Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Most Expensive Train Ride of My Life - Kyoto to Tokyo on the Shinkansen

While planning for my trip to Japan, I had decided to take the bullet rain (Shinkansen) from Kyoto to Tokyo for the sake of experiencing it.

The Shinkansen is one of the most efficient and safest trains in the world with no fatal accidents in its history.

Just to give you an idea of why it's called a bullet train, the 450km journey between Kyoto and Tokyo can be completed in approximately 2 hours. That's how fast it moves.

But safety, efficiency and speed comes with a price, and that's why this ride has become the most expensive train ride of my life.

So how much did the ride cost?

A whopping JPY13,080 for the 2 hour journey!

(JPY13,080 is equivalent to approximately MYR500 which could have bought me a return ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Bali or someplace else).

Take a look at the ticket for the most expensive train ride of my life:



We purchased our tickets from the ticket counter at Kyoto Station because we wanted to pay using our credit cards so that we don't have to touch our cash. Money exchange bureaus are difficult to find in Japan, you know ...



Tickets can also be purchased from the ticket vending machines:



We bought non-reserved seats because it's cheaper compared to reserve ones.

[Tip: Since it was a weekday and low season in Japan (we went in June 2017), purchasing non-reserved seats poses a low risk of not finding a seat on the train. However if it's the peak season, perhaps it's better to get a reserved seat or risk standing throughout the journey.]

After purchasing our tickets, we made our way to the turnstills that leads to the Shinkansen tracks:



After inserting our tickets into the turnstills and collecting them back, we made our way to the platform to wait for the train.

Non-reserved seats are in Cars 1 - 3:



Soon the train arrived and I started to get excited:



The type of train was the Nozomi 226:



The train interiors were bright and clean:

The seats were wide and comfortable, even better than airplane seats.


Just like on an airplane, the Shinkansen also had stewardesses who went around selling food:



Prior to the trip I had read that food sold on the Shinkansen is nothing to shout about. So I had pre-packed a ginger pork burger from McDonald's for lunch:

A most delicious burger, cannot be found in Malaysia of course.


I had also bought a can of Kirin Ichiban to accompany my burger:

Japanese beers are just so delicious!


After wolfing down the burger and beer and cleared the rubbish, I started dozing off. The ride was smooth and almost noiseless - would put anyone to sleep after that burger and beer.

Soon I woke up with a start and realised that I had fallen asleep on the middle aged guy seated on my right.

Interestingly he didn't push me away, said or did anything when I fell asleep on his shoulder. So it's true that Japanese people do fall asleep on each others shoulder in the subway.

After about 2 hours, we arrived at Tokyo Station.



The cleaning crew were already waiting when we arrived. In typical Japanese style they thanked us one by one as we alighted from the train.

I stayed back a few minutes to watch them clean the train in 7 minutes. Watch this video to see how they do it.



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