keeping near the entrance and bill counter.

With the waiter directing me to a table overlooking the departures and check-in hall, I was left with the lunch menus to review before placing my main meal orders for lunch. Once I was ready to eat, a waiter came by to my table to take my main meal orders. I ordered myself a plate of assorted sausages, a spaghetti alla carbonara and a rare cheesecake, followed by one glass of white wine to accompany the meal. With my main lunch orders delivered to my observation dining table, I had a sumptuous and filling Italian lunch at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant.

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

The cover page for the food and beverage menu of Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant on the fourth floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

Looking through the food and beverage menu of Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant on the fourth floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

Overlooking the departures and check-in hall from Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant on the fourth floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

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

A platter of assorted sausages on my dining table

A mouthwatering platter of spaghetti alla carbonara for myself

A platter of rare cheesecake for myself to end off the sumptuous Italian lunch

The interior of Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant on the fourth floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 shortly before I left the restaurant

After having a sumptuous and filling Italian lunch at Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant on the fourth floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2, the clock was finally showing 12.35 p.m.. Since I was feeling stuffed already, I paid up my lunch bill and claimed my baggage at the restaurant entrance before departing the restaurant. Given that my next stop point would be the International Terminal for some Christmas shopping to purchase some local sweet treats, I promptly took the elevator down to the first floor, where the arrivals and meeting hall was located.

Reaching the first floor, I proceeded to the free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus stand just outside the arrivals and meeting area, where a free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus bound for the International Terminal finally arrived at 12.40 p.m.. Boarding the bus, I settled down for the short and quick early afternoon freenintra-airport terminal bus trip of 10 minutes to the International Terminal. Soon enough, in less than a few seconds, I finally departed the compound of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 for a short 10-minute free intra-airport terminal bus ride to the International Terminal.

The entrance to Don Sabatini Italian Restaurant shortly before I made my way to the arrivals and meeting hall on the first floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

Overlooking the departures and check-in hall from the fourth floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 on the way to the arrivals and meeting hall on the first floor

The arrivals and meeting hall on the first floor at Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus stand located outside the arrivals and meeting hall of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the early afternoon rush hour

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

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

Travelling along the road near Domestic Terminal 1 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

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

Overlooking the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line tracks on approach to the International Terminal

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

After a short and quick free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus ride of 10 minutes from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2, I finally arrived at the drop-off area at the International Terminal at 12.50 p.m.. Checking to see that nothing had been left behind, I quickly alighted from the bus and headed into the main terminal building, where I took the nearest elevator up to the third floor, where the departures and check-in hall was located, eventually reaching there by 12.55 p.m..

Given that I still had plenty of time left for Christmas shopping at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I decided to spot some passenger aircraft at the observation deck located on the fifth floor first before commencing my last Christmas shopping for the trip. Without wasting anymore time, I changed to a set of escalators to the fourth floor and bypassed a few shops on the fourth floor before changing to another set of escalators to the fifth floor, eventually arriving at the observation deck at one o' clock to spot some aircraft.

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

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

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

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

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

The overall view of the observation deck in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

A China Airlines Airbus A330-302, registered B-18355 and decorated in the special "Welcome to Taiwan" livery, resting at Gate No. 112 after arriving from her regional afternoon flight from the Republic of China (Taiwan) as China Airlines flight CI 220 from Taipei (Songshan). She would then return back home to Taiwan later that afternoon as China Airlines flight CI 221 bound for Taipei (Songshan)

An Air France Boeing 777-228/ER, registered F-GSPS, being serviced at Gate No. 113 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her long afternoon trans-Siberian return flight back home to the French Republic (France) as Air France flight AF 279 bound for Paris (Charles de Gaulle)

A China Eastern Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered B-6083, taxiing to Gate No. 109 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) after arriving from her regional afternoon flight from the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as China Eastern Airlines flight MU 537 from Shanghai (Hongqiao)

