Sunday, December 4, 2016

🇯🇵 2016 Christmas Special: Post-GCE 'A' Level Examination End-Of-Year Winter Vacation To Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, In December 2016 ~ Section 2 🇯🇵

Welcome to the second sub-segment of my post-GCE 'A' Level examination end-of-year winter vacation to Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, in December 2016. This second section of the trip report will cover a total of three focus topics. They shall mainly be spending the first day of the vacation on a westbound theme park day trip to the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka to the west, undertaking a regional early afternoon shopping day trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) and the long northbound trip to the La Cachette Villa Hakodate via the newly-opened Hokkaido Shinkansen line.

Part 1 ~ Westbound Theme Park Day At Universal Studios Japan In Osaka

In the wee hours of the next morning, which was Friday (2 December), we woke up very early at around five o' clock after having a well-earned good night's sleep. As it was still quite early before doing anything else, I did some personal stuff on my own laptop before having a shower, changing into my attire for the day and preparing the remainder of my necessary belongings. According to my annual Japanese railway itineraries for the first day, I was to undertake a westbound theme park day trip to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka today.

For the in-bound trip to Universal Studios Japan, I would be scheduled to catch the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, which would be scheduled to depart from Tokyo Station at 8.23 a.m., and arrive at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 10.56 a.m.. Upon arrival at Shin-osaka, I would catch a Special Rapid Service train bound for Himeji, which would depart from Shin-osaka Station at 11.09 a.m., and arrive at Osaka Station at 11.13 a.m.. After arrival at Osaka, I would catch an Osaka Loop Line local train bound for Sakurajima via the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line), which would depart from Osaka Station at 11.39 a.m., and arrive at Universal City Station at 11.51 a.m..

I was quite lucky as I had made my Green Car (first class) seat reservations at Shinjuku Station the previous day. However, for the rest of my family, they would be heading to Kyoto to catch the last glimpses of the autumn season. As for the in-bound morning trip to Kyoto, they would be scheduled to catch the Shinkansen HIKARI Superexpress No. 507 bound for Shin-osaka, which would depart from Tokyo Station at 9.33 a.m., and arrive at Kyoto Station at 12.11 p.m.. Everyone was lucky since I had also made their seat reservations in advance.

While preparing my required belongings for the day, I made sure that the load for the day would not be that heavy to minimise the use of personal belongings lockers at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka later on. I had also arranged with the hotel to reserve a cab to transport me to Tokyo Station at seven o' clock during our check-in for our hotel stay the previous night. I then did some personal surfing on my laptop before conducting a check to see that everything for the day was securely prepared.

The view of my Room No. 2829 at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo shortly after we woke up in the wee hours of the early morning

The view of the streets of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, from my Room No. 2829 at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo as dawn begins to break over Tokyo

The view of the streets of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, from my Room No. 2829 at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at sunrise

After spending some time preparing my required belongings for the day, I was finally ready to depart at 6.35 a.m.. My younger brother then wished me a pleasant trip to Universal Studios Japan and warned me to take care at all costs. With that, I departed my Room No. 2829 and took the nearest elevator down to the main hotel lobby, thus reaching there at 6.40 a.m.. Since it was still quite early before my pre-arranged cab to Tokyo Station, I headed to the hotel concierge to obtain an umbrella for my use until the next day.

Soon enough, my pre-arranged cab to Tokyo Station finally showed up at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at 6.45 a.m.. Escorted by one of the hotel butlers, I informed the driver that I was intending to head to the Yaesu Central Entrance of Tokyo Station, where the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gates were. Once I was safely on board, I finally departed the Hilton Hotel Tokyo in a few seconds for a short early morning cab trip of 25 minutes to Tokyo Station located in the centre of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

The interior of the main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear winter's morning

The pick-up and drop-off point outside the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear winter's morning

My pre-arranged cab to Tokyo Station finally showing up at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear winter's morning

Finally departing the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Travelling across the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, shortly after departing the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Travelling across the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, near Shinjuku Station on a bright and clear winter's early morning

Bypassing the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station on a bright and clear winter's early morning

About to cross an underground road tunnel in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, near Shinjuku Station on a bright and clear winter's early morning

Travelling across the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, near Yotsuya Station on a bright and clear winter's early morning

Bypassing Yotsuya Station

Turning into the roads close to the Imperial Palace in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, in the direction to Tokyo Station

Travelling across the roads close to the Imperial Palace in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, in the direction to Tokyo Station

Bypassing the tree gardens close to the Imperial Palace in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, en route to Tokyo Station

Turning into the roads leading to the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, in the direction to Tokyo Station

Travelling along the roads near the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, in the direction to Tokyo Station

Turning into the roads of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, near Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station finally coming into view in the Marunouchi business district

Finally arriving outside the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station

After a short and quick early morning cab trip of 25 minutes from the Hilton Hotel Tokyo in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station at 7.10 a.m.. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind, I paid up my cab fare and thanked the cab driver for his services before heading into the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing concourse. Proceeding to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gates, I showed my two-week Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate before entering the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at 7.15 a.m..

I then went to check which platform the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka would be scheduled to depart from. According to the departure information screens, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka would depart at 8.23 a.m. from Track No. 19. Though it was still quite early before my train to Osaka, I took the nearest escalators up to Tracks No. 18 and 19 to do some early morning Shinkansen train-spotting, eventually reaching the platforms by 7.20 a.m..

NOZOMI (のぞみ) is the fastest train service operating on both the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines in Japan. Operated jointly by Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and West Japan Railway Company (JR West), the train service stops only at Shinagawa, Shin-yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto Stations on the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Shin-osaka, and at some additional stretch stations on the Sanyo Shinkansen line between Shin-osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka). The service is capable of reaching a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), with the fastest train service between Tokyo and Shin-osaka taking as little as 2 hours 22 minutes, and 4 hours 46 minutes between Tokyo and Hakata (Fukuoka).

The service commenced on 14 March 1992, using 16-car 300 series sets at a top speed of 270 km/h (170 mph), until they were phased out from revenue passenger service on 16 March 2012. From 22 March 1997, 16-car 500 series sets were introduced on these services at a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), allowing the fastest services between Shin-osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka) to take only 2 hours 17 minutes, and 4 hours 49 minutes between Tokyo and Hakata (Fukuoka). However, these sets were retired from NOZOMI services on the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines from 28 February 2010, and were shortened to eight cars to operate on all-stations KODAMA services on the Sanyo Shinkansen line.

From 13 March 1999, 700 series sets were introduced on these services at a top speed of 285 km/h (177 mph), thereby replacing the older 300 series sets used on through services between Tokyo and Hakata (Fukuoka). From 1 July 2007, N700 series sets were introduced on these services at a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), like the 500 series sets. All NOZOMI services operated using N700 series sets are completely non-smoking, with smoking permitted only in segregated smoking areas located in Cars No. 3, 7, 10 and 15 of the 16-car formation.

All direct regularly scheduled NOZOMI services between Tokyo, Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka) were operated by N700 series sets from 13 March 2010. From the start of the revised timetable on 17 March 2012, all regularly scheduled NOZOMI services, including operations truncated to the Tokaido Shinkansen line, were operated by N700 series sets. The NOZOMI service is not valid for foreign tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass. To use the service, the basic fare and Shinkansen express charge must be paid, together with the Green Car (first class) surcharge when using a Green Car (first class) seat.


The Tokaido Shinkansen (Japanese: 東海道新幹線; Traditional Chinese: 東海道新幹綫; Simplified Chinese: 东海道新干线) is a high-speed Shinkansen railway line connecting the major metropolitan cities of Tokyo and Osaka via Nagoya in the central region of Honshu in Japan. Operated by Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), it is the oldest high-speed Shinkansen railway line in Japan and the world's most heavily-travelled high-speed railway line, with a ridership of approximately 5.3 billion passengers from 1964 to 2012. Passing through mostly sparsely-populated areas in central Japan, the line has a top speed of 285 km/h (177 mph).

The line was opened for passenger service on 1 October 1964, in conjunction with the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with the first generation train sets running at maximum speeds ranging between 210 km/h (130 mph) and 270 km/h (170 mph). From 1 October 2003, Shinagawa Station was added to the line to relieve overcrowding at Tokyo Station, thus increasing the number of daily NOZOMI services. From the start of the revised timetable on 15 March 2008, Shinagawa and Shin-yokohama Stations became mandatory stopping points for all Tokaido Shinkansen train services.

The line celebrated its 50th anniversary of operations on 1 October 2014, with its top speed raised from 270 km/h (170 mph) to 285 km/h (177 mph) from the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015. As of 26 March 2016, the 16-car 700 series and N700 series sets operate across the various NOZOMI, HIKARI and KODAMA services at speeds ranging from 270 km/h (170 mph) to 285 km/h (177 mph), with most NOZOMI and HIKARI services offering through service to the Sanyo Shinkansen line as far as Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka). 700 series sets are also scheduled to be withdrawn from all Tokaido Shinkansen services by the end of March 2020. NOZOMI trains are not viable for tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass.


Tokyo Station (Japanese: 東京駅; Traditional Chinese: 東京車站; Simplified Chinese: 东京车站) is a large major interchange railway terminal complex located in the centre of the Marunouchi business district in Marunouchi 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It is the central railway terminal serving the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, the fifth-busiest railway terminal across eastern Japan and the busiest railway terminal in Japan, with at least 4,000 trains departing and arriving at the station daily. The station serves as a major beginning point for most of Japan's flagship high-speed Shinkansen trains, and underwent a major renovation process from 2007 to 2012, with the renovations completed in October 2012 after the re-opening of the former Marunouchi station building.

Other than serving as a major terminus for most high-speed Shinkansen train services, the station serves as a major terminus for the Chuo Main Line, Keiyo Line, Sobu Main Line, Tokaido Main Line, Ueno-Tokyo Line and the Yokosuka Line, with the Ueno-Tokyo Line providing through service to the Joban Line, Takasaki Line and Tohoku Main Line. Tokyo Station also currently serves as a major interchange point for the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line, Yamanote Line and the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line. It is also a mandatory stopping point for Narita Express limited express services providing direct railway service to Narita International Airport and for limited express train services bound for the Joban Line via the Ueno-Tokyo Line. Several limited express trains bound for the Boso and Izu Peninsulas also begin and end here.

The exterior view of the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station on a bright and clear early winter's morning

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing concourse located near the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

Approaching the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gates located near the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 18 and 19 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screens for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 101 bound for Hiroshima would be the first train to depart from Track No. 19

The LED destination panel of a 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z4 (X4), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 11 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z4 (X4), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 11 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z4 (X4), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 11 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), during the boarding process on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z4 (X4), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 11 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), during the boarding process on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The logo of a 16-car JR West N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. F3, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 101 bound for Hiroshima, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. F3, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 101 bound for Hiroshima, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. F3, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 101 bound for Hiroshima, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. F3, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 101 bound for Hiroshima, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z19 (X19), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

A 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N15 (K15), which would operate as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 13 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), entering Tokyo Station on Track No. 18

The logo of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N15 (K15), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 13 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N15 (K15), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 13 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N15 (K15), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 13 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), during the boarding process on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N15 (K15), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 13 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), during the boarding process on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The departure information screens for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 18 and 19 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour while waiting for the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka

Tracks No. 18 and 19 serving some of the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z43 (X43), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 15 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z43 (X43), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 15 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 17 at Tokyo Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z63 (X63), which would operate as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 207 bound for Shin-osaka, entering Tokyo Station on Track No. 18

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z63 (X63), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 207 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z63 (X63), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 207 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 18 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 18 and 19 serving some of the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station while waiting for the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka

The departure information screens for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka would be the first train to depart from Track No. 19

Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station shortly before the the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka arrived at the station

After spending approximately 45 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 18 and 19, a 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, which would operate as the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, finally entered Tokyo Station at 8.07 a.m. on Track No. 19. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 8 and headed into Car No. 9, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, before settling into my assigned Seat No. 15D for the early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat next to me, 15C, would remain vacant for the entire early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from Tokyo to Shin-osaka. Once the clock struck precisely 8.23 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 307 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively modern hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka. I was then on my way for an early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively modern hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

700系新幹線 C38編成 のぞみ307号 新大阪行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station. I clearly remember riding on this train as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 478 bound for Tokyo between Nagoya and the Tokyo terminal station in December 2014

Getting ready to board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 15D, during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 19 at Tokyo Station

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

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

700系新幹線 C38編成 のぞみ307号 新大阪行き 東京駅から新横浜駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

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

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fujisawa

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

Bypassing some farming fields in the suburban city of Atsugi

A breathtaking and scenic view of Mount Fuji on a bright and clear winter's morning

