Today is the day we will have our first ever journey in one of the famous Shinkansen trains as we make our way from Yokohama to Osaka.
Day 16 – March 19th, 2014.
Yokohama to Osaka
Yokohama to Sembayashi-Omiya
Up at 6.30am before the alarm and packed up ready to check out…
We had wondered the night before if we should just get a taxi to Shin Yokohama as it would be easier and probably cost us around $50 for 35 minutes, but when we woke up and chatted about it, we changed our minds and decided to give it a go with the train and subway, after all, we were in no rush and have to watch the reckless spending.
First up, the Subway to Yokohama
Part one is getting from the hotel to the nearest subway which was only about six minutes walk, then down the two escalators to the platform using our PASAMO IC cards which we had.
On the subway for four stops then out and up four escalators to Yokohama station, here we have to change to the JR line and go another four stops to Shin-Yokohama.
Next, we needed to check for the right Shinkansen train. With the JR Pass, you can use all of the Shinkansen except for the Nozomi and Mizuho.
We asked a very helpful train staff man and he explained to us which one and what platform. Moni tried to reserve seats but the reserved carriages were all full, so we chanced our luck in non-reserved.
Tip; make your reservations for the Shinkansen trains as soon as you can as they do fill up regularly.
Our first Shinkansen ride
The station platforms are very well set out, all the trains stop exactly in the same spot each time and you wait in a line behind each other in an orderly manner until you can get on. We managed to get on with all our luggage in one of the non-reserved carriages, only to find no seats available.
We stood for the first 40 minutes until the next stop where a few got off and enabled us to get two seats together right by the door where we were standing, awesome. I put some of the luggage on the racks and kept the big cases in front of us, plenty of room.
We then ate our bento boxes of food that Moni had managed to buy just before the train came. Very delicious and good value. I had read many tips from the Whirlpool forum and this was one of them, buy a bento box before getting on the train.
The Shinkansen was very clean, quiet and fast… The conductor and trolley lady both bow on entering and leaving a carriage. We purchased a coffee from her and enjoyed the journey.
Just after the stop at Kyoto we put our backpacks on again ready for the next leg, getting from Shin-Osaka to Osaka. This was not too hard, we exited the Shinkansen area and headed to the normal JR line trains which is via a few lifts… Then we checked with another ticket booth and are given directions to the right platform, again more escalators, the train soon came and we were soon on our way to Osaka station.
Taking the Tanimachi Subway Line
One stop later we were there and next had to find the way to get to Sembayashi-omiya… After asking another train staff member for directions, we found out we needed to take the ‘Tanimachi’ subway line.
This was the hardest bit of the journey, we walked for about 15 minutes with our luggage and by the end, we were both knackered. So many people everywhere and when you’re in the big open station areas (which all look the same), hence we had to ask three times to be sure we had the right exits. Eventually, we made it to the right platform and boarded the subway train to Sembayashi-omiya where we were met by Roman who showed us to the AirBnB apartment in Sembayashi-Omiya where we will be staying.