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December 10, 2019 / Jim Fenton

Japan/Singapore Day 4: Kyoto to Tokyo

November 11, 2019

Today we are traveling from Kyoto to Tokyo. This seemed like the best day to do so, since many of the museums and other attractions in Japan close on Mondays. We opted go to Tully’s Coffee, also around the corner from the hotel, for breakfast as a change-of-pace from Starbucks breakfasts. The breakfast choices (and the coffee and tea) were passable, but not as good as Starbucks has been. (We haven’t tried any of the local coffee shops yet).

Kenna inspects a loom

After repacking our bags and checking out, we made our way to the Nishijin Textile Center, one of the few museums open on Monday. We got there just in time for a short kimono fashion show, after which we were able to walk around a few exhibits, see a live weaving demonstration. There were many handmade and custom items available in their store.

For our return to the hotel (to retrieve our bags), we took a slightly different subway route through the shopping district just north of Shirl station. There we found the Daimaru department store, and stopped for lunch at the restaurant on their top floor. One of the things we noticed about the small restaurants where we have been eating is that they specialize in a particular style of Japanese food (sushi, udon, etc.) and we both have to want the same thing. The Daimaru restaurant has a broad selection, displayed in models in glass cases at the entrance and ordered by number. I was able to get soba noodles with some sushi, and Kenna got a donburi with miso soup. This was a good experience.

Shinkansen train

We picked up our bags and took the subway to Kyoto station. Tickets on the Shinkansen (bullet train) were easy there is a train every few minutes. Upon getting to the platform, we were amazed by the number and size of Shinkansen trains arriving and departing; they handle a seriously large number of people every day.

We were hoping to see Mount Fuji along the way to Tokyo, but unfortunately we were on the right side of the train, Mt. Fuji was on the left, and all the seats on the left side were sold. We did get a glimpse, but not much of one because the windows across the train car weren’t high enough to see the top. We were a little disappointed.

After arriving in Tokyo, we took a subway to the vicinity of our hotel, the Celestine Tokyo Shiba and walked the short remaining distance. This hotel has a substantially different feel from the hotel in Kyoto: the Kyoto hotel was in the middle of a shopping district and this one is in the middle of a business district (in fact, right next door to NEC Headquarters). There aren’t nearly as many places nearby to eat, but it’s otherwise very centrally located. We had dinner after arriving in the hotel’s lobby bar; the club sandwiches were good but a little expensive.

One nice thing at this hotel is the lounge down the hall from our room that offers coffee, tea, juice, and (for a fee) beer and wine. It’s also a very good place to work, which is helpful given the small (but usual size for Tokyo) hotel rooms.

Total walking today: 6.1 miles, 9 floors climbed

This article is part of a series about our recent travels to Japan and Singapore. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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