Tuesday, December 8, 2015

2015 Christmas Special: End-of-Year Christmas Winter Vacation to Japan in December 2015 ~ Section 2

Welcome to the second segment of my 2015 Christmas special vacation report about my special end-of-year winter vacation to Japan in December 2015. This second section of the 2015 Christmas special trip report will be covering two core sub-topics. They will mainly be spending the first day of the vacation of Christmas shopping at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) cum meeting a notable school friend for late afternoon tea in downtown Tokyo, and a mini-shopping trip to Narita International Airport.

Part 1 ~ First Day Of Shopping At Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

In the wee hours of the next morning, which was Sunday (6 December), I woke up early at four o' clock after having a well-earned good night's rest. Given that it was still quite early before doing anything else, I went to the living room to do some of my personal stuff using my laptop very quietly. According to my annual Japanese rail itineraries, I was to be going for a Christmas shopping trip at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) cum meeting a Malay school friend, Aqilah, in Tokyo, who happened to be on her first trip to Japan, for tea.

For the morning trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I would be catching the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart Echigo-yuzawa at 9.12 a.m., and arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 10.32 a.m.. Upon arrival at Tokyo Station, I would immediately connect to a Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Kamata from Tokyo to Hamamatsucho, and then connect to a Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) upon arrival at Hamamatsucho Station.

I was in luck since I had already made my seat reservations for the trip the previous day at Echigo-yuzawa Station. At the same time, my dad had agreed to transport me to Echigo-yuzawa Station at 8.15 a.m. later that morning, given that Echigo-yuzawa Station was just five minutes away from the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Niigata. By around seven o' clock, I went down to our private hot spring (onsen) room for a bath and changed into my attire for the day before preparing my necessary belongings needed for my first day's railway trip.

The living room area on the second floor at the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa on a cloudy early morning

The view of the ski elevator leading to the ski mountain peak from the second floor living room in the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa on a cloudy early morning

Overlooking the Yuzawa Grand Hotel from the second floor living room in the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa on a cloudy early morning

After spending the rest of the early morning getting ready for my Christmas shopping trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I was officially ready to depart at eight o' clock. My dad, who was already wearing his winter jacket, then instructed me to put on my winter footwear and took the lodge key to open the rear entrance to the lodge. He then escorted me to our silver rented Europcar, which was parked at the skiing hill bottom located behind the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa itself.

Reaching our rented Europcar itself, my dad helped to load up my belongings into the back seat, while I took the front seat for the short early morning road drive of just five minutes to Echigo-yuzawa Station. I also checked the rear passenger car seat again to see whether everything was in order. Soon enough, at around 8.10 a.m., we finally departed the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa for a short and quick early morning road drive of not more than just five minutes to Echigo-yuzawa Station located further around the town.

The exterior view of the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa on a cloudy early morning from the lodge's back

Overlooking the Joetsu Shinkansen viaduct just before I departed for Echigo-yuzawa Station

Finally departing the area close to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa

Travelling past some lodges on route to Echigo-yuzawa Station on a cloudy early morning

Echigo-yuzawa Station coming into view on a cloudy but damp early morning

Finally arriving at the West Entrance to Echigo-yuzawa Station

After a short early morning road trip of approximately five minutes from the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa, I finally arrived at the West Entrance to Echigo-yuzawa Station at 8.15 a.m.. Claiming my belongings from the rear passenger seat, I thanked my dad for the lift, who warned me to take care before leaving me to catch my morning Shinkansen train to Tokyo. Entering the station itself, I proceeded to the JR Ticket Office to make some Green Car (first class) seat reservations before heading to the platforms to catch my train.

Once I was in the JR Ticket Office, I made two seat Green Car (first class) Shinkansen seat reservations for Osaka on Tuesday (8 December) and Kansai International Airport on Friday (11 December). Given that I would be using NOZOMI trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Shin-osaka for the two day trips, which is not valid under the Japan Rail Pass, I paid the required fares and surcharges for these sections. Upon paying for my train tickets, I went to the staffed ticket gate, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed Shinkansen ticketing gate.

Entering the Shinkansen concourse, I went to see which platform the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the train departure information screens in the Shinkansen concourse, the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo at 9.12 a.m. from Track No. 13. Though it was still early before my morning train to Tokyo, I took the escalators up to Tracks No. 13 and 14 to spot some trains while waiting, eventually reaching the platforms at 8.45 a.m..

The West Entrance of Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The main ticketing concourse at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The JR Ticket Office in the main ticketing concourse at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The Shinkansen ticketing gates at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The Shinkansen departure information screens for eastbound Joetsu Shinkansen trains bound for Takasaki and Tokyo in the Shinkansen concourse at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The overall view of the Shinkansen platforms at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screens for Joetsu Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

An 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 406 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The departure information screens for Joetsu Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

Two 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Sets No. P7 and P21, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 305 bound for Niigata, arriving at Echigo-yuzawa Station on Track No. 12

Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station shortly before the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending almost 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 13 and 14, an 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, operating as the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo, finally arrived at Echigo-yuzawa Station at 9.11 a.m. on Track No. 13. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 7 and went into the Green Car (first class) cabin in the upper deck, before settling down into my assigned Seat No. 26D for the short early afternoon trip of 1 hour 20 minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat adjacent to me, 26C, would remain vacant for the early afternoon journey of 1 hour 20 minutes from Echigo-yuzawa to Tokyo. Once the clock struck exactly 9.12 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 310 finally pulled out of Echigo-yuzawa Station for the remaining segment of its early morning trip of 2 hours 06 minutes from Echigo-yuzawa to Tokyo. I was then on my way for an early morning trip of 1 hour 20 minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan.

E4系新幹線 P17編成 Maxとき310号 東京行き 越後湯沢駅に入線シーン

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

A view of my seat, 26D, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

Awaiting departure from Echigo-yuzawa Station

E4系新幹線 P17編成 Maxとき310号 東京行き 越後湯沢 (発車) ~ 上毛高原 (通過)

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Jomo-kogen and Takasaki Stations

A view of my seat, 26D, between Jomo-kogen and Takasaki Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo, between Jomo-kogen and Takasaki Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo, between Jomo-kogen and Takasaki Stations

Bypassing a large forest near a small housing settlement in the sparse, rural town of Nakanojo

Bypassing an open farming field in the sparse, rural town of Higashiagatsuma

About to intersect with the Hokuriku Shinkansen tracks as the train gets nearer to Takasaki Station

Intersecting with the Hokuriku Shinkansen tracks near Takasaki Station

Making a brief stop at Takasaki Station

E4系新幹線 P17編成 Maxとき310号 東京行き 高崎駅から熊谷駅間

Making a brief stop at Kumagaya Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in the suburban city of Kumagaya shortly after departing Kumagaya Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Okegawa

About to intersect with the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks as the train gets closer to Omiya Station

Intersecting with the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks near Omiya Station

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

E4系新幹線 P17編成 Maxとき310号 東京行き 大宮駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E4系新幹線 P17編成 Maxとき310号 東京行き 上野駅から終点東京駅間

After a short early morning journey of 1 hour 20 minutes from the popular winter and hot spring resort town of Yuzawa, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 10.32 a.m. on Track No. 23. Checking to see that nothing had been left behind on board, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators down to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse prior to heading to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates for the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line. It was there that I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed interchange ticketing gate.

Upon showing my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed interchange ticketing gate, I went to see which platform the next Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Kamata would depart from. According to the departure information screen, the next Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Kamata would be scheduled to depart at 10.43 a.m. from Track No. 6. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly headed up to Tracks No. 5 and 6 for the trip to Hamamatsucho, eventually reaching the platforms by 10.40 a.m..

The logo of the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, now operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 317 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

The 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, now operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 317 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 23 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U27, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 47 bound for Morioka, 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 afternoon rush hour

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

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

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

The departure information board for Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line trains departing from Track No. 6 at Tokyo Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Track No. 6 at Tokyo Station shortly before the 10.43 a.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" train bound for Kamata arrived at the station

After spending approximately less than five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 5 and 6, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 10.43 a.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service bound for Kamata, finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 10.43 a.m. on Track No. 6. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 7 and settled in for the short and quick early afternoon commuter rush trip of just four minutes to the busy and 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 from Hamamatsucho. Soon enough, in less than a few seconds, all the train doors were closed, and the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for the remainder of its short and quick early afternoon commuter trip of 51 minutes from Minami-urawa to Kamata. I was then on my way for a short early afternoon trip of four minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 10.43 a.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" bound for Kamata, finally arriving at Tokyo Station on Track No. 6

The interior of the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 10.43 a.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" bound for Kamata, during the boarding process on Track No. 6 at Tokyo Station

Finally departing Tokyo Station

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

Passing through Shimbashi Station

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 10.47 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 proceeding to the Tokyo Monorail interchange ticketing gates. Reaching the Tokyo Monorail interchange ticketing gates at 10.50 a.m., I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed interchange ticketing gate before entering the Tokyo Monorail concourse.

In the main Tokyo Monorail concourse itself, I proceeded to check the departure information screen for the next departure timing for the closest Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). According to the departure information screens in the Tokyo Monorail concourse, the closest Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) would be scheduled to depart at eleven o' clock. Despite this, I decided to spot some Tokyo Monorail trains arriving and departing the station and catch the 11.24 a.m. Haneda Express service bound for Tokyo International Airport instead.