A Shanghai Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered B-6096, being serviced at Gate No. 108 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her regional afternoon return flight back home to the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as Shanghai Airlines flight FM 816 bound for Shanghai (Hongqiao)

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-830 Intercontinental, registered D-ABYP and decorated with the "1,500th Boeing 747" titles, resting at Gate No. 107 after arriving from her long trans-Siberian flight from the Federal Republic of Germany as Lufthansa flight LH 716 from Frankfurt. She would then be returning back home to Germany later that afternoon as Lufthansa flight LH 717 bound for Frankfurt

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-281/ER, registered JA717A, resting at Gate No. 110 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) after arriving from her regional afternoon flight from the People's Republic of China as All Nippon Airways flight NH 964 from Beijing

After spending approximately 15 minutes of spotting commercial passenger aircraft at the open observation deck on the fifth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), the clock was finally showing 1.15 p.m.. Given that my last airport stop to shop for the day would be Domestic Terminal 1, I took the escalators back down to the departures and check-in hall via the fourth floor to look for a good confectionery shop selling some local sweet treats to get some local treats for the upcoming school year.

Soon enough, I ultimately stumbled upon a local sweet confectionery shop, known as ANA FESTA, at 1.20 p.m.. Entering the shop itself, I looked around the sweets on display to see which one would be the most suited for my tastes and preferences. At ANA FESTA itself, I bought seven boxes of Royce' Pure Chocolates, with half of the boxes destined for school. Upon purchasing my sweet confectionery treats for the upcoming new school year 2016, I took the elevator down to the first floor, eventually arriving back there by 1.25 p.m..

Upon heading to the free intra-airport terminal bus stand located directly below the terminal building, I then waited for a free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus to arrive so that I could go to Domestic Terminal 1, which would be my final airport stop for the day. Five minutes later, a free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus arrived at the drop-off curb side of the International Terminal at 1.30 p.m.. Once the front bus door was opened, I boarded the bus for the short intra-airport terminal bus trip of 10 minutes to Domestic Terminal 1, eventually departing the International Terminal in just a few seconds.

Soon enough, I finally arrived at the drop-off area just outside the arrivals and meeting hall of Domestic Terminal 1 at 1.40 p.m.. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind on board, I promptly alighted from the bus and made my way into the first floor of the terminal building itself. Given that there were some shops located near the arrivals and meeting hall on the first floor, I had a good look through the nearby shops very carefully to ensure that there was one that would be the most attractive to my tastes and preferences.

The interior of the fifth level in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

The international departures and check-in area in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour as I make my way back down to the first floor via a stop at ANA FESTA

Stopping at ANA FESTA confectionery sweet treat duty-free shop in the departures & check-in hall in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The elevator lobby linking to the lower floors of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

Overlooking the international departures and check-in hall at the International Terminal of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) again shortly before I made my way down to the first floor

The interior of the bus and car rental area on the first level of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus stop at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

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

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

Finally departing Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) International Terminal

Overlooking the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line tracks on route to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

Overlooking the expressway leading towards downtown Tokyo at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on approach to Domestic Terminal 2

Making a brief stopover at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

Overlooking the expressway leading towards downtown Tokyo at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) while getting closer to Domestic Terminal 1

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

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus stop at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The arrivals and meeting hall on the first floor at Domestic Terminal 1 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

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

After looking through the nearby retail shops available near the arrivals and meeting hall on the first level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 carefully, I finally stumbled upon JALUX Blue Sky Shop again by 1.45 p.m.. Entering the shop itself, I looked through the aircraft models for sale carefully before selecting the one that would suit my tastes and preferences and that would come in handy for my ever-expanding collection of commercial aircraft models. While at JALUX Blue Sky Shop itself, I purchased one Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner Hogan Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft model.

