My impressions of Japan
Tokyo Travel Blog› entry 19 of 34 › view all entries
March 20th, 2008 – by: portia
Since our hotel in Kyoto is right above the train station, it was a short walk to the platform. We took the fast Nozomi bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo, with very few stops. In the bullet trains, you can feel the train banking when it makes a long curved turn, pretty neat! At Tokyo station, we got on the Narita airport express to go to the airport. We were plenty early for our flights, so we were not in a rush. We had one last meal at a restaurant in the airport to use up our Japanese yens.
We had a very wonderful trip in Japan, I still have to write all the blogs and upload the photos, but I want to write down my impressions of Japan from this trip.
- The trains are GREAT. Impressive, on time, efficient, frequent, convenient, and easy to figure out even for foreigners. Of course reading Kanji helps, but you can get by just fine with English. While we were waiting for the Nozomi in Kyoto, I counted almost 140 Nozomi's scheduled for the day. That is just impressive. We were actually a little early getting to the platform, being foreigners and all, so we saw 2 earlier ones go by. These were spaced only 7 minutes apart, and each stops and starts again in 2 minutes! How convenient can that be? Just imagine having to take a plane from Kyoto to Tokyo. You would have to get to the airport 1 hour ahead of time, go through security, what a pain and you would not get there any faster. Instead, I think after a little experience, especially at a familiar station, it's totally possible to get to the platform 2 minutes before the train is scheduled and be in no hurry at all.
- Japanese loves to eat and sweets in particular. Everywhere you go you find so many places selling sweets, pastries, cakes, restaurants, specialty of the city, etc, And the foods are so well presented that even if you don't know what it is, or like it, they just look great! But somehow they have managed to not get fat. You certainly will not go hungry in Japan (unless you don't eat fish, which may limit your choices a little). Try to check out the "food streets" underground or above in big train stations or department stores like Sogo's, I would be surprised if you don't find 20 vendors selling all kinds of yummies.
- Do get a Japan Rail pass if you plan to visit Japan and travel to more than one city.
- Do stay in a Ryokan (Japanese style guest house) at least once to experience Japenese hospitality in a traditional Japanese inn/hotel.
- Do try to go to a hot springs resort, it can be a very different experience and very relaxing too.
- You can actually eat very inexpensively in Japan, just don't eat at the hotel's breakfast buffet (unless it's free) which may be overpriced and not that good. Our only unsatisfactory meal was a breakfast buffet in Hiroshima, if we had gone out to Sogo's food street next door, we would have done 1000 times better!
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