Bypassing some small warehouses in the suburban city of Isehara

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

A view of my seat, 15D, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the small suburban town of Nakai

700系新幹線 C38編成 のぞみ307号 新大阪行き 小田原 (通過) ~ 三島 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Mishima

Bypassing a large green field in the suburban city of Mishima

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fuji

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Fuji

Bypassing some warehouses in the suburban city of Fuji

Another breathtaking and scenic view of Mount Fuji on a bright and clear winter's morning

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

Crossing the Fuji River on a bright and clear winter's morning

Bypassing some housing areas in the border between the cities of Fuji and Shizuoka

Bypassing some housing areas in a suburb of Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka

700系新幹線 C38編成 のぞみ307号 新大阪行き 静岡 (通過) ~ 浜松 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in a suburb between Naka-ku and Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu

Bypassing a warehouse in a suburb of Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu, near Lake Hamana

Crossing Lake Hamana between the cities of Hamamatsu and Kosai

A breathtaking view of Lake Hamana on a bright and clear winter's morning

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

A view of my seat, 15D, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Passing through Toyohashi Station

Crossing a bridge past some farming areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Toyokawa

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

A view of my seat, 15D, between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Okazaki

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Anjo

Passing through Mikawa-anjo Station

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Kariya

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

A view of my seat, 15D, between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

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

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 C38編成 のぞみ307号 新大阪行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 米原 (通過)

Bypassing some farming fields in the suburban city of Maibara

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

A view of my seat, 15D, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

Bypassing some farming fields in the suburban city of Omihachiman

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kusatsu

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Otsu

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, as the train approaches Kyoto Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, as the train approaches Kyoto Station

A view of my seat, 15D, as the train approaches of Kyoto Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat as the train approaches Kyoto Station

Bypassing some warehouses in Yamashina-ku, Kyoto, as the train approaches Kyoto Station

Overlooking the skyline of downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, as the train approaches Kyoto Station

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station

700系新幹線 C38編成 のぞみ307号 新大阪行き 京都駅から終点新大阪駅間

After a routine early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 10.56 a.m. on Track No. 27. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board, I alighted from the train and took the nearest escalator down to the main Shinkansen concourse, eventually reaching there by eleven o' clock. I then went to have a brief washroom break before heading over to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates.

Upon having a brief washroom break, I went over to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates before showing my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate. In the JR Line interchange concourse, I went to check which platform the next Special Rapid Service train bound for Himeji would be scheduled to depart from. According to the train departure information screens, the next Special Rapid Service train bound for Himeji would depart at 11.09 a.m. from Track No. 16.

However, an announcement was made that due to suspicious objects being discovered at Higashi-yodogawa Station, train services on the JR Kyoto Line and JR Kobe Line in both directions were delayed between approximately seven to ten minutes. Despite that, I took the escalators down to Tracks No. 15 and 16, where a crowd of commuters were waiting to board the next trains to downtown Osaka and Kobe. I then headed to the front parts of the platform to ensure that I could board the next train easily.

Shin-osaka Station (Japanese: 新大阪駅; Chinese: 新大阪站) is an interchange railway terminal complex located in Nishinakajima 5-chome, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, Japan. Operated jointly by both Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and West Japan Railway Company (JR West), it serves as the western terminus for the Tokaido Shinkansen line and as the eastern terminus for the Sanyo Shinkansen line. Being one of the busiest and central railway terminals serving Osaka and the Keihanshin metropolitan area, the station also serves as an interchange station for the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line) and the Osaka Municipal Subway Midosuji Line.

The station was opened on 1 October 1964, in conjunction with the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen line, but was built away from the city centre due to construction issues for high-speed trains. From 15 March 1972, the station became an interchange station for the Sanyo Shinkansen line to Okayama, with the line extended to Hakata (Fukuoka) on 10 March 1975. Today, most train services from the Tokaido Shinkansen line offer through service to the Sanyo Shinkansen line as far as Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka). Since 12 March 2011, shorter 8-car trains bound for the Kyushu Shinkansen line also originate and terminate at the station.

From 16 March 2013, an additional eastbound Shinkansen station platform (Track No. 27) was opened to relieve overcrowding at the existing platforms. The station serves as a mandatory stopping point for all commuter trains on the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line), including the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka services to Kansai International Airport and limited express trains bound for both the Chubu and Hokuriku regions. Also, most limited express trains bound for the San'in region and Kii Peninsula originate and terminate here.

Track No. 27 serving some of the eastbound Tokaido Shinkansen trains bound for Nagoya and Tokyo at Shin-osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Looking back at the out-of-service 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 27 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The logo of the out-of-service 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C38, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 307 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 27 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The main Shinkansen concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

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

The main JR Line interchange concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 15 and 16 at Shin-osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information screens for trains departing from Track No. 16 at Shin-osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Track No. 16 at Shin-osaka Station shortly before the delayed 11.09 a.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Himeji arrived at the station

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 15 and 16, an 8-car 223 series EMU, operating as the delayed 11.09 a.m. Special Rapid Service bound for Himeji, finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 11.15 a.m. on Track No. 16, approximately seven minutes behind schedule. Once all the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 3 and settled down for the short and routine early afternoon rush trip of four minutes to Osaka Station located in the centre of the Umeda business district in downtown Kita-ku, Osaka.

Once the clock struck around 11.17 a.m., all of the train doors were closed, and the Special Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for the remaining half of its early afternoon commuter rush trip of 2 hours 27 minutes from Maibara to Himeji via Osaka. I was then on my way for a short and routine early afternoon rush trip of not four minutes to Osaka Station in the heart of the Umeda business district in downtown Kita-ku, Osaka.

An 8-car 223 series EMU, operating as the delayed 11.09 a.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Himeji, finally arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 16

The interior of Car No. 3 on board the 8-car 223 series EMU, operating as the delayed 11.09 a.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Himeji, during the boarding process on Track No. 16 at Shin-osaka Station

Finally departing Shin-osaka Station

Crossing the Yodo River onto downtown Kita-ku, Osaka, near the Umeda business district

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Kita-ku, Osaka, near the Umeda business district as the train approaches Osaka Station

Finally arriving at Osaka Station

After a short early afternoon commuter rush trip of just four minutes from Shin-osaka Station, I finally arrived at Osaka Station at 11.21 a.m. on Track No. 5, approximately eight minutes behind schedule. Checking to see that there was no trace of personal belongings left behind on board, I quickly alighted from the crowded train and took the nearby escalators up to the JR Line interchange concourse, thereby reaching there at 11.25 a.m.. I then went to check what time the nearest Osaka Loop Line local train bound for Sakurajima via the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) would depart from.

According to the departure information screens, the next Osaka Loop Line local train bound for Sakurajima via the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) would be scheduled to depart at 11.39 a.m. from Track No. 1. Given that I had less than half an hour left before my continuing local train to Universal Studios Japan, I quickly took the nearest escalator down to Tracks No. 1 and 2 in preparation for the last section of my in-bound morning trip between Tokyo and Universal Studios Japan, thereby reaching the Osaka Loop Line platforms by 11.30 a.m..

Osaka Station (Japanese: 大阪駅; Traditional Chinese: 大阪車站; Simplified Chinese: 大阪车站) is a large major interchange railway terminal complex located in the centre of the Umeda business district in 1-1 Umeda 3-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan. Operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West), the station serves as the city's central railway terminal to the north, and is the world's fourth-busiest rail terminal with Umeda Station and the busiest railway station in western Japan, with more than approximately 2.3 million passengers passing through the station daily in 2005. The station currently serves as an interchange station for the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line), Fukuchiyama Line (Takarazuka Line) and Osaka Loop Line.

The station was opened from 11 May 1874, initially serving the JR Kyoto Line and JR Kobe Line as part of the Tokaido Main Line between Tokyo and Kobe. From 5 April 1898, the station became an interchange station with the Osaka Loop Line. Having undergone a major renovation process between the 1900s and 1980s, the station gradually transformed into a major railway terminal complex. From 2007, the station's sixth platform (Track No. 11) was closed for extensive renovations, and was re-opened once again on 20 December 2009. A large shopping mall, Osaka Station City (Japanese: 大阪ステーションシティ; Traditional Chinese: 大阪車站城; Simplified Chinese: 大阪车站城), was opened directly above the station complex from 4 May 2011.

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving some of the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line) and Takarazuka Line (Fukuchiyama Line) trains at Osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information screens for trains departing from Tracks No. 5 and 6 at Osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

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

Overlooking the station platforms from the JR Line interchange concourse at Osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Proceeding to the escalators leading to the Osaka Loop Line platforms in the JR Line interchange concourse at Osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 1 and 2 at Osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information screens for trains departing from Track No. 1 at Osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information screens for trains departing from Tracks No. 1 and 2 at Osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Osaka Loop Line, Hanwa Line and Yamatoji Line trains at Osaka Station during the early afternoon rush hour

An 8-car 201 series EMU, operating as the 11.32 a.m. Osaka Loop Line Inner Loop local service bound for Nishikujo, Bentencho & Tennoji, arriving at Osaka Station on Track No. 1

A 4-car 223 series EMU and 4-car 225 series EMU, operating as the 11.36 a.m. "Kansai Airport Rapid Service" & "Kishuji Rapid Service" bound for Kansai International Airport & Wakayama, arriving at Osaka Station on Track No. 1

Track No. 1 at Osaka Station shortly before the 11.39 a.m. Osaka Loop Line local train bound for Sakurajima via the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, an 8-car 201 series EMU, operating as the 11.39 a.m. Osaka Loop Line local service bound for Sakurajima via the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line), finally arrived at Osaka Station at 11.38 a.m. on Track No. 1. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 2, and took a good seating area for the short and quick early afternoon trip of 12 minutes to the popular and modern western Universal Studios Japan theme park in downtown Konohana-ku, Osaka.

Once the clock struck exactly 11.39 a.m. sharp, the train doors were closed, and the Osaka Loop Line local train finally pulled out of Osaka Station for the remainder of its short and routine early afternoon commuter rush trip of 42 minutes from Tennoji to Sakurajima. I was then on my way for a short and routine early afternoon trip of just 12 minutes to the popular and modern western Universal Studios Japan theme park near Osaka Bay in downtown Konohana-ku, Osaka.

201系 大阪環状線・桜島線 普通列車 桜島行き 大阪駅に入線シーン

The interior of Car No. 2 on board the 8-car 201 series EMU, operating as the 11.39 a.m. Osaka Loop Line local service bound for Sakurajima via the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line), during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at Osaka Station

Awaiting departure from Osaka Station

201系 大阪環状線・桜島線 普通列車 桜島行き 大阪駅からユニバーサルシティ駅間 (1/2)

Making a brief stop at Nishikujo Station

201系 大阪環状線・桜島線 普通列車 桜島行き 大阪駅からユニバーサルシティ駅間 (2/2)

After a short and quick early afternoon commuter trip of just 12 minutes from Osaka Station in the Umeda business district in downtown Kita-ku, Osaka, I finally arrived at Universal City Station at 11.51 a.m. on Track No. 2. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalator up to the main station concourse before heading over to the ticketing gates. Reaching the main ticketing gates, I quickly showed my two-week Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gates.

Exiting the main station concourse of Universal City Station, I walked across Universal CityWalk Osaka to the main entrance of Universal Studios Japan, eventually reaching there by 12 noon. Heading over to the nearest theme park ticket office, I purchased a one-day Universal Studios Japan theme park pass to be spent in one day at the theme park itself. Upon purchasing my one-day Universal Studios Japan theme park pass, I quickly headed to the ticket barriers and scanned my theme park pass before being permitted to enter the theme park compound itself at 12.10 p.m..

Since I was already inside Universal Studios Japan, I immediately decided that the first stop of the day to be made in the whole theme park would be The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. With that, I walked across the entire theme park, bypassing several attractions, such as the 4-D theatre adventures, the JAWS shark ride and several roller coaster rides. The entire walk over to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter from the main theme park entrance took not more than approximately 10 minutes on foot.

Universal City Station (Japanese: ユニバーサルシティ駅; Korean: 유니버설시티 역; Traditional Chinese: 環球影城站; Simplified Chinese: 环球影城站) is a mid-sized ground level railway station near Universal Studios Japan located in 2-28 Shimaya 6-chome, Konohana-ku, Osaka, Japan. Operated solely by West Japan Railway Company (JR West), it serves the popular western Universal Studios Japan theme park, and is served by the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line), with certain trains providing direct train service to downtown Osaka, Kyobashi and Tennoji via Nishikujo. Opened for service from 1 March 2001, the station has two side platforms serving two tracks, and sports a futuristic design by local architect Tadao Ando.