Upon purchasing my Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft model, I was officially completed with my last Christmas shopping at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at 1.50 p.m.. Given that it was already time to head back to Yokohama, I took the escalators to the first basement of Domestic Terminal 1 and changed to another set of escalators to the underground passageway connecting to Domestic Terminal 2, bypassing Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station via the automated passageway between both domestic terminals en route.

Soon enough, I was finally in the first basement level of Domestic Terminal 2 at two o' clock. Heading over to the ticketing concourse at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station, I went to the automated ticket vending machines to purchase my fare ticket to Tokyo via Hamamatsucho. Upon inserting my fare ticket to Tokyo via Hamamatsucho into the automated ticketing gate, I passed through the ticketing gate at two o' clock. Though it was still quite early since I had planned to catch the 2.53 p.m. Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho, I decided to proceed down to the platforms to spot some trains, eventually reaching there by 2.05 p.m..

As for the aircraft model I had purchased, the details are as follows:

1) JAL ー Japan Airlines Boeing 787-846 Dreamliner Hogan Scale 1:500 (BJE3011)

JAL ー Japan Airlines Boeing 787-846 Dreamliner Hogan Scale 1:500 (BJE3011)

Taking the escalator down to the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The interior of the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the mid-afternoon rush hour

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

The interior of the underground passageway linking between Domestic Terminals 1 and 2 during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Taking the escalator up to the first basement level at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2

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

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

The automatic ticket vending machines in the ticketing concourse at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The ticketing gates in the main station concourse at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The departure information screens in the main station concourse at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at the station platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU Set No. 2041F-2046F, operating as the 2.11 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1001F-1006F, operating as the 2.17 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1091F-1096F, painted in the new Tokyo Monorail white with lime green, light blue and navy blue livery and operating as the 2.23 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1061F-1066F, operating as the 2.38 p.m. local service bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1031F-1036F, operating as the 2.41 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10011F-10016F, operating as the 2.47 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10021F-10026F, operating as the 2.50 p.m. local service bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The station platforms of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station with two Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMUs awaiting departure from the station

Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station shortly before the 2.53 p.m. "Haneda Express" train bound for Hamamatsucho arrived at the station

After spending close to 45 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1037F-1042F, painted in the special Pokémon Monorail livery, finally arrived at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station at 2.49 p.m. on Track No. 1. The train had irrived from Hamamatsucho as a 2.28 p.m. Rapid Service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), and was to undergo a change of direction before becoming the 2.53 p.m. Haneda Express service bound for Hamamatsucho. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 1 (1037F), and secured an observation seat by the driver's cab.

Once the clock struck exactly 2.53 p.m. sharp, 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 quick routine late afternoon trip of 20 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district situated in the heart of downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short and quick late afternoon return trip of 20 minutes back to the busy hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

東京モノレール1000形 (1037F-1042F) 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 Car No. 1 (1037F) on board the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1037F-1042F, painted in the special "Pokémon Monorail" livery and operating as the 2.53 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1037F-1042F, painted in the special "Pokémon Monorail" livery and operating as the 2.53 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

Awaiting departure from Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

東京モノレール1000形 (1037F) 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 afternoon return trip of 20 minutes from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) loated in the outskirts of downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo, on the waters of Tokyo Bay, I finally arrived back at the Hamamatsucho terminal station at 3.13 p.m.. Checking to see that nothing had been left behind on the seating areas, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalator down to the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse, arriving there by 3.20 p.m. and eventually heading to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates.

Upon reaching the main JR Line concourse itself, I inserted my fare ticket to Tokyo into the automated ticketing gate and went to check the departure time for the next Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Minami-urawa. According to the train departure information screens, the closest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Minami-urawa would be expected to depart at 3.26 p.m. from Track No. 1. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the elevator down to Tracks No. 1 and 2 for the trip to Tokyo.

