Saturday, December 24, 2016

🇯🇵 2016 Christmas Special: Post-GCE 'A' Level Examination End-Of-Year Winter Vacation To Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, In December 2016 ~ Section 7 🇯🇵

Welcome to the seventh sub-section of my post-GCE 'A' Level examination end-of-year winter vacation to Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, in December 2016. This will officially be the final segment of this year's end-of-year Christmas winter special trip report. There will be a total of two focus topics, excluding the closing sequences, that will be covered in this final segment of the entire report. They will mainly be the trip back to Narita International Airport and the early afternoon return flight back home to Singapore.

Part 1 ~ The Journey Back To Narita International Airport

For the early afternoon return flight back home to Singapore, we would be flying with Singapore Airlines on flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore, which would depart from Narita International Airport at 11.05 a.m., and arrive back at Singapore Changi Airport at 5.45 p.m. later that evening. Also, to return to Narita International Airport, we would catch the Limited Express Narita Express No. 7 bound for Narita International Airport, which would depart from Shinjuku Station at 7.06 a.m., and arrive at the Narita Airport Terminal 1 Station at 8.37 a.m..

To summarise both our hotel stays at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, I can say that there was nothing that special about it, other than the hotel staff offering to take care of some of our souvenirs while we were in Hakodate and the hotel room comfort being quite comfortable enough for my preferences, along with the breakfasts at the Executive Lounge being good enough. However, some areas for improvement would include the staff service at the Dynasty Chinese Restaurant, with the prospective options of renovating the entire restaurant to have a much more welcoming atmosphere, and upgrading its Internet Wi-Fi connection service for its hotel guests.

Part 2 ~ The Flight Back Home To Singapore

Airline: Singapore Airlines
Flight No.: SQ 637
From: Tokyo, Narita International Airport (NRT / RJAA), Narita, Chiba, Japan
To: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN / WSSS), Singapore
Aircraft: Boeing 777-312
Registration No.: 9V-SYL (Painted in the special white "Star Alliance" livery)
Class: Business Class
Seat No.: 18K
Date: Wednesday, 14 December 2016

After walking across the main airside of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing) for approximately 10 minutes, we finally arrived outside the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge at ten o' clock. Proceeding over to the lounge reception counter, a lounge receptionist checked through our boarding passes before permitting us to enter the lounge. Entering the main lounge, we went to a nearby four-seater table by the kitchen counter before securing all our belongings and having some light refreshments from the take-out McDonald's breakfast we had.

Upon having some snacks inside the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge with my family, the clock was finally showing 10.05 a.m.. Given that boarding for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore would commence in half an hour's time, I grabbed my belongings and informed my family that I would be heading to Gate No. 46. They then agreed to meet me at Gate No. 46 approximately 10 minutes before boarding. Arriving at the passenger waiting area near Gate No. 46 safely at 10.10 a.m., I could see that Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore would have a relatively light load today. My family then caught up with me at Gate No. 46 at 10.25 a.m., as agreed.

For today, Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore would be operated by a Boeing 777-300, registered 9V-SYL and powered using two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines. 9V-SYL was delivered to Singapore Airlines on 6 May 2005 as the 12th and last Boeing 777-300 and as the 58th Boeing 777 for the entire airline company. Unlike some other Singapore Airlines having the "Star Alliance" livery with the Silver Kris logo, the aircraft was painted in the special white "Star Alliance" livery in August 2012. The overall delivery would make the aircraft approximately 11.6 years old today.

The interior of the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge located on the second floor in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 shortly after we had arrived

Bypassing the self-service buffet corners in the All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class Lounge located on the second floor in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 on route to Gate No. 46

About to take the escalator up to Gates No. 31 to 47 on the third floor in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Finally approaching the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46 in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1

Our aircraft for today, 9V-SYL, being serviced at Gate No. 46 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore

A closer view of 9V-SYL being serviced at Gate No. 46 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, registered JA814A, being serviced at Gate No. 38 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon flight to the Republic of India as All Nippon Airways flight NH 829 bound for Mumbai

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381/ER, registered JA779A, being serviced at Gate No. 52 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon transpacific flight to the United States as All Nippon Airways flight NH 174 bound for Houston

The entrance passageway at Gate No. 46 in the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 shortly before the first boarding announcements for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore were made

After spending almost 20 minutes of anticipated waiting near the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 46, the first boarding announcements for Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore were finally made at 10.30 a.m.. All the First & Business Class passengers, together with the KrisFlyer Gold club members and passengers requiring priority assistance, were called to board the aircraft first. Since we were among some of the passengers being called out to board the aircraft, we rolled up at the front row with our belongings for the boarding process to commence smoothly.

Walking across the main jet bridge of Gate No. 46, we were finally on board 9V-SYL at 10.35 a.m., which was in good time for an 11.05 a.m. departure. At the front door, two flight attendants welcomed us on board and showed us the direction to our seats in the Business Class cabin. Stowing our belongings into their respective storage spaces, we settled down into our assigned Seats No. 18H, 18K, 19H and 19K for the relatively long afternoon return flight of 7 hours 45 minutes back home to Singapore.

The Business Class seats we would be using for the upcoming early afternoon return flight home to Singapore were the first generation of newer Regional Business Class seats. They have a shell-shaped design, and have individual AC power outlets for passengers to charge their electronic devices, also reclining up to 175º to allow passengers to rest. They were introduced in January 2009 with the delivery of the Airbus A330s, and are available on the Airbus A330s, refitted Boeing 777-200/ERs and the Boeing 777-300s.

An additional view of 9V-SYL being serviced at Gate No. 46 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 bound for Singapore as we walk across the main jet bridge of Gate No. 46

A view of my seat, 18K, during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

Overlooking the rainy and damp airport tarmac during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

My usual glasses of orange juice and champagne during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

The cover page for the in-flight dining menu for the return segment between Tokyo (Narita) and Singapore during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

Reviewing the in-flight dining menu for the return segment between Tokyo (Narita) and Singapore during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

Reviewing the wine list section of the in-flight dining menu for the return segment between Tokyo (Narita) and Singapore during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

Reviewing the KrisShop in-flight duty-free magazine during the boarding process at Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, registered JA827A, being pushed back from Gate No. 47 at the South Wing of Narita International Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long early afternoon trans-Siberian flight to the Federal Republic of Germany as All Nippon Airways flight NH 209 bound for Düsseldorf

Awaiting pushback from Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly before we pushed back from Gate No. 46 at Narita International Airport Terminal 1 (South Wing)

With the model costing me ¥4,700, I paid a total of ¥5,000, thereby receiving ¥300 in change.

1) Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312/ER Herpa Scale 1:500 (524858)

The late afternoon sun was shining brightly across the Malaysian Straits as the aircraft began to make its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport. After a relatively long early afternoon flight of 6 hours 55 minutes over the South China Sea from the colossal and modern metropolitan capital city of Japan in the Far East, we finally touched back down into Singapore Changi Airport at 5.35 p.m., approximately 10 minutes ahead of schedule. We then taxied across the main airport tarmac briefly to our assigned arrival gate at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2.

