SHINKANSEN TO KYOTO

Last year the Shinkansen (bullet train) faced an average delay of just 36 seconds. Said to be so punctual that a salaryman can finish his noodles 2 minutes before departure time and count on the train being there .. it is very reliable.

Hitting speeds of up to 320 km/hr, with up to 16 trains running between key urban centers an hour (3 minutes between train) and carrying 353M people in 2007, it truly is an engineering marvel and a testament to Japanese quality and process management.

And it was our first time on …

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The fee from Tokyo to Kyoto in a reserved seat is roughly $133 one way and takes 2 hours and 10 minutes. The train is amazing to ride on. Smooth, quite and obviously very fast (not like the English trains I am use to when I rode from Virginia Water to London).

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I sat looking out the window as the Japanese countryside passed by. Building after building, with rice and other farming fields jammed in-between industrial buildings and the ever present mountains looming in the background.

If you ever wonder why Japan’s population is jammed into concentrated areas, it is because 73% of Japan is mountains. Only 11% of the land is arable. Just look out a Tokyo window and off in the distance you will see mountains on all side.

A great way to travel. Now that we have done it, we will be doing it a lot more often.

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