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1042F-1037F, painted in the special "Pokémon Monorail" livery and now operating as the 3.16 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 late afternoon rush hour

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1042F-1037F, painted in the special "Pokémon Monorail" livery and operating as the 3.16 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), departing Hamamatsucho Station

The two of the three rolling stocks used for the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line near Hamamatsucho Station during the late afternoon rush hour

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10026F-10021F, which would operate as the 3.20 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), approaching Hamamatsucho Station

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU, now operating as the 3.20 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

About to take the escalator down to the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse at Hamamatsucho Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse at Hamamatsucho Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The JR Line concourse at Hamamatsucho Station during the late afternoon rush hour

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

The departure information board for Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains departing from Track No. 1 at Hamamatsucho Station during the late afternoon rush hour

Track No. 1 at Hamamatsucho Station shortly before the 3.26 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" train bound for Minami-urawa arrived at the station

After spending a few minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 3.26 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service bound for Minami-urawa, finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 3.26 p.m. on Track No. 1. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 10 and settled in for the short and quick late afternoon commuter trip of just five minutes to Tokyo Station in the heart of the Marunouchi business district of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

I did not have to wait that long until I was finally ready to depart Hamamatsucho for Tokyo Station. Within just a few seconds, all the train doors were closed, and the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for its remaining half of its late afternoon commuter rush trip of 1 hour 44 minutes from Ofuna to Minami-urawa via Yokohama and Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short late afternoon commuter rush trip of just five minutes to Tokyo Station in the heart of the Marunouchi business district of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 3.26 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" bound for Minami-urawa, finally arriving at Hamamatsucho Station on Track No. 1

Finally departing Hamamatsucho Station

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

Bypassing some downtown infrastructure in the Shimbashi district of downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo

Passing through Shimbashi Station

Finally arriving at Tokyo Station

After a short late afternoon commuter rush trip of just five minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived back at Tokyo Station at 3.31 p.m. on Track No. 3. Checking to see that I did not leave any of my belongings behind, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalator back down to themain  JR Line interchange concourse before eventually proceeding to the automated ticketing gates located near the Marunouchi Central Exit of the station building itself.

Inserting my fare ticket into the automated ticketing gate, I headed to the automated ticket machines to purchase a Green Car (first class) ticket for the Tokaido Main Line for the trip back to Yokohama. Upon obtaining my local Green Car (first class) ticket, I headed back to the automated ticket gates, where I inserted my Green Car (first class) fare tickets, arriving back at the JR Line interchange concourse by 3.35 p.m.. I then quickly went to check the departure information screens to see which platform the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Odawara would depart from.

According to the departure information screens in the JR Line interchange concourse, the next Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Odawara would be scheduled to depart at 3.57 p.m. from Track No. 10. Without wasting anymore time, I walked through the crowded JR Line concourse as it was already the late afternoon rush hour and went back up to Tracks No. 9 and 10 for the final sector of the day back to Yokohama. Arriving at Tracks No. 9 and 10 at 3.40 p.m., I spotted some trains as I waited for the 3.57 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Odawara to arrive at Tokyo Station.

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

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

The automatic ticket vending machine in the main station concourse near the Marunouchi Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The Shinkansen departure information screens located in the main station concourse near the Marunouchi Central Entrance to Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The automatic ticketing gates in the Marunouchi Central concourse of Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The passageway leading to the Shinkansen interchange ticketing concourse at Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The departure information board for Tokaido Main Line trains departing from Track No. 10 in the JR Line interchange concourse at Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

A 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F6, operating as the Shinkansen "HAKUTAKA" Superexpress No. 569 bound for Kanazawa, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 9 and 10 serving the westbound Tokaido Main Line trains to Shinagawa, Yokohama, Odawara and Atami during the late afternoon rush hour

A 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 3.47 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Atami, arriving at Tokyo Station on Track No. 10

A 15-car E531 series EMU, operating as the 3.50 p.m. Joban Line local service bound for Shinagawa via the Ueno-Tokyo Line, arriving at Tokyo Station on Track No. 10

Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station shortly before the 3.57 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local train bound for Odawara arrived at the station

After spending almost 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 9 and 10, a 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 3.57 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Odawara, ultimately arrived at Tokyo Station at 3.56 p.m. on Track No. 10. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 4, which was one of the bi-level Green Car (first class) coaches, and secured Seats No. 5C and 5D in the upper deck for the short late afternoon commuter return trip of just 26 minutes back to the modern satellite port city of Yokohama.