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt signs were illuminated in preparation for the descent cum arrival into Singapore Changi Airport

The flight route indication map indicating our cruising altitude across Johor Bahru in Malaysia close to Singapore

Cruising over the South China Sea near Johor Bahru in Malaysia close to Singapore

Cruising over Batam in Indonesia close to Singapore

Overlooking the skyline of Singapore as the aircraft begins to make its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat as the aircraft begins to make its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport

Cruising over the South China Sea as the aircraft begins to make its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore Airlines Flight 637 ~ Late Afternoon Arrival Into Singapore Changi Airport

Taxiing across the main airport tarmac in the direction to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 shortly after we had touched down

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered 9V-STT, resting at Gate No. F42 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her regional early afternoon flight from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 173 from Ho Chi Minh City. She would then have a regional evening flight to the People's Republic of Bangladesh later tonight as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 446 bound for Dhaka

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registered JA879A, resting at Gate No. F56 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her long early afternoon flight from the modern metropolitan capital city of Japan as All Nippon Airways flight NH 841 from Tokyo (Haneda)

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212/ER, registered 9V-SVN, resting at Gate No. F41 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her long afternoon return flight Down Under from New Zealand as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 298 from Christchurch

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-941, registered 9V-SMG, being serviced at Gate No. F58 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in preparation for her routine regional early evening shuttle flight to Malaysia as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 118 bound for Kuala Lumpur

A Cebu Pacific Airbus A330-343X, registered RP-C3343, being serviced at Gate No. F40 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her regional afternoon flight from the Republic of the Philippines as Cebu Pacific flight 5J 805 from Manila. She would then return home to the Philippines later that evening as Cebu Pacific flight 5J 806 bound for Manila

Finally docking on to our assigned arrival gate, Gate No. F60, in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The view of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 Regional Business Class cabin from my seat shortly after docking on to our assigned arrival gate, Gate No. F60, in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

After taxiing through the main airport tarmac briefly for approximately five minutes to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, we finally docked onto our assigned arrival gate, Gate No. F60, at 5.40 p.m.. Once the seatbelt signs had been switched off, we quickly unbuckled all our seatbelts and retrieved our belongings from their storage spaces in preparation for the disembarkation process to commence. We then conducted a final check around our seats to ensure that there was nothing left behind on board the aircraft.

Part 3 ~ The Closing Sequences

Shortly after disembarking from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita) at Gate No. F60, we walked across the passageway of Concourse F in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in the direction leading to the arrival immigration checkpoints. The entire walk linking from Gate No. F60 to the arrival immigration checkpoints took just five minutes. Taking the escalators down to the arrival immigration checkpoints at 5.50 p.m., we went over to the automated thumbprint checkpoints reserved for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs), thus clearing the arrival immigration process in not more than approximately five minutes.

Upon clearing the arrival immigration checkpoints at 5.55 p.m., I promptly headed to check which baggage belt our bulky check-in baggage would be scheduled to arrive at. According to the baggage belt information screens, all bulky check-in baggage from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita) would arrive at Belt No. 37. With that, I promptly followed my dad and younger brother to claim two baggage trolleys before heading to Belt No. 37 to claim our bulkier check-in baggage to be loaded with our lighter baggage. My mum also claimed a baggage trolley for herself to do some post-arrival shopping at the DFS Wines & Spirits post-arrival duty-free store nearby.

Walking across the main passageway in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in the direction leading to the arrival immigration checkpoints after disembarking from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita) at Gate No. F60

One final view of 9V-SYL being parked at Gate No. F60 in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 after arriving from her long early afternoon flight from the modern metropolitan capital city of Japan as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita)

Bypassing some duty-free shops in the main airside of Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in the direction leading to the arrival immigration checkpoints

About to take the escalators down to the arrival immigration checkpoints in Concourse F at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

The baggage claiming information screens in the baggage claiming hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, indicating that all check-in baggage from Singapore Airlines flight SQ 637 from Tokyo (Narita) would arrive at Belt No. 37

The baggage claiming hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the early evening rush hour

Overlooking the DFS Wines & Spirits post-arrival duty-free store in the baggage claiming hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the early evening rush hour

Finally in the arrivals and meeting hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the early evening rush hour

The arrivals and meeting hall at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the early evening rush hour shortly before we left for home

To summarise this 2016 Christmas special end-of-year winter vacation report, I can say that I had enjoyed this post-GCE 'A' Level examination end-of-year winter vacation to Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, a lot. This would be one of the best trips to Japan I have ever undertaken in my countless years of overseas travel, and one that would never be forgotten for a lifetime. In spite of the restaurant service at the hotel being rather slow with the atmosphere being insufficiently welcoming and the rather slow Wi-Fi Internet connection at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo, the La Cachette Villa in Hakodate was quite a sobering and enjoyable experience.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

🇯🇵 2016 Christmas Special: Post-GCE 'A' Level Examination End-Of-Year Winter Vacation To Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, In December 2016 ~ Section 6 🇯🇵

Welcome to the sixth section of my post-GCE 'A' Level examination end-of-year winter vacation to Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, in December 2016. This section of the entire trip report will cover a total of three focus topics. They shall be spending a day of historical nature and relics in Kanazawa via the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, undertaking a long westbound shopping trip to Kansai International Airport in Osaka and spending the last day of regional afternoon shopping at Narita International Airport.

Part 1 ~ Historical Nature & Relics Day To Kanazawa

Early the next morning, which was Sunday (11 December), I woke up quite brightly at precisely five o' clock after my mobile phone alarm blasted off. The very first thing I did was to have a shower before changing up into my attire and preparing the remaining portions of my belongings required for the day. According to my yearly Japanese railway travel itineraries, I was to be undertaking a day trip of historical nature and relics to Kanazawa in the Hokuriku region today.

For the in-bound morning trip to Kanazawa, I would catch the Shinkansen KAGAYAKI Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, which would be scheduled to depart from Tokyo Station at 7.20 a.m., and then arrive at the Kanazawa terminal station at 9.51 a.m.. I was quite lucky since I had made my Green Car (first class) seat reservations at the JR Ticket Office at Osaka Station approximately ten days before the trip in advance after returning from Universal Studios Japan.

This day trip would also mark my second time visiting the historical seaside port city of Kanazawa in the Hokuriku region of Japan. Furthermore, I had also arranged with the hotel concierge for a cab to take me to the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station at 6.15 a.m. the night before the railway trip. Once I had prepared my belongings for the day, I did some personal surfing on my own laptop as quietly as I could before packing it into my baggage, given that my younger brother was still fast asleep, so as not to awaken him unnecessarily.