Universal Studios Japan (Japanese: ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン; Malay: Universal Studios Jepun; Korean: 유니버설 스튜디오 재팬; Traditional Chinese: 日本環球影城; Simplified Chinese: 日本环球影城) is a western theme park owned by Universal Parks & Resorts located in 1-33 Sakurajima 2-chome, Konohana-ku, Osaka, Japan. It is the first Universal Studios theme park resort branch to be opened outside of the United States, and the first Universal Studios theme park branch to be opened in Asia. With approximately 13.9 million visitors to the theme park in fiscal 2015, it is the second-busiest theme park in Asia and the world's fourth-busiest theme park, with most visitors consisting of local tourists and tourists from other Asian countries, including Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

The park was officially opened for revenue service on 31 March 2001 as part of NBCUniversal's plan to expand its services worldwide, thus making it the first Universal Studios theme park branch to be opened in Asia. It received at least 11 million visitors from its first day of operations, making it the world's first theme park to achieve the milestone of 10 million visitors at that time. With attractions ranging from New York to Amity Village, the park also has The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter as Asia's first Harry Potter attraction since 15 July 2014. The park is directly accessible from Universal City Station on the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) by West Japan Railway Company (JR West), with some trains providing through service to downtown Osaka.

Track No. 2 serving the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) trains bound for Sakurajima at Universal City Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The station name plate on Track No. 2 serving the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) trains bound for Sakurajima at Universal City Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The interior of the main station concourse leading to the ticketing gates at Universal City Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Walking across Universal CityWalk Osaka in the direction leading to Universal Studios Japan from Universal City Station

Finally approaching the main entrance courtyard outside Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

The miniature Universal globe fountain near the main entrance courtyard outside Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

The main theme park ticketing gates at the main entrance courtyard outside Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

My one-day theme park pass for Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Walking across Hollywood Street in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Bypassing the Universal Studios Cinema 4-D Theatre in Hollywood Street in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Bypassing some small restaurants and theme park souvenir shops along Hollywood Street in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Walking across the theme park path leading to Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Overlooking the roller coaster and JAWS attractions in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Bypassing a Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlour in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

A hanging great white shark model near the JAWS ride attraction in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Overlooking the JAWS ride attraction in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Approaching the pathway leading to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Walking across the pathway leading to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

After walking through both Hollywood Street and Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan for approximately 10 minutes, I finally arrived at the pathway leading towards The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at 12.20 p.m.. Walking through the main pathway, I passed several model set-ups, such as the Flying Ford Anglia model display before arriving at the main entrance. There, I saw a large model locomotive train display of the Hogwarts Express. Since I was already in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, I decided to find a shop to purchase some souvenirs first.

Walking past several theme park souvenir shops, I ultimately stumbled upon a popular wizarding confectionery shop, known as Honeydukes, in a few seconds. Entering the shop, I looked at the various wizarding confectioneries available, which included the Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and Chocolate Frogs, before choosing the ones that would be the most attractive to my eyes. Given that I was in for something chocolatey, I purchased seven packs of Chocolate Frogs, knowing that it would make an excellent souvenir from my travels to the theme park itself.

Upon purchasing my Chocolate Frogs from Honeydukes, I was beginning to feel thirsty for some Butterbeer, knowing that there was a non-alcoholic Butterbeer stall available near the main entrance to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. With that, I headed over to the Butterbeer stand, where a long queue was already forming for the popular wizarding beverage. Once my turn came to purchase my Butterbeer 10 minutes later, I purchased a cup of Butterbeer consisting of non-alcoholic root beer with butterscotch foam. As soon as I received my cup of Butterbeer, I promptly found a nearby stand to enjoy my popular wizarding drink in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter.

Looking at the Weasley family's Flying Ford Anglia model display at the pathway leading to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Overlooking the Hogwarts Express train locomotive display near the main entrance to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Stopping by at Honeydukes at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Rolling up close to the Butterbeer stall to get some Butterbeer for myself at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

A nice and refreshing glass of Butterbeer for myself at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

An arcade of wizarding retail shops resembling Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

After purchasing all my Chocolate Frogs from Honeydukes and having some refreshing Butterbeer, the clock was finally showing 12.40 p.m.. Given that there was still plenty of time left, I decided that there was more shopping to be done around The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. With that, I walked across the streets resembling Diagon Alley in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in search for a nearby souvenir shop, arriving at a popular wizarding equipment shop selling witches and wizards robes and magic wands, known as Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, at 12.45 p.m..

Entering Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment itself, I looked through the many wands of wizards and witches before selecting the wands that would make the best souvenirs from my westbound day trip to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. While shopping at Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, I purchased a total of three of Ron Weasley's wands and Neville Longbottom's wand for my younger brother as souvenirs. Upon purchasing my wands, I decided to explore around more, eventually seeing the Great Lake and the exterior of Hogwarts Castle, while having a brief rest so as to relieve my aching feet.

Walking through the arcade of wizarding retail shops resembling Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Bypassing the Ollivander's Wand Shop attraction at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Stopping over at Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Overlooking the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster attraction at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

The exterior view of Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Overlooking the exterior view of Diagon Alley near the Great Lake at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

After spending approximately 45 minutes of shopping for popular wizarding souvenirs and sightseeing around The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan, the clock was finally showing 1.05 p.m.. Given that I was ready to visit more attractions around the theme park, I decided to find a nearby ice cream parlour for some ice cream before going to the JAWS ride attraction in Amity Village. With that, I headed back into the shopping street of Diagon Alley, where a photo-posing session with an owl was underway.

To make my time at Universal Studios Japan memorable at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, I made the decision to pose for a photograph with an owl first. Rolling up, I saw that there were lots of tourist waiting to pose for a photograph with the Great Grey Owl resembling Errol. Once my turn to pose a photograph with the owl came about, I lent the photographer my Canon camera, where I posed for a good photograph with the Great Grey Owl being held up by its trainer.

Upon having my photograph taken with the Great Grey Owl in Diagon Alley, I quickly departed The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter with my souvenirs and walked through the pathway leading to Amity Village. Soon enough, I finally stumbled upon a Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlour located near Amity Village at 1.15 p.m.. Upon entering the ice cream parlour itself, I requested for a scoop of Chopped Chocolate and Cookies & Cream ice cream each for myself. Once I had paid for my scoops of ice cream, I quickly found an open public table to enjoy my two scoops of ice cream before continuing my tour around Universal Studios Japan.

Walking through Diagon Alley near the Great Lake at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Posing for a photograph with the Great Grey Owl in Diagon Alley in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

Walking through Diagon Alley close to the main entrance at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Overlooking the Hogwarts Express train locomotive display near the main entrance to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan shortly before I headed to Amity Village

Walking across the pathway between The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter and Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Approaching the entrance and exit point to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Finally arriving at the Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlour in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Overlooking the hanging great white shark model near the JAWS ride attraction in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

A cup of Chopped Chocolate and Cookies & Cream ice cream near the Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlour in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

After having some nice and refreshing ice cream close to the Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlour located in Amity Village, the clock was finally showing two o' clock. Since I was ready to go on the JAWS boat ride attraction, I headed to the ride entrance and went to the single riders line for the ride. Once my turn came to board the boat ride, I was seated close to the rear of the entire boat. However, before departing from the main dock, an announcement was made to all passengers that photography, including the usage of flash, was forbidden for security reasons.

Through the JAWS ride, several massive great white shark models with firing barrels came about to make the ride even more thrilling. Once the boat ride docked onto the arrival dock, I quickly took all my belongings and alighted from the boat. Since I was beginning to feel quite hungry, I decided to find a nearby cafeteria for some afternoon tea. With that instant, I walked across the streets of Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan in search for a good cafeteria for some light afternoon tea since I had not eaten anything for the entire afternoon.

About to enter the JAWS ride attraction in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

The Amity Harbour Boat Tours logo located above the entrance to the JAWS ride attraction in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Bypassing some old shophouse models close to the JAWS ride attraction in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Overlooking several snack shops and rest areas in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

Bypassing Boardwalk Snacks Shop in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

The overall street view of Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's afternoon

After walking across the streets of Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan, I finally arrived at a theme park fastfood restaurant, known as Amity Landing Restaurant, at 2.20 p.m.. Entering the restaurant itself, I headed to the meal order counter to place my afternoon tea orders for the day. I ordered some deep-fried shrimps with some french fries and a cup of Fanta Grape. With my order paid at the cashier counter, I headed over to the reception counter to receive my tray containing my orders.

Upon claiming my main meal orders, I went into the main cafeteria area and found a large seating area for myself. The deep-fried shrimps tasted slightly mild in spices, with the french fries tasting quite refreshing and the Fanta Grape drink being enough to quench my thirst. Once I was finished with my light afternoon tea, the clock was finally showing 2.55 p.m.. With one more theme park attraction for the day, I decided to head to the Universal Studios 4-D Cinema Theatre in Hollywood Street to see the Shrek 4-D Adventure.

Checking to see that I had everything with me, I departed Amity Landing Restaurant before three o' clock, and walked across the streets of Amity Village and Hollywood Street to the Universal Studios 4-D Cinema Theatre located in the centre of Hollywood Street close to the theme park's main entrance. Arriving at the Universal Studios 3-D Cinema Theatre at 3.10 p.m., a signboard read that the next Shrek 4-D Adventure short film would be scheduled to commence at 3.40 p.m.. With that, I promptly rolled up at the front of the line for the next Shrek 4-D Adventure show to begin.

Finally stumbling upon Amity Landing Restaurant in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's mid-afternoon

A tray of deep-fried shrimps and french fries with some Fanta Grape for myself at Amity Landing Restaurant in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's mid-afternoon

The interior view of Amity Landing Restaurant in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's mid-afternoon

The exterior view of Amity Landing Restaurant in Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's mid-afternoon

Walking along the streets of Amity Village in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's mid-afternoon

Walking along the streets between Amity Village and Hollywood Street in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's mid-afternoon

Bypassing some theme park retail shops in Hollywood Street in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's mid-afternoon

Walking across Hollywood Street in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's mid-afternoon

Finally arriving at the Universal Studios Cinema 4-D Theatre in Hollywood Street in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's mid-afternoon

After standing in the line outside the Universal Studios 4-D Cinema Theatre for about 20 minutes, the clock was ultimately showing 3.20 p.m.. A female theatre assistant then removed the rope and allowed the guests for the 3.40 p.m. Shrek 4-D Adventure show into the cinema theatre waiting area, with the wait taking approximately 15 minutes. Once the cinema theatre doors were opened, all the guests piled up into the nearest seats available, while I took a seat closer to the entrance where the guests came in.

However, approximately 10 minutes later, an announcement was made that due to a technical glitch and fault in the screening room requiring urgent cinema maintenance works, the Shrek 4-D Adventure shows from 3.40 p.m. onwards were to be cancelled, also apologising to the disappointed guests for the inconvenience caused. There was also an additional announcement that buses would be coming to ferry the guests to their respective hotels to compensate for the cancellation due to technical screening issues, reminding everybody to remain seated until a public announcement to depart from the cinema was made.

This would also be the only area of improvement for my first self-day trip to Universal Studios Japan, apart from enjoying the JAWS boat ride attraction in Amity Village and The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. Given that I was staying in Tokyo, I knew that I would be unaffected by the public transport offerings by the theme park crew. At the same time, it dawned upon me that since it would be getting dark soon and that there was nothing much left to do in the theme park, I decided to return to Tokyo.

For the early evening return trip back to Tokyo, I would catch the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, which would depart from Shin-osaka Station at 7.10 p.m., and arrive back at the Tokyo terminal station at 9.43 p.m.. However, since it was still quite early, I decided to stop over at Osaka Station to make some Green Car (first class) seat reservations at a JR Ticket Office first before continuing my trip back to Shin-osaka Station via the Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line).

Soon, an announcement was made at four o' clock that everybody was to leave the cinema in an orderly fashion. With the cinema theatre exit doors opening, I headed out into Hollywood Street before heading out to the park entrance and exit, exiting the theme park at 4.15 p.m.. I then walked across the paths of Universal CityWalk Osaka leading to Universal City Station, thus reaching the main concourse at 4.20 p.m.. In the main ticketing concourse, I quickly showed my Japan Rail Pass to the officer at the staffed ticketing gate.

Entering the station's platform concourse, I went to check which platform the next Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) local train bound for Tennoji via Osaka & Kyobashi would depart from. According to the train departure information screens, the next Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) local train bound for Tennoji via Osaka & Kyobashi would depart at 4.37 p.m. from Track No. 1. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the escalator down to Track No. 1, eventually reaching there by 4.25 p.m..