The Tokyo Monorail (東京モノレール) is a straddle-beam monorail line connecting the lively Hamamatsucho district in Minato-ku, Tokyo, to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan. With a daily ridership of approximately 300,000 passengers, it is the world's busiest and most profitable monorail line, and the most scenic route between downtown Tokyo and Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). The line generally travels parallel to the Keihin Canal and coastline of Tokyo Bay, having a maximum top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).

The line was opened for revenue passenger service on 17 September 1964, coinciding with the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014. As of 14 March 2015, the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series, 2000 series and 10000 series EMUs operate on the Haneda Express (空港快速), Rapid (区間快速) and Local (普通) services at 80 km/h (50 mph), with the Haneda Express services only stopping at stations in the areas of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) and the Hamamatsucho district.

A passing loop was opened at Showajima Station from 18 March 2007, allowing fast and premium Haneda Express services to commence. Through the course of the day, local services generally pull over at Showajima Station briefly to allow faster Haneda Express services to pass through without stopping. Services to the new International Terminal also commenced operations from 21 October 2010. There are no extra charges required for the Tokyo Monorail for foreign tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass.

Hamamatsucho Station (浜松町駅) is a major interchange railway station serving the lively hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It is a major interchange station for both the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line and Yamanote Line via a cross-platform interchange, also serveing as the northern terminus for the Tokyo Monorail to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). The Tokaido Shinkansen line and Tokaido Main Line bypass the station below the Tokyo Monorail piers without stopping.

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 entrance to the passageway leading to the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse 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. 1096F-1091F, painted in the new Tokyo Monorail white with lime green, light blue and navy blue livery and operating as the 10.52 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 1000 series EMU Set No. 1054F-1049F, painted in the former Tokyo Monorail 500 series red with white cream livery and operating as the 10.56 a.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10026F-10021F, operating as the eleven o' clock "Haneda Express" service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1042F-1037F, painted in the special "Pokémon Monorail" livery and operating as the 11.04 a.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1078F-1073F, operating as the 11.08 a.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10036F-10031F, operating as the 11.12 a.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU Set No. 2016F-2011F, operating as the 11.16 a.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1006F-1001F, 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 almost half an hour of anticipated waiting on the departure platform, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1036F-1031F ultimately arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 11.21 a.m.. The train had arrived from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) as a Rapid Service train bound for Hamamatsucho earlier, and was to undergo a directional change before eventually becoming the 11.24 a.m. Haneda Express service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 6 (1036F) and quickly managed to secure an observation view seat by the driver's cab.

At exactly 11.24 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train finally pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for its short routine early afternoon trip of 19 minutes to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) 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 quick routine afternoon trip of 19 minutes to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in the suburban outskirts of downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo, on the surrounding waters of Tokyo Bay.

Tokyo International Airport (東京国際空港), most commonly known as Haneda Airport (羽田空港), is one of the two major airports serving the Greater Tokyo Area in Japan. Located in the suburban outskirts of downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo, surrounded by the waters of Tokyo Bay, it is overall the busiest airport in Japan, and the country's largest domestic airport, in terms of the number of passengers passing through the airport per year. Classified as a first-class airport, Haneda Airport serves as a major hub for Air Do, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Skymark Airlines and Solaseed Air.

The airport was opened for passenger service on 25 August 1931, and had been the main international gateway to Tokyo over the course of the years, especially during World War II. However, with the opening of Narita International Airport from 20 May 1978, Haneda Airport catered mostly to domestic flights while Narita International Airport handled the international traffic for the Greater Tokyo Area. From 29 November 2003, Haneda Airport began to cater to limited international charter flights to Hong Kong, Mainland China and South Korea, with one smaller and temporary international terminal away from the main domestic terminals.

From 21 October 2010, a new and much larger international terminal was opened, allowing Haneda Airport to cater to regular international flights for the first time in 32 years. It mostly catered to international flights arriving and departing during the late night and early morning hours while Narita International Airport is closed. Due to the high customer criticism on the lack of facilities during the late night and early morning hours, the airport catered to regular daytime international flights with an additional new boarding gate concourse opened on 31 March 2014.

A hotel adjacent to the International Terminal, known as Royal Park Hotel The Haneda, was also opened on 30 September 2014. The airport is accessible from downtown Tokyo via the Tokyo Monorail, which connects to Hamamatsucho in 20 minutes via the Haneda Express services. There is no extra charge for the Tokyo Monorail with the Japan Rail Pass, allowing foreign tourists to access the JR Lines via a change of trains at Hamamatsucho Station. The private Keihin Kyuko Line also connects to Shinagawa and Yokohama, with some services going as far as the Toei Asakusa Line and Keisei Lines, eventually continuing on to Narita International Airport.

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

The interior of Car No. 6 (1036F) on board the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1036F-1031F, 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1000形 (1036F) 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 early afternoon trip duration of just 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 not left anything behind on board, I alighted from the train and took the escalators up to the station concourse, where I immediately showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate before leaving the main station concourse itself.

Given that my very first stop for the day would be Domestic Terminal 1, I headed down to the passageway and escalator leading to Domestic Terminal 1, bypassing Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station en route. Soon enough, I finally arrived at the first basement of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 at 11.55 a.m.. Taking the escalators up to the first level of the passenger terminal building, I had a look through the nearby shops carefully to ensure that there would be one that would suit my preferences.

Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station (羽田空港第2ビル駅) is an underground monorail station located in Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Opened on 1 December 2004, it is located below the passenger terminal of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2, and currently serves as the southern terminus for the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line from Hamamatsucho. As of 1 December 2015, there are two island platforms serving four tracks, with the additional island platform used only for seasonal events and Tracks No. 1 and 2 being used for regular passenger service.

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1031F-1036F, 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 main station concourse at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The interior of the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the early afternoon rush hour

Taking the escalator down to the passageway linking to Domestic Terminal 1 from Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The interior of the underground passageway linking between Domestic Terminals 1 and 2 during the early afternoon rush hour

The interior of the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

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

After looking across the shops located on the first floor of the Domestic Terminal 1 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I finally stumbled upon a notable hobby and duty-free shop, known as JALUX Blue Sky Shop, at 11.55 a.m.. This particular well-known duty-free and hobby shop was quite familiar to me since I had visited this place countless of times in my many visits at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Once I entered the duty-free shop itself, I looked across the many commercial passenger aircraft models on display prior to selecting the models that would be the most appealing to my eyes.

At JALUX Blue Sky Shop itself, I purchased two Scale 1:500 aircraft models, consisting of an Airbus A330 and a Boeing 777 aircraft. Upon purchasing my new aircraft models, I was beginning to feel rather hungry for some lunch, having skipped breakfast before departing earlier that morning. Given that my next stop was the International Terminal at one of the restaurants, I promptly went out to the free intra-terminal shuttle bus stand, where a free intra-airport shuttle bus arrived at 12.10 p.m.. Boarding the bus, I finally departed Domestic Terminal 1 for a short intra-airport terminal bus ride of just five minutes to the International Terminal.

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

1) JAL ー Japan Airlines Boeing 777-346/ER Hogan Scale 1:500 (BJE3006)

JAL ー Japan Airlines Boeing 777-346/ER Hogan Scale 1:500 (BJE3006)

2) Lufthansa Airbus A330-343X Herpa Scale 1:500 (514965-002)

Lufthansa Airbus A330-343X Herpa Scale 1:500 (514965-002)

The arrivals and meeting hall on the first floor at Domestic Terminal 1 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 1 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 1

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

Finally departing the compound of Domestic Terminal 1 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

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

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

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

After a short intra-airport terminal bus ride of just five minutes from Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I ultimately arrived at the main entrance to the International Terminal at 12.15 p.m.. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind on the bus, I promptly alighted and headed into the ground floor of the terminal building before taking a nearby elevator up to the departures and check-in hall located on the third floor, as part of my early afternoon Christmas shopping around Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

Since I was beginning to feel hungry after not having any breakfast that morning, I decided to stop at a nearby local restaurant to have some lunch first. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the nearest escalator up to the fourth floor, where a majority of the restaurants and local souvenir shops were located. Soon enough, I managed to stumble upon a local sukiyaki steamboat restaurant, known as Takafuku (たか福), at 12.20 p.m.. Given that the tables were already full, a restaurant waiter informed me that the next available table would be from 12.35 p.m. onwards.

While waiting for my lunch reservation, I decided to browse around the local souvenir shops located nearby, before returning to the restaurant at 12.30 p.m.. Entering the restaurant, a waiter directed me to a table at the rear, leaving me with the main menus to make a good review before placing my main meal orders for the upcoming local sukiyaki lunch. Having a good review through the lunch menu, a waiter then came over to my table to take down my main lunch orders for the upcoming local sukiyaki lunch.

I ordered myself a sukiyaki marbled beef meal set for myself, together with a glass of white wine and an additional side order of sliced marbled beef. With the restaurant waiter putting the beef tallow into the sukiyaki pot upon arrival of my lunch orders, each piece of marbled beef was put into the hot pot, allowing me to enjoy my sukiyaki lunch with beaten raw egg stylishly. With every bite of the marbled beef, this would constitute one of the best sukiyaki hot pot meals I had ever eaten in Japan, also beating Garim Steamboat Restaurant in South Korea in terms of energy, quality and surroundings.