The view of my Room No. 2123 at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo shortly after I woke up in the wee hours of the early morning

The view of the streets of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, from my Room No. 2123 at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo as dawn begins to break over Tokyo

The view of my Room No. 2123 at the Hilton Hotel Tokyo shortly before I headed down to the main hotel lobby

After a short and quick early morning cab trip of 20 minutes from the Hilton Hotel Tokyo located in the centre of downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station at 6.20 a.m.. Checking to see that I had not left any of my belongings behind, I paid up my cab fare while the driver offered to help me in unloading my baggage from the cab boot. Thanking the cab driver for his services, I promptly headed into the Shinkansen ticketing concourse before heading over to the JR Line ticketing gates.

Showing my two-week Green-type Japan Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate, I walked across the JR Line interchange concourse to the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen interchange concourse, eventually reaching there by 6.30 a.m.. Entering the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse after showing my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed Shinkansen interchange ticketing gate, I promptly went to check which platform number the Shinkansen KAGAYAKI Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa would depart from.

According to the train departure information screens in the main Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse itself, the Shinkansen KAGAYAKI Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa would depart at 7.20 a.m. from Track No. 21. Though it was still quite early before my train to Kanazawa, I promptly took the nearby escalator up to Tracks No. 20 and 21, eventually reaching the platforms before 6.35 a.m.. While waiting for the Shinkansen KAGAYAKI Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa that morning, I did some train-spotting and sorted out my belongings on Tracks No. 20 and 21.

KAGAYAKI (かがやき) is a high-speed Shinkansen train service operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and West Japan Railway Company (JR West) between Tokyo and Kanazawa via the Hokuriku Shinkansen line in Japan. It is currently the fastest service on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, and is one of the two services that can go as far as Kanazawa from Nagano, with the fastest service between Tokyo and Kanazawa taking 2 hours 28 minutes. The service is capable of reaching a top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph).

The service commenced on 14 March 2015, in collaboration with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, using a fleet of 12-car E7 series and W7 series sets, each operating at a maximum top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph). These sets feature luxury Gran Class accommodation in Car No. 12, which can seat up to 18 passengers in a 2-1 configuration. Like the HAYABUSA service operating on the Tohoku & Hokkaido Shinkansen line, dedicated Gran Class attendant service is available, providing light meals and beverages to Gran Class passengers.

As of 26 March 2016, there are a total of 10 daily return workings operating in each direction, with most services stopping only at Omiya, Nagano and Toyama Stations en route. All seats are reserved and non-smoking, due to the popularity and increasing consumer demand for the fast train service between Tokyo and Kanazawa. There are no extra charges required for the KAGAYAKI service for foreign tourists with a Japan Rail Pass. However, the use of Gran Class accommodation requires the payments of the Shinkansen express charge and the Gran Class surcharge.

The Hokuriku Shinkansen (Japanese: 北陸新幹線; Traditional Chinese: 北陸新幹綫; Simplified Chinese: 北陆新干线) is a Japanese high-speed Shinkansen railway line connecting Tokyo with Kanazawa in the Hokuriku region in the main island of Honshu, Japan. Operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and West Japan Railway Company (JR West), it is the first and currently the only jointly-managed high-speed Shinkansen rail line in Japan and passes through sparsely-populated regions in the Shin'etsu region before travelling along the coast of the Sea of Japan before reaching Toyama and Kanazawa. The line has a maximum top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph).

The line was first opened for service on 1 October 1997 between Tokyo and Nagano, thereby being known as the Nagano Shinkansen (Japanese: 長野新幹線; Traditional Chinese: 長野新幹綫; Simplified Chinese: 长野新干线), with a fleet of 8-car E2 series sets operating on the various ASAMA services. From May 2012 to March 2014, the stations had their platform roofs lengthened to cater to longer trains in preparation for the upcoming Hokuriku Shinkansen line extension to Kanazawa, with 12-car E7 series sets entering service from 15 March 2014.

From the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015, with the opening of the line extension to Kanazawa beyond Nagano, the line was renamed to its current name. As of 26 March 2016, the 8-car E2 series sets and 12-car E7 series and W7 series sets operate on the KAGAYAKI, HAKUTAKA, ASAMA and TSURUGI services at a top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph), with the TSURUGI services functioning as shuttle services between Kanazawa and Toyama. Also, the existing 8-car E2 series sets are still retained on seasonal ASAMA services between Tokyo and Nagano during holiday peak periods. E2 series sets are scheduled to be withdrawn from Hokuriku Shinkansen services by 31 March 2017.

The exterior view of the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station on a bright and clear early winter's morning

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing concourse located near the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

Finally arriving at the JR Line ticketing gates near the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

The JR Line interchange concourse at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

The Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen interchange concourse at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

The Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screens for the Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains in the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 20 and 21 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screens for Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 20 and 21 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

A 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U14, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U14, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 10-car E5 Series Shinkansen Set No. U14, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 203 bound for Sendai, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 20 and 21 serving some of the Tohoku, Joetsu & Hokuriku Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

An 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 303 bound for Niigata, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station. I remember riding on this particular train as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 335 bound for Niigata from Tokyo to Echigo-yuzawa in December 2015

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 303 bound for Niigata, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car E4 Series Shinkansen Set No. P11, operating as the Shinkansen "Max TOKI" Superexpress No. 303 bound for Niigata, during the boarding process on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

An out-of-service 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J60 on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station. I remember riding on this particular train as the Shinkansen "TOKI" Superexpress No. 321 bound for Niigata from Tokyo to Echigo-yuzawa in December 2015

The logo of the out-of-service 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J60 on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J61, which would operate as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" Superexpress No. 123 bound for Sendai, entering Tokyo Station on Track No. 22

A 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L65, which would operate as the Shinkansen "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 123 bound for Shinjo via Yamagata, entering Tokyo Station on Track No. 22

The 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J61 and 7-car E3 Series Shinkansen Set No. L65, operating as the Shinkansen "YAMABIKO" & "TSUBASA" Superexpress No. 123 bound for Sendai & Shinjo via Yamagata, on Track No. 22 at Tokyo Station

A 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J63, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYATE" Superexpress No. 111 bound for Morioka, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 10-car E2 Series Shinkansen Set No. J63, operating as the Shinkansen "HAYATE" Superexpress No. 111 bound for Morioka, on Track No. 20 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station shortly before the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa arrived at the station

After spending almost 35 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 20 and 21, a 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, which would soon operate as the Shinkansen KAGAYAKI Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, finally entered Tokyo Station at 7.08 a.m. on Track No. 21. Once all the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 11, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 11A for the early morning trip of 2 hours 31 minutes to the mid-sized historical and suburban port city of Kanazawa located on the coastline of the Sea of Japan in the Hokuriku region.

