Introduction: Flying to Japan to Ride the Shinkansen
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Premium Economy Class – Dallas to Tokyo
Review: NAA Dayroom – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines – (787-800) Economy Class – Tokyo to Bangkok
Review: Aloft Hotel – Bangkok
Review: Singapore Airlines (A330) Business Class – Bangkok to Singapore
Review: Singapore Airlines (777-300) Business Class – Singapore to Tokyo
Review: Nozomi Shinkansen – Tokyo to Fukuoka
Review: Hilton Seahawk – Fukuoka
Day Trip to Uminonakamichi Island
Review: All Nippon Airways Lounge – Fukuoka
Review: All Nippon Airlines (767-300) Business Class – Fukuoka to Okinawa
Review: All Nippon Airlines Business Class Lounge – Fukuoka International Airport
Review: All Nippon Airlines (737-800) Economy Class – Okinawa to Nagoya
Review: All Nippon Airlines (Bombadier Dash 8) Economy Class – Nagoya to Tokyo
Review: 9 Hour Capsule Hotel – Narita International Airport
Review: IASS Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: TEI Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Economy Class – Tokyo to Dallas
Tokyo Station – Hakata (Fukuoka)
Travel Time: 5 hrs 12 min
July 9, 2019
The early morning arrival in Tokyo gave me plenty of time to burn before heading over to Tokyo Station to catch the Nozomi Shinkansen to Hakata (Fukuoka) Station. I quickly processed through immigrations and customs. Japan’s immigration is the most efficient of any country I have visited. I was curbside, hailing a taxi within 20 minutes. As I mentioned earlier, I had some hours before I needed to meet up with my son at Tokyo Station. This gave me ample time to hunt down a CoCo Ichibanya Curry House. I have loved eating at Cocos since my time in Okinawa. The thing I did not know, until we stopped at four locations, was that Cocos opened around lunch time (11am) in Tokyo.
This was very disappointing as I had my heart set on the curry. I finally hopped out the cab near Tokyo Station and found a ramen house, just off of the main street. The little place was typical for the hustle and bustle in Tokyo. There were no seats and food/beverage tickets had to be purchased from a vending machine then provided to a worker before getting food. The ramen was not the best, but it was not the worst.
I hung out at the restaurant before making my way over to the station to pick up the tickets. Since I purchased the tickets in advance, I needed to go inside to pick up the tickets.
The agent asked for my identification and the credit card used to purchase the tickets. If I did not have the credit card, I would have been forced to purchase new tickets. The ticket prices for the one way itinerary from to Tokyo to Hakata in a reserved car were as follows:
approx. $280 USD (12 years and up)
approx. $140 USD (6-11 years old)
approx $50 USD (under 6 years old)
I purchased three tickets for just over $600 USD using my Chase Freedom Unlimited card to receive 1.5% cash back. We walked around the station, played on escalators, and were having a blast overall. My son, Nicholas, spotted a sushi restaurant in the food court, so guess where we went. I tried to get a decent picture of the chef, but the lighting or my horrible picture taking, prevented this.
The hostess quickly ushered us to a booth on the right side of the restaurant. She provided menus and a blanket to cover our bags. The blankets were used to keep our bags out of view because there was no closet. Nicholas is a HUGE fan of tekka maki. He eats it whenever we go out for sushi. In case you did not know, tekka maki is tuna wrapped in rice and seaweed. We ordered his dish then squid and chicken wing with mayo, for me. I was not hungry at this point.
After eating, we grabbed some drinks and snacks on the platform because I did not know if there would be any kind of service on the train. The shinkansen platform was not crowded, especially when compared to the subway platforms in Tokyo.
We approached our train and reserved car to get in the queue. The agent standing outside of the train welcomed us and apologized for the delay in boarding. He stated that the staff was cleaning and would be a few more minutes. I would be worried anywhere else in the world if there was a delay, but not in Japan. We boarded six minutes later and left on time at 1210.
We boarded car 4 (of 16), which was the first reserved car after the first three unreserved cars, from the rear of the car. This meant we had a bit of a walk to get to seats A, B, and C in Row 1. The main issue with the bulkhead seats are the constant traffic through the car door just feet away. It was quite annoying over the five hour trip. The car was configured in 13 rows, 11 in a 3-2 layout and 2 in a 2-2 layout.
The seats appeared to be old, but it could have been the fabric used. Other than the appearance, the seats were really comfortable. The car was spotless as well.
Tray tables were stored on the bulkhead wall. It was one solid tray that rotated down. I found it easy to maneuver out of the seat while the table was down, which I appreciated. There is a weight load on the table so please be aware.
There were power ports located between the tray tables, which made it easy for me to charge my phone on the tray table or in my bag.
Speaking of my bag (used for reference in the pic), there was so much space between the seats and the wall.
There was storage above the seats for our bags. Our carry on luggage fit in the space with a ton of room to spare. Regular luggage could probably fit, but it would be a tight squeeze. Please ensure to follow the rules about luggage monitoring as well.
The shinkansen had WiFi, but I could not get it to work. This was better because I was able to enjoy the peaceful time without distractions.
The shinkansen, destined for Fukuoka at roughly 200 miles per hour, would stop in Yokohama, Shizuoka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima to name a few. There were nearly 15 stops along the journey. I expected the ride to be noisy and bumpy, but it was not any of that. I could barely feel the train takeoff after stopping at the cities above to unload and load passengers. Nicholas had the best view in the row, the window seat. He rarely moved from the window. There was a great time had by looking at the countryside, cities, and everything in between.
The snack cart showed up numerous times throughout the trip. It included everything from cheese/meat trays to ice cream and everything in between. Nicholas ate ice cream and and chips, while I had wine and cheese. It was all typical “travel” food, much like something found in an economy cabin of an airplane. One thing to note is that all transactions were in cash, no cards accepted.
In between all of the snacks and scenic viewing, we took time to use the lavatory it was located just steps from my seat, in between the cars. The lavatory was very small, but practical. There was a small toilet, with ALL of the bidet options. a baby carrier/holder and a small sink. Nicholas liked the lavatory almost as much as he liked looking out of the window, almost.
Smoking areas were located in cars 3, 5, 7, and 10. I did not go inside because I do not like smoke, unless it is brisket.
I thought the Nozomi Shinkansen was cool, but Nicholas absolutely loved it. He saw me editing pictures for this post and reminded me that I promised him another trip on the shinkansen. As soon as I am able to travel, we will definitely make it happen again. This was way better than flying on an airplane, hands down.