Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Riding the Bullet: My Ticket to Kyoto

Day 4: SHINKANSEN - Nara: Planning and Introduction - Horyuji Temple - Jikoin zen temple

The first thing of the Bullet to hit me, a budget traveler to Japan, surprisingly, was not it's speed but it's cost! With the tickets priced at 13500 Yen per person from Tokyo to Kyoto, traveling in the world’s fastest train - the Shinkansen also known as the Bullet Train – was always going to be a costly affair. But I was the last one complaining and I had some very good reasons for it!

Shinkansen tickets of Nozomi Bullet train, Japan
My tickets from Tokyo to Kyoto

'Riding the Bullet or the Shinkansen' was something I had excitedly waited for, ever since I had won the all expense paid Japan trip (courtesy IndiBlogger and Expedia). One, because it meant experiencing a ride in the world’s fastest moving trains and two, because it meant an exciting meet with 5 special people who had, until then, shown me the beautiful world of Japan via this amazing world of blogging.

Riding the Bullet: The Shinkansen Train

Interiors: As I stepped into the world’s fastest train, the feel was thrilling to say the least. The interiors were such that they could have easily passed off as that of an airplane complete with neat and clean spacious seats and aisle area, together coupled with a peaceful soothing ambiance.

The inside of the Shinkansen Bullet train to Kyoto, Japan
An inside view of the Shinkansen: Doesn't this remind you of an airplane?

Speeding views: I jumped at my pre-booked window seat and excitedly waited for things outside to begin zipping. I imagined them to just go whoooooooosh but was pretty disappointed when I saw that things weren't that fast as I initially pictured them to be.

A tall skyscraper as viewed from the Shinkansen Nozomi Bullet train of japan
Amazing views of Japan from the Shinkansen Nozomi Bullet train
Wonderful views of Japan from the Shinkansen Nozomi Bullet train
The views from my window seat

Even though the bullet moves at very high speeds (240–300 km/h), you never really feel it while traveling and you can actually ‘see’ all the views and enjoy the passing landscape outside.  If you are interested in enjoying it's speed, then you need to step out of the train, stand on the platform and watch it zoom. That is when you get an idea on why exactly the train must have been named as ‘The Bullet’.

The Shinkansen Nozomi Bullet train of Japan
The Shinkansen leaving the station

The Shinkansen has a protruding nose and a rocketing machine that vanishes out of your sight in a matter of a few odd seconds when triggered. It may sound a bit strange but the fact is that I found it much more interesting to watch the bullet zoom by rather than zooming on it myself, which ideally speaking should have been the case!

The Ticket Checker:

The Smiling Ticket Checker of Shinkansen
The Smiling Ticket Checker of Shinkansen

The Ticket Checker was one of the highlights of the train - He comes, he smiles at you, he punches your ticket and wishes you a good journey ahead. He followed this same particular pattern for each and every passenger still it never looked mechanical or a part of his job, such is the gentility embedded in the very character of Japan.

Reaching Kyoto

Stepping out of the train was thrill too! And to add something more, I had butterflies raging in my stomach! I was nervous, anxious and excited... all in equal measures. And why not?

After all, my ticket to Kyoto was not just a simple ticket to Kyoto but it was my entry to a world of a different kind,


Window to the outside world, Shinkansen Bullet train

A world which was waiting to welcome me with open arms, it's people all geared up to illumine the heart of one sunshine face they had met virtually with their tender love, kind affections and beautiful smiles.

Travel Tips for the Shinkansen:


1. If you aren’t sure of your time of travel, only then go for an unreserved ticket. Otherwise, it is always good to reserve your tickets even though the charge might be slightly higher than its unreserved counterpart.

2. Seat reservations can be made in person at ticket offices of all major JR stations across Japan. Any shinkansen can be reserved from any JR ticket office in Japan. We booked our Nozomi bullet train ticket for Kyoto a day before from Shinagawa railway station and caught it the next day from the Tokyo railway station.

3. Green cars are luxurious vis-a-vis first class of air travel. Go for the ordinary car if you wish to travel cost-effectively. Ask for a window seat while making your bookings. The frequency of trains is very good with one train running almost every half an hour.

4. Remember, the trains are known for their punctuality and leave the station dot on time! But in worst cases if you miss your scheduled train, do not panic. Tickets can be easily cancelled for a full refund.

5. Reserve your tickets a day before so as to ensure availability of a seat and also to avoid any last moment hassles on the travel day.

6. If you take the Shinkansen from Tokyo in direction of Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka, do not forget to check out for Mount Fuji. It can be viewed from around Shin-Fuji Station on the right hand side of the train, about 40 to 45 minutes after leaving Tokyo. We weren’t aware of this fact and missed it altogether.