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus stop at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

The interior of the bus and car rental area on the first level of 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 early afternoon rush hour

About to take the escalators up to the fourth floor from the international departures and check-in area in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

The fourth floor housing several souvenir shops and restaurants in the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during a lunchtime afternoon concert performance

Finally arriving at a local sukiyaki hot pot restaurant, known as Takafuku (たか福), on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The interior of Takafuku (たか福) sukiyaki restaurant on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during lunchtime hours

Looking through the main menu of Takafuku (たか福) sukiyaki restaurant on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

A small piece of beef tallow placed in the centre of the sukiyaki grilling pot in preparation for the upcoming main course

A glass of white wine to accompany my main sukiyaki hot pot lunch course

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

The overall view of my sukiyaki marbled beef meal seat on my dining table at Takafuku (たか福) sukiyaki restaurant on the fourth floor at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The first slice of sukiyaki marbled beef grilling in the sukiyaki hot pot succulently

About to enjoy my first slice of sukiyaki marbled beef dipped in beaten raw egg

About to enjoy my second slice of sukiyaki marbled beef dipped in beaten raw egg and topped with stalk onion

An additional platter of sliced sukiyaki marbled beef ready to be grilled in the sukiyaki hot pot

About to enjoy an additional slice of sukiyaki marbled beef dipped in beaten raw egg

The interior of Takafuku (たか福) sukiyaki restaurant on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) shortly after I had finished my sukiyaki hot pot lunch

After having a very sumptuous and filling sukiyaki beef hot pot lunch at Takafuku, the clock was finally showing 1.15 p.m.. Since I was feeling stuffed to the brim already, I promptly paid my lunch bill and departed the restaurant before taking the escalators back down to the third floor. Given that I would soon be meeting Aqilah for a quick catch-up tea in downtown Tokyo later on and that she would be celebrating her 18th birthday the next day, I decided to find a nearby souvenir shop to purchase an early birthday gift for her. Looking through the various shops available, I finally stumbled upon a local souvenir and confectionery shop, known as ANA FESTA, at 1.25 p.m..

Entering the shop, I purchased five boxes of Royce' pure chocolates, of which, two of the boxes would be for Aqilah as her early birthday gift. Upon purchasing my boxes of Royce' chocolates, I bumped into my younger brother's Physics teacher, who was also on his first trip to Japan and returning to Singapore. Asking him about life in secondary school, we had some time to chat with each other, until 1.45 p.m.. Upon finishing our brief chat, we parted ways and I quickly took the nearest elevator back down to the first floor, planning to stop at Domestic Terminal 2 as the final shopping stop for the day before catching up with Aqilah in downtown Tokyo.

Boarding the nearest free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus that just arrived at the bus stop at 1.50 p.m., I finally departed the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) for a short bus ride of 10 minutes to Domestic Terminal 2. Arriving at the intra-airport terminal shuttle bus stop outside the entrance to Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) at two o' clock, I took my belongings and went into the arrivals and meeting hall on the first floor, searching for the nearest shop to finish my Christmas vacation shopping for the day.

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 relatively cloudy 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

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 2 on a relatively cloudy winter's afternoon

Going around the roundabout near the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on a relatively cloudy winter's afternoon

Overlooking the expressway leading towards downtown Tokyo at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on approach to Domestic Terminal 2 on a relatively cloudy winter's afternoon

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

The free inter-terminal shuttle bus stop at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The arrivals and meeting hall on the first floor at Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Finally stumbling upon ANA FESTA located on the first floor of Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

After looking across the various shops in the arrivals and meeting hall of Domestic Terminal 2, I finally stumbled upon another ANA FESTA branch selling aircraft models and travelling accesories at 2.05 p.m.. Entering the shop itself, I had a look through the various All Nippon Airways Official Precision aircraft models on display before selecting the one that would suit both my tastes and preferences. At ANA FESTA, I purchased an All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-300/ER Scale 1:500 aircraft model to expand my ever-growing collection of commercial passenger aircraft.

Upon purchasing my new All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-300/ER aircraft model, the clock was finally showing 2.10 p.m.. Given that I had little time left before meeting Aqilah at Tokyo Station, I promptly went to the elevator lobby and took the nearest elevator down to the first basement level, where Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station was located. Upon arriving at the ticketing concourse near Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station, I went to check the departure information board to check the nearest departure time for the next Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho.

According to the departure information screens, the closest Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho would be scheduled to depart at 2.17 p.m. from Track No. 2. However, as it would be too time-constraining for me to catch, I decided upon catching the 2.41 p.m. Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho instead. Without wasting anymore time, I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate and took the escalator down to the platforms, arriving there by 2.15 p.m.. While waiting for the 2.41 p.m. Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho, I did some train-spotting on the platforms to pass the time.

As for the new All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-300/ER Scale 1:500 aircraft model I had just purchased, the details were as follows:

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

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

Looking up to the upper levels of Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) from the first basement level

A Skytrax poster in the first basement level of Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) showcasing that Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) was awarded the "World's Best Domestic Airport" for 2015

The main station 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

Finally arriving at the station platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU Set No. 2031F-2036F, painted in the new Tokyo Monorail white with lime green, light blue and navy blue livery and 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 2000 series EMU Set No. 2021F-2026F, 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. 1091F-1096F, painted in the new Tokyo Monorail white with lime green, light blue and navy blue livery and operating as the 2.29 p.m. "Haneda Express" 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 2.35 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The station platforms of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station shortly before the 2.41 p.m. "Haneda Express" train bound for Hamamatsucho arrived at the station

After spending nearly 20 minutes of anticipated waiting on both Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1037F-1042F, painted in the special Pokémon Monorail livery, ultimately arrived at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station at 2.37 p.m. on Track No. 2. The train had just arrived from Hamamatsucho as a Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo International Airport, and was to undergo a directional change become the 2.41 p.m. Haneda Express service bound for Hamamatsucho. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 1 (1037F), and secured an observation seat by the driver's cab.

Once the clock struck exactly 2.41 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train finally pulled out of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station for its short and quick routine mid-afternoon trip of just 20 minutes to lively hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district in the heart of downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short and quick cloudy mid-afternoon trip duration of just 20 minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of the Hamamatsucho district located in the heart of 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 2.41 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The destination indication panel in 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 2.41 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

Awaiting departure from Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

東京モノレール1000形 (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 cloudy mid-afternoon trip of just 20 minutes from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I finally arrived at the Hamamatsucho terminal station at 3.01 p.m.. Checking to see that nothing had been left behind, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators to the Tokyo Monorail concourse before proceeding to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates, eventually arriving there by 3.05 p.m.. Showing my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate, I took the nearby escalator down to a passageway of small shops and cafeterias before changing to another set of escalators to the JR Line concourse.

Upon reaching the JR Line concourse at 3.10 p.m., I headed to the ticketing gates to show my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate. I then went to check to see which platform the nearest Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Minami-urawa would depart from. According to the departure information screens, the next Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train bound for Minami-urawa would depart from Track No. 1 at 3.18 p.m.. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the elevator down to Tracks No. 1 and 2 in preparation for the short trip to Tokyo Station, eventually arriving there before the clock struck 3.15 p.m..

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1042F-1037F, painted in the special "Pokémon Monorail" livery and now operating as the 3.04 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line arrival platform at Hamamatsucho Station during the 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 3.04 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), departing Hamamatsucho Station

Two Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMUs near Hamamatsucho Station in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, on a cloudy winter's late afternoon

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1073F-1078F, which would operate as the 3.08 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), approaching 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

About to take the escalator up to the JR Line concourse of Hamamatsucho Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The JR Line concourse at Hamamatsucho Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The overall view of the JR Line platforms of Hamamatsucho Station 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 3.18 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line "Rapid Service" bound for Minami-urawa arrived at the station

After spending less than five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 3.18 p.m. Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service bound for Minami-urawa, finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 3.18 p.m. on Track No. 1. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 10 and settled down for the short late afternoon commuter trip of not more than just four 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. Soon enough, in less than a few seconds, all the train doors were closed, and the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for the remainder of its short late afternoon commuter trip of 1 hour 51 minutes from Ofuna to Minami-urawa. I was then on my way for a short and quick late afternoon commuter trip duration of not more than four minutes to Tokyo Station in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 3.18 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 Yurakucho district of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Passing through Yurakucho Station

Finally arriving at Tokyo Station

After a short and quick afternoon commuter journey duration of just four minutes from the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 3.22 p.m. on Track No. 3. Checking that I had my belongings with me, I alighted from the packed train, and took the escalator down to the JR Line interchange concourse, where I called Aqilah on my mobile phone to inform her that I was already at Tokyo Station. Telling me that the she was on route via the Yamanote Line from Harajuku, Aqilah then informed me to wait for her in the concourse located near the Yaesu Central Exit of the station.

With that, I quickly proceeded to the JR Line ticketing gates near the Yaesu Central Exit of the station, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticket gate at 3.30 p.m.. While in the JR Line ticketing concourse near the Yaesu Central Exit of the station, I waited for Aqilah for approximately half an hour to arrive as she was still on board the Yamanote Line Inner Loop train from Harajuku. Soon enough, Aqilah finally met up with me in the concourse near the Yaesu Central Exit with her two sisters at 3.55 p.m..

