Fri, 2/10/23, Day 5: Taking the Bullet Train to Kyoto

Today was mostly a travel day (and happy it was at it was mostly snowing/ raining all day). We worked out at the gym again before stuffing ourselves at the Hilton breakfast buffet again at the O Lounge (my favorite food there was the salmon salad and I’ve acquired a liking to the Japanese dish, natto: fermented soybeans that are a little slimy). We had late check-out because of gold status and left after noon. 

Our JR pass was activated today, and I had a little trouble on how to use it at first. For the local trains, you do not need a reservation. I didn’t understand that and was trying to book for a few mins at the kiosk. With local trains, you can just use the JR pass to get thru the gate. We took the Keiyo line to Tokyo station and then booked the bullet train (Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Kyoto. There are three types of trains: fast, medium, and slow. With the JR pass, we can’t do the fastest train, so our ride was 2 hr 45 mins (fast would have been 2 hr 15 mins. The train ride was very smooth and our seats spacious. We had a lot of room to put our luggage in front of us and also to tilt our seats back.

We arrived around 4:30-5pm and went to our hotel: Ibis Styles Kyoto Station which was directly in front of the station. Had a little trouble finding the entrance, but I think we’re just bad at finding things. There was a 2000 yen Kyoto accommodation tax we needed to pay for the stay. They provided some small complimentary items at the front of reception and I signed up for their list to get free coffee/tea during our stay. This place has to be the smallest hotel room we’ve ever been in, but it think is a small (literally) price to pay for the convenience.

For dinner, we went to Yoshinoya. We had trouble and were stumbling around with the menu as it was in Japanese (later found out too late that they had an English menu). Compared to the states, I can see how they try to cater to people’s preferences. In the US, they have fried egg rolls and cheesecake. In Japan, they have sukiyaki and miso soup. They also didn’t take credit card so we had to pay with cash.

Later, we walked around the mall right I front of the Kyoto Station and found the conveyor belt sushi place I want to go to on Monday when it will be raining. We also checked out their supermarket where they had a limited selection of fruits and vegetables. We’ll go to a different place in the next couple days to get some much needed healthier food.

Cost: JR pass prepaid $415 on Klook, Kyoto accommodation tax 2000 yen + Yoshinoya dinner 1850 yen = 3850 yen (~$444)

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