It was not that long until I was finally ready to depart for Yokohama. Once the clock struck precisely 3.57 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokaido Main Line local train finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for the remaining half of its relatively long afternoon commuter trip of 3 hours 18 minutes from Utsunomiya to Odawara via the Tohoku Main Line (Utsunomiya Line) and Ueno-Tokyo Line. I was then on my way for a short late afternoon commuter rush return trip of 26 minutes back to the modern satellite port city of Yokohama.

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 小田原行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 3.57 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Odawara, during the boarding process on Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 5D, during the boarding process on Track No. 10 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 小田原行き 東京駅から品川駅間

Making a brief stop at Shinagawa Station

Passing through Oimachi Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 3.57 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Odawara, from my seat between Shinagawa and Kawasaki Stations

A view of my seat, 5D, between Shinagawa and Kawasaki Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on the 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 3.57 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Odawara, between Shinagawa and Kawasaki Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 3.57 p.m. Tokaido Main Line local service bound for Odawara, between Shinagawa and Kawasaki Stations

Travelling past some suburban housing areas in downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo, as dusk begins to break over the Greater Tokyo Area

Crossing the Tama River between downtown Tokyo and Kawasaki as dusk begins to break over the Greater Tokyo Area

Making a brief stop at Kawasaki Station

 E231系 東海道本線・上野東京ライン 普通列車 小田原行き 川崎駅から横浜駅間

After a short and quick late afternoon commuter trip of just 26 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I ultimately arrived back at Yokohama Station at 4.23 p.m. on Track No. 6. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind, I alighted from the train and took the escalator down to the main station concourse, where I proceeded to the ticket gates located near the East Entrance to the station. Inserting my tickets into the automated ticket gates, I went over to the East Entrance to the station, where the escalators leading to the first basement of the Lumine department store was located.

Taking the escalators to the first basement of the Lumine department store, I walked over to the underground cab located stands below Yokohama Station, eventually reaching there by 4.30 p.m.. Spotting an empty black cab, the driver got out and asked me for my destination, for which it was InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand. With the driver helping me to load my belongings into the cab boot, I quickly boarded for the trip back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand. Soon enough, in less than just a few seconds, I ultimately departed Yokohama Station for a late afternoon return trip of 10 minutes back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand.

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving the eastbound Tokaido Main Line and Ueno-Tokyo Line trains at Yokohama Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Yokohama Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The JR Line ticketing concourse at Yokohama Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The passageway to the Lumine department store near the East Entrance at Yokohama Station

Taking the escalator down to the first basement level at the Lumine department store near Yokohama Station

Bypassing some retail shops in the first basement at the Lumine department store near Yokohama Station

The underground cab stands located below the Lumine department store and Yokohama Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The black cab that would soon take me back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at the underground cab stands of the Lumine department store near Yokohama Station

Finally departing Yokohama Station

Turning up to the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, shortly after departing the Lumine department store near Yokohama Station

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, on route back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at dusk

Travelling past a car parking lot in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, during dusk

Turning to the road near the Minato Mirai 21 district in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, as dusk begins to break over downtown Yokohama

Turning to the roadway leading to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Finally arriving back at the front main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

After a late afternoon return cab trip of not more than 10 minutes from Yokohama Station in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, I finally arrived back at the entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at 4.40 p.m.. Paying my cab fare, I checked around my seating area to see that nothing had been left behind while the driver got out to help unload my baggage from the cab boot. Entering the grand entrance hall, I took the elevator back up to my Room No. 2603, arriving back there by 4.45 p.m. and informing my parents, who were shopping at the Gotemba Premium Outlets, that I was back safely.