Walking across Hollywood Street in Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's late afternoon

Approaching the exit and entrance gates at Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's late afternoon

Bypassing a Universal Studio Gifts shop located near the exit concourse at Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's late afternoon

The miniature Universal globe fountain near the main entrance courtyard outside Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's late afternoon

The main entrance courtyard outside Universal Studios Japan on a bright and clear winter's late afternoon

Walking across Universal CityWalk Osaka in the direction leading to Universal City Station from Universal Studios Japan

Finally arriving at Universal City Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The interior of the main station concourse leading to the ticketing gates at Universal City Station during the late afternoon rush hour

Taking the escalator down to Track No. 1 at Universal City Station during the late afternoon rush hour

Track No. 1 serving the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) trains bound for Osaka, Kyobashi and Tennoji via the Osaka Loop Line at Universal City Station during the late afternoon rush hour

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

Track No. 1 at Universal City Station shortly before the 4.37 p.m. Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) local service bound for Tennoji via Osaka & Kyobashi arrived at the station

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting on the side platform, an 8-car 201 series EMU, operating as the 4.37 p.m. Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) local service bound for Tennoji via Osaka & Kyobashi, finally arrived at Universal City Station at 4.33 p.m. on Track No. 1. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 6, and secured a good seating area for the short late afternoon return trip of 13 minutes back to Osaka Station in the centre of the Umeda business district in downtown Kita-ku, Osaka.

Once the clock struck exactly 4.37 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) local train ultimately pulled out of Universal City Station for its routine late afternoon commuter rush trip of 42 minutes to Tennoji via Osaka & Kyobashi on the Osaka Loop Line. I was then on my way for a short and routine late afternoon return trip of 13 minutes back to Osaka Station located in the centre of the Umeda business district in downtown Kita-ku, Osaka.

201系 大阪環状線・桜島線 普通列車 天王寺行き ユニバーサルシティ駅に入線シーン

The interior of Car No. 6 on board the 8-car 201 series EMU, operating as the 4.37 p.m. Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) local service bound for Tennoji via Osaka & Kyobashi, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at Universal City Station


201系 大阪環状線・桜島線 普通列車 天王寺行き ユニバーサルシティ駅から大阪駅間 (1/2)

Making a brief stop at Nishikujo Station

201系 大阪環状線・桜島線 普通列車 天王寺行き ユニバーサルシティ駅から大阪駅間 (2/2)

After a short and quick late afternoon return commuter trip of 13 minutes from the popular and ultra-modern western Universal Studios Japan theme park located in downtown Konohana-ku, Osaka, I ultimately arrived back at Osaka Station at 4.50 p.m. on Track No. 2. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind, I promptly alighted from the train and took the nearest escalator upwards to the JR Line interchange concourse. I then proceeded over to the JR Line ticketing gates, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate.

Entering the ticketing concourse at 4.55 p.m., I went to the nearby JR Ticket Office to make my Green Car (first class) seat reservations. At the JR Ticket Office itself, I made two Green Car (first class) seat reservations for a day trip to Kanazawa on Sunday (11 December) and for Kansai International Airport on Monday (12 December). Given that my trip to Kansai International Airport would involve the use of NOZOMI trains on the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen line, I paid up the necessary fares and surcharges. Once I had made my two Green Car (first class) seat reservations, I headed back to the JR Line ticketing gates, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate.

Once I was back in the JR Line interchange concourse at 5.05 p.m., I quickly went to check which platform number the next Special Rapid Service train bound for Tsuruga via Maibara would depart from. According to the train departure information screens, the next Special Rapid Service train bound for Tsuruga via Maibara would depart at 5.30 p.m. from Track No. 9. Without wasting anymore time, I promptly took the nearest escalator down to Tracks No. 9 and 10, eventually reaching the platforms at 5.10 p.m..

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Osaka Loop Line, Hanwa Line and Yamatoji Line trains at Osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Walking through the JR Line interchange concourse at Osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

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

Stopping by at the JR Ticket Office in the JR Line ticketing concourse at Osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Overlooking the station platforms from the JR Line ticketing concourse at Osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Heading back to the main ticketing gates in the JR Line ticketing concourse at Osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The departure information screens for trains departing from Tracks No. 7 to 10 in the JR Line interchange concourse at Osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 9 and 10 at Osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Tracks No. 9 and 10 serving the Tokaido Main Line (Kyoto Line) trains bound for Kyoto & Maibara at Osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The departure information screens for trains departing from Tracks No. 9 and 10 at Osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

An out-of-service 6-car KiHa 189 series EMU, which previously operated as the Limited Express "Hamakaze" No. 4 bound for Osaka from Hamasaka, on Track No. 10 at the Osaka terminal station

Track No. 9 at Osaka Station shortly before the 5.30 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" train bound for Tsuruga via Maibara arrived at the station

After spending almost 20 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 9 and 10, a 4-car 225 series EMU & 8-car 223 series EMU, operating as the 5.30 p.m. Special Rapid Service bound for Tsuruga via Maibara, finally arrived at Osaka Station at 5.28 p.m. on Track No. 9. Once all the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 12, and settled down for the short and routine early evening commuter rush trip of four minutes to Shin-osaka Station across the Yodo River in downtown Yodogawa-ku, Osaka.

Once the clock struck exactly 5.30 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Special Rapid Service train finally pulled out of Osaka Station for the remainder of its long early evening commuter rush journey of 3 hours 23 minutes between Himeji and Tsuruga via Kyoto and Maibara. I was then on my way for a short and routine early evening commuter return rush trip of just four minutes to Shin-osaka Station located across the Yodo River in the centre of downtown Yodogawa-ku, Osaka.

A 4-car 225 series EMU & 8-car 223 series EMU, operating as the 5.30 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Tsuruga via Maibara, arriving at Osaka Station on Track No. 9

The interior of Car No. 12 on board the 4-car 225 series EMU & 8-car 223 series EMU, operating as the 5.30 p.m. "Special Rapid Service" bound for Tsuruga via Maibara, during the boarding process on Track No. 9 at Osaka Station

Finally departing Osaka Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Kita-ku, Osaka, near the Umeda business district shortly after departing Osaka Station

Crossing the Yodo River between downtown Kita-ku and Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, as night begins to fall across Osaka

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

Finally arriving at Shin-osaka Station

After a short and quick early evening rush trip of four minutes from Osaka Station located in the centre of the Umeda business district of downtown Kita-ku, Osaka, I finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 5.34 p.m. on Track No. 13. Checking to see that I had everything with me, I alighted from the train and took the escalator up to the JR Line interchange concourse. I then headed to the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates, where I showed my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed Shinkansen interchange ticketing gate.

I then went to check which platform the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the departure information screens, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo would depart at 7.10 p.m. from Track No. 24. Though it was still quite early before my return train back to Tokyo, I headed to a nearby kiosk to purchase a grilled Wagyu beef bento meal box for the trip and took the nearest escalator up to Tracks No. 23 and 24, eventually reaching there by 5.45 p.m..

Tracks No. 13 and 14 serving some of the eastbound Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line) trains bound for Kyoto, Maibara and the Kosei Line at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The station name plate on Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The departure information screens for some of the eastbound Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line) trains bound for Kyoto, Maibara and the Kosei Line departing from Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

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

The Shinkansen departure information screens in the main JR Line interchange concourse near the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Finally arriving at the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates in the JR Line interchange concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The main Shinkansen concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 23 and 24 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The LED destination panel of a 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G28, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 250 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G28, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 396 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The departure information screens for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 23 and 24 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

A 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G21, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 289 bound for Shin-osaka, arriving at the Shin-osaka terminal station on Track No. 22

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G21, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 289 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 22 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G21, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 289 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 22 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

A 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B5, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 661 bound for Shin-osaka, arriving at the Shin-osaka terminal station on Track No. 23

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B5, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 661 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 23 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The logo of the 16-car JR West 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. B5, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 661 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 23 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The logo of a 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G13, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 250 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G13, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 250 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G24, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 185 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 22

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G24, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 185 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 22 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G24, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 185 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka), on Track No. 22 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C54, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 383 bound for Shin-osaka, arriving at the Shin-osaka terminal station on Track No. 23

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C54, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 383 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 23 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C54, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 383 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 23 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z35 (X35), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 519 bound for Shin-osaka, arriving at the Shin-osaka terminal station on Track No. 24. I still remember riding on this as Set No. Z35 twice before in June 2013

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z35 (X35), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 519 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 24 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z35 (X35), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 519 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 24 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

A 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G11, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 237 bound for Shin-osaka, arriving at the Shin-osaka terminal station on Track No. 23

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G11, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 237 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 23 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G11, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 237 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 23 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The departure information screens for eastbound Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo would be the second train to depart from Track No. 24

A 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N3 (K3), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 480 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 25. I still remember riding on this train as Set No. N3 as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 7 bound for Hakata (Fukuoka) from Tokyo in December 2014

The logo of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N3 (K3), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 480 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z16 (X16), which would operate as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 404 bound for Tokyo, entering Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 24

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z16 (X16), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 404 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z16 (X16), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 404 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

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

Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station shortly before the the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending approximately 1 hour 05 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 23 and 24, a 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, which would soon operate as the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, finally entered Shin-osaka Station at 6.50 p.m. on Track No. 24. Once the train doors were automatically opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 9, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, and secured my assigned Seat No. 2A for the early evening return journey of 2 hours 33 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat next to me, 2B, would remain vacant for the early evening trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from Shin-osaka to Tokyo. Once the clock struck precisely 7.10 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpresss No. 408 finally pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for its routine early evening journey of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo. I was then on my way for an early evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan.

700系新幹線 C46編成 のぞみ408号 東京行き 新大阪駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

Getting ready to board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

A view of my seat, 2A, during the boarding process on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

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

Awaiting departure from Shin-osaka Station

700系新幹線 C46編成 のぞみ408号 東京行き 新大阪駅から京都駅間

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, shortly after departing Kyoto Station

A bento mealbox of charcoal-grilled beef karubi for myself purchased from the station kiosk at Shin-osaka Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Otsu

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kusatsu

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Maibara

Passing through Maibara Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

A view of my seat, 2A, between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

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

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Ogaki

Bypassing some workhouses in the suburban town of Yoro

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Wanouchi

Crossing the Kiso River close to the suburban city of Hashima

Passing through Gifu-hashima Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Hashima

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kiyosu

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

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 C46編成 のぞみ408号 東京行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 豊橋 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kosai near Lake Hamana

Crossing Lake Hamana between the cities of Kosai and Hamamatsu

Bypassing some housing areas in a suburb of Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu, near Lake Hamana

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in a suburb between Nishi-ku and Naka-ku, Hamamatsu

700系新幹線 C46編成 のぞみ408号 東京行き 浜松 (通過) ~ 静岡 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in a suburb of Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka

A view of my seat, 2A, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

Bypassing some suburban infrastructure in the suburban city of Fuji

700系新幹線 C46編成 のぞみ408号 東京行き 三島 (通過) ~ 小田原 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the small suburban town of Nakai

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

A view of my seat, 2A, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Atsugi

Bypassing some small housing areas in the suburban city of Isehara

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fujisawa

Bypassing a road bridge in downtown Asahi-ku, Yokohama, as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

700系新幹線 C46編成 のぞみ408号 東京行き 新横浜駅から終点東京駅間

After a routine early evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka in western Japan, I finally arrived back at the Tokyo terminal station at 9.43 p.m. on Track No. 16. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board, I promptly alighted from the train and took the nearby escalator to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse before heading over to the Shinkansen ticketing gates located near the Yaesu Central Entrance of the station.

Showing my two-week Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gate, I went over to the cab stands located near the Yaesu Central Entrance of the station. Upon hailing down a nearby black cab, the driver got out to assist in loading my baggage into the cab boot while I informed him to take me back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo. Soon enough, once everything had been safely loaded in, I finally departed Tokyo Station at 9.55 p.m. for a short and quick late evening cab trip of 25 minutes back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

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

The logo of the out-of-service 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 16 at the Tokyo terminal station

Looking back at the out-of-service 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C46, which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 16 at the Tokyo terminal station

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station during the late night rush hour

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing concourse located near the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the late night rush hour

The exterior view of the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station during the late night rush hour

The cab stands located outside the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station during the late night rush hour

The black cab that would soon take me back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at the cab stands located outside the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station during the late night rush hour

Finally departing the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station

Travelling across the roads of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, shortly after departing the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station

Travelling close to the river surrounding the Imperial Palace in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, on route back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Bypassing Kudanshita Station

Travelling past some convenience shops and restaurants across the roads of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, on route back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Travelling across the roads of downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, near Ichigaya Station

Crossing the Kanda River in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, near the Yotsuya district

Travelling past some closed office buildings across the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, on route back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Travelling across the busy and lively nightlife of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, on route back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Travelling across the roads of Nishi-shinjuku in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, near the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Finally arriving back at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

The interior of the main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo late at night shortly after I had arrived back

Finally arriving back at my Room No. 2829 on the 28th floor at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

After a short and quick routine late evening cab trip of just 25 minutes from Tokyo Station in the centre of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived back at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at 10.20 p.m.. Being sure to check that there was nothing left behind on board, I quickly paid up my cab fare and thanked the driver for his kind and selfless services before heading back into the main hotel lobby with my belongings.