Given that this was my first time meeting a school mate with her sisters overseas and that I had a train to catch back to Yuzawa later on, we decided to keep the catch-up as simple as possible. As part of the plan, we headed into the Daimaru Department Store located on top of the station complex and decided to search for a nearby cafeteria for a catch-up tea. With that, we took the nearest elevator up to the upper levels of the Daimaru Department Store and looked through the various cafeterias very carefully to see which one would be the most suited for the entire quartet of us.

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 Shinkansen departure information screens in the Shinkansen interchange concourse of Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The JR Line concourse of Tokyo Station near the Yaesu Central Exit during the late afternoon rush hour

Walking across the crowded first basement level of the Daimaru Department Store at Tokyo Station during the late afternoon rush hour

After looking across the many cafeterias available in the Daimaru Department Store located just above Tokyo Station, we finally arrived at a small cafeteria, known as Tully's Coffee (タリーズコーヒー), at 4.20 p.m.. Securing a nearby small table in the cafeteria, we took turns in purchasing our beverages. While Aqilah got herself a cup of iced coffee latte and her two sisters shared a doughnut, I bought myself a cup of caramel and chocolate cream swirkle for myself. Through the catch-up meeting, we chatted about how we spent our respective times in Japan, and what we would be doing for the next coming days.

Mid-way through the catch-up meeting, I informed Aqilah that an early surprise was awaiting her. Closing her eyes and counting to three, she opened them again, only to find two boxes of Royce' pure chocolates appear in front of her. Explaining that I had purchased her boxes of chocolates at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), Aqilah was quite thankful and overjoyed by my early birthday gift to her. Receiving her gratitude for her birthday gift and promising to share the chocolates with her family, one of her sisters offered to take some photos of us as part of the catch-up.

The interior view of Tully's Coffee Cafeteria on the fourth floor of the Daimaru Department Store located just above Tokyo Station

A cup of Caramel and Chocolate Cream Swirkle for myself at Tully's Coffee Cafeteria located on the fourth floor of the Daimaru Department Store above Tokyo Station

The first catch-up shot of Aqilah and myself during our catch-up tea at Tully's Coffee Cafeteria located on the fourth floor of the Daimaru Department Store located directly above Tokyo Station

Another good catch-up shot of Aqilah and myself during our catch-up tea at Tully's Coffee Cafeteria located on the fourth floor of the Daimaru Department Store located directly above Tokyo Station

Aqilah with her birthday gift I purchased for her at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), consisting of two boxes of Royce' pure chocolates, at Tully's Coffee Cafeteria located in the fourth floor of the Daimaru Department Store located directly above Tokyo Station

One final catch-up tea photo with Aqilah at Tully's Coffee Cafeteria in the Daimaru Department Store located just above Tokyo Station shortly before we parted ways back to our destinations

After having a brief but fun and enjoyable catch-up afternoon tea with Aqilah and her sisters at Tully's Coffee at Daimaru Department Store located just above Tokyo Station, the clock was finally showing 4.55 p.m.. Given that I had less than an hour before my evening return train back to Yuzawa, we left the cafeteria, with Aqilah and her sisters heading to downtown Shinjuku to meet up with their parents for dinner. For the evening return trip back to Yuzawa, I would be scheduled to catch the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, which would be scheduled to depart Tokyo Station at 5.32 p.m., and then arrive at Echigo-yuzawa Station at 6.45 p.m..

Though Aqilah and her sisters were considering taking the Yamanote Line to meet the rest of their family in Shinjuku, I recommended them a faster route by using the Chuo Main Line Rapid Service, which would take them just 15 minutes. With that, we took the elevator back down to the first level and walked out to the Yaesu Central Entrance of the station building. Thanking each other for the chance to meet overseas for the first time and parting our ways separately, Aqilah extended her gratitude to me once again for her early birthday gift as she disappeared with her sisters to the Chuo Main Line (Rapid) ticketing gates.

Seeing Aqilah and her sisters off in the JR Line concourse located near the Yaesu Central Entrance, I quickly headed to the Tohoku, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen ticketing gates, where I showed my one-week Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer located at the staffed ticketing gate. I then went to check the departure information screens to see which platform the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata would be scheduled to depart from. According to the departure information screen in the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse, the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata would be scheduled to depart at 5.32 p.m. from Track No. 20.

Given that I had very limited time left before my evening return train back to Yuzawa, I took the escalators back up to Tracks No. 20 and 21 in preparation for the return trip to Yuzawa to commence, eventually reaching the station platforms by 5.10 p.m.. While waiting for the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata to arrive at the station, I did some of my normal Shinkansen train-spotting activities and sorted out my belongings on the platforms, also informing my parents that I would be back in Yuzawa in less than two hours for dinner.

The Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing concourse near the Yaesu Central Entrance of Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

The JR Line interchange ticketing gates at Tokyo Station near the Yaesu Central Entrance during the early evening rush hour

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

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

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 20 and 21 at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

The departure information board for Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 20 and 21 at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

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

An 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 20 and 21, an 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Sets No. P82 ultimately arrived at Tokyo Station at 5.20 p.m. on Track No. 21. The train had arrived from Niigata as the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 332 bound for Tokyo earlier, and was to undergo an extensive cleaning process before eventually becoming the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata. It took approximately less than 10 minutes for the entire cleaning process to last.

With the completion of entire cleaning process, the train doors were finally re-opened again at 5.29 p.m., thus allowing the passengers to board the train to Niigata. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 8, and headed upstairs to the Green Car (first class) cabin, before settling down into my assigned Seat No. 23A for the evening return trip of 1 hour 13 minutes to the popular winter and hot spring resort town of Yuzawa located in the Shin'etsu region of the country.

The seat next to me, 23B, would remain empty for the evening return journey of 1 hour 13 minutes from Tokyo to Echigo-yuzawa. Once the clock struck precisely 5.32 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 337 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its evening trip of 2 hours 05 minutes to the mid-sized urban port city of Niigata located along the coast of the Sea of Japan. I was then on my way for a short early evening return trip of 1 hour 13 minutes to the popular winter ski and hot spring resort town of Yuzawa.

E4系新幹線 P82編成 Maxとき337号 新潟行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, now operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J62, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 151 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

The cabin crew door of the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 23A, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E4系新幹線 P82編成 Maxとき337号 新潟行き 東京駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E4系新幹線 P82編成 Maxとき337号 新潟行き 上野駅から大宮駅間

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

Finally diverging away from the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks shortly after departing Omiya Stations

A view of my seat, 23A, between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, from my seat between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Okegawa

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Konosu

E4系新幹線 P82編成 Maxとき337号 新潟行き 熊谷 (通過) ~ 高崎 (通過)

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

E4系新幹線 P82編成 Maxとき337号 新潟行き 上毛高原 (通過) ~ 越後湯沢 (到着)

After a short and quick early evening return trip of just 1 hour 13 minutes from the busy and lively ultra-modern hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at Echigo-yuzawa Station at 6.45 p.m. on Track No. 12. Checking to see that nothing had been left behind, I alighted from the train and took the escalators down to the Shinkansen concourse, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate. Once I had shown my Japan Rail Pass, I walked through the station concourse to meet my dad in our rented silver Europcar at the West Entrance of the station.

Upon meeting up with my dad, who was waiting in our rented silver Europcar just near the West Entrance to Echigo-yuzawa Station, I immediately loaded my belongings in the rear and boarded the car for short and quick early evening return trip of not more than just five minutes back to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa. Soon enough, once I was safely in the car, we finally departed Echigo-yuzawa at 6.55 p.m. for a short and quick evening road drive of just five minutes back to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa located just further down the road near the Joetsu Shinkansen viaduct.

The 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P82, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 337 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 12 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

E4系新幹線 P82編成 Maxとき337号 新潟行き 越後湯沢駅から出発シーン

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J9, operating as the Shinkansen "TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 412 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The logo of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J9, operating as the Shinkansen "TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 412 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving the Joetsu Shinkansen trains bound for Niigata during the early evening rush hour

The Shinkansen ticketing gates at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early evening rush hour

The main ticketing concourse at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early evening rush hour

Our rented silver Europcar car located at the West Entrance of Echigo-yuzawa Station

Travelling past some lodges on route back to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa

Finally arriving at the rear entrance of the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa

After a short and quick early evening road drive of not more than five minutes from Echigo-yuzawa Station, we finally arrived back at the rear of the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa at seven o' clock. Parking the car carefully, my dad assisted me in unloading my belongings from the rear seat as we got into the ryokan. Entering the living room, I had a nice, hot bath in the private onsen bath on the first floor and changed into my pyjamas for the night before putting up my electronic devices to be charged overnight.

Soon enough, at around eight o' clock, my parents cooked up a sumptuous sukiyaki hot pot dinner for us, using the groceries they had purchased from a supermarket in Yuzawa. Over dinner, I chatted with my family about my enjoyable meeting with Aqilah and her two sisters. Upon finishing our sumptuous and filling hot pot dinner, I contacted a Yuzawa cab company to arrange for a cab to transport me to Echigo-yuzawa Station at 7.15 a.m. the next morning, given that I was to be undertaking on an afternoon mini-shopping trip to Narita International Airport the next day.

Preparing some of the necessary belongings required and setting my mobile phone alarm to wake me up at six o' clock the next morning, I turned in at 10.15 p.m. for a well-earned good night's rest. To summarise day, I had an enjoyable time meeting up with a dear school friend in Japan for the very first time in my life. If given the chance, I should certainly do this again if my friends are somewhere close to me in Japan at the same time. This would certainly be one of the most memorable days in my years of overseas travels that I would never forget.