Given that I was feeling a bit hungry for some dessert, I called the in-room dining service to order some afternoon tea. I ordered myself a strawberry shortcake, together with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and a glass of iced Earl Grey tea. With my orders brought up to my Room No. 2603 at 5.05 p.m., I sat back to have my late afternoon tea peacefully while enjoying the night view of Tokyo Bay. Upon finishing my afternoon tea, my meal table was cleared away, allowing me to have the time of my life in the room while waiting for my family to return from the Gotemba Premium Outlets.

The grand entrance hall in the first floor at the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand shortly after I had arrived back at the hotel

The view of my Room No. 2603 shortly after I arrived back at the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

The overall beautiful view of Tokyo Bay from my Room No. 2603 as the last lights of dusk break over Yokohama

A strawberry shortcake with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and a glass of iced Earl Grey tea for myself as afternoon tea in my Room No. 2603

After spending the rest of the early evening having a well-earned rest cum afternoon tea in my Room No. 2603, I finally received a phone call from my mum at nine o' clock. My mum informed me that they would be back at the hotel in a few minutes to take me out for dinner, and reminded me to prepare all my necessary belongings. Without wasting anymore time, I prepared whatever that was necessary and departed my Room No. 2603 before 9.05 p.m., eventually taking the elevator down to the grand entrance hall on the first floor.

Upon arriving at the grand entrance hall, I quickly proceeded over to the front entrance to the hotel itself, where my family arrived in our rented silver Europcar at 9.10 p.m.. Once I had boarded the rented silver Europcar, we departed the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand in just a few seconds. We then drove across the busy roads of downtown Nishi-ku and Naka-ku, Yokohama, stopping at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse before driving over to an alley of restaurants and cafeterias located near Kannai Station.

The grand entrance hall in the first floor at the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand shortly before I went out to dinner

Our rented silver Europcar car waiting outside the front entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Finally departing the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, near the Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel in the Minato Mirain 21 district at night

Arriving at the car parking area near the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse at night

The exterior view of the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse at night

A panoramic view of the skyline of Yokohama at night from the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

Our rented silver Europcar car at the car parking area near the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

Travelling along the roads of downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, near the Minato Mirai 21 district once again at night

Travelling along the roads of downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, on route to Kannai Station

About to turn to a restaurant alley near Kannai Station in downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, late at night

After driving across the busy roads of downtown Nishi-ku and Naka-ku, Yokohama, for one hour, we finally arrived at a relatively narrow alley of restaurants and cafeterias located just behind Kannai Station at 10.10 p.m.. Retrieving our necessary belongings from the car, we walked through the alley to search for a good local charcoal barbecue restaurant to eat at for dinner. Soon enough, we finally arrived at a local charcoal barbecue restaurant, known as Gyu-Kaku Charcoal Barbecue Restaurant (牛角), at 10.15 p.m..

Entering the restaurant itself, we requested for a table for the four of us, with a restaurant waitress directing us to a rear table near the restaurant kitchens. With the dinner menus being provided, we were left to make our reviews before placing our main meal orders for dinner. Once we were ready to eat, a waitress came by to take down our main orders. We ordered several beef, pork and seafood cuts to be grilled above charcoal. With our main meal orders being progressively delivered to our barbecue table, we had a very filling and sumptuous local barbecue dinner at Gyu-Kaku.

