To Kyoto by Shinkasen


Kyoto city of a thousand temples, pavilions, gardens and stately palaces, all surrounded by the surging froth of  modern Japan. Behold, the golden layer cake of Kinka..

Let’s wind the tape back a little to see how we got here shall we? Dateline Narita International airport, situated in Chiba prefecture to the east of Tokyo.Our intrepid travellers arrive on their way to Yokohama via a flying visit to Kyoto. As it turns out the easiest way to Tokyo station and the Shinkasen connection to Kyoto is simply to take the Narita express (takes about an hour) delivering you to a basement platform in Tokyo central. You do need to book your seats for the Shinkasen and NEX at Narita.

Trains you say? The Japanese are mad for them, there’s Japan Rail the national line, a plethora of regional rail companies, not to mention that belle-dame of metro’s the Tokyo subway, it’s all so joyously baroque there’s even an App to tie all the timetables together for perplexed travellers. We left the Narita express at Tokyo station trundled upstairs to the ground concourse and the transfer gate to the Tokaido Shinkansen to Kyoto. All the lines are colour coded (Tokaido Shinkasen a helpful blue) and signed in english! And then it was kick back and enjoy riding the Shinkasen in all it’s retro-futuristic glory, as the Japanese countryside unwinds around us and we fall into that alternate reality called Japan.

Downtown Kyoto, so far, so moderne...

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