Tokyo to Takayama
It was an easy transition with our luggage from our hotel, The Strings by InterContinental, to Shinagawa Station – the few hundred metres was a breeze with no stairs and smooth tiled walk ways. There were helpful Japan Rail staff everywhere who patiently guided our direction and even allowed us to keep our tickets as souvenirs rather than let the ticket machines consume them.
The waiting room with a Starbucks was where people congregated until it was time to head to the platform – no one was giving up airconditioning before it was absolutely necessary. For those (apparently many!) with a nicotine addiction, there was a special smoking room – it was packed. Far more of the male population smoke than women – men just under 30%, women just under 10%. John tried his first black cold coffee from the vending machine, and it passed judgement (this could be a new thing for him).
This was our first experience of an express train in Japan, and the first leg of our journey was to Nagoya, where we were to change trains for the one to Takayama. The seating was a 3-2 configuration, and the helpful man at the JR office had sat us together in a pair. Not much padding on the Shinkansen Hikari 507, a bit like the Tangaras in Sydney, but the seats did recline, and there was far more space than in economy on flights!
Before long, we arrived at Nagoya station with a 30 minute wait between trains, which was a good amount of time for us to shop for a snack. Thrilled that I was able to find bento boxes with vegetables in them! Maybe we just need to live on bento boxes instead of trying to find restaurants while here (see previous post abo