Taking the elevator back up to the 28th floor, I finally arrived back at my Room No. 2829 safely at 10.30 p.m.. My younger brother, who was already back in the hotel room, was lying on his bed using his laptop. He told me that the family enjoyed Kyoto, but it could have been made better if they had rented a car for their day use. Getting the car in Kyoto was difficult as a reservation had to be made several days in advance. He was, however, quite satisfied with the souvenir of Neville Longbottom's wand I had purchased from The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

Having a very nice, hot shower, I changed up into my pyjamas for the night before setting my electronic devices to be charged up overnight. Since I still had some energy to be awake, I spent some parts of the night uploading my holiday videos onto my YouTube channel before deciding to go on a regional early afternoon mini-shopping trip to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) the next day. Feeling exhausted from my long day trip to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, I finally turned in at around one o' clock for a well-earned good night's rest.

To summarise my first trip to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka by myself, I can safely say that I had enjoyed Universal Studios Japan a lot, especially during my past visits to the theme park, despite the Shrek 4-D Adventure attraction being out of order due to a technical screening problem. As not much of a Disney fan myself, I can also say that Universal Studios Japan in Osaka is very much better than Everland Resort in South Korea, like my NOZOMI train rides being much better than the Korea Train Express (KTX). Personally, I would not hesitate to visit Universal Studios Japan on my own again if I get the opportunity to do so in future.

Part 2 ~ Regional Shopping Day At Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

In the bright hours of the next morning, which was Saturday (3 December), I woke up relatively early at 7.30 a.m. after having a well-earned good night's rest. The first thing I did was to have a hot shower and change up into my attire before preparing what I would be requiring for the day. According to my annual Japanese railway itineraries, I was to be going on a regional early afternoon shopping journey to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) today. To commence my trip, I had also planned to catch the 9.30 a.m. free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus service bound for Shinjuku Station.

With my younger brother having a shower at around nine o' clock, I noticed that it was still quite early before setting off for my afternoon shopping trip. Since I had advanced plans to catch the 10.24 a.m. Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) from Hamamatsucho, I knew that I would not have time to head to the Executive Lounge on the 37th floor for some breakfast first. With that, I spent the next 15 minutes preparing whatever I required for the afternoon and doing some personal Internet surfing on my laptop.

The view of my Room No. 2829 at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo shortly after we woke up on a bright and clear winter's morning

The view of the streets of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, from my Room No. 2829 at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear winter's morning

Overlooking the Hyatt Regency Hotel Tokyo in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, from my Room No. 2829 at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear winter's morning

After spending the rest of the early morning doing some private surfing on my laptop and preparing my belongings for the day, I was officially ready to depart at 9.15 a.m.. With that, I promptly departed my Room No. 2829 and took the elevator to the main hotel lobby on the ground floor, eventually reaching there at 9.20 a.m.. Heading out to the main entrance, I quickly went to the free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus stop, correctly realising that the next free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus service bound for Shinjuku Station would depart at 9.30 a.m..

Soon enough, a complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus finally showed up at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at 9.25 a.m.. Once the sole bus door was opened, I boarded the bus and secured a good window seat for the short and routine morning bus trip of just five minutes to Shinjuku Station. Once the clock struck precisely 9.30 a.m. sharp, the bus door was closed, and the complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus finally departed the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, taking me for a short and routine morning bus trip of approximately five minutes to the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station.

The interior of the main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo in the morning

The main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear winter's morning

The complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus schedule outside the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear winter's morning

The 9.30 a.m. complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for Shinjuku Station arriving outside the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

The interior of the 9.30 a.m. complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for Shinjuku Station outside the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Finally departing the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Overlooking the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on route to Shinjuku on a bright and clear winter's morning

Overlooking the Hyatt Regency Hotel Tokyo on route to Shinjuku on a bright and clear winter's morning

Travelling across the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, in the direction leading to Shinjuku Station

Bypassing the Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo on route to Shinjuku Station on a bright and clear winter's morning

The Keio Department Store coming into view as the complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus approaches the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station

Finally arriving outside the Keio Department Store near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station

After a short and routine morning complimentary hotel shuttle bus ride of just five minutes from the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Keio Department Store located near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station at 9.35 a.m.. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board, I quickly alighted from the bus and went to the Odakyu Line entrance to Shinjuku Station. Upon entering the main Odakyu Line concourse, I took the staircase down to the underground JR Line ticketing concourse before heading to the underground JR Line ticketing gates near the station's West Entrance.

Upon showing my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate, I went to check which platform the next Yamanote Line Inner Loop train bound for Shibuya, Shinagawa and Tokyo would be scheduled to depart from. According to the departure information screens in the concourse, the next Yamanote Line Inner Loop train bound for Shibuya, Shinagawa and Tokyo would depart at 9.46 a.m. from Track No. 14. Since I had less than a few minutes left, I took the staircase up to Tracks No. 13 and 14, thus reaching the platforms at 9.40 a.m..

Bus Stop No. 21 serving the complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle buses bound for the Hilton Hotel Tokyo outside the Keio Department Store near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Approaching the Odakyu Line entrance located near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The Odakyu Line ticketing concourse located near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Climbing down the stairs to the underground JR Line interchange concourse located near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information screens in the underground JR Line interchange concourse located near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The underground JR Line interchange concourse located near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 13 and 14 at Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Overlooking Tracks No. 15 and 16 at Shinjuku Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Track No. 14 at Shinjuku Station shortly before the 9.46 a.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop train bound for Shibuya, Shinagawa and Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting on both Tracks No. 13 and 14, an 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 9.46 a.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop service bound for Shibuya, Shinagawa and Tokyo, ultimately arrived at Shinjuku Station at 9.46 a.m. on Track No. 13. Once all the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 4, and settled in the relatively crowded train for the short and routine afternoon commuter rush trip of 24 minutes to the Hamamatsucho district located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Soon enough, in just a few seconds, all the train doors were closed, and the Yamanote Line Inner Loop train finally pulled out of Shinjuku Station for its round and routine early afternoon commuter journey around the 23 special wards of downtown Tokyo via Osaki. I was then on my way for a short and routine early afternoon commuter rush trip of not more than 24 minutes to Hamamatsucho Station located in the centre of the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

An 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 9.46 a.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop service bound for Shibuya, Shinagawa and Tokyo, arriving at Shinjuku Station on Track No. 14

The interior of Car No. 4 on board the 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 9.46 a.m. Yamanote Line Inner Loop service bound for Shibuya, Shinagawa and Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Shinjuku Station

Finally departing Shinjuku Station

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

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Harajuku district in downtown Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Harajuku Station

Making a brief stop at Harajuku Station

Making a brief stop at Shibuya Station

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Shibuya district in downtown Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, shortly after departing Shibuya Station

Making a brief stop at Meguro Station

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Osaki district in downtown Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Osaki Station

Making a brief stop at Osaki Station

Travelling parallel to the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks as the train approaches Shinagawa Station

Making a brief stop at Shinagawa Station

Bypassing a large railway yard in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, near Shinagawa Station

Travelling parallel to the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks as the train approaches Tamachi Station

Making a brief stop at Tamachi Station

Travelling parallel to the Tokaido Shinkansen and Tokyo Monorail tracks near the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Hamamatsucho Station

Finally arriving at Hamamatsucho Station

After a short and quick routine early afternoon trip of 24 minutes from the lively and ultra-modern Shinjuku district located in the centre of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 10.10 a.m. on Track No. 2. Squeezing my way through the crowd with my belongings, I alighted from the train and took the escalators up to the JR Line interchange concourse before heading over to the Tokyo Monorail interchange ticketing gates. Proceeding to the Tokyo Monorail interchange ticketing gates, I then showed my two-week Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate.

Upon entering the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line ticketing concourse, I quickly went to check the departure timing for the next Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). According to the train departure information screens in the concourse, the next Haneda Express train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) would be scheduled to depart at 10.24 a.m.. Without wasting anymore time, I took the escalator upwards to the Tokyo Monorail departure platform, eventually reaching there at 10.15 a.m..

The Tokyo Monorail (Japanese: 東京モノレール; Traditional Chinese: 東京單軌電車; Simplified Chinese: 东京单轨电车) is a Japanese monorail system linking between the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, with Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) near Tokyo Bay in the suburban outskirts of Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan. With more than 300,000 passengers using the line daily, it is the most heavily-travelled and most profitable monorail line in the world, serving as the most scenic railway route from downtown Tokyo to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Running parallel to the Keihin Canal and the coastline of Tokyo Bay, the line has a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).

The line was opened for service on 17 September 1964, in conjunction with the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. From 18 March 2007, a passing loop was opened at Showajima Station, allowing Haneda Express services between Hamamatsucho and Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) to begin. Through the afternoon, most local services pull over at Showajima Station to allow Haneda Express services to pass through without stopping. Train service to the International Terminal commenced on 21 October 2010. The line celebrated its 50th anniversary on 17 September 2014.

As of 26 March 2016, the 6-car 1000 series, 2000 series and 10000 series EMUs operate on the various Haneda Express (空港快速), Rapid (区間快速) and Local (普通) services at maximum top speeds of 80 km/h (50 mph), with the Haneda Express services stopping at Hamamatsucho and Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). From fiscal 2015, the remaining 1000 series and 2000 series EMUs in revenue service are scheduled to be repainted into a new livery of a white with lime green, light blue and navy blue livery to evoke the design of the 10000 series EMUs. There are no extra charges for the Tokyo Monorail for foreign tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass.

Hamamatsucho Station (Japanese: 浜松町駅; Traditional Chinese: 濱松町站; Simplified Chinese: 滨松町站) is an interchange railway station located in the centre of the Hamamatsucho district between Hamamatsucho 2-chome and Kaigan 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Tokyo Monorail, it serves the Hamamatsucho district, and serves as a major interchange station for the Keihin-Tohoku Negishi Line and Yamanote Line, and as the terminus for the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line. The Tokaido Shinkansen and Tokaido Main Line pass through the other side of the station without stopping.

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

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

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

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

Finally arriving at 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 10.16 a.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), departing Hamamatsucho Station

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

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10056F-10051F, operating as the 10.20 a.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), on the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line departure platform at Hamamatsucho Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line departure platform at Hamamatsucho Station shortly before the 10.24 a.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) arrived at the station

After spending almost five minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1066F-1061F finally arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 10.21 a.m.. The train had initially 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 10.24 a.m. Haneda Express service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 6 (1066F), and secured an observation seat by the driver's cab.

Once the clock struck precisely 10.24 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train finally pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for its routine early afternoon commuter trip of just 19 minutes to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) located in the suburban outskirts of Ota-ku, Tokyo, near Tokyo Bay. I was then on my way for a short and routine early afternoon commuter trip of 19 minutes to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in the suburban outskirts of Ota-ku, Tokyo, near Tokyo Bay.

Tokyo International Airport (Japanese: 東京国際空港; Traditional Chinese: 東京國際機場; Simplified Chinese: 东京国际机场), also known as Haneda Airport (Japanese: 羽田空港; Traditional Chinese: 羽田機場; Simplified Chinese: 羽田机场), is a major international airport in the Greater Tokyo Area situated near Tokyo Bay in the suburban outskirts of Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It is one of the two major airports serving the Greater Tokyo Area, and is the busiest airport in Japan, with approximately 75 million passengers using the airport daily in fiscal 2015. Classified as a first-class airport under Japanese law, the airport serves as a major hub for Air Do, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Skymark Airlines and Solaseed Air.

The airport was opened on 25 August 1931, serving as the main gateway for travellers coming into the Tokyo for many years, including the World War II years. However, with the opening of Narita International Airport on 20 May 1978, Haneda Airport catered to domestic flights while Narita International Airport handled the international traffic in the Greater Tokyo Area. From 29 November 2003, the airport began to cater to limited international charter flights to Mainland China, Hong Kong and South Korea, with a smaller and isolated international terminal away from the two domestic terminals.