The seat next to me, 11B, would remain vacant for the entire early morning trip of 2 hours 31 minutes from Tokyo to Kanazawa. Once the clock struck exactly 7.20 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen KAGAYAKI Superexpress No. 503 finally pulled out of Tokyo Station for its early morning trip of 2 hours 31 minutes to the mid-sized historical and suburban port city of Kanazawa in the Hokuriku region. I was then on my way for a routine early morning trip of 2 hours 31 minutes to the mid-sized historical and suburban port city of Kanazawa located on the coast of the Sea of Japan.

Kanazawa (Japanese: 金沢市; Traditional Chinese: 金澤市; Simplified Chinese: 金泽市) is a port city located on the coast of the Sea of Japan in the Hokuriku region in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. With a population of 466,189 as of 1 October 2016, it is the largest city in the Hokuriku region and the prefectural capital of Ishikawa Prefecture. The city lies on the coast of the Sea of Japan, and is popularly known as 'Little Kyoto' to several local and foreign tourists, housing Kenroku-en as one of the Three Famous Gardens of Japan.

The city is easily accessible from Komatsu Airport in the neighbouring city of Komatsu, which caters to mostly some domestic flights and a small number of international flights to Mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan. Direct Thunderbird limited express services provide railway connections to Kyoto and Osaka, with Shirasagi limited express services connecting to Maibara and Nagoya. Since 14 March 2015, the city has been easily accessible from Tokyo directly via the Hokuriku Shinkansen line via Nagano, with an average travel span taking 2 hours 30 minutes between Tokyo and Kanazawa.

E7系新幹線 F2編成 かがやき503号 金沢行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

Getting ready to board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 11A, during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 21 at Tokyo Station

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the in-bound segment from Tokyo to Kanazawa

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

E7系新幹線 F2編成 かがやき503号 金沢行き 東京駅から上野駅間

Making a brief stop at Ueno Station

E7系新幹線 F2編成 かがやき503号 金沢行き 上野駅から大宮駅間

Making a brief stop at Omiya Station

Bypassing some urban infrastructure in downtown Omiya-ku, Saitama, shortly after departing Omiya Station

A packet of Jagariko (じゃがりこ) potato sticks and a bottle of Coca-cola and mineral water for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Finally diverting away from the Tohoku Shinkansen tracks in downtown Kita-ku, Saitama

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ageo

Planning out the in-bound segment from Tokyo to Kanazawa on my blog shortly after departing Omiya Station

Reading through the most hilarious quote in 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' on iBooks, where Harry's Uncle Vernon throws a temper tantrum after his nephew tries to teach Dudley to say 'please' so that he could have more bacon at the breakfast table ï½° "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU," thundered his uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!"

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Konosu

Bypassing a large farming field between the suburban cities of Konosu and Kumagaya

E7系新幹線 F2編成 かがやき503号 金沢行き 熊谷 (通過) ~ 本庄早稲田 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Kamikawa

Reading through 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' on iBooks, where Percy Weasley finally reconciles with his family in the Battle of Hogwarts after blindly following the corrupted Ministry of Magic through blinded loyalty

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Fujioka

E7系新幹線 F2編成 かがやき503号 金沢行き 高崎 (通過) ~ 軽井沢 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban ski resort town of Karuizawa

Passing through Sakudaira Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Saku

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Ueda near Ueda Station

Passing through Ueda Station

Bypassing more housing areas in the suburban city of Ueda after passing through Ueda Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, between Ueda and Nagano Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, between Ueda and Nagano Stations

A view of my seat, 11A, between Ueda and Nagano Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, from my seat between Ueda and Nagano Stations

Bypassing some snow-covered housing areas near downtown Nagano as the train gets closer to Nagano Station

Making a brief stop at Nagano Station

E7系新幹線 F2編成 かがやき503号 金沢行き 長野 (発車) ~ 上越妙高 (通過)

The Sea of Japan coming into view as the train speeds through the suburban seaside port city of Itoigawa

Bypassing some housing areas close to the Sea of Japan in the suburban seaside port city of Itoigawa

Passing through Itoigawa Station

A breathtaking view of the Sea of Japan as the train speeds through the suburban seaside port city of Itoigawa

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, between Itoigawa and Kurobe-unazukionsen Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, between Itoigawa and Kurobe-unazukionsen Stations

A view of my seat, 11A, between Itoigawa and Kurobe-unazukionsen Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F2, operating as the Shinkansen "KAGAYAKI" Superexpress No. 503 bound for Kanazawa, from my seat between Itoigawa and Kurobe-unazukionsen Stations

E7系新幹線 F2編成 かがやき503号 金沢行き 黒部宇奈月温泉 (通過) ~ 富山 (到着)

Making a brief stop at Toyama Station

E7系新幹線 F2編成 かがやき503号 金沢行き 富山駅から終点金沢駅間

After a routine early morning trip of 2 hours 31 minutes from the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Kanazawa terminal station at 9.51 a.m. on Track No. 14. Checking to see that there was really nothing left behind on board, I promptly alighted from the train and took the nearby escalator down to the Shinkansen concourse, thus reaching there by ten o' clock. I then headed over to the Shinkansen ticketing gates, where I quickly showed my two-week Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate.

Kanazawa Station (Japanese: 金沢駅; Traditional Chinese: 金澤車站; Simplified Chinese: 金泽车站) is a major interchange railway terminal complex located in 1-1 Kinoshimbo-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan. Operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) and IR Ishikawa Railway, it is the main railway terminal serving Kanazawa and is the largest and busiest railway terminal in the Hokuriku region, with more than 23,000 passengers commuting through the station daily. The station currently serves as the northwestern terminus for the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, and is a major interchange station for the Hokuriku Main Line, Nanao Line and IR Ishikawa Railway Line.

The station was opened on 1 April 1898, initially serving as an intermediate station for the Hokuriku Main Line and Nanao Line, and was extensively rebuilt across the years, with the current station infrastructure completed in 1999. From 14 March 2015, with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line from Nagano, the remaining sectors of the Hokuriku Main Line beyond Kanazawa was transferred to other third-party private railways, resulting in Kanazawa becoming the terminus for the Hokuriku Main Line. However, most trains for the Nanao Line continue to begin and end at Kanazawa.

Kenroku-en (Japanese Kanji: 兼六園; Traditional Chinese: 兼六園; Simplified Chinese: 兼六园) is an old natural private garden located in 1 Kenroku-cho, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan. It is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, along with Mito's Kairaku-en and Okayama's Koraku-en, and was developed between the 1620s and 1840s by the Maeda clan, becoming accessible to the public on 7 May 1874. The garden houses a statue of the legendary prince Yamato Takeru and Japan's oldest water fountain. Open during the daylight hours across the year, the garden is famous for its natural beauty and has several teahouses and stone lanterns.

