Traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto

31 July 2010: From Tokyo to Kyoto with the Shinkansen

After check-out from the Tokyo Hilton hotel, I took my bags and went to the Shinjuku metro station to get to the Tokyo metro station. From there, I took the train to Kyoto. Buying the right train ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto was a lot harder than I thought. After getting out of the metro in the Tokyo metro station, I am still holding onto the metro ticket, which got me here. I found the machines that sold the train tickets and bought one that goes to Kyoto. However, when I put that ticket through the machine, the gates would not open. Somewhere, I once read that you have to put the metro ticket in the machine as well, but that made the machine go into an error state. A station employee came to me and explained what I did wrong in Japanese. I could not understand much of it, so I went to the Information desk of the station, where they did not speak one word of English as well. >_<

After a while, the station employee who first approached me saw that I still could not figure out how to do it and personally got the right tickets for me. I saw that she entered the metro ticket into the machine (the ones on the wall, not the ones at the gates!) and then pressed some buttons to buy another ticket. You need to get two tickets: one ticket for the fare between the two cities (basic fare ticket) and an additional one for the use of the Shinkansen train instead of the local train (limited express fee ticket, to pay for the supplement fee). Both tickets needs to be fed into the machine to open the gates.

For more detailed information on taking the train in Japan, click here.

Side note: You can catch the train to Kyoto from either Tokyo station or Shinagawa station. The Shinigawa station should be a lot easier to navigate, as it is a lot smaller. Tokyo station however can be quite difficult to navigate for first time tourists, as there are quite a lot of different metro and train platforms and the place is very large. I think it took me about an hour to go from one end to another. Tokyo station also has a lot of staircases (In Japan, most stations don't have escalators or elevators between platforms) and it was really tiring for me to walk around with a heavy suitcase and several shopping bags.

Side note 2: You can also buy the Japan Rail Pass, which allows you to have unlimited use of the JR trains for a certain time period. With it, you can just pass the manned gate without worrying if you bought the right tickets. You can find more information over here.

Special Japanese train bentos

At the train platform in Tokyo station, I found a little shop where they sold train bentos and I just had to get a couple for me and my travel companions. Ordering wasn't very difficult as all the bentos are numbered and pictured, so you can just state the numbers or point at the bentos you want. Most bentos are eaten cold and they are always very nicely packaged in pretty carton boxes. You can find more information on the train bentos that you can buy on JR stations over here. These are the three bentos that we ate:

Taste expo of Japan bento (日の味博覧)  ~ ¥1,000, 559 kcal.

This bento is very healthy as it contains more than 20 different ingredients, at least 120 gr of vegetables, no coloring or additives, and 100% A grade domestic, Japanese rice. The oil that was used contains no cholesterol either. Another special point is that world renowned Kishuu nankou plum from the Wakayama area was included in this bento. It contains a lot of vegetables, an egg roll, and some pieces of fish.

Japanese train bento with flower and bamboo print Taste Expo of Japan
Taste Expo of Japan train bento with rice balls and vegetables

Special Makunouchi bento (幕之内御膳) ~ ¥1,300, 874 kcal

With this bento, you get to taste a variety of food from Tokyo, Nagoya and Kansai. I really enjoy tasting bits and pieces of everything, so this bento was perfect for me. It was a bit too much food for me, so I shared it with the others.

Special Makunouchi train bento
content of special Makunouchi train bento

Kodawari yakiniku bento (こだわり焼肉弁当) ~ ¥980, 762 kcal

This bento contains a lot of grilled beef and it is perfect for people that like to eat meat. The red shreds are shreds of chili pepper, so you need to like eating spicy food too. As side dishes, there are a small ball of potato salad, one cherry tomato, and wine braised shallots. I cannot really remember what the black thing was, maybe a piece of blackened garlic?

Kodawari yakiniku train bento
Kodawari yakiniku bento with grilled beef

While eating these delicious bentos and reading up on what there is to do in Kyoto, we arrived at the Kyoto station after 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Read more about my first Japan trip:
Traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto

Popular Posts