A lineup of closed shops near the Kannai restaurant district in downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, at night

A lineup of restaurants and cafeterias in the Kannai restaurant district in downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, at night

Finally arriving at Gyu-Kaku Barbecue Restaurant (牛角) in the Kannai restaurant district in downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, at night

Looking through the the main menus at Gyu-Kaku before placing our orders for the upcoming charcoal barbecue dinner

The charcoal barbecue griller placed directly in front of us on our table at Gyu-Kaku Charcoal Barbecue Restaurant

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

Several pieces of thinly-sliced grilled beef tongue being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

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

All four pieces of thickly-sliced Wagyu beef tongue grilling on the charcoal barbecue griller

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

Several pieces of thickly-sliced Wagyu beef tongue and some sausages grilling on the charcoal barbecue griller

A platter of pork jowl ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A platter of pork karubi ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A seafood platter of squid and scallops ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

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

Several pieces of scallops, mushrooms and pork karubi being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Several pieces of grilled beef and squid being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A bowl of Kimchi soup to be shared among my parents

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

Another platter of thinly-sliced beef tongue ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

More pieces of thinly-sliced beef tongue being grilled on the charcoal barbecue dinner

Some pieces of thinly-sliced beef tongue and thickly-sliced Wagyu beef tongue grilling on the charcoal barbecue griller

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

Another platter of pork jowl ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A platter of thinly-sliced beef simmered in garlic sauce ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

The last few pieces of grilled beef and pork grilling on the charcoal barbecue griller at Gyu-Kaku Charcoal Barbecue Restaurant

The interior of Gyu-Kaku Charcoal Barbecue Restaurant in the Kannai restaurant district in downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, shortly after we were finished with dinner

After having a very sumptuous and filling family charcoal barbecue dinner at the Gyu-Kaku Charcoal Barbecue Restaurant in the Kannai restaurant district in Naka-ku, Yokohama, the clock was finally showing 11.20 p.m.. Paying up our restaurant bill, we checked around our barbecue table to see that nothing was left behind before eventually leaving the restaurant. Given that there was nothing much left to do for the remainder of the late night, we decided to head back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand.

Without wasting anymore time, we headed back to our rented silver Europcar parked near the restaurant alley, and got back in for the late night road trip back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand located in downtown Nishi-ku, Yokohama, near the Minato Mirai 21 district. Soon enough, once everyone was on board the car, we finally departed the Kannai restaurant district behind Kannai Station at 11.25 p.m. for a late night return road trip of just 15 minutes back to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand.

The exterior view of the Gyu-Kaku Charcoal Barbecue Restaurant in the Kannai restaurant district late at night

The overall view of the Kannai restaurant district in downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, late at night

Our rented silver Europcar car parked near the Kannai restaurant district in downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, at night

Finally travelling along the roads of downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, near Kannai Station at night

The InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand coming into view late at night

Finally arriving back at the front main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand

The grand entrance hall in the first floor at the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand shortly after we had arrived back late at night

The view of my Room No. 2603 shortly after I arrived back at the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand late that night

The overall beautiful view of Tokyo Bay from my Room No. 2603 late at night

After a short late night road journey of 15 minutes from the busy and lively Kannai restaurant district in downtown Naka-ku, Yokohama, we finally arrived back at the main entrance to the InterContinental Hotel Yokohama Grand at 11.40 p.m.. Checking that we had left nothing on board, my dad arranged for a hotel butler to park our car safely. Entering the grand entrance hall, we promptly took the nearest elevator back up to the 26th floor, eventually arriving back at our Rooms No. 2601 and 2603 at 11.45 p.m..

Having a nice, hot bath, we changed into our pyjamas before turning in for the night. Since we were to be flying back home to Singapore the next day, we prepared some parts of our belongings first before being left to our own electronic devices for our own entertainment purposes, while I set my mobile phone alarm to wake me up at 8.30 a.m. the next morning. We also set our electronic devices to be charged overnight. Soon enough, by one o' clock late that night, we finally turned in for a well-earned good night's rest.

This officially brings the fourth segment of my 2015 end-of-year Christmas special trip report detailing my end-of-year Christmas winter vacation to Japan in December 2015 to a formal closure. The fifth and final segment of this year's end-of-year Christmas special trip report shall be posted up once I have managed to select the best quality photographs and videos for the closing section itself. Please do be patient as I require some time and effort to ensure that all the videos and photographs are of high quality.