After spending approximately one hour of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 11 and 12, a 12-car E7 Series Shinkansen Set No. F9, which would operate as the Shinkansen KAGAYAKI Superexpress No. 510 bound for Tokyo, finally entered Kanazawa Station at 4.30 p.m. on Track No. 12. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 11, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and took my assigned Seat No. 9D for the early evening return journey of 2 hours 33 minutes back to the lively and colossal hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The train would be almost filled to the brim for the entire evening return trip between Kanazawa and Tokyo. At exactly 4.47 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen KAGAYAKI Superexpress No. 510 finally pulled out of Kanazawa Station for its evening trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively and modern hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo. I was then on my way for a routine early evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes back to the lively and colossal capital city of Japan.

After a short and quick routine late evening cab trip of just 25 minutes from Tokyo Station in the centre of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived back at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at eight o' clock.

To end of my second day trip to Kanazawa, I could say that Kanazawa was not a bad place to visit in the winter with some cool air coming from the Sea of Japan, with the Kenroku-en garden being the highlight of my trip, albeit the damp weather. Like the HAYABUSA service that operates on the Tohoku & Hokkaido Shinkansen lines, the KAGAYAKI service is better than the Korea Train Express (KTX) in South Korea, thus allowing me to rate it as one of the five-star high-speed Shinkansen train services I have taken in Japan. Should I get a chance to visit Kanazawa again via the Hokuriku Shinkansen line on future trips to Japan, I shall not hesitate to do so.

Part 2 ~ Westbound Shopping Trip To Kansai International Airport

In the wee hours of the next morning, which was Monday (12 December), I woke up early at exactly five o' clock shortly after my mobile phone alarm blasted off. The very first thing I did was to have a hot shower and changed into my attire before preparing the remaining portions of my belongings required for the day. According to my annual Japanese railway itineraries, I was to be undertaking a westbound shopping trip to Kansai International Airport near Osaka today.

As for the early morning in-bound journey to Kansai International Airport, I would catch the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, which would depart from Tokyo Station at 7.13 a.m., and arrive at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 9.46 a.m.. After arrival at Shin-osaka, I would promptly change to a Special Rapid Service train bound for Nagahama via the Biwako Line, which would depart from Shin-osaka Station at 10.05 a.m., and arrive at Kyoto Station at 10.29 a.m.. At Kyoto, I would connect to the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, which would depart from Kyoto Station at 11.30 a.m., and arrive at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 12.50 p.m..

After a routine early morning cab trip of approximately 25 minutes from the Hilton Hotel Tokyo in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived at the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station at 6.10 a.m.. Checking to see that there was really nothing behind on board, I paid up my cab fare while the driver got out to help unload my baggage from the cab boot. Thanking the driver for his selfless services, I headed into the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing concourse, where I went over to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gates.

Showing my Japan Rail Pass to the officer at the staffed Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gate, I headed into the concourse to check which platform the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka would depart from. According to the departure information screens, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka would depart at 7.13 a.m. from Track No. 14. Though it was still early before my train to Osaka, I promptly took the escalator up to Tracks No. 14 and 15, eventually reaching the platforms by 6.20 a.m..

The exterior view of the Yaesu Central Entrance to Tokyo Station on a bright and clear early winter's morning at the crack of dawn

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing concourse located near the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour at the crack of dawn

Approaching the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gates located near the Yaesu Central Entrance at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour at the crack of dawn

The Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 14 and 15 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z53 (X53), which would operate as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 501 bound for Shin-osaka, entering Tokyo Station on Track No. 16

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z53 (X53), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 501 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z53 (X53), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 501 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

Tracks No. 14 and 15 serving some of the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screens for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 14 and 15 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour at the crack of dawn

The departure information screens for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka would be the second train to depart from Track No. 14

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z22 (X22), which would operate as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 201 bound for Shin-osaka, entering Tokyo Station on Track No. 14

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z22 (X22), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 201 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z22 (X22), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 201 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

A 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C37, which would operate as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 295 bound for Shin-osaka, entering Tokyo Station on Track No. 15

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C37, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 295 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C37, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 295 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C37, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 295 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C37, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 295 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 15 at Tokyo Station

The departure information screens for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station during the early morning rush hour, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka would be the first train to depart from Track No. 14

A 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N5 (K5), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 461 bound for Okayama, on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N5 (K5), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 461 bound for Okayama, on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N5 (K5), operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 461 bound for Okayama, on Track No. 16 at Tokyo Station

Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station shortly before the the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka arrived at the station

After spending approximately 35 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 14 and 15, a 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, which would operate as the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, finally entered Tokyo Station at 6.56 a.m. on Track No. 14. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 8 and headed into Car No. 9, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, before settling into my assigned Seat No. 16D for the early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka.

The seat next to me, 16C, would remain empty for the entire early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from Tokyo to Shin-osaka. Once the clock struck exactly 7.13 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 297 ultimately pulled out of Tokyo Station for its early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka in the western region of Japan. I was then on my way for an early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes to the colossal and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka in western Japan.

700系新幹線 C41編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 東京駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

Getting ready to board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

A view of my seat, 16D, during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 14 at Tokyo Station

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the in-bound segment from Tokyo to Shin-osaka

Awaiting departure from Tokyo Station

700系新幹線 C41編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 東京駅から新横浜駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

Bypassing some urban infrastructure in downtown Kohoku-ku, Yokohama, shortly after departing Shin-yokohama Station

Planning out the in-bound segment from Tokyo to Shin-osaka on my blog shortly after departing Shin-yokohama Station

Reading through the most hilarious quote in 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' on iBooks, where Harry's Uncle Vernon throws a temper tantrum after his nephew tries to teach Dudley to say 'please' so that he could have more bacon at the breakfast table ï½° "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU," thundered his uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!"

A packet of Jagariko (じゃがりこ) potato sticks and a bottle of Coca-cola and mineral water for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Bypassing some farming fields in the suburban city of Atsugi

A breathtaking and scenic view of Mount Fuji on a bright and clear winter's morning

Bypassing some open farming fields in the suburban city of Isehara

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

A view of my seat, 16D, between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Shin-yokohama and Odawara Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the small suburban town of Nakai

700系新幹線 C41編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 小田原 (通過) ~ 三島 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Mishima

Bypassing a large green field in the suburban city of Mishima

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Kannami

Another breathtaking and scenic view of Mount Fuji on a bright and clear winter's morning

Bypassing a large factory and some warehouses in the suburban city of Fuji

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

Crossing the Fuji River on a bright and clear winter's morning

Bypassing some housing areas in the border between the cities of Fuji and Shizuoka

Bypassing some housing areas in a suburb of Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka

700系新幹線 C41編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 静岡 (通過) ~ 浜松 (通過)

Bypassing a farming area in a suburb of Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu, near Lake Hamana

Crossing Lake Hamana between the cities of Hamamatsu and Kosai

A breathtaking view of Lake Hamana on a bright and clear winter's morning

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kosai near Lake Hamana

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

A view of my seat, 16D, between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Passing through Toyohashi Station

Crossing a bridge past some farming areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Toyokawa