For more detailed information: Please visit http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2018.html


Previous Posts from the Japan Trip -

13. Epson Aquarium, Shinagawa in Tokyo


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68 comments:

  1. That's a nice relation of your trip. This train is legendary for any Japan Fan ; it so cool to read about it and to have a glimpse of what it looks like to be be in it

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  2. That is an awesome experience well narrated. Would love to be on it someday.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/

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  3. That train looks like it's straight out of a sic-fi movie :-)

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  4. Oh you took fantastic photos in the train!

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  5. Lovely account of the bullet train. Nice pictures. The countryside picture looks compelling. Disappointed that you missed Mount Fuji. Next time:)

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  6. @Arti Wow , great to read about your journey in Shinkansen, Awesome. Beautiful description with photos. Thanks a lot.

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  7. now thats one train I want to be on, someday!

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  8. Arti, I rode the Bullet Train in the 80’s when it was new. I remember that it seemed very fast back then compared to other trains I had ridden.

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  9. I do love trains and this looks like such a great one! Marvelous captures as always, Arti!! Thanks for sharing your adventures/travels with us!!

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  10. How exiting Arti! This train so fits to Tokyo. Would like to ride an old fashioned train - like in the Film arjeeling Limited through India one day! Have a happy midweek!

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  11. I was impressed with Ticket Checker similing. I thought that they don't smile. :)

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  12. A friend of mine spent two weeks in Japan as part of a teacher education program and really enjoyed her trip on the bullet train. And, most everything else about Japan.

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  13. Wow Arti... I am fully enjoying your travelogue...

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  14. A nice journey you took us on, Arti by the Bullet train:)

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  15. Hi,Arti!
    The Bullet train will be in Kyoto soon!
    I look forward to seeing you in Nara!

    Green Tomato

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  16. Going on a bullet train in Japan definitely needs to go on my bucket list! Great pics. It looks so clean! I love the ticket collector's uniform.

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  17. I so enjoy reading about your travels in Japan. The bullet train sounds like an amazing adventure! Well told. :)

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  18. I remember I saw Mt. Fuji from inside the bullet.

    It was more than 10 years back.

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  19. This gives me an idea of what it looks like, never seen one nor even ride on one. That looks like a first class accommodation.

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  20. he he he he :) for some reason when you said bullet , I had this image of a royal enfield bike in india BULLET :) how wrong I was ..

    and now that you have said I too was underimpression that bullet would be wooooshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ..

    but still that is a pretty fast speed, SO since you say some trains here in UK are that fast tooo :)

    Bikram's

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  21. It's nice to see your experience to get on Shinkansen.
    Ticket Checkers would be kind,I think.

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  22. that sounds like a wow train to be on. Loved the way you have said it was more enjoyable to watch it zoom past than zooming in it :) It takes all kinds of experiences to enjoy oneself, right?

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  23. Wonderful experience. I too could get a feel of it through your narrations.

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  24. What a great way to travel! I love the lush countryside you saw along the way.

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  25. Yet another thrilling event, its a joy to share these experiences with you.

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  26. The bullet train sounds so fascinating...every moment of your japanese moments are so delightful... and best part its free for you : )

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  27. How interesting this is....I would have thought it would feel faster inside too (but I guess an airplane doesn't really feel like its going fast either once you are in flight).... The train is definitely more beautiful inside than I would have thought it would be. And so interesting about the ticket taker.

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  28. Awesome.. Interesting narration as usual Aarti..!

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  29. Hi there Arti! Thanks for another wonderful virtual journey! I was smiling the whole time reading...the inside of the train does look like that of an airplane's and the ticket checker looks so friendly and sweet, I love people who love their jobs. I laughed out loud at your being disappointed that it didn't feel that fast while riding it and that you loved viewing the train zoom away more than riding it...the view you saw from inside looks beautiful...and I loved how you said "After all, my ticket to Kyoto was not just a simple ticket to Kyoto but it was my entry to a world of a different kind," -you are such a beautiful soul whose thoughts I always look forward to reading :)

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  30. I'm curious how fast the train there Arti.. :)From the story i hear it's superb ..

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  31. Great narration.
    Great capture of the train.

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  32. The inside of the train looks amazing and spacious indeed! Fantastic photos!

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  33. The shinkan-sen is comfortable and fast but costly. It's about as same as flight.
    Thank you for expecting to Nara!

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  34. Hello, Arti.

      Your exquisite work leads my impression.
      The passion for the art.  It is universal.

      Thank you visit to my garden.
      The prayer for all peace.

    Have a good weekend. From Japan, ruma❃

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  35. Fantastic post! It's been a dream for me to try the Shinkansen one day. The train is real iconic. Love the speed. You should also try the Maglev trains in Shanghai one day. I think it has a max speed of around 420km/h.

