Just what is a suica? No, it isn’t the Japanese word for “watermelon.” Although, I am craving a watermelon right now. Anyways, a suica is god’s gift to the Japanese transportation system.
The bullet train (shinkansen) is a great way to travel between the many prefectures of Japan. Today`s edition will discuss when you should arrive to take the bullet train.
KIX – ICN
April 3, 2014
After a week in Japan, it was time to head over to South Korea. Once again, we would be traveling solo as I would be flying to Seoul before flying to Jeju Island because I didn’t have enough United miles so I had to use my Korean Air miles. Kathy would be flying directly to Jeju Island, arriving about 3 hours ahead of me.
Today was technically our only full day in Osaka so we decided to split up and explore the city.
During our last morning in Kyoto, everyone slept in just for a bit and then we went back to Shin Kyogoku and Teramachi Shopping Arcades and the Nishiki Market to look for food and do some last minute shopping.
Our last full day started with me panicking at the thought of missing the Kyoto Imperial Palace Tour. Before you can visit any of the Imperial Palaces in Japan, you will need a permit. There are no fees for the permit but you will need it when you arrive. I applied for the permit online and I have to say, I have never seen an application requesting for your full name, age, home country address, citizenship and professions. O.o It only took a few days for me to receive the permit after submitting it. On the permit, it listed the number of visitors (including gender) and it mentioned that passport or identification was required. But I was the only one who needed to show my passport because I was the one who applied for the permit. It also mentioned that visitors are expected to be at the entrance 20 minutes before the tour to check it. We barely made it in time for the check-in.
After getting a good night’s rest, we split up once again. Kathy and I went to visit the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama and see the Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). Unfortunately I don’t remember where Tommy went to… I think it was a manga museum(?). Anyhow, we left pretty early around 9:30 and we were smart to remember to take an umbrella from the hostel because it was sprinkling when we left. We also rented a wifi-router for ¥500 (about $4.60USD) per day and it seriously came in handy. We were able to look up directions, and keep our friends posted with our (actually just me) constant facebook updates.
I unfortunately did not make the 6:20 AM train from Tokyo to Kyoto 😦 . So I went to the JR East Travel Service Center to change my reservation to the 7 AM train and it costed ¥5740 (about $53USD). The great thing about Tokyo is their signage. Everything is clearly written out and I did not get lost 🙂 . Both of my friends were going to take a later train to Kyoto since their JR pass didn’t allow for travel on the Nozomi or the Mizuho. So that meant they were going to arrive about 2 hours after I arrive in Kyoto. I was lucky enough to get a window seat (train seating is 3 x 3). Unfortunately not on the side that has a view of Mt. Fuji 😦 .