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Toyokawa

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

A view of my seat, 16D, between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Toyohashi and Mikawa-anjo Stations

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Anjo

Passing through Mikawa-anjo Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Anjo

Bypassing a large farming field in the suburban city of Kariya

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

A view of my seat, 16D, between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Mikawa-anjo and Nagoya Stations

Bypassing some downtown infrastructure in downtown Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, as the train approaches Nagoya Station

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 C41編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 米原 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Hikone

A view of my seat, 16D, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat between Maibara and Kyoto Stations

Bypassing some farming fields in the suburban city of Omihachiman

Bypassing some farming fields in the suburban city of Kusatsu

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Otsu

Bypassing some housing areas in Yamashina-ku, Kyoto, as the train approaches Kyoto Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, as the train approaches Kyoto Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, as the train approaches Kyoto Station

A view of my seat, 16D, as the train approaches of Kyoto Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C41, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 297 bound for Shin-osaka, from my seat as the train approaches Kyoto Station

Overlooking the skyline of downtown Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, as the train approaches Kyoto Station

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station

700系新幹線 C41編成 のぞみ297号 新大阪行き 京都駅から終点新大阪駅間

After an early morning trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from the modern and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo, I ultimately arrived at the Shin-osaka terminal station at 9.46 a.m. on Track No. 21. Checking to ensure that there was nothing left behind on board, I quickly alighted from the train and took the nearest escalator down to the Shinkansen concourse, eventually reaching there by 9.50 a.m.. Heading over to the JR Line interchange ticketing gates, I quickly showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed JR Line interchange ticketing gate.

The Haruka (はるか) is a major limited express train service operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) between Kansai International Airport and downtown Osaka and Kyoto in Japan. Frequently referred to as the "Kansai Airport Limited Express" (関空特急) by JR West, the Haruka is the fastest train service that connects downtown Osaka and Kyoto with Kansai International Airport, with an average trip linking between Kansai International Airport and Kyoto taking approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. The service is capable of reaching a maximum top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).

The service commenced operations on 4 September 1994, in conjunction with the opening of Kansai International Airport, using a dedicated fleet of 281 series EMUs manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Kinki Sharyo. Services are normally formed as six cars, with an additional add-on of three cars to form as nine cars for some services. Most services stop only at Tennoji and Shin-osaka Stations en route, with some services also make stop at Izumi-fuchu and Hineno Stations during the early morning and evening rush hours and / or continuing as far as Kusatsu and Maibara. The service also travels over the Umeda Freight Line between Shin-osaka and the Osaka Loop Line, leaving no services going to Osaka Station.

From the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016, the number of daily return workings per direction was increased from 24 to 30, thereby allowing better connections between Kansai International Airport and the Keihanshin metropolitan area. From the same date, some services began to stop at Takatsuki Station during the early morning and evening rush hour. No extra charges are necessary for the Haruka service for foreign tourists travelling with a Japan Rail Pass, with Green Car (first class) accommodation provided in Car No. 1.

Kyoto Station (Japanese: 京都駅; Traditional Chinese: 京都車站; Simplified Chinese: 京都车站) is a large major interchange railway terminal complex located in the centre of Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.

After spending about 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 30 and 31, a 6-car 281 series EMU finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 11.04 a.m. on Track No. 30. The train had initially arrived from Kansai International Airport as the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 12 bound for Kyoto, and was to undergo a quick and extensive cleaning process before becoming the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport. The entire cleaning process for the train interior took not more than approximately 10 minutes.

Upon completion of the entire cleaning process, all the train-cleaning signs were finally taken out at 11.15 a.m., thereby allowing the passengers to board the train to Kansai International Airport. Without wasting anymore time, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and secured my assigned Seat No. 5A for the routine early afternoon trip of 1 hour 20 minutes to Kansai International Airport located on the artificial man-made island in the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay.

The seat adjacent to me, 5B, would remain vacant for the entire afternoon trip of 1 hour 20 minutes from Kyoto to Kansai International Airport. At precisely 11.30 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 23 finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for its routine early afternoon trip of 1 hour 20 minutes to Kansai International Airport in the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay. I was then on my way for a short and routine early afternoon journey of 1 hour 20 minutes to Kansai International Airport located in the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay.

Kansai International Airport (Japanese: 関西国際空港; Traditional Chinese: 關西國際機場; Simplified Chinese: 关西国际机场) is a Japanese international airport located on an offshore artificial reclaimed island in the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay near Osaka, Japan. It is the main international gateway for passengers coming into Osaka and the Keihanshin metropolitan area, and is located on a reclaimed man-made island in the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay. Classified as a first-class airport under national law, the airport serves as a major hub for All Nippon Airways, FedEx Express, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Japan, Nippon Cargo Airlines and Peach.

The airport was opened for revenue passenger service on 4 September 1994 to ease overcrowding at Osaka International Airport (Itami Airport), which currently caters to domestic flights. Since then, Kansai International Airport has taken over the role of handling the international traffic coming to and from Osaka and other parts of the Keihanshin metropolitan area. The airport is directly connected to the mainland via the Sky Gate Bridge R, which carries railway traffic on its lower level and highway road traffic on its upper level, also serving as the world's longest truss bridge.

The airport is easily accessible from Osaka and Kyoto via the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka service by JR West, which provides connections to Kyoto in an average time of 1 hour 20 minutes. Rapid services linking to several suburbs and downtown Osaka are also available, with connecting service to Wakayama provided at Hineno Station. Both the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka service and rapid services are covered under the Japan Rail Pass. Nankai Electric Railway operates the Rapi:t limited express service, which provides direct railway connections to the Namba district in downtown Osaka in under 40 minutes.

281系 関空特急はるか23号 関西国際空港行き 京都駅に入線シーン

The 6-car 281 series EMU, now operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The logo of the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

Getting ready to board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The LED destination panel of the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

A view of my seat, 5A, during the boarding process on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 23 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 30 at Kyoto Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the in-bound segment between Kyoto and Kansai International Airport

Awaiting departure from Kyoto Station

281系 関空特急はるか23号 関西国際空港行き 京都 (発車) ~ 高槻 (通過)

281系 関空特急はるか23号 関西国際空港行き 新大阪駅から天王寺駅間

281系 関空特急はるか23号 関西国際空港行き 北信太 (通過) ~ 関西空港 (到着)

After a short and quick early afternoon journey of 1 hour 20 minutes from the lively and historical hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, I ultimately arrived at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 12.50 p.m. on Track No. 3. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind in the cabin, I promptly alighted from the train and took the nearest elevator upwards to the JR Line concourse before heading over to the main JR Line ticketing gates, where I quickly showed my Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed JR Line ticketing gate.