From 21 October 2010, a new and larger international terminal was opened, allowing Haneda Airport to cater to regular international flights during the early morning and the late night hours when Narita International Airport has finished its operations for the day. This led to some consumer complaints due to the lack of facilities and businesses closed during the late night and early morning hours. To rectify these complaints, a new boarding gate concourse was opened, allowing Haneda Airport to cater to more regular international flights during the daylight hours. A hotel in the International Terminal, the Royal Park Hotel The Haneda, was also opened on 30 September 2014.

The airport is easily accessible from the Hamamatsucho district in Minato-ku, Tokyo, via the Tokyo Monorail, which provides direct service connection to Hamamatsucho, with the premium non-stop Haneda Express services taking approximately 20 minutes. There are no extra charges required for the Tokyo Monorail with the Japan Rail Pass, as there is a JR East Travel Service Center on the second floor of the International Terminal. The private Keihin Kyuko Line provides direct service to Shinagawa and Yokohama, with certain train services continuing to Narita International Airport via the Toei Asakusa Line and Keisei Lines.

東京モノレール1000形 (1066F-1061F) 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 (1066F) on board the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1066F-1061F, operating as the 10.24 a.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), during the boarding process at Hamamatsucho Station

The line route indication map in Car No. 6 (1066F) on board the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1066F-1061F, operating as the 10.24 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 (1066F) 空港快速 東京国際空港行き 浜松町駅から終点羽田空港第2ビル駅

After a short and routine early afternoon journey duration of 19 minutes from the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Haneda Airport Terminal 2 terminal station at 10.43 a.m. on Track No. 2. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalator up to the station concourse, showing my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed Tokyo Monorail ticketing gate. Since I was already at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) for the afternoon, I decided to head to Domestic Terminal 1 first.

With that, I grabbed my belongings and went down to the underground passageway leading to Domestic Terminal 1, bypassing Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station en route. The entire underground walk linking between Domestic Terminal 2 and Domestic Terminal 1 took approximately five minutes. Reaching Domestic Terminal 1 safely at 10.55 a.m., I took the escalators up to the first floor to search for a nearby shop to commence my shopping day around the airport first.

Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station (Japanese: 羽田空港第2ビル駅; Traditional Chinese: 羽田機場第2大樓站; Simplified Chinese: 羽田机场第2大楼站) is an underground Tokyo Monorail station in Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in 4-2 Haneda-kuko 3-chome, Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Opened on 1 December 2004, it is located below the passenger terminal building of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2, and currently forms as the southern terminus for the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line. As of 26 March 2016, the station has an island platform serving two tracks, and has an additional island platform used for seasonal events.

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1061F-1066F, now operating as the 10.47 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 Tokyo Monorail ticketing concourse located near Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station in the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the early afternoon rush hour

Bypassing some shops close to the entrance to the underground passageway to Domestic Terminal 1 and Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station in 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 underground passageway to Domestic Terminal 1 and Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station from the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the early afternoon rush hour

The main ticketing gates in the concourse close to Domestic Terminal 2 at Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Walking through the underground passageway to Domestic Terminal 1 from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the early afternoon rush hour

The main concourse close to Domestic Terminal 1 at Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Bypassing some shops close to the entrance to the underground passageway to Domestic Terminal 2 and Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station in the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

Overlooking the upper floors from the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

Walking across the first level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at JALUX Blue Sky Shop located on the first level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

After looking through some shops available on the first floor of Domestic Terminal 1 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), I finally arrived at a familiar hobby and duty-free shop, known as JALUX Blue Sky Shop, at eleven o' clock. This hobby shop was very familiar to me since I had been here many times before during my past visits to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Upon entering the hobby shop itself, I browsed through the many aircraft models available for sale before selecting the ones that would come in as a useful addition to my aircraft model collection at home.

While shopping at JALUX Blue Sky Shop itself, I purchase three Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 commercial aircraft models consisting of an Airbus A350 XWB and two Boeing 777s. Upon purchasing my new aircraft models, the clock was finally showing 11.10 a.m.. Since my next stop of the day would be the International Terminal, I knew that there was a free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus linking the International Terminal with the two main domestic terminals. With that, I walked out to the intra-airport terminal shuttle bus stands located outside the main passenger terminal building of Domestic Terminal 1.

Soon enough, a white and green intra-airport terminal shuttle bus ultimately arrived at the shuttle bus stands outside Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 at 11.15 a.m.. Once the bus doors were opened, I quickly boarded the bus and secured a good seating area before departing Domestic Terminal 1 for a short five-minute intra-airport terminal shuttle bus ride over to the International Terminal. Arriving safely at the bus stop below the International Terminal at 11.20 a.m., I headed into the terminal building and took the elevator up to the departures and check-in hall on the third floor. Once I was in the departures and check-in hall, I changed to two sets of escalators via the fourth floor to access TOKYO POP TOWN on the fifth floor.

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

1) KLM ー Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777-306/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (529297)

KLM ー Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777-306/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (529297)

2) TAM Airlines Airbus A350-941 Herpa Scale 1:500 (529143)

TAM Airlines Airbus A350-941 Herpa Scale 1:500 (529143)

3) Thai Airways International Boeing 777-3D7/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (528366)

Thai Airways International Boeing 777-3D7/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (528366)

The exterior view of JALUX Blue Sky Shop located on the first level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

The arrivals and meeting hall located on the first level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

The bus stands located outside the main passenger terminal building at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1 during the early afternoon rush hour

The free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus linking the two domestic terminals with the International Terminal arriving at the bus stop at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

The interior of the free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus linking the two domestic terminals with the International Terminal during the boarding process at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 1

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

Travelling on the airport roads around Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on route to the International Terminal

Crossing the underground airport road tunnel around Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on route to the International Terminal

Overlooking the airport tarmac close to the International Terminal on route to the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Overlooking the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line tracks as the bus approaches the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Finally arriving at the bus stops below the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The bus stops located below the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

The interior of the Entrance Plaza located on the first floor of International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

The interior of the departures and check-in hall located on the third floor of International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

Taking the escalator up to the EDO KO-JI shopping area located on the fourth floor from the third floor of International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

Overlooking the departures and check-in hall located on the third floor of International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour on route up to the EDO KO-JI shopping area on the fourth floor

Overlooking an open concert theatre in the EDO KO-JI shopping area located on the fourth floor of International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

The interior of TOKYO POP TOWN located on the fifth level at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour shortly after I had arrived

Finally arriving at Hakuhinkan TOY PARK in TOKYO POP TOWN located on the fifth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

After walking from the Entrance Plaza on the first floor the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) up to TOKYO POP TOWN on the fifth floor, I finally arrived at another hobby shop, known as Hakuhinkan TOY PARK, at 11.25 a.m.. This particular hobby shop was also quite familiar to me since I had visited and bypassed this shop several times before during my previous shopping trips to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). Entering the shop, I looked at the merchandise available before selecting something that would suit my tastes and preferences.

While shopping at Hakuhinkan TOY PARK, I purchased a Boeing 777 Herpa Wing Scale 1:500 commercial aircraft model. Upon purchasing my Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 aircraft model, the clock was finally showing 11.30 a.m.. Since it was still quite early, I decided to do some afternoon aircraft-spotting before having lunch. With that, I held on to my belongings and headed to the open-air observation deck and did my usual afternoon aircraft-spotting at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) while enjoying the cooling winter breeze at the same time.

As for the new Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 model I purchased at Hakuhinkan TOY PARK, the details are as follows:

1) Swiss International Air Lines Boeing 777-3DE/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (529136)

Swiss International Air Lines Boeing 777-3DE/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (529136)

Finally arriving at the open-air observation deck located on the fifth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

A Japan Airlines Boeing 777-346/ER, registered JA739J, being pushed back from Gate No. 113 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her long early afternoon trans-Siberian flight to the United Kingdom as Japan Airlines flight JL 043 bound for London (Heathrow)

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, registered JA805A, being serviced at Gate No. 108 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her long early afternoon trans-Siberian flight to the French Republic (France) as All Nippon Airways flight NH 215 bound for Paris (Charles de Gaulle)

A Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5, registered HL7534, being serviced at Gate No. 107 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her regional early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as Korean Air flight KE 2708 bound for Seoul (Gimpo). I still remember flying on this particular aircraft twice before between Singapore and Seoul (Incheon) in December 2011 and December 2012

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381/ER, registered JA735A, taxiing across the main airport tarmac from Gate No. 144 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her long early afternoon trans-Siberian flight to the Federal Republic of Germany as All Nippon Airways flight NH 223 bound for Frankfurt

A Lufthansa Airbus A340-642, registered D-AIHS, resting at Gate No. 106 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) after arriving from her long overnight trans-Siberian flight from the Federal Republic of Germany as Lufthansa flight LH 714 from Munich. She would then return home to the Federal Republic of Germany as Lufthansa flight LH 715 bound for Munich later that afternoon

A Japan Airlines Boeing 777-246, registered JA771J and painted in the special "Oneworld" livery, taxiing across the main airport tarmac to Domestic Terminal 1 after arriving from her regional early afternoon domestic flight from Hokkaido as Japan Airlines flight JL 504 from Sapporo (Chitose)

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, registered JA878A, being towed to Gate No. 109 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her regional early afternoon flight to the Republic of China (Taiwan) as All Nippon Airways flight NH 853 bound for Taipei (Songshan)

A Garuda Indonesia Boeing 777-3U3/ER, registered PK-GIF, taxiing across the main airport tarmac from Gate No. 141 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her long early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Indonesia as Garuda Indonesia flight GA 875 bound for Jakarta

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381/ER, registered JA786A, being pushed back from Gate No. 111 at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in preparation for her long early afternoon trans-Siberian flight to the United Kingdom as All Nippon Airways flight NH 211 bound for London (Heathrow)

An Air France Boeing 777-328/ER, registered F-GSQL, taxiing across the main airport tarmac to the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) after arriving from her long overnight trans-Siberian flight from the French Republic (France) as Air France flight AF 272 from Paris (Charles de Gaulle)

Overlooking the main airport tarmac close to the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) from the open-air observation deck on a bright and clear winter's early afternoon

After spending approximately 25 minutes of early afternoon aircraft-spotting at the open-air observation deck at the International Terminal, the clock was finally showing 11.55 a.m.. Given that I was beginning to feel quite hungry, I decided to search for a restaurant for some lunch before resuming my time around Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). With that, I went back into TOKYO POP TOWN on the fifth floor and took the escalators to the EDO KO-JI shopping area on the fourth floor, where most of the restaurants were located.

Soon enough, I finally arrived at a local shabu-shabu and sukiyaki hot pot restaurant, known as TAKAFUKU (たか福), by 12 noon. This restaurant was familiar to me since I had eaten lunch here once in December 2015. Once a waiter showed up at the main reservation counter, I quickly requested for one table for myself. I was then directed across the restaurant to one table located near the rear before being provided with the main menus to make my reviews for lunch.

Once I was ready to eat, a waitress came by to my table to take down my main meal orders for lunch. I ordered myself a sukiyaki marbled beef meal set for myself and a glass of white wine to accompany my sukiyaki hot pot meal. With the waitress duely taking down my main lunch order, she went back into the kitchen to fetch me some iced water and my glass of white wine before re-appearing at my table with my two drinks. My main course was also brought to my table afterwards, with the waitress spreading and melting the beef tallow in the pot.

With the beef tallow spreading and grilling through the hot pot, I put in the first of the marbled beef with the vegetables, glass noodles and condiments while beating the raw egg. Taking a bite out of the beef slices, it tasted very heavenly and melted in my mouth, especially in the beaten raw egg. Owing to the delicate nature of the marbled beef and glass noodles, ordering an additional round was indeed irresistable, making it one of the best sukiyaki hot pot meals I have ever eaten in Japan. Despite TAKAFUKU's smaller size, it had a more welcoming atmosphere than Garim Steamboat Restaurant (가림) at the Shinsegae Department Store near Myeongdong in Seoul, South Korea.

