Bon voyage


Friday, June 10, 2011

Narita Express tentative timetable


Now the Narita Express runs on a limited schedule to save power after it resumed operations in April. JR East provides the timetable only in Japanese, so I added major station names in alphabet as below.
The timetable is as of 10th June 2011, and this will be effective for the time being.

1) Tokyo bound
nex tokyo bound jpg

2) Narita Airport bound
nex_timetable0002 nrt bound


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Series 700 on Hikari and Kodama on Tokaido - Sanyo Shinkansen

Series 700 train sets on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen line are used mainly on Hikari between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka / Okayama, and on Kodama between Tokyo and Nagoya / Shin-Osaka apart from on Nozomi between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, Shin-Osaka and Hakata. The maximum speed of this is 285km/h. Japan Rail Pass holders can use this when it runs as Hikari or Kodama. I’d like to focus on Series 700 as Hikari operations this time.

View Larger Map

Train formations on Hikari
This train set consists of 16 cars. Cars 1 to 5 are non-reserved, cars 6 to 16 are reserved and cars 8 to 10 are green cars. Cars 10 (green car), 15 and 16 (reserved) are smoking. All the non-reserved cars are no smoking. I urge those not smoking to avoid reserving a seat in a smoking car at any cost because it’s very smoky and stinky.

On board facilities
The seat configuration is 2-2 in green cars, and 2-3 in ordinary class. The seat pitch in green car is 1,060mm/41.7’’, 1,160mm/45.7” in ordinary class. He seat width in green car is 475mm/19”, 430mm/17” except seat B (460mm) in ordinary class. You can see how deep the seats in both classes recline on the photos. Front row seats in each car have power outlets in the train sets belonging to JR West, and in the some sets belonging to JR Central. If you have large luggage, you can store it in the space just behind the last row seats. Don’t forget to notify the conductor that you’re leaving it there.

--Green car images--

DSC_0003 コピー ~ DSC_0757 DSC_0756


--Ordinary car images--

DSC_0746 DSC_0011 DSC_0745

DSC_0744 DSC_0747


There are a set of one western toilet, one Japanese one, one urinal and two wash basins in every odd number car. They are kept clean.

DSC_0006 DSC_0014 DSC_0741

You can find a soft drink vending machine on some cars in each train set. Also an on-board trolley service with lunch boxes (bento), snacks, ice cream, alcohols, soft drinks and souvenirs is available on most trains. Please take a look at the picture to see what kind items are available.
コピー ~ DSC_0021 DSC_0753

My journey
I travelled from in green car of Series 700 Hakata to Shin-Osaka at night of January. It was JR West’s train set. The first impression of the green car cabin was that it was very elegant thanks to well designed lighting and the carpeted aisle. The attendant provided a disposal wet towel to each passenger of green car soon after the train started running. It was refreshing for a exhausted person like me. The seat was indeed comfortable with more than enough legroom, wide armrest and footrest. Then it is time to eat ice cream. It’s sold at 270 yen. It’s a blissful moment to enjoy very tasty ice cream seeing the world pass by on the Shinkansen. Ice cream fans can’t miss it on the Shinkansen. Train kept running at very high speeds. As you see the beautiful Akashi Straight Bridge on your right, the train soon arrives at Shin-Kobe, then finally pulls into Shin-Osaka. It takes only 2.5 hours from Hakata to Shin-Osaka. I wanted to remain travelling in the cosy seat, and didn’t want to leave the train.
Of course the seat in ordinary class is very comfortable. You just have to share a smaller armrest with someone next to you. On the other hand green car is worth investment when you give first priority to more privacy, more comfort and more serenity.


Akashi Straight Bridge

I wish you enjoy travelling on Series 700.