Kansai Airport Station (Japanese: 関西空港駅; Traditional Chinese: 關西機場站; Simplified Chinese: 关西机场站) is a ground level interchange railway station located in Kansai International Airport in 1 Senshu-kuko-naka, Tajiri, Sennan District, Osaka, Japan. Operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) and Nankai Electric Railway, it is the central railway station serving Kansai International Airport, and is connected to the main passenger terminal via a pedestrian footbridge. The station serves as the terminus for both the Kansai Airport Line and Nankai Airport Line.

1) Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-203 "Retro Livery" Herpa Scale 1:500 (529013)

The bus and cab stands located outside the first floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport during the late afternoon rush hour

The international arrivals and meeting hall located on the first floor in the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport during the late afternoon rush hour

Overlooking the third and fourth levels in the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport during the late afternoon rush hour

Crossing the pedestrian footbridge between the main passenger terminal building and Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at the main station concourse at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The Nankai Line ticketing gates at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The Nankai Line Tourist Information Center in the main station concourse at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The JR Ticket Office in the main station concourse at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The JR Line ticketing gates at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The blue elevators linking to the JR Line platforms at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 3 and 4 at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

A 4-car 225 series EMU, operating as the 3.47 p.m. "Kansai Airport Rapid Service" bound for Tennoji, on Track No. 3 at Kansai Airport Station

A 4-car 225 series EMU, operating as the 4.02 p.m. "Kansai Airport Rapid Service" bound for downtown Osaka, on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the JR Line trains at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

An out-of-service 6-car 281 series EMU, which previously operated as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 35 bound for Kansai International Airport, on Track No. 3 at the Kansai Airport terminal station

Overlooking Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Nankai Line trains at Kansai Airport Station during the late afternoon rush hour

A 6-car Nankai 50000 series EMU, operating as the Nankai Airport Limited Express "Rapi:t β" No. 56 bound for Namba, on Track No. 1 at Kansai Airport Station

The departure information screens for JR Line trains departing from Tracks No. 3 and 4 at Kansai Airport Station

Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station shortly before the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 38 bound for Kyoto arrived at the station

After spending approximately 20 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 3 and 4, a 6-car 281 series EMU, which would soon operate as the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 38 bound for Kyoto, ultimately entered Kansai Airport Station at 4.07 p.m. on Track No. 4. Once the train doors were opened, I quickly boarded the train via Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 6C for the short and routine late afternoon return journey of 1 hour 20 minutes back to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto.

My baggage was also stowed in the baggage rack at the rear of the cabin at the same time. Once the clock struck precisely 4.14 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 38 finally pulled out of Kansai Airport Station for its routine late afternoon trip of 1 hour 20 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto. I was then on my way for a late afternoon return trip of 1 hour 20 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of the historical national capital of Japan.

281系 関空特急はるか38号 京都行き 関西空港駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 38 bound for Kyoto, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating as the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 38 bound for Kyoto, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

A view of my seat, 6C, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Kansai Airport Station

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the return segment between Kansai International Airport and Kyoto

Awaiting departure from Kansai Airport Station

281系 関空特急はるか38号 京都行き 関西空港 (発車) ~ 和泉府中 (通過)

281系 関空特急はるか38号 京都行き 天王寺駅から新大阪駅間

281系 関空特急はるか38号 京都行き 高槻駅から終点京都駅間

After a short and quick early evening rush trip of 23 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, I finally arrived at Shin-osaka Station at 6.22 p.m. on Track No. 16. Checking to see that I had everything with me, I alighted from the train and took the escalator up to the JR Line interchange concourse. I then headed over to the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates, where I showed my Green-type Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed Shinkansen interchange ticketing gate.

I then went to check which platform the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo would depart from. According to the departure information screens, the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo would depart at 7.30 p.m. from Track No. 26. Though it was still quite early before my return train back to Tokyo, I headed to a nearby kiosk to purchase a grilled Wagyu beef bento meal box for the trip and took the nearest escalator up to Tracks No. 25 and 26, eventually reaching there by 6.35 p.m..

Tracks No. 15 and 16 serving some of the westbound Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line) trains bound for Osaka, Takarazuka and Kobe at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The station name plate on Tracks No. 15 and 16 serving some of the westbound Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line) trains bound for Osaka, Takarazuka and Kobe at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The departure information screens for some of the westbound Tokaido Main Line (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line) trains bound for Osaka, Takarazuka and Kobe departing from Tracks No. 15 and 16 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The JR Line interchange concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Finally arriving at the Shinkansen interchange ticketing gates in the JR Line interchange concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The Shinkansen departure information screens in the main Shinkansen concourse near the JR Line interchange ticketing gates at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The main Shinkansen concourse at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 25 and 26 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The LED destination panel of a 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24 (X24), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 48 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z24 (X24), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 48 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR West N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. F5, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 480 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 25

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR West N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. F5, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 480 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR West N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. F5, operating as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 480 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G8, operating as the Shinkansen "KODAMA" Superexpress No. 682 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 27 at Shin-osaka Station

An out-of-service 16-car JR West N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. N14 (K14), which previously operated as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 237 bound for Shin-osaka from Tokyo, on Track No. 23 at the Shin-osaka terminal station

The departure information screens for Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Tracks No. 25 and 26 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z72 (X72), which would operate as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 252 bound for Tokyo, entering Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 25

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z72 (X72), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 252 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z72 (X72), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 252 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

A 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G1, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G1, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700A Series Shinkansen Set No. G1, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 408 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 24 at Shin-osaka Station

Tracks No. 25 and 26 serving some of the eastbound Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains bound for Nagoya and Tokyo at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

The departure information screens for eastbound Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen trains departing from Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour, indicating that the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo would be the next train to depart from Track No. 26

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z31 (X31), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 50 bound for Tokyo, arriving at Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 25

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z31 (X31), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 50 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z31 (X31), operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 50 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 25 at Shin-osaka Station

Overlooking Track No. 27 from Tracks No. 25 and 26 at Shin-osaka Station during the early evening rush hour

A 16-car JR Central N700 Series Shinkansen Set No. Z39 (X39), which would operate as the Shinkansen "HIKARI" Superexpress No. 534 bound for Tokyo, entering Shin-osaka Station on Track No. 27

Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station shortly before the the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo arrived at the station

After spending approximately 40 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 25 and 26, a 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, which would operate as the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, finally entered Shin-osaka Station at 7.16 p.m. on Track No. 26. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 8, which was one of the Green Car (first class) coaches, and secured my assigned Seat No. 1A for the early evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.

The seat next to me, 1B, would remain vacant for the entire early evening trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from Shin-osaka to Tokyo. Once the clock struck exactly 7.30 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Shinkansen NOZOMI Superexpresss No. 414 finally pulled out of Shin-osaka Station for its early evening journey of 2 hours 33 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo. I was then on my way for an early evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of the national capital city of Japan.