Part 2 ~ Mini-Shopping Trip To Narita International Airport

In the wee hours the next morning, which was Monday (7 December), I woke up at around 5.30 a.m. after having a well-earned good night's sleep. Getting out of bed as silently as I could, I turned off my six o' clock alarm and headed over to the living room to prepare the remaining segments of my belongings required for the day. Having a shower in the private onsen bathroom downstairs, I changed up into my attire for the day and did some personal surfing on my laptop quietly. According to my annual Japanese railway itineraries, I was to be undertaking a mini-shopping trip to Narita International Airport today.

For the in-bound early morning trip to Narita International Airport, I would be scheduled to catch the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart from Echigo-yuzawa Station at 8.08 a.m., and then arrive at the Tokyo terminal station at 9.40 a.m.. After reaching Tokyo, I would quickly connect to a Yamanote Line Inner Loop train bound for Ueno, Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, which would be expected to depart from Tokyo Station at 9.46 a.m., and then arrive at Ikebukuro Station at 10.11 a.m..

After arrival at Ikebukuro Station, I would catch the Limited Express Narita Express No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, which would be scheduled to depart from Ikebukuro Station at 10.33 a.m., and arrive at the Narita Airport (Terminal 1) terminal station at 11.57 a.m.. I was quite lucky since I had made my seat reservations at Echigo-yuzawa Station a couple of days before the trip in advance. Furthermore, I had arranged for a cab to come and take me to Echigo-yuzawa Station at 7.15 a.m. the previous evening. While waiting for my pre-arranged cab to Echigo-yuzawa Station to arrive at the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa, I prepared my belongings near the front entrance of the ryokan.

The view of the ski elevator leading to the ski mountain peak from the second floor living room in the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa on a bright early winter's morning

Overlooking the Yuzawa Grand Hotel from the second floor living room in the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa on a bright early winter's morning

The living room area on the second floor at the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa on a bright winter's early morning

After spending the rest of the morning packing my required belongings for the day, the clock was finally showing 6.55 a.m.. Given that my pre-arranged Yuzawa cab to Echigo-yuzawa Station would be arriving at the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa, my dad woke up and offered to secure the front entrance. With that, I put on my footwear and followed my dad down to the front entrance of the ryokan, where my pre-arranged Yuzawa cab to Echigo-yuzawa Station arrived outside the front entrance to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa at 7.05 a.m., which was approximately five minutes ahead of schedule.

My dad then wished me a good afternoon shopping trip to Narita International Airport, and warned me to take care while I was out before heading back up to the master bedroom. Boarding my pre-arranged cab to Yuzawa, the driver also helped to load my baggage into the boot of his cab. Soon enough, once everything had been completed, I finally departed the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa in just a few seconds for a short early morning cab trip of just five minutes to Echigo-yuzawa Station located further down the road.

My pre-arranged cab to Echigo-yuzawa Station waiting outside the front entrance to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa

Finally departing the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa

Travelling past some lodges on route to Echigo-yuzawa Station on a bright early winter's morning

Finally arriving at the West Entrance to Echigo-yuzawa Station

After a short and quick early morning cab trip of not more than just five minutes from the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa, I finally arrived outside the West Entrance to Echigo-yuzawa Station at 7.10 a.m.. Being sure to check that there was nothing left behind, I paid my cab fare while the driver got out to help unload my baggage from the boot. Thanking the driver for his kind services, I went into the ticketing concourse, where I went to the Joetsu Shinkansen ticketing gates to show my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate.

Showing my one-week Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate, I went to check which platform number the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the train departure information screens located in the concourse, the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo would be scheduled to depart at 8.08 a.m. from Track No. 13. Though it was still quite early before my journey, I decided to take the escalators up to Tracks No. 13 and 14 for the first sector of the day to Tokyo, eventually arriving at the platforms at 7.20 a.m..

The West Entrance of Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The main ticketing concourse at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The Shinkansen ticketing gates at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

Two 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Sets No. P8 and P51, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 302 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J4, operating as the Shinkansen "TOKI" Superexpress No. 301 bound for Niigata, departing Echigo-yuzawa Station from Track No. 12

Tracks No. 13 and 14 serving the southbound Joetsu Shinkansen trains bound for Takasaki, Omiya and Tokyo during the early morning rush hour

The overall view of the Shinkansen platforms at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screens for Joetsu Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early morning rush hour

An 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 404 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station. I clearly remember riding on this train as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 310 bound for Tokyo from Echigo-yuzawa the previous day

The LED destination panel of the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 404 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 404 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P17, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 404 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station shortly before the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending approximately 45 minutes of anticipated waiting on both Tracks No. 13 and 14, an 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, finally arrived at Echigo-yuzawa Station at 8.07 a.m. on Track No. 13. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 8 and went upstairs to the Green Car (first class) cabin, before settling down into my assigned Seat No. 25D for the short and quick early morning trip duration of 1 hour 32 minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat adjacent to me, 25C, would remain vacant for the early morning trip of 1 hour 22 minutes from Echigo-yuzawa to Tokyo. Once the clock struck precisely 8.08 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 306 finally pulled out of Echigo-yuzawa Station for the remaining half of its early morning journey of 2 hours 21 minutes from Niigata to Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short and quick early morning travel duration of 1 hour 32 minutes to the busy and lively ultra-modern hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan.

E4系新幹線 P14編成 Maxとき306号 東京行き 越後湯沢駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

A view of my seat, 25D, during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 13 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

Awaiting departure from Echigo-yuzawa Station

E4系新幹線 P14編成 Maxとき306号 東京行き 越後湯沢駅から上毛高原駅間

Making a brief stop at Jomo-kogen Station

Bypassing an open farming field in the sparse, rural town of Higashiagatsuma

Intersecting with the Hokuriku Shinkansen tracks near Takasaki Station

Making a brief stop at Takasaki Station

Bypassing some houses in the suburban city of Takasaki

Making a brief stop at Honjo-waseda Station

A 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen train, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 502 bound for Tokyo, bypassing my train at Honjo-waseda Station

Bypassing an open farming field in the suburban city of Honjo

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Honjo-waseda and Kumagaya Stations

A view of my seat, 25D, between Honjo-waseda and Kumagaya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, between Honjo-waseda and Kumagaya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, between Honjo-waseda and Kumagaya Stations

Bypassing some warehouses in the suburban city of Kumagaya as the train approaches Kumagaya Station

Making a brief stop at Kumagaya Station

Bypassing some warehouses in the suburban city of Kumagaya shortly after departing Kumagaya Station

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

A view of my seat, 25D, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo, between Kumagaya and Omiya Stations

Bypassing an open farming field in the suburban city of Okegawa

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Okegawa

About to intersect with the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks as the train gets closer to Omiya Station

Intersecting with the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks near Omiya Station

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

E4系新幹線 P14編成 Maxとき306号 東京行き 大宮駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E4系新幹線 P14編成 Maxとき306号 東京行き 上野駅から終点東京駅間

After a short and quick early morning trip of 1 hour 32 minutes from the popular winter and hot spring resort town of Yuzawa, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 9.40 a.m. on Track No. 20. Checking to see that I had not left any of my belongings behind on board, I promptly alighted from the train and took the nearest escalators down to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse before heading over to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates. It was there that I showed my one-week Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed JR Line interchange ticketing gate.

Entering the JR Line interchange concourse, I proceeded to check the departure time for the next Yamanote Line Inner Loop train bound for Ueno, Ikebukuro and Shinjuku. According to the departure information screens, the next Yamanote Line Inner Loop train bound for Ueno, Ikebukuro and Shinjuku would be scheduled to depart at 9.46 a.m. from Track No. 4. Given that there was very limited time left to spare, I promptly proceeded up to Tracks No. 3 and 4 in preparation for the second segment of the trip to Ikebukuro by 9.45 a.m..

The now-out-of-service 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P14, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 306 bound for Tokyo from Niigata, on Track No. 20 at the Tokyo terminal station

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

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

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

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

Track No. 4 at Tokyo Station shortly before the 9.46 a.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop train bound for Ueno, Ikebukuro and Shinjuku arrived at the station

After spending approximately a couple of minutes of anticipated waiting on both Tracks No. 3 and 4, an 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 9.46 a.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop service bound for Ueno, Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 9.46 a.m. on Track No. 4. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 10 and settled down into a seating area for the short and quick early afternoon commuter trip of just 25 minutes to the busy and lively ultra-modern hustle and bustle of the Ikebukuro district in downtown Toshima-ku, Tokyo.

It was not that long until I was ready to depart Tokyo Station for the lively Ikebukuro district in downtown Toshima-ku, Tokyo. Soon enough, within less than just a few seconds, all the train doors were closed, and the Yamanote Line Inner Loop train finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for the remaining half of its routine early afternoon commuter trip linking the various major downtown districts of the 23 special wards of Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short and quick early afternoon commuter trip of just 25 minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of the Ikebukuro district in downtown Toshima-ku, Tokyo.

