Days later, as I write this, I am sitting on another Shinkansen, this time from Himeji to Mimisha. We watched trains speed past the platform while we waited. At the first transit stop, passing trains shook our carriage, causing the group of school children at the front of our car to hoot and holler. I wondered what the speed is.
On the Nozomi and Mizuho service lines of the Japan Shinkansen network, the fastest speeds are reached. However, the “normal” shinkansen trains are basically equivalent to the Thalys, the TGV, and other high speed trains. So I think that my romantic notions of the so-called bullet trains are in fact a remnant of my American upbringing, where we are stuck with Amtrack. The TGV (France) has been running since the 60s, and I’ve ridden it and the Thalys many times. On that trip from Tokyo to Kyoto a few days ago, although we were certainly moving quickly, the view out the window didn’t seem any faster than riding one of those, and it turns out I was correct to think so.
Now, back to that journey. After a few days in Tokyo, which is certainly full of wonders, it was really nice to be getting on the move to somewhere else. Our group was able to get 6 seats all together, and we all settled into our various tasks. I mostly worked on writing previous posts for this blog. And took pictures out of the window (my friends were kind enough to let me have one of the window seats).
It was a fast trip, so we arrived in Kyoto with plenty of time to explore. That will be the next post!