One last view of the open-air observation deck located on the fifth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) shortly before I headed down to the EDO KO-JI shopping area on the fourth floor

One last view of TOKYO POP TOWN located on the fifth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) shortly before I headed down to the EDO KO-JI shopping area on the fourth floor

The departure flight information screens in TOKYO POP TOWN located on the fifth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The EDO KO-JI shopping district located on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the early afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). I still remember having a sukiyaki hot pot lunch here in December 2015

The interior of TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during lunchtime hours

The cover page for the main menu for TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Reviewing the main menu for TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The cover page for the beverage menu for TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Reviewing the beverage menu for TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The cover page for the English menu for TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Reviewing the English menu for TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

A glass of white wine and iced water for myself at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The sukiyaki hot pot and condiments set up at my table at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The sukiyaki hot pot and condiments surrounded by my main course set up at my table at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

My first platter of marbled beef for sukiyaki and vegetable condiments set up at my table at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The first piece of sukiyaki marbled beef being grilled in the sukiyaki hot pot at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The second piece of sukiyaki marbled beef and vegetable condiments being grilled in the sukiyaki hot pot at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

My second platter of marbled beef for sukiyaki and glass noodles set up at my table at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

An additional piece of sukiyaki marbled beef and more vegetable condiments being grilled in the sukiyaki hot pot at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

About to enjoy a piece of cooked sukiyaki marbled beef dipped in beaten raw egg at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The last piece of sukiyaki marbled beef and vegetable condiments being grilled in the sukiyaki hot pot at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

About to enjoy the last piece of cooked sukiyaki marbled beef dipped in beaten raw egg at TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The interior of TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during lunchtime hours shortly after I had finished eating

After having a filling and sumptuous sukiyaki hot pot lunch at TAKAFUKU (たか福), the clock was finally showing 12.50 p.m.. Given that I was already filled to the brim and was in for some dessert, I decided to head over to Domestic Terminal 2 as the last stop for the day at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport). With that moment, I paid up my lunch bill and quickly retrieved my belongings before departing the restaurant and taking the escalator down to the departures and check-in hall located on the third floor.

Reaching the departures and check-in hall on the third floor at 12.55 p.m., I changed to a nearby elevator down to the Entrance Plaza located on the first floor before heading out to the bus stops located just outside the terminal building. Soon enough, a green and white intra-airport terminal shuttle bus finally arrived at the main bus stop outside the International Terminal at one o' clock. Boarding the bus, I secured a good seating area for the short intra-airport shuttle bus journey to Domestic Terminal 2, eventually departing the International Terminal at 1.05 p.m..

Soon enough, I finally arrived at the main bus stop located outside Domestic Terminal 2 at 1.10 p.m.. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind around the seats on board, I promptly alighted from the bus and went into the terminal building before changing over to a nearby elevator lobby to the third floor. Taking the nearest elevator to the third floor, I had a look around the area carefully to see which cafeteria would be the most appealing to my tastes and preferences for my post-lunch dessert.

It was not that long until I finally arrived at an open public cafeteria, known as West Park Café, at 1.15 p.m.. Heading over to the main order counter, I promptly placed a dessert drink order for an iced caramel frappé for myself. Paying for my dessert order, the cashier informed me that I would be called out once my dessert drink was ready. With that, I found an empty table near the elevator and secured my belongings while waiting for my drink. Once I was called out by my number, I collected my drink and sat back to enjoy my refreshing dessert for the day.

The exterior of TAKAFUKU (たか福) located in the EDO KO-JI shopping district on the fourth floor of the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during lunchtime hours

Overlooking the open concert theatre in the EDO KO-JI shopping area located on the fourth floor of International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Taking the escalator down from the EDO KO-JI shopping area located on the fourth floor to the departures and check-in hall on the third floor of International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The interior of the departures and check-in hall located on the third floor of International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The interior of the Entrance Plaza located on the first floor of International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The bus stops located below the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus linking the two domestic terminals with the International Terminal arriving at the bus stop below the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The interior of the free intra-airport terminal shuttle bus linking the two domestic terminals with the International Terminal during the boarding process at the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

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

Overlooking the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line tracks as the bus departs away from the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Overlooking the Royal Park Hotel The Haneda as the bus departs away from the International Terminal at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Overlooking the International Terminal as the bus departs away from its vicinity at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

Crossing the underground airport road tunnel around Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on route to the Domestic Terminal 2

Overlooking the Shuto Expressway as the bus crosses the flyover bridge at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) on route to Domestic Terminal 2

Travelling on the airport roads around Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) as the bus approaches Domestic Terminal 2

Finally arriving at the bus stops below Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport)

The bus stands located outside the main passenger terminal building at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the mid-afternoon rush hour

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

Overlooking the departures and check-in hall located on the second floor from the third floor in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at West Park Café located on the third floor in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Overlooking the exterior of West Park Café located on the third floor in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour

After having a refreshing and cooling iced caramel frappé at West Park Café located on the fourth floor of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2, the clock was finally showing 1.25 p.m.. Since I was beginning to feel rather tired, I decided to head back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo for a well-earned afternoon rest. With that moment, I promptly took the elevator down to the first basement level, where the station concourse of Haneda Airport Terminal 2 was located in order to catch a nearby Tokyo Monorail Haneda Express train back to Hamamatsucho.

Proceeding to the staffed Tokyo Monorail ticketing gate to show my Japan Rail Pass, I went to check the departure information screens to check the departure time for the next Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho that I could catch. According to the departure information screens in the concourse, the next Haneda Express train bound for Hamamatsucho that I could catch would depart at 1.41 p.m. from Track No. 2. Without wasting anymore time, I promptly took the escalator down to the station platforms, eventually reaching there before 1.30 p.m..

Overlooking the exterior of West Park Café located on the third floor in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour shortly before I headed down to Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

One of the elevator lobbies linking to the lower floors on the third floor in Domestic Terminal 2 at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) during the mid-afternoon rush hour shortly before I headed down to Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The Tokyo Monorail ticketing concourse located near Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station in the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The Tokyo Monorail ticketing gates at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station in the first basement level of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) Domestic Terminal 2 during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The interior of the main station concourse leading to the platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at the station platforms at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1079F-1084F, operating as the 1.29 p.m. "Haneda 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 mid-afternoon rush hour

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 1000 series EMU Set No. 1001F-1006F, operating as the 1.35 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The departure information screens for the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line trains departing from Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU Set No. 2011F-2016F, operating as the 1.38 p.m. local service bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 2 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station shortly before the 1.41 p.m. "Haneda Express" train bound for Hamamatsucho arrived at the station

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10011F-10016F finally arrived at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station at 1.37 p.m. on Track No. 1. The train had initially arrived from Hamamatsucho as a Rapid Service train bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), and was to become the 1.41 p.m. Haneda Express service bound for Hamamatsucho. Once all the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 1 (10011F), and secured an observation seat by the driver's cab.

Once the clock struck exactly 1.41 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 routine early afternoon trip of just 20 minutes to the lively and modern Hamamatsucho district located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo. I was then on my way for a short and routine early afternoon return journey of 20 minutes back to the lively and modern Hamamatsucho district located in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo.

東京モノレール10000形 (10011F-10016F) 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 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10011F-10016F, now operating as the 1.41 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

The interior of Car No. 1 (10011F) on board the 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10011F-10016F, operating as the 1.41 p.m. "Haneda Express" service bound for Hamamatsucho, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

Awaiting departure from Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Station

東京モノレール10000形 (10011F) 空港快速 浜松町行き 羽田空港第2ビル駅から終点浜松町駅間

After a short and routine early afternoon journey duration of 20 minutes from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) near Tokyo Bay in the suburban outskirts of downtown Ota-ku, Tokyo, I ultimately arrived at the Hamamatsucho terminal station at 2.01 p.m.. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind on board, I promptly alighted from the train and took the escalator down to the Tokyo Monorail concourse, eventually reaching there by 2.10 p.m.. Upon showing my Japan Rail Pass at the staffed Tokyo Monorail exit ticket gate, I took the escalator down to the shopping alley below the concourse.

Taking the escalator up to the main JR Line ticketing concourse, I proceeded to the JR Ticket Office to make a Green Car (first class) seat reservation for a Christmas shopping trip to Nagoya for Saturday (10 December). Since I had only two Green Car (first class) seat reservations for NOZOMI trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen line with the first one used for Universal Studios Japan the previous day, I decided to go with the HIKARI service for the Christmas shopping trip to Nagoya. This would be more economical since the HIKARI is the fastest train service that I could use on the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines with my Japan Rail Pass.

Upon completing my Green Car (first class) seat reservations for my Christmas shopping trip to Nagoya, I headed to the JR Line ticketing gates and checked which platform number the next Yamanote Line Outer Loop train bound for Shinagawa, Shibuya and Shinjuku would depart from. According to the train departure information screens, the nearest Yamanote Line Outer Loop train bound for Shinagawa, Shibuya and Shinjuku would depart at 2.24 p.m. from Track No. 3. With that, I promptly took the elevator down to Tracks No. 3 and 4, thereby reaching the platforms at 2.20 p.m..

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10016F-10011F, now operating as the 2.04 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 mid-afternoon rush hour

The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 10000 series EMU Set No. 10016F-10011F, operating as the 2.04 p.m. "Rapid Service" bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), departing from Hamamatsucho Station

The two Tokyo Monorail rolling stock near Hamamatsucho Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

A 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU Set No. 2011F-2016F, which would operate as the 2.08 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), approaching Hamamatsucho Station
 
The 6-car Tokyo Monorail 2000 series EMU Set No. 2011F-2016F, now operating as the 2.08 p.m. local service bound for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), at Hamamatsucho Station

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line concourse at Hamamatsucho Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Walking through the passageway between the Tokyo Monorail and JR Line ticketing concourses at Hamamatsucho Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The JR Line ticketing concourse at Hamamatsucho Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Approaching the JR Line ticketing gates at Hamamatsucho Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

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

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 3 and 4 at Hamamatsucho Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z16 (X16), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 224 bound for Tokyo, bypassing Hamamatsucho Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks

The overall view of the JR Line platforms at Hamamatsucho Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Track No. 3 at Hamamatsucho Station shortly before the 2.24 p.m. Yamanote Line Outer Loop train bound for Shinagawa, Shibuya and Shinjuku arrived at the station

After spending close to five minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 3 and 4, an 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 2.24 p.m. Yamanote Line Outer Loop service bound for Shinagawa, Shibuya and Shinjuku, ultimately arrived at Hamamatsucho Station at 2.24 p.m. on Track No. 3. Once all the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 7, and secured a good seat for the short mid-afternoon commuter rush trip of 25 minutes back to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of the Shinjuku district in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

Soon enough, within less than a few seconds, all the train doors were closed, and the Yamanote Line Outer Loop train finally pulled out of Hamamatsucho Station for its routine mid-afternoon commuter rush trip around the entire 23 special wards of Tokyo with loads of commuters for the afternoon. I was then on my way for a short and quick early afternoon commuter return trip of just 25 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of the Shinjuku district in the heart of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

An 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 2.24 p.m. Yamanote Line Outer Loop service bound for Shinagawa, Shibuya and Shinjuku, arriving at Hamamatsucho Station on Track No. 3

The interior of Car No. 7 on board the 11-car E231 series EMU, operating as the 2.24 p.m. Yamanote Line Outer Loop service bound for Shinagawa, Shibuya and Shinjuku, during the boarding process on Track No. 3 of Hamamatsucho Station

Finally departing Hamamatsucho Station

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, between Hamamatsucho and Tamachi Stations

Making a brief stop at Tamachi Station

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Tamachi district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, between Tamachi and Shinagawa Stations

Making a brief stop at Shinagawa Station

Bypassing some housing apartments and office buildings near the Osaki district in downtown Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, as the between Shinagawa and Osaki Stations

Making a brief stop at Osaki Station

Bypassing some housing apartments and office buildings near the Osaki district in downtown Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, as the between Osaki and Gotanda Stations

Making a brief stop at Gotanda Station

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Meguro district in downtown Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, between Gotanda and Meguro Stations

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Ebisu district in downtown Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, between Meguro and Ebisu Stations

Making a brief stop at Ebisu Station

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Ebisu district in downtown Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, between Ebisu and Shibuya Stations

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Harajuku district in downtown Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, between Shibuya and Harajuku Stations

Making a brief stop at Harajuku Station

Bypassing some housing apartments near the Harajuku district in downtown Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, between Harajuku and Yoyogi Stations

Making a brief stop at Yoyogi Station

Overlooking the Shinjuku Takashimaya Department Store in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, as the train approaches Shinjuku Station

Finally arriving back at Shinjuku Station

After a short and routine mid-afternoon commuter rush trip of 25 minutes from the Hamamatsucho district in downtown Minato-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at Shinjuku Station at 2.49 p.m. on Track No. 15. Squeezing my way through the crowded train, I alighted from the train and took the escalators down to the JR Line underground interchange concourse located close to the West Entrance of the station building. I then headed to the JR Line ticketing gates located close to the West Entrance, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed JR Line ticketing gate.

Exiting the underground JR Line interchange concourse, I walked through the Keio Line concourse of the station in the direction leading to the Keio Department Store and walked up the stairs to the mall's ground floor. Upon exiting the Keio Department Store close to the Odakyu Line entrance to the station, I went over to Bus Stop No. 21 located close to the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station to catch the next complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, which would be scheduled to depart at three o' clock.