An 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 9.46 a.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop service bound for Ueno, Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, arriving at Tokyo Station on Track No. 4

The interior of the 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 9.46 a.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop service bound for Ueno, Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Tokyo Station

Finally departing Tokyo Station

Overlooking the Ueno-Tokyo Line flyover tracks shortly after departing Tokyo Station

Making a brief stop at Akihabara Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Taito-ku, Tokyo, between Akihabara and Ueno Stations

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

Overlooking the Takasaki Line, Tohoku Main Line and Joban Line tracks shortly after departing Ueno Station

Making a brief stop at Nippori Station

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

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Toshima-ku, Tokyo, near the Ikebukuro district

Finally arriving at Ikebukuro Station

After a short and quick routine early afternoon commuter trip of just 25 minutes from Tokyo Station in the heart of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Ikebukuro Station at 10.11 a.m. on Track No. 6. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators to the JR Line concourse. I then headed to check the departure information screens to see which platform the Limited Express Narita Express No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport would be scheduled to depart from.

According to the departure information screen located in the JR Line concourse, the Limited Express Narita Express No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport would be scheduled to depart at 10.33 a.m. from Track No. 2. Though it was still quite early before my connecting train service to Narita International Airport, I took the escalators up to Tracks No. 1 and 2 in preparation for the continuing trip, eventually arriving at the platforms at 10.15 a.m.. I then did my normal train-spotting activities while waiting for the Limited Express Narita Express No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport to arrive.

Ikebukuro Station (池袋駅) is an interchange railway station serving the Ikebukuro district in downtown Toshima-ku, Tokyo, Japan. With approximately 2.71 million passengers using the station daily, it is the world's second-busiest railway terminal after Shinjuku Station, and the busiest railway terminal for the Seibu Railway, Tobu Railway and Tokyo Metro. The station primarily serves commuters travelling to Saitama Prefecture, and serves as a stopping point for limited express trains heading to Tochigi Prefecture. Most Narita Express limited express services linking to Narita International Airport also serve the station.

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the Yamanote Line Inner Loop trains bound for Shinjuku, Shibuya and Osaki during the early afternoon rush hour

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

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

A 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 10.18 a.m. Shonan-Shinjuku Line "Special Rapid Service" bound for Takasaki via the Takasaki Line, arriving at Ikebukuro Station on Track No. 3

The departure information screen for Shonan-Shinjuku Line trains bound for Odawara and the "Narita Express" limited express trains bound for Narita International Airport departing from Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

A 15-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 10.24 a.m. Shonan-Shinjuku Line "Rapid Service" bound for Hiratsuka via the Tokaido Main Line, arriving at Ikebukuro Station on Track No. 2

The overall view of the Shonan-Shinjuku Line and Saikyo Line platforms at Ikebukuro Station during the early afternoon rush hour

A 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 6 bound for Ikebukuro from Narita International Airport, arriving at the Ikebukuro terminal station on Track No. 3

Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station shortly before the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport arrived at the station

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on both Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 6-car E259 series EMU, which would operate as the Limited Express Narita Express No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, ultimately entered Ikebukuro Station at 10.28 a.m. on Track No. 2. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 6, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled down in my assigned Seat No. 6D for the early afternoon journey of 1 hour 24 minutes to Narita International Airport located in the outskirts of the suburban city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture.

My train was to be coupled on with another 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the same train service from Ofuna, to form as 12 cars between Tokyo Station and Narita International Airport. Once the clock struck exactly 10.33 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Narita Express No. 19 ultimately pulled out of Ikebukuro Station for its early afternoon trip of 1 hour 24 minutes to Narita International Airport in the outskirts of the suburban city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture. I was then on my way for an early afternoon trip of 1 hour 24 minutes to Narita International Airport in the outskirts of the suburban city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture.

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス19号 成田国際空港行き 池袋駅に入線シーン

The 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

A view of my seat, 6D, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 2 at Ikebukuro Station

Awaiting departure from Ikebukuro Station

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス19号 成田国際空港行き 池袋駅から渋谷駅間

Making a brief stop at Shibuya Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, between Shibuya and Ebisu Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, between Shibuya and Shinagawa Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, between Shibuya and Shinagawa Stations

A view of my seat, 6D, between Shibuya and Shinagawa Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, from my seat between Shibuya and Shinagawa Stations

Overlooking the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks between Osaki and Shinagawa Stations

Travelling parallel to the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks near Shinagawa Station

Passing through Shinagawa Station

The LED information panel on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, detailing the information of the airlines and terminals at Narita International Airport

Passing through Shimbashi Station

Making a brief stop at Tokyo Station

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

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス19号 成田国際空港行き 東京 (発車) ~ 船橋 (通過)

Passing through Higashi-funabashi Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in the suburban city of Funabashi

Bypassing a railway yard depot in the suburban city of Narashino

Bypassing some office infrastructure in downtown Hanamigawa-ku, Chiba, near Makuhari-hongo Station

Passing through Makuhari-hongo Station

Passing through Inage Station

Bypassing some office infrastructure in downtown Chuo-ku, Chiba, near Chiba Station

Passing through Chiba Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, from my seat between Chiba and Sakura Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, between Sakura and Chiba Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 19 bound for Narita International Airport, between Chiba and Sakura Stations

A view of my seat, 6D, between Chiba and Sakura Stations

Bypassing an open rice paddy farming field in the suburban city of Sakura

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Sakura

Passing through Sakura Station

Bypassing an open rice paddy farming field in the suburban town of Shisui

Passing through Shisui Station

Bypassing an open rice paddy farming field near the suburban city of Narita

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス19号 成田国際空港行き 成田 (通過) ~ 成田空港 (到着)

After a short early afternoon trip of 1 hour 24 minutes from the lively ultra-modern hustle and bustle of the Ikebukuro district in downtown Toshima-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Narita Airport (Terminal 1) terminal station at 11.57 a.m. on Track No. 1. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind on board, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators up to the JR Line concourse before proceeding over to the JR Line ticketing gates to show my one-week Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate.

Upon passing through the staffed JR Line ticketing gate, I walked past the passport security check area and through the main station concourse before taking the nearest elevator up to the fourth floor of the South Wing of Terminal 1, where the departures and check-in hall was located. Given that it was still quite early before lunch, I decided to find some shops to shop at first to commence my day at Narita International Airport. With that, I headed to the Central Wing and took the escalators up to the fifth floor while searching through the various stores to see whether there was one that would be the most suited for my tastes and preferences.

The 12-car E259 series EMU, now operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 20 bound for Ofuna and Shinjuku, on Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The logo of the 12-car E259 series EMU, now operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 20 bound for Ofuna and Shinjuku, on Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The interior of the main station concourse of Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departures and check-in hall on the fourth floor of Terminal 1 (South Wing) at Narita International Airport during the early afternoon rush hour

The fourth floor of the Central Wing housing some shops and restaurants at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

The fifth floor of the Central Wing at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

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

After looking through the various shops and retail outlets available in the Central Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 for 10 minutes, I finally stumbled upon an aircraft model hobby shop on the fifth floor, known as Biplane Museum Shop, at 12.10 p.m.. This particular shop was familiar to me as I had always visited this shop many times during my past visits to Narita International Airport. Entering the shop, I looked through the various aircraft models on display before selecting the ones that would be attractive to my tastes and preferences.

At Biplane Museum Shop itself, I purchased four Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft models, consisting of one Airbus A340 and three Boeing 777s. Upon purchasing my Herpa Wings  aircraft models, I noticed that the weather conditions were perfect for some plane-spotting activities. With that instant, I quickly headed to the open-air observation area at 12.15 p.m., where there were some people also spotting some aircraft both coming in and out of Narita International Airport on a bright clear winter's afternoon.

Upon spending approximately half an hour of perfect plane-spotting at the observation deck in the Central Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1, the clock was finally showing 12.45 p.m.. Given that I was beginning to feel hungry, I headed back into the main terminal building to find a good restaurant to eat at. Sorting out all my belongings on the fifth floor, I took the escalator back down to the fourth floor of the Central Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 to search for a good restaurant to eat at for lunch.

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

1) British Airways Boeing 777-336/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (518246-002)

British Airways Boeing 777-336/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (518246-002)

2) China Eastern Airlines Boeing 777-39P/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (527705)

China Eastern Airlines Boeing 777-39P/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (527705)

3) Iberia Airbus A340-642 Herpa Scale 1:500 (527805)

Iberia Airbus A340-642 Herpa Scale 1:500 (527805)

4) Scoot Boeing 777-212/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (527859)

Scoot Boeing 777-212/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (527859)

The open-air aircraft-spotting observation deck on the fifth floor of Terminal 1 at Narita International Airport

A Korean Air Airbus A330-323X, registered HL8025, being serviced at Gate No. 27 at the North Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her regional early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as Korean Air flight KE 704 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

An Aeroflot ー Russian Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered VQ-BMV, being serviced at Gate No. 25 at the North Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon trans-Siberian flight back home to the Russian Federation as Aeroflot flight SU 263 bound for Moscow (Sheremetyevo)

A Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A340-313X, registered OY-KBC, about to taxi to her assigned runway from Gate No. 31 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon trans-Siberian flight back home to the Kingdom of Denmark as Scandinavian Airlines flight SK 984 bound for Copenhagen

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 747-48E(M), registered HL7423, resting at Gate No. 33 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 after arriving from her regional early afternoon flight from the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as Asiana Airlines flight OZ 104 from Seoul (Incheon)

An Asiana Airlines Airbus A330-323X, registered HL8293, about to taxi to her assigned runway from Gate No. 37 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her regional early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as Asiana Airlines flight OZ 101 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

Taking the escalator back down to the fourth floor of the Central Wing at Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Finally stumbling upon Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) on the fourth floor of the Central Wing at Narita International Airport Terminal 1

After looking across the various restaurants available on the fourth floor of the Central Wing located at Narita International Airport Terminal 1, I finally stumbled upon a local restaurant, known as Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳), at 12.50 p.m.. Upon entering the restaurant, I quickly requested for a table for myself, where I was directed to one near the glass panel window by one restaurant waitress. With my belongings secured at my table, I was left with the main menus to make my reviews before placing my main meal orders for the upcoming lunch.

