Upon clearing the custom and collecting our luggages, we proceed to the JR Office to exchange for the actual JR Pass which we purchased in Singapore and, also make reservation for Narita Express (NEX) and Shinkansen. Note that JR Pass must be purchased outside of Japan, and reservation for seats is free with JR Pass.
Here we are waiting at the platform for NEX (departing at 9.45am) to Shinagawa Station to transfer to Shinkansen for Kyoto.
Tip: Most people will transfer at Tokyo Station but Tokyo Station is big and more complicated, hence, the more straightforward transfer will be at Shinagawa Station.
We are boarding Narita Express 12, so just look out on the electronic board to check if you are at the right track. Then proceed to the respective car no. as indicated on the ticket (it will be indicated somewhere on the platform) and wait there.
Happily waiting for NEX to be here. 😀
The trains in Japan will always arrive earlier than the departure time either for the cleaners to clean up the train first before allowing passengers to board or time allowance for boarding. Note: The trains depart damn promptly in Japan, so be punctual, otherwise, if miss the train, that’s it! Hur.
Once the train departs, we immediately saw blue sky! Yeah! First sight of Japan since arrival! A pretty day!
The whole journey will take 1 hour and 8 minutes, arriving at 10.53am. Train arrival timing are often damn accurate too. Oh well, it’s Japan and my favorite country! As for luggages, NEX has space in front of each car for storing, but we place it in front of our legs instead since there’s a big seat space allowance. It’s just nice for me, with my legs against the luggage. Not the most comfortable position but still manageable. 🙂
Of cos there are food services on train! Since it’s early morning, we shared a cuppa coffee and a waffle. Yums!
Keep a look out of the station on the electronic board on train while eating!
After arriving at Shinagawa Station, just go up an escalator and walk a little (could not remember exactly the directions but it’s very easy with signage and all) to transfer to Shinkansen. Similarly, look out for the electronic board for the Shinkansen track no. and stand at the car no. assigned to wait for it.
Horror stories have been shared about waiting at the wrong track or how complicated it is to board trains in Japan. Well, I would not say it’s simple but it’s definitely not complicated. Haha. Just need to be alert and keep smart!
In Shinkansen, there is mininal space or rather no space to store big luggages. But it is also impossible for me to travel light cos I have lots of barang barang to bring and buy from Japan. Lol.
So no choice. I brought a 26 inch luggage and place it in front of my legs. I thought Shinkansen seat space allowance is slightly bigger than NEX, so it’s more comfortable, alright just slightly more comfortable.
I suppose the bigger luggage can also fit into the space in front of me cos I saw people bringing bigger ones! It can be taller than mine but definitely cannot be fatter. However, it does pose a little inconvenience to the people sitting by the window next to me when he / she needs to alight (I am seated in the middle). And also, the people sitting in front may have difficulty reclining his / her seat too much.
Nonetheless, Japanese are kind and helpful as I have not received unhappy faces or words from them because of this. Appreciated it!
The journey from Shinagawa to Kyoto is 2 hours 40 minutes. Damn long and I am restless throughout the journey because I have already seated for 7 hours (on flight) and 1 hour (on NEX) before that! If I add all the hours up, it takes me 11 hours in total to get to Kyoto!
Once arriving in Kyoto Station (which is big!), we go around lugging our luggages to purchase tickets for our day trips and tickets to return to Tokyo. We then proceed to Kyoto Subway Station to take a subway to Gojo Subway Station which is where our hotel Citadines Karasuma Gojo Kyoto is located.
To our horror after arriving Gojo Station, the nearest exit to the hotel (Exit 1) does not have elevators or escalators. There are flights of stairs ONLY! We brave the staircases with our luggages and manage to reach ground level safely. Haha!
Lucky us, the hotel is just steps away from the exit! 😛