Soon enough, a free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus finally arrived at Bus Stop No. 21 outside the Keio Department Store near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station at 2.55 p.m.. Boarding the bus, I secured a good seating area for the routine mid-afternoon trip of five minutes back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo. Once the clock struck precisely three o' clock sharp, the bus door was closed, and the complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus finally pulled out of the Keio Department Store, taking me for a short bus ride of five minutes back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo.

Tracks No. 15 and 16 serving the Yamanote Line Outer Loop trains and Chuo-Sobu Line trains bound for Mitaka at Shinjuku Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The underground JR Line interchange concourse located near the West Entrance at Shinjuku Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The Keio Line ticketing concourse located near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The Odakyu Line entrance located near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The three o' clock complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the Hilton Hotel Tokyo finally arriving at Bus Stop No. 21 located outside the Keio Department Store near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station

The interior of the three o' clock complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus bound for the Hilton Hotel Tokyo outside the Keio Department Store near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station

Finally departing the Keio Department Store near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station

The Odakyu Department Store coming into view as the complimentary Hilton Hotel shuttle bus departs the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Travelling across the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, shortly after departing Shinjuku Station

Travelling across the roads of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, with the Hilton Hotel Tokyo coming into view

Bypassing the Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo on route to back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear mid-afternoon

Bypassing the Hyatt Regency Hotel Tokyo on route to back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear mid-afternoon

The Hilton Hotel Tokyo coming into view on a bright and clear early winter's late afternoon

Turning into the road leading to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, on a bright and clear mid-afternoon

Finally arriving back at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

After a short and quick mid-afternoon hotel shuttle bus trip of five minutes from the Keio Department Store located near the West Entrance to Shinjuku Station, I finally arrived back at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at 3.05 p.m.. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on booard, I promptly alighted from the free Hilton Hotel shuttle bus and went into the main hotel lobby before taking the nearest elevator back up to my Room No. 2829 located on the 28th floor, eventually reaching there by 3.10 p.m..

Once I was back in my Room No. 2829, I saw that my younger brother had still yet to return from his afternoon shopping day around the Shinjuku district with my parents. Sorting out all my electronic devices to be charged up, I spent the rest of the entire afternoon having a well-earned rest and doing some surfing and uploading on my laptop until after nightfall. My younger brother later returned from his afternoon shopping day with my parents before the clock struck six o' clock, while my parents went back to their Room No. 2801 for their evening rest.

The main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo shortly after I had arrived back

The interior of the main hotel lobby at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo shortly after I had arrived back

Finally arriving back at my Room No. 2829 on the 28th floor at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo

Overlooking the view of the skyline of Tokyo from my Room No. 2829 on the 28th floor at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear winter's late afternoon

The view of my Room No. 2829 on the 28th floor at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo on a bright and clear winter's late afternoon

Overlooking the view of the skyline of Tokyo from my Room No. 2829 on the 28th floor at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo as dusk begins to break over Tokyo

After having a well-earned late afternoon rest in our hotel Rooms No. 2801 and 2829, the clock was finally showing eight o' clock. Since we were already beginning to feel hungry, my dad called me from his Room No. 2801 nearby, informing my younger brother and I to prepare our required belongings as the family was planning to go restaurant hunting near the hotel for dinner. With that, my younger brother and I prepared our belongings required for the night and met our parents outside their Room No. 2801 before taking the elevator down to the main hotel lobby.

Soon enough, we finally arrived at the main hotel lobby on the ground floor at 8.25 p.m.. Exiting the Hilton Hotel Tokyo through the main entrance, we walked across the streets of Nishi-shinjuku in search for a nearby restaurant to eat at for dinner. Since we were in the mood for Western food, we looked at the large restaurant information screen close to the main hotel entrance to get a glimpse of the restaurants close to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo before continuing on with our brief night food walk around the street of the Nishi-shinjuku district.

After walking across the street adjacent to the roads of the Nishi-shinjuku district near the Hilton Hotel Tokyo for not approximately five minutes, we finally arrived at a local western-style restaurant, known as Royal Host, at 8.30 p.m.. Entering the restaurant, we immediately requested for a table for the four of us, where we were directly to an empty table located by the windows by one of the waitresses. Once we were provided with the main menus, we had a look through them before deciding what main dishes we wanted for the local western-style dinner later on.

Part 3 ~ The Journey To The La Cachette Villa Hakodate

After spending three enjoyable days of railways, dining and sightseeing in Tokyo, it was finally time to head northwards to Hakodate in the southern edge of Hokkaido for the second part of the vacation. On the morning of Sunday (4 December), we woke up at around six o' clock after having a well-earned good night's rest. Having a shower and changing into our attire for the trip, we packed up the remainder of our baggage in preparation for the long northbound trip to Hakodate in southern Hokkaido.

For the in-bound morning journey to Hakodate in southern Hokkaido, we would catch the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 11 bound for Shin-hakodate-hokuto, which would depart from Tokyo Station at 9.36 a.m., and arrive at the Shin-hakodate-hokuto terminal station at 1.38 p.m.. We were quite lucky since both my parents had entrusted me to make the Green Car (first class) seat reservations for the whole family with our Japan Rail Pass at the JR Ticket Office at Shinjuku Station three days earlier.

Furthermore, this would be a particularly special railway journey since this would be our first time travelling on the high-speed Hokkaido Shinkansen line between Honshu and Hokkaido via the undersea Seikan Tunnel. Also, I had also made it clear that even before and after our last white Lunar New Year winter festival trip to Hokkaido in February 2016, I would only go to Hokkaido again once the Hokkaido Shinkansen line between Aomori and Hakodate was opened for passenger service from 26 March 2016.

HAYABUSA (はやぶさ) is a high-speed Shinkansen service operated by both East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) on both the Tohoku & Hokkaido Shinkansen lines between Tokyo and southern Hokkaido in Japan. It is currently the fastest train service on the Tohoku & Hokkaido Shinkansen lines, and is the only service that directly connects Tokyo with Hokkaido, with the fastest service between Tokyo and Shin-hakodate-hokuto taking 4 hours 02 minutes, and three hours between Tokyo and Shin-aomori. The service is capable of reaching a maximum top speed of 320 km/h (200 mph), but is limited to 140 km/h (85 mph) through the Seikan Tunnel.

The service commenced operations on 5 March 2011, using a dedicated fleet of E5 series sets, initially operating at a maximum top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) with three daily return workings (two to Shin-aomori, one to Sendai). These sets feature luxury Gran Class accommodation in Car No. 10, seating up to a total of 18 passengers arranged in a 2-1 configuration. Dedicated Gran Class attendant service is available on most services, providing complimentary light meals and beverages to exclusive Gran Class passengers.

From the start of the revised timetable on 16 March 2013, the maximum speed was raised to 320 km/h (200 mph), with more daily return workings introduced and services beginning to stop at Ueno Station. Some of these services operated in conjunction with Akita Shinkansen SUPER KOMACHI services, operated by 7-car E6 series sets, between Tokyo and Morioka, thus having a restricted top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). From 15 March 2014, the maximum top speed for all services was raised to 320 km/h (200 mph), with most of the services operating in conjunction with Akita Shinkansen KOMACHI services, operated solely by 7-car E6 series sets, between Tokyo and Morioka.

From the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016, with the opening of the new Hokkaido Shinkansen line, the HAYABUSA service was used for services operating between Tokyo and Shin-hakodate-hokuto, with 10 daily return workings between Tokyo and Shin-hakodate-hokuto and one daily return working between Sendai and Shin-hakodate-hokuto. H5 series sets were also introduced on these services at a top speed of 320 km/h (200 mph), although the speed is restricted to 140 km/h (85 mph) in the Seikan Tunnel due to the possibility of conventional freight trains passing through in the tunnel. While there are no extra charges required for the HAYABUSA service with the Japan Rail Pass, the use of Gran Class accommodation requires the Shinkansen express charge and Gran Class surcharge.


After spending approximately 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 22 and 23, a 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U11 finally arrived at Tokyo Station at 9.23 a.m. on Track No. 22. The train had initially arrived from Shin-aomori as the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 4 bound for Tokyo earlier, and was to undergo a quick, extensive cleaning process before becoming the Shinkansen HAYABUSA Superexpress No. 11 bound for Shin-hakodate-hokuto. The entire cleaning process for the train took not more than approximately 10 minutes.

The Hokkaido Shinkansen (Japanese: 北海道新幹線; Traditional Chinese: 北海道新幹綫; Simplified Chinese: 北海道新干线) is a major Japanese high-speed Shinkansen railway line connecting Aomori in Honshu with Hakodate in the southern part of Hokkaido via the underwater Seikan Tunnel beneath the Tsugaru Strait in Japan. Operated solely by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido), the line serves as a link from the Tohoku Shinkansen line from Tokyo, and passes through sparsely-populated and forested areas of Aomori Prefecture before crossing the Seikan Tunnel and emerging into Hokkaido before terminating in the city of Hokuto near Hakodate. The line has a top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph), but is limited to 140 km/h (85 mph) through the Seikan Tunnel.

The line was opened for passenger service on 26 March 2016, replacing the previous conventional limited express services that connected Aomori with Hakodate via the undersea Seikan Tunnel until 21 March 2016, with most services continuing on as far as Tokyo via the existing Tohoku Shinkansen line, allowing the fastest services between Tokyo and Hakodate to take 4 hours 02 minutes. The line is expected to be extended up to Sapporo from fiscal 2030, with top speeds of up to 360 km/h (225 mph) expected between Tokyo and Sapporo. As of 26 March 2016, the E5 series and H5 series sets operate on the various HAYABUSA and HAYATE services on the line at top speeds of 260 km/h (160 mph). However, speeds are restricted to 140 km/h (85 mph) in the Seikan Tunnel due to the possibility of conventional freight trains passing through the tunnel.

After a long early morning trip of 4 hours 02 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo across the Seikan Tunnel, we finally arrived at the Shin-hakodate-hokuto terminal station at 1.38 p.m. on Track No. 12. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board, we quickly alighted from the train and sorted out our winter jackets on the platform. Upon putting on our winter jackets, we promptly took the escalator up to the Shinkansen concourse, where we showed our Japan Rail Passes at the staffed Shinkansen ticketing gate.

Shin-hakodate-hokuto Station (Japanese: 新函館北斗駅; Traditional Chinese: 新函館北斗站; Simplified Chinese: 新函馆北斗站) is a railway station complex located in 1-1 Ichinowatari 1-chome, Hokuto, Hokkaido, Japan. Operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido), it is the main railway station for the suburban city of Hokuto, and currently serves as the northern terminus for the Hokkaido Shinkansen line, making it the northernmost high-speed Shinkansen station in Japan. The station serves as an interchange station for the Hakodate Main Line, with Hakodate Liner shuttle train services bound for Hakodate starting and ending here, and as a mandatory stopping point for limited express trains bound for Oshamambe, Muroran and Sapporo via the Muroran Main Line.

The station was opened for revenue service on 10 December 1902 as Hongo Station (Japanese: 本郷駅; Traditional Chinese: 本鄉站; Simplified Chinese: 本乡站), initially serving the Hakodate Main Line as a simple unstaffed station until it was renamed Oshima-ono Station (Japanese: 渡島大野駅; Traditional Chinese: 渡島大野站; Simplified Chinese: 渡岛大野站) on 1 April 1942. From 15 June 2013 to 3 September 2015, the station underwent a major remodelling process to make way for the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line. From 26 March 2016, in conjunction with the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line, the station gained its current name, thus replacing Shin-aomori Station as the northernmost high-speed Shinkansen station in Japan.


Hakodate (Japanese: 函館市; Traditional Chinese: 函館市; Simplified Chinese: 函馆市) is a port city located in Oshima Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. With a total population of 266,192 as of 1 October 2016, it is the third-largest city in Hokkaido after Sapporo and Asahikawa, and the largest city in southern Hokkaido, overlooking the Tsugaru Strait and Aomori in Honshu. The city is overlooked by Mount Hakodate, which offers views of the entire city and the Tsugaru Strait, boasting one of the best and most renowned night views in the world after Hong Kong's Victoria Peak and Naples.

The city is accessible from Sapporo via the Hokuto and Super Hokuto limited express services 12 times daily, with the fastest train service taking 3 hours 22 minutes. Since 26 March 2016, the city has been accessible from Honshu via the Hokkaido Shinkansen line that crosses the undersea Seikan Tunnel, with the Hakodate Liner shuttle services connecting the city with Shin-hakodate-hokuto Station in the neighbouring city of Hokuto. Hakodate Airport also serves a small number of domestic flights and a few international flights to Mainland China and Taiwan.

Mr. Hajime Sato (佐藤 初).

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