Once I was ready to eat, a waiter came by to my table to take down my main meal order for lunch. I ordered myself a grilled beef tongue meal set, together with a side order of conger eel (穴子; anago) sushi and grilled Japanese-style omelette for myself. With that, the waiter recorded down my main meal orders and disappeared back into the restaurant kitchens. It was not that long before my main lunch orders arrived at my table. That afternoon, I had a filling and sumptuous lunch at Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) located in Narita International Airport Terminal 1.

The interior of Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) in the Central Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 during lunchtime hours

Reviewing the meal set section of the main menu at Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) in the Central Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Reviewing the a la carte section of the main menu of Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) in the Central Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1

A platter of conger eel (穴子; anago) for myself on my lunch table

A platter of local Japanese-style grilled omelette on my lunch table

A grilled beef tongue meal set for myself on my lunch table

After having a very sumptuous and filling lunch at Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) in the Central Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1, the clock was finally showing 1.15 p.m.. Given that I was already filling stuffed to the brim, I paid up my lunch bill and decided to head back up to the fifth floor first to get a drink for myself. With that, I took my belongings and took the nearest escalator up to the fifth floor, where I stopped at the nearby Lawson convenience store to get myself some bottled water. Upon doing this, I headed over to the open massage chair area to have a brief rest for almost half an hour.

Soon enough, I realised that it was time for me to be heading back to Yuzawa at 1.50 p.m.. As for the return trip back to Yuzawa, I would catch the Limited Express Narita Express No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, which would depart Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station at 2.44 p.m., and arrive at the Shinjuku terminal station at 4.09 p.m.. After arrival at Shinjuku, I would be having a short layover of approximately 10 minutes before connecting to a Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart Shinjuku Station at 4.19 p.m., and arrivel at the Tokyo terminal station at 4.32 p.m..

Upon arrival at Tokyo Station, I would have a quick layover of almost half an hour before catching the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, which would depart Tokyo Station at 5.16 p.m., and then arrive at Echigo-yuzawa Station at 6.35 p.m.. Sorting out my belongings, I quickly took the escalators down to the fourth floor and passed through the North Wing departures and check-in hall before taking a nearby elevator down to the first basement level, where the underground passageway to Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station was located.

Once I had arrived back at the main station concourse of Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station at 1.55 p.m., I promptly headed to the JR Line ticketing gates to show my Japan Rail Pass before checking which platform number the Limited Express Narita Express No. 30 bound for Shinjuku & Yokohama would depart from. According to the departure information screen, the Limited Express Narita Express No. 30 bound for Shinjuku & Yokohama would depart at 2.44 p.m. from Track No. 1. Without wasting anymore time, I took the escalators back down to Tracks No. 1 and 2, eventually arriving at the platforms at two o' clock.

The entrance to Keisei Yuzen (京成友膳) on the fourth floor of the Central Wing at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 during lunchtime hours

The interior of the public massage chair area on the fifth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in the Central Wing

The view of the North Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Walking down the escalator to the fourth floor from the fifth floor at Narita International Airport Terminal 1

The departures and check-in hall on the fourth floor of Terminal 1 (North Wing) at Narita International Airport during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The Central Wing located between the North and South Wings on the fourth floor at Narita International Airport on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

The escalators leading to the main entrance to Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station in the first basement of Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Finally arriving at the main station concourse at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The JR Line ticketing gates at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

About to take the escalators down to the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 1 and 2 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

Overlooking the Keisei Line platforms from the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

A 12-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 28 bound for Ikebukuro, on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The logo of the 12-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 28 bound for Ikebukuro, on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The LED destination panel of the 12-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 28 bound for Ikebukuro, on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

An 8-car Keisei AE series EMU, operating as the Keisei Airport Limited Express "Skyliner" No. 31 bound for Narita International Airport from Keisei Ueno via the Narita Sky Access Line (Keisei Narita Airport Line), arriving at the Narita Airport (Terminal 1) terminal station on Track No. 5 of the Keisei Line platforms

The logo of the 8-car Keisei AE series EMU, now operating as the Keisei Airport Limited Express "Skyliner" No. 24 bound for Keisei Ueno via the Narita Sky Access Line (Keisei Narita Airport Line), on Track No. 5 of the Keisei Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

A 15-car E217 series EMU, operating as an "Airport Narita" Rapid Service train bound for Narita International Airport via the Yokosuka and Sobu Main Lines, arriving at the Narita Airport (Terminal 1) terminal station on Track No. 2 of the JR Line platforms

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

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

Track No. 1 at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station shortly before the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku & Yokohama arrived at the station

After spending almost half an hour of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 12-car E259 series EMU finally arrived at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station at 2.29 p.m. on Track No. 1. The train had just arrived from Yokohama & Ikebukuro as the Limited Express Narita Express No. 29 bound for Narita International Airport, and was to undergo an extensive cleaning process before becoming the Limited Express Narita Express No. 30 bound for Yokohama & Shinjuku. It took not more than approximately 10 minutes to clean the entire interior of the train.

Upon completion of the entire cleaning process, the train-cleaning signs were finally taken out at 2.38 p.m., thus allowing the passengers to board the train to Yokohama & Shinjuku. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 12, which was the Green Car (first class) coach bound for Shinjuku, and settled down into my assigned Seat No. 3A for the short and quick mid-afternoon trip of just 1 hour 25 minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of Shinjuku in the heart of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

At exactly 2.44 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Narita Express No. 30 finally pulled out of Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station for its short, routine mid-afternoon journey to the modern Greater Tokyo Area. Cars No. 1 to 6 would be bound for Yokohama, while Cars No. 7 to 12 would be bound for Shinjuku, with both trains being separated at Tokyo Station en route. I was then on my way for a short mid-afternoon trip of just 1 hour 25 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of the Shinjuku district in the centre of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス30号 横浜・新宿行き 成田空港駅に入線シーン

The 12-car E259 series EMU, now operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Yokohama & Shinjuku, on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The LED destination panel of the 12-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Yokohama & Shinjuku, on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The logo of the 12-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Yokohama & Shinjuku, on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

A view of my seat, 3A, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 1 of the JR Line platforms at Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

China Eastern Airlines Boeing 777-39P/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (527705)

Awaiting departure from Narita Airport (Terminal 1) Station

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス30号 新宿行き 成田空港 (発車) ~ 成田 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Narita

Bypassing an open green field in the suburban town of Shisui

Passing through Shisui Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, from my seat between Shisui and Sakura Stations

A view of my seat, 3A, between Shisui and Sakura Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, between Shisui and Sakura Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, between Shisui and Sakura Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Sakura

Passing through Sakura Station

Bypassing an open farming field near the suburban city of Sakura

Bypassing some high-rise housing apartment blocks in downtown Wakaba-ku, Chiba

Passing through Chiba Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, from my seat between Chiba and Tsudanuma Stations

A view of my seat, 3A, between Chiba and Tsudanuma Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, between Chiba and Tsudanuma Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, between Chiba and Tsudanuma Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Narashino

Passing through Tsudanuma Station

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス30号 新宿行き 船橋 (通過) ~ 東京 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 3A, during the brief stopover at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, during the brief stopover at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, during the brief stopover at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, from my seat during the brief stopover at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

Passing through Shimbashi Station

Bypassing some high-rise urban infrastructure in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, near Shinagawa Station shortly after emerging from the Yokosuka Line underground tunnel

Passing through Shinagawa Station

Crossing the Sobu Main Line and Shonan-Shinjuku Line flyover tracks near Osaki Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, from my seat between Tokyo and Shibuya Stations

A view of my seat, 3A, between Tokyo and Shibuya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, between Tokyo and Shibuya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 30 bound for Shinjuku, between Tokyo and Shibuya Stations

Making a brief stop at Shibuya Station

E259系 特急成田エクスプレス30号 新宿行き 渋谷駅から終点新宿駅間

After a short mid-afternoon journey of 1 hour 25 minutes from Narita International Airport in the outskirts of the suburban city of Narita, I finally arrived at the Shinjuku terminal station at 4.09 p.m. on Track No. 6. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board, I alighted from the train and took the escalators up to the JR Line interchange concourse of the station, eventually reaching there at 4.10 p.m.. I then went to check which platform the next Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo would depart from.

According to the departure information screens, the closest Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo would depart at 4.19 p.m. from Track No. 8. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the escalators down to Tracks No. 7 and 8 in preparation for the second segment of my return journey back to Yuzawa, eventually arriving at Tracks No. 7 and 8 by 4.15 p.m.. While waiting for the 4.19 p.m. Chuo Main Line Rapid Service bound for Tokyo, I sorted out my carry-on belongings to make sure that they were in secure order.