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  36. Hi Arti,

    Wonderful to read of your journey on the Bullet Train and looks very comfortable and like an aeroplane.
    The trains we caught in France went about the same speed and you can travel a long way in a short time.

    Have a great weekend
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  37. Didn't know you got to ride on Bullet train too.
    That would have been some kinda experience.
    Eversince my Childhood I too is fond of travelling in train.
    They simply looks superb there in Japan very neat and clean.
    Looking forward for more posts.

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  38. That one is there on my wish list! Hmm!

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  39. we didn't get the chance to ride the Shinkansen last year but did see it at one of the stations. Thanks for the tips (for next time) and letting us virtually ride with you. What a great experience!

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  40. Oh, Arti, I can feel your elation in riding the world’s fastest train to jump into the arms of Nara Friends.

    Yoko

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  41. Arti, I came here through Zephyr's blog ! I just read through all your Japan posts and loved them !! I have spent about five years on and off in japan and still travel there for work. It is one of my favourite countries ! Your posts really took me down the memory lane - loved your insights about the country and its people !

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  42. I am enchanted by your Japan trip. Its as if I am there myself :)

    What a great travelogue ! :)

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  43. Arti jee

    Wonderful Explanation of Bullet Trains

    Wish you happy Diwali
    and Prosperous New Year

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  44. Heard that Kyoto has lovely temples and old buildings. Hope you visited some.
    Happy Diwali to you and your family!
    Purrs!

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  45. It's a dream of mine too, Arti.
    I'm glad to hear that tickets are refundable. That's a good thing, especially since they're so pricey.

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  46. Even I thought the outside view will simply zoom past us when we are in the bullet train. How come the pics came fine when the train was travelling at 240+.. Was that all talent, or trial and error, or both? :D

    Great post yaar :)

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  47. How exciting for you! This reminds me of my first and only ride on the Shinkansen. It was only a short trip, but worth the experience. I know what you mean of it not feeling the speed and still have the ability to see out your window without it having to be a blur. I enjoy reading your informative posts as always.

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  48. You are the very first person I have ever heard about their experience riding the bullet train. I am so glad you had a wonderful time. I think it is an amazing new technology. Why we don't have more all over the world. Those speeds are a little scary. Thanks for sharing your take on this means of transportation to get around.

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  49. Hey Lucky You Arti!
    Despite the killer speed the photos you have taken from inside the moving train are quite clear! Is it due to the slow speed while they were taken or your fast shutter speed?
    Now I've to read all your Japan posts... big task at hand I guess :-)

    Regards,
    Anunoy Samanta
    -------------------------------
    http://just4suzan.blogspot.com

    http://imakemytrip.blogspot.com

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  50. i'd love to keep those strange tickets as souvenirs ...strange they are , with so much written on them but without a word to understand :-)

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  51. lovely pics! and great writeup...sounds quite exciting to have been on this ride!!

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  52. As usual you make people travel along with you through your blog, Arti! And that was a thoughtful tip to ensure others did not miss what you were unfortunate enough to miss.

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  53. with your blog post i took a imaginary trip into this -great work arti -kudos :D :D

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  54. Arti your posts on Japan rouse a lot of admiration for that country & it's people...how do they do it? & why are we so dirty & untidy with regard to public places ?A lot to learn from that country!!

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  55. Hi Arti,

    Wow, look at that machine, it looks awesome. I wish such technologies reach the Indian shores as well, so that even Indians can enjoy their travel. The Chinese are way ahead us in terms of technology and developments.
    Thanks for the tips on travelling, I'll keep that as a note for any future visits to the country. :):)

    Regards

    Jay
    My Blog | My Entry to Indiblogger Get Published

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  56. Lovely post on a fav. topic of mine.
    I have heard about this journey , years back!.
    On my bucket list too.

    Lovely photographs , and write up .

    Thanks.

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  57. Wonderful shots of the train. Heard a lot about this train before.

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  58. Back to your blog after so long. Awesome post! Well narrated :)

    love
    http://www.meghasarin.com

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  59. yes!..totally when you said bullet for once I thought enfield in japan!>.. well, japan is one on my list too!..

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  60. I can imagine what fun it must be to watch a train disappear in the wink of an eye. :)

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  61. As a Transport Planner, I've studied much about bullet trains - but never knew that you could see the outside clearly - hows that possible?

    www.anucreations.blogspot.in

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  62. Hi Arti, what a wonderful description. The train must have been super smooth for you to be able to glance out the window at such a high speed. I haven't been to Japan yet but this calls for a trip soon....specially to see the smiling conductor.

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  63. That's an interesting piece. And hey, that ticket checker is cute!

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  64. WOW! Sounds like a GREAT trip... Must be a Wonderful experience Arti... a memorable one :)

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  65. The train looks sooo cool. I'm envious!

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