700系新幹線 C55編成 のぞみ414号 東京行き 新大阪駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The logo of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

Getting ready to board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The LED destination panel of the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, during the boarding process on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

A view of my seat, 1A, during the boarding process on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 26 at Shin-osaka Station

My Green Car (first class) Shinkansen ticket for the return segment from Shin-osaka to Tokyo

Awaiting departure from Shin-osaka Station

700系新幹線 C55編成 のぞみ414号 東京行き 新大阪駅から京都駅間

Making a brief stop at Kyoto Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, shortly after departing Kyoto Station

A bento mealbox of charcoal-grilled beef karubi for myself purchased from the station kiosk at Shin-osaka Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Otsu

A packet of Jagariko (じゃがりこ) potato sticks and a bottle of Coca-cola and mineral water for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kusatsu

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Maibara

Passing through Maibara Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

A view of my seat, 1A, between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

Planning out the outbound segment from Shin-osaka to Tokyo on my blog between Maibara and Gifu-hashima Stations

Reading through the most hilarious quote in 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' on iBooks, where Harry's Uncle Vernon throws a temper tantrum after his nephew tries to teach Dudley to say 'please' so that he could have more bacon at the breakfast table ï½° "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU," thundered his uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?!"

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Yoro

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban town of Wanouchi

Crossing the Kiso River close to the suburban city of Hashima

Passing through Gifu-hashima Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Hashima

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

A view of my seat, 1A, between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Gifu-hashima and Nagoya Stations

Byassing some housing apartments in downtown Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, as the train approaches Nagoya Station

Making a brief stop at Nagoya Station

700系新幹線 C55編成 のぞみ414号 東京行き 名古屋 (発車) ~ 豊橋 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Toyohashi

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kosai near Lake Hamana

Crossing Lake Hamana between the cities of Kosai and Hamamatsu

Bypassing some housing areas in a suburb of Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu, near Lake Hamana

700系新幹線 C55編成 のぞみ414号 東京行き 浜松 (通過) ~ 静岡 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in a suburb of Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

A view of my seat, 1A, between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Shizuoka and Shin-fuji Stations

Crossing the Fuji River onto the suburban city of Fuji

Passing through Shin-fuji Station

Bypassing some farming fields in the suburban city of Fuji

700系新幹線 C55編成 のぞみ414号 東京行き 三島 (通過) ~ 小田原 (通過)

Bypassing some housing areas in the small suburban town of Nakai

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

A view of my seat, 1A, between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, from my seat between Odawara and Shin-yokohama Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Atsugi

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

A view of my seat, 1A, as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 16-car JR Central 700 Series Shinkansen Set No. C55, operating as the Shinkansen "NOZOMI" Superexpress No. 414 bound for Tokyo, from my seat as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

Bypassing a road bridge in downtown Asahi-ku, Yokohama, as the train approaches Shin-yokohama Station

Making a brief stop at Shin-yokohama Station

700系新幹線 C55編成 のぞみ414号 東京行き 新横浜駅から終点東京駅間

After an evening return trip of 2 hours 33 minutes from the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka, I finally arrived at the Tokyo terminal station at 10.03 p.m. on Track No. 19. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind inside the cabin, I promptly alighted from the train and took the nearby escalator down to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen concourse before proceeding to the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gates located close to the Yaesu Central Entrance of the station building, thus reaching there at 10.10 p.m..

Showing my two-week Japan Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen ticketing gate, I went over to the cab stands located near the Yaesu Central Entrance of the station. Upon hailing down a nearby black cab, the driver got out to assist in loading my baggage into the cab boot while I informed him to take me back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo. Soon enough, once everything had been safely loaded in, I finally departed Tokyo Station at 10.15 p.m. for a short and quick late evening cab trip of 20 minutes back to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo in downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

After a short and quick routine late evening cab trip of just 20 minutes from Tokyo Station in the centre of the Marunouchi business district in downtown Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, I finally arrived back at the main entrance to the Hilton Hotel Tokyo at 10.35 p.m..

Part 3 ~ Spending The Last Day On A Regional Afternoon Shopping Trip To Narita International Airport

The next morning, which was Tuesday (13 December), 8.30 a.m. after my mobile phone alarm blasted off early.

After spending almost 40 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 5 and 6, a 6-car E259 series EMU finally arrived at Shinjuku Station at 11.10 a.m. on Track No. 5. The train had initially arrived from Narita International Airport as the Limited Express Narita Express No. 10 bound for Shinjuku earlier, and was to undergo an extensive cleaning process before becoming the Limited Express Narita Express No. 23 bound for Narita International Airport. It took not more than approximately 15 minutes to clean up the entire interior of the train.

Upon completion of the entire train-cleaning process, the train doors were finally opened again at 11.25 a.m., thus allowing the passengers to board the train bound for Narita International Airport. Without wasting anymore time, I boarded the train via Car No. 6, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 2D for the routine early afternoon trip of 1 hour 18 minutes to Narita International Airport located in the outskirts of the suburban city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture.

My train was to operate coupled to another 6-car E259 series EMU, operating as the same train service from Ofuna, beyond Tokyo Station. At exactly 11.40 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Narita Express No. 23 finally pulled out of Shinjuku Station for its early afternoon journey of 1 hour 18 minutes to Narita International Airport located in the outskirts of the suburban city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture. I was then on my way for a short and routine afternoon journey of 1 hour 18 minutes to Narita International Airport in the suburban outskirts of the city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture.

1) Lufthansa Airbus A350-941 Herpa Scale 1:500 (529037)

2) Philippine Airlines Airbus A340-313X "75th Anniversary" Herpa Scale 1:500 (529341)

After spending almost 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on both Tracks No. 1 and 2 of the JR Line platforms, two 12-car E259 series EMUs finally arrived at Narita Airport Terminal 1 Station at 3.27 p.m. on Track No. 1. The trains had arrived from Yokohama & Shinjuku as the Limited Express Narita Express No. 33 bound for Narita International Airport earlier, and were to undergo an extensive cleaning process before becoming the Limited Express Narita Express No. 34 bound for Yokohama & Shinjuku. The entire cleaning process for the trains took not more than approximately 10 minutes.

Upon completion of the entire cleaning process, all the train-cleaning signs were finally opened again at 3.37 p.m., thereby allowing the passengers to board the train bound for Yokohama and Shinjuku. Without wasting anymore time, I boarded the train via Car No. 5, which was the Green Car (first class) coach bound for Shinjuku, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 5A for the late afternoon return trip of 1 hour 28 minutes back to the modern and colossal hustle and bustle of the Shinjuku district located in the centre downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.

At exactly 3.44 p.m. sharp, all of the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Narita Express No. 34 finally pulled out of Narita Airport Terminal 1 Station. Cars No. 1 to 6 would be bound for Yokohama, whereas Cars No. 7 to 12 would be bound for Shinjuku, with both trains to be divided at Tokyo Station on the way. I was then on my way for a routine late afternoon return trip of 1 hour 28 minutes back to the modern and colossal hustle and bustle of the Shinjuku district located in the centre downtown Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.