Shinjuku Station (新宿駅) is a major interchange railway terminal complex located between the major downtown districts of Shibuya-ku and Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It is the world's busiest railway terminal, with approximately 3.6 million passengers commuting through the station daily in 2007, and serves as a major transport hub between downtown Tokyo and the western suburbs of Tokyo. The station is jointly managed by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), Odakyu Electric Railway, Keio Corporation, Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro.

The station serves as a major starting point for most limited express trains heading to the Shin'etsu region and to Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen via joint operations with Tobu Railway beyond Kurihashi. Shinjuku also serves as a mandatory stopping point for Narita Express services to and from Narita International Airport. With approximately 1.5 million passengers passing through the station, JR East is currently the busiest and largest railway operator at Shinjuku. The station also serves as an intersection point for the Chuo Main Line (Rapid), Chuo-Sobu Line, Saikyo Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line and Yamanote Line.

Shinjuku also serves as a starting point for all train services on the private Odakyu Electric Railway, including the Odakyu Romancecar limited express services linking to popular and scenic mountain and beach resorts, such as Enoshima, Gotemba and Hakone. The station also houses several large shopping malls around its complex, such as the Keio Department Store and Shinjuku Takashimaya. The Keio Corporation handles 720,000 passengers at the station daily, making the busiest private railway sector in Japan.

The 6-car E259 series EMU, now operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 43 bound for Narita International Airport, on Track No. 6 at Shinjuku Station

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving the limited express trains bound for Narita International Airport and the Nikko area in Tochigi Prefecture at Shinjuku Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The logo of the 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Narita Express" No. 43 bound for Narita International Airport, on Track No. 6 at Shinjuku Station

The JR Line interchange concourse of Shinjuku Station undergoing renovation works during the late afternoon rush hour

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

Track No. 7 at Shinjuku Station shortly before the 4.19 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" train bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending approximately less than five minutes of anticipated waiting on both Tracks No. 7 and 8, a 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 4.19 p.m. Chuo Main Line Rapid Service bound for Tokyo, finally arrived Shinjuku Station at 4.19 p.m. on Track No. 8. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 3 and secured a good seating spot for the short and quick late afternoon commuter trip of just 13 minutes to Tokyo Station located in the centre of the Marunouchi business district in the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

Soon enough, within less than just a few seconds, all the train doors were closed, and the Chuo Main Line Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Shinjuku Station for the remaining part of its short and quick late afternoon commuter trip of 1 hour 14 minutes from Hachioji to Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short late afternoon commuter trip of 13 minutes to Tokyo Station located in the centre of the Marunouchi business district in the lively ultra-modern hustle and bustle of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

A 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 4.19 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo, finally arriving at Shinjuku Station on Track No. 8

Finally departing Shinjuku Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, as dusk begins to break over downtown Tokyo

Making a brief stop at Yotsuya Station

Travelling parallel to the Kanda River between Yotsuya and Kanda Stations as dusk begins to break over downtown Tokyo

The interior of the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 4.19 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo, between Yotsuya and Kanda Stations

Making a brief stop at Kanda Station

The passenger LED information display on board the 10-car E233 series EMU, operating as the 4.19 p.m. Chuo Main Line "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo, indicating that the train would soon be arriving at the Tokyo terminal station

Finally arriving at the Tokyo terminal station

After a short and quick early evening commuter trip of 13 minutes from the busy and lively ultra-modern Shinjuku district in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived back at the Tokyo terminal station at 4.32 p.m. on Track No. 1. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board, I promptly alighted from the train and took the escalators down to the JR Line interchange concourse of the station. Walking across the busy JR Line interchange concourse, I went over to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates to show my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed interchange ticketing gate.

Entering the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse at 4.35 p.m., I immediately went to check which platform the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata would depart from. According to the departure information screen, the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata would depart at 5.16 p.m. from Track No. 20. Without wasting anymore time, I promptly took the nearby escalators up to Tracks No. 20 and 21 in preparation for my continuing Shinkansen trip back to Yuzawa, eventually arriving at the platforms at 4.40 p.m..

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

The JR Line interchange concourse leading to the Yamanote Line and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line platforms at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

Walking through the passageway leading to the Shinkansen interchange concourse at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

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

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

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 20 and 21 at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J71, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYATE" Superexpress No. 113 bound for Morioka, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J71, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYATE" Superexpress No. 113 bound for Morioka, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J71, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYATE" Superexpress No. 113 bound for Morioka, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The overall view of the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen platforms at Tokyo Station during the early evening rush hour

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J63, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 149 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

A 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L54, operating as the Shinkansen "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 149 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J63 and 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L54, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" & "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 149 bound for Sendai and Yamagata, coupled together on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

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

Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata arrived at the station

After spending approximately 20 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 20 and 21, an 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, which would soon operate as the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, finally entered Tokyo Station at five o' clock on Track No. 20. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 8 and headed upstairs into the Green Car (first class) cabin, before settling down into my assigned Seat No. 21A for the short and quick early evening return trip of 1 hour 19 minutes back to the popular winter ski and hot spring resort town of Yuzawa.

My belongings were also stowed beside me at an empty space by my seat for safety. Once the clock struck exactly 5.16 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen Max TOKI Superexpress No. 335 ultimately pulled out of Tokyo Station for its routine early evening trip of 2 hours 04 minutes to the mid-sized urban port city of Niigata located on the coast of the Sea of Japan in the Shin'etsu region of the country. I was then on my way for a short and quick early evening return journey of 1 hour 19 minutes back to the popular winter ski and hot spring resort town of Yuzawa.

E4系新幹線 P11編成 Maxとき335号 新潟行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 21A, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E4系新幹線 P11編成 Maxとき335号 新潟行き 東京駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E4系新幹線 P11編成 Maxとき335号 新潟行き 上野駅から大宮駅間

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

Travelling parallel to the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks shortly after departing Omiya Station

Bypassing some downtown infrastructure in downtown Omiya-ku, Saitama, shortly after departing Omiya Station

Finally diverging away from the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks

The overall view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, from my seat between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

A view of my seat, 21A, between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, between Omiya and Kumagaya Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Konosu

E4系新幹線 P11編成 Maxとき335号 新潟行き 熊谷 (通過) ~ 本庄早稲田 (通過)

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

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

E4系新幹線 P11編成 Maxとき335号 新潟行き 上毛高原 (通過) ~ 越後湯沢 (到着)

After a short and quick early evening return journey of 1 hour 19 minutes from the busy and lively ultra-modern hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I ultimately arrived back at Echigo-yuzawa Station at 6.35 p.m. on Track No. 12. Checking to see that I had not left anything on board, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalator back down to the Shinkansen concourse, where I headed to the Shinkansen ticketing gates to show my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer located at the staffed Shinkansen ticketing gate.

Upon showing my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed Shinkansen ticketing gate, I headed over to the West Entrance of the station building, where I found my dad waiting for me in our rented silver Europcar at the station. Relieved to see that I had arrived back at the station safely, he helped me to load my belongings into the rear passenger seat of the car, while I boarded the car for the trip back to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa. Soon enough, with everything safely loaded in, we finally departed Echigo-yuzawa Station at 6.45 p.m. for a short and quick evening return road trip of not more than five minutes back to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa.

The 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 12 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

E4系新幹線 P11編成 Maxとき335号 新潟行き 越後湯沢駅から出発シーン

Tracks No. 11 and 12 serving the Joetsu Shinkansen trains bound for Niigata during the early evening rush hour

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J52, operating as the Shinkansen "TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 412 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The LED destination panel of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J52, operating as the Shinkansen "TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 412 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The logo of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J52, operating as the Shinkansen "TANIGAWA" Superexpress No. 412 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 11 at Echigo-yuzawa Station

The overall view of the Joetsu Shinkansen platforms at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early evening rush hour

The Shinkansen concourse leading to the platforms at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early evening rush hour

The main ticketing concourse at Echigo-yuzawa Station during the early evening rush hour

Our rented silver Europcar car located at the West Entrance of Echigo-yuzawa Station

Finally departing Echigo-yuzawa Station

Travelling past some lodges on route back to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa

Finally arriving at the rear entrance of the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa

After a short and quick early evening return road trip of five minutes from Echigo-yuzawa Station located further down the road, we finally arrived back at the rear entrance of the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa at 6.50 p.m.. Parking the rented silver Europcar just outside the ryokan, my dad helped to unload my belongings from the rear passenger seat before walking up to the Onsen Ryokan Koizumiya Yuzawa. Entering the living room of the ryokan itself, I took out my electronics to be charged overnight before having a home-made dinner with my family.

Upon finishing the hot pot family dinner, I went to have a nice, hot shower and changed into my pyjamas for the night, also preparing part of my required belongings for the next day. As I was to embark on a westward shopping cum sightseeing journey to Osaka the next day, I quickly called a Yuzawa cab company to pre-book a cab to come and fetch me to Echigo-yuzawa Station at 6.15 a.m. early the next morning. Setting my mobile phone alarm to wake me up early at five o' clock, I finally turned in by ten o' clock for a well-earned good night's rest.

This officially brings the second segment of this year's end-of-year Christmas special report detailing my end-of-year winter vacation to Japan in December 2015 to a formal conclusion. The remaining three segments of this year's end-of-year Christmas special trip report will be posted once I have selected the best and highest quality photographs and videos for every remaining segment of the entire Christmas trip report. Please do be patient as these require a certain amount of time and effort to be posted up online.

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