Kyoto: Japan's historical and cultural heart, capital for over 1,000 years, and popular destination for travellers across the world. When travelling to Kyoto, make sure to book your bullet train tickets and accommodation together at JAPANiCAN.com!
With our Shinkansen Tours, a bargain package designed especially for visitors to Japan, you can reserve your bullet train tickets and room with ease, plus save up to 52%! (Based on rates effective until December 2009 including tours to areas other than Kyoto.) Compared with the Japan Rail Pass, which can only be reserved in multiples of 7 days, the Shinkansen Tour has daytrips and short 2-3 day options, giving you more choices and more value!
The "Free Plan Kyoto" Shinkansen Tours have options ranging from same-day return trips to 6-day stays. You can also choose to ride on either the Nozomi or Hikari trains, with Nozomi being the fastest. One-way tickets are also available. For stays longer than 6 days, please contact JAPANiCAN.com Customer Support for special arrangement possibilities.
Tour reservations can be made until 8 days before the day of departure. Accommodation options begin with standard-class hotels, and high-class hotels and ryokan (Japanese style inns) are also available, with 10 choices in total. Single bookings are possible for hotels, but require a Single Supplement charge.
Train tickets, itinerary, map to hotel, and more are included in the welcome kit provided to all Shinkansen Tour participants. The kit is delivered to hotels for those who are staying in Japan prior to leaving on the Shinkansen Tour. Please contact JAPANiCAN.com Customer Support for details.
We wanted to see what our customers get to experience on the Shinkansen Tour, so JAPANiCAN staffers Kazumi and Rie hopped on the bullet train and sped off to Japan's ancient capital. Read all of their experiences here!
Bright and early, we arrived at Tokyo Station and headed for the sign above the gate leading to the Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen tracks. Standing on the platform, we got excited just thinking about the trip ahead! At the station, check out eki-ben, or boxed lunches sold specifically for travelers about to depart by train.
About 50 minutes after we departed, shortly after passing Shin Fuji Station and approaching the Fuji River area, was an excellent chance to see one of Japan's most beloved landmarks, Mt. Fuji. Traveling towards Kyoto, Mt. Fuji appeared on the right, and we took this picture through the train's window. The weather was nice that day, and even though a few clouds blocked our view around the peak, we were still moved by the majestic sight of Mt. Fuji and the surrounding forest. Make sure you don't miss this view!
We left early in the morning, so we got our breakfast on the train. Shinkansen departures from Tokyo Station up until 8:30 a.m. offer a "morning set" of coffee and sandwich for sale to hungry passengers. The Tokaido Shinkansen's coffee has actually received praise lately due to its eco-friendly plantations and excellent taste.
The journey flew by on the speedy and comfortable Nozomi Shinkansen, the fastest type of bullet train. About two and a half hours after we left Tokyo Station, we arrived in Kyoto!
and the square sandwich & coffee set for JPY 500 is in the back.
Both are a good value!
All "Free Plan" Shinkansen Tours do not include guide service, giving you more time and freedom to explore the areas of Kyoto you're most interested in. In order to make the most of your time, definitely stop by the Tourist Information desk at Kyoto Station to pick up pamphlets or discuss your plans with the helpful staff!
The Kyoto Tourist Information Center is located on the second floor of the Kyoto Station building.
At this point it was still well before noon. Check-in time at the hotel wasn't for awhile. What to do with all of our luggage?
There are several areas with coin lockers throughout the station. On the second floor, at the end of the north-south passage near Isetan Department Store is a large area with many lockers that's easy to find!
You might also be able to go to your hotel early and drop off your luggage there. Especially convenient are hotels like the New Miyako Hotel, which is only a two-minute walk from the station, or the Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto, which has a check-in counter inside the station!
Remember, these packages are unguided free plans, so please be sure to look into and plan your own activities and sightseeing for after you arrive in Kyoto. Of course, you could also book an additional guided tour, so check out our suggestions below (and continued in part 2)!
After arriving, try one of our afternoon guided tours!
Pick out and wear a traditional kimono, then stroll around Gion in Kyoto!
An English-language guided afternoon tour and sake tasting in the Fushimi area of Kyoto
A half-day English-language walking tour where participants make their own tofu
Kyoto's culinary scene revolves around kaiseki dining, or Japanese-style full-course meals. Be sure to experience it while in Japan's old capital! Our first night in Kyoto was spent in the Ikumatsu Ryokan, a charming inn designated a cultural asset as the dwelling place of the historical figure Kogoro Katsura and the famous geisha, Ikumatsu. Like most Japanese-style inns, Ikumatsu Ryokan excels in offering fresh ingredients, focusing on fish from nearby coasts and local Kyoto vegetables. Ikumatsu's kaiseki dining gives you a chance truly savor the tastes of Kyoto's four seasons.