One overriding parameter in the planning of My Ultimate Global Adventure (MUGA) was minimization of stress. So this morning, I awoke to a brilliant view of Mount Fuji, but with the following headlines:
Japan Rail Pass Guide to the Shinkansen (bullet train) There are 1500 miles of tracks and the fastest train goes up to 200 miles per hour. If you think this is quick, test runs have gone up to 275 MPH, and the world record for their experimental maglev was 361 MPH.
First, you need to obtain this pass BEFORE you get to Japan. Here are further details. Today, for me:
1. There are three speeds, and here are their times and frequency/hour from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka:
Nozomi 2.5 hours (5)
Hikari 3 hours (2)
Kodama 4 hours (2)
This is an anachronism that should be changed, but the pass does NOT allow you to use Nozomi.
3. No big deal because you will most likely get a reserved seat, but if the train is to be crowded, people begin to stand in line at what is supposed to be the entrance. Next to it is kind of the exit of the next car. No one stands there. So that is where you enter.
However, there are different details depending on where you come from and where you want to go. Any train with a Max is a doubledecker. In some segments, be careful where you sit because half the train goes in a different direction at some point after departure.
So here arrived my Shinkansen:
My $40 bento set:
Best I've ever had on a train. Soon after leaving Tokyo Station, you could already see Mount Fuji. This was the first time I've ever notice MF on a train in Tokyo. Half an hour into the ride:
By the way, that photo at the top was not taken from my hotel room, but from just about here. The view, however, is not always so picturesque:
The Osaka St. Regis has become my favorite hotel in Japan. The service is over the top and accommodations grand. Except for one bump at check in. I added a second day to my stay here, and they indicated, sorry, but on Day 1 you were provided, appropriately enough for this day, the Mount Fuji Suite, but, the room was taken in advance for Day 2, so you need to move to still a pretty good room, but must pay an additional $400 if you wish to remain a second night in the suite. Note the additional. Also, what kind of logic is this? Think about it. So I said, nah, give me the not so terrific but still good room so I don't need to move. But then I thought, all I had was a small wheely with not much of anything, so I took this incredible suite for one night. Here are two views of the room from each end:
And you don't even see the bathroom, which is fabulous. I noted this:
I can't imagine a 27-floor fire escape ladder:
I live on the 27th floor in Honolulu. Maybe I'd better look into this.
Tonight, dinner at Kahala, which is written and pronounced Kahara here.