Leaving the old, rustic charm of Kyoto and arriving in the bustling city of Tokyo.
The cold, wet morning did no good for my worsening colds. We all woke up early (even when my whole body was protesting) to pack and arrange our clothes. We also cleaned up the apartment and made sure everything was tidy before we left.
We took two cabs again towards Kyoto station from the apartment. My sisters and mom took the first taxi to the station and about 10 minutes later, my father and I followed. Even though it was raining, it wasn’t very hard to hail down a taxi.
We were all supposed to meet up at the entrance of the central gate of the station. But I forgot the Japanese translation of Central Gates which is why my father and I got off at the Southern Gates. (Since we were bringing luggage, the taxi driver assumed we were taking the shinkansen – presumed correctly, but not according to plan; and hence dropped us off at the Southern Exit.) And since the only pocket wifi we had was with me, we couldn’t communicate with my sisters who were on the other exit.
Before I made my way towards the Central Gate towards our planned meeting place, I purchased our shinkansen tickets for the 10:05am trip to Tokyo. There was a train for an earlier departure but I chose a later departure time since I didn’t want us to all rush to the train platform. For JPY 13,190 (high season rate) per person, we got reserved seats on the Nozomi train. I made sure we had reserved seating since it was going to be a long train ride and it would be easier if we were all seated together. The staff at the ticket office spoke English so it made purchasing our tickets easier.
Since we didn’t want to drag our luggage back and forth the gates, my father stayed put near the ticket office while I went to fetch my sisters and mother. Kyoto is quite a big station and it services multiple lines. Good thing we were in and through Kyoto stations many times in the past days that navigating towards the Central Gates didn’t take me long. The brisk walking and my thick warm coat somehow helped eliminate the lethargic feeling I had due to colds. Saw my sisters and mom at the spot where we agreed to meet. And the four of us made our way to where my father was waiting and then to the shinkansen platforms.
When we got on the train, all of our luggage except for one, we were able to place in the luggage rack at the back of the cart. Good thing the leg space between seat rows was wide enough that we were able to place our extra large luggage in front of us.
I thought I’d fall asleep during the journey but because of the early morning exercise of crossing Kyoto station back and forth, I didn’t feel sleepy at all.
On clear days, one can supposedly see Mt Fuji from the left side of the train bound for Tokyo. But we didn’t get to see the majestic mountain because of the thick fog. 😦
We ate our lunch about 11:30am. We had purchased some bento or lunch boxes while waiting at the train station platform. These bento boxes or sometimes called ekiben (bento sold at train stations) are complete packed meals and are rather affordable. For five bento boxes, we paid around JPY 5,500.
If you aren’t able to buy some bento in one of the stores at the train platform, no need to worry about starving. Sometime during the trip, there is also a lunch lady who rolls out a cart where you can purchase some bento or snacks.
I wasn’t able to try the other ekiben. My ekiben, the “Victory Bento” (see first picture below) had some onigiri and some seafood. I wasn’t sure if it was because of my colds or it really just tasted like the sea (and not in a very good way).
The Nozomi train stops at Nagoya, Shin-Yokohama and Shinagawa before arriving at Tokyo.
It was drizzling when we got to Tokyo station. And the queue at the taxi stand was quite long. But the turnover was fast since there were also a lot of taxis waiting outside the station. There were also some personnel who assisted the passengers at the taxi stand. These personnel didn’t even really mind getting wet when they held the umbrellas over passengers riding the taxi and exposing them to the rain themselves. Just another showcase of excellent service from the Japanese. 😀
Again, we took two separate taxis to our apartment in Tokyo. Our apartment isn’t really far from Tokyo station and our trip just cost about JPY 1,000 per taxi.
We really liked the apartment we chose in Tokyo. You can check my review of our Airbnb apartment in Kyoto and Tokyo here.
And because the weather wasn’t improving, we decided to stay in and rest for the remainder of the afternoon.
To avoid the dining crowd and freezing temperatures outside, we decided to have early dinner. Since we were in Tsukiji area, what else to eat but sushi! 😆
We settled for Sushi Zanmai which is a popular sushi chain with origins in Tsukiji.
Prices at Sushi Zanmai were very reasonable. We paid a total of JPY 7,525 for dinner for five. Staff could understand English and since it’s affordable, would definitely recommend to those who are just starting out to try some sushi in Japan.
On our way back to the apartment we stopped at 7-Eleven to buy some breakfast. And that ends our rather unproductive day 4 in Japan.
God bless everyone! 🙂