Shinkansen Review: Tokyo to Kyoto and how to find the free taxi to the Hyatt Regency Kyoto?
Our honeymoon series:
Part 1: United First Class from SFO-NRT
Part 2: How to Get to Hotel from NRT Airport
Part 3: Andaz Hotel Tokyo
Part 4: Tokyo Itinerary
Part 5: How to get from Tokyo to Kyoto
Part 6: Hyatt Regency – Kyoto
Part 7: Kyoto Itinerary
Part 8: Shinkansen Kyoto to Tokyo
Part 9: Conrad – Tokyo Part 1
Part 10: Conrad – Tokyo Part 2
Part 11: Singapore Business Class Tokyo to Singapore
Part 12: Conrad – Singapore
Part 13: Silk Air Business Class Singapore to Danang
Part 14: Intercontinental Danang Part 1
Part 15: Intercontinental Danang Part 2
Part 16: Turkish Business Class Hanoi to Istanbul
Part 17: Turkish Business Class Istanbul to Rome
Part 18: United First Class Rome to Chicago
How much did this cost?
Round trip tickets were ~$251.50 x 2 tickets = ~$503.00
We paid cash for these tickets, and other than flights and the photo session in Da Nang, this was the most expensive component of our honeymoon!
After two nights at the Andaz Tokyo, we headed to Kyoto for two nights at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto via the bullet train, aka the Shinkansen. Getting tickets for the bullet train is pretty easy. I would either ask the hotel concierge when you arrive, or go to the Tokyo station and purchase them from the ticket window or machines. That said, our trip overlapped with Golden Week, and we had read that trains often sell out in advance during that time due to the Japanese vacationing or traveling home to spend time with family. Thus, I asked a friend in Tokyo to purchase the tickets in advance for us, and it saved us a trip to the train station.
With tickets in hand, we checked out of the hotel a little later than we would have liked, and took a taxi from Andaz to Tokyo Station.
We told the attendant we needed to go to the Shinkansen entrance, and she conveyed that to the cab driver. That was key as the station was massive and had we been dropped off at another entrance, it could have taken us a while to find the correct place to go, and we definitely would have missed our train since they are punctual to the second! Once inside, we used our tickets to pass through the gates, and the electronic board directed us to track 11.
The Shinkansen has two classes of trains, comparable to Economy and Business Class. We traveled in the Economy class each time, but we had reserved seats. There are a few cars on each train where you can purchase tickets without reserved seats. I think those are likely same day purchases. The seats were very spacious, and the ride was comfortable. We knew we were traveling at very high speeds, but couldn’t feel any rumbling or hear any noise.
After boarding, we made our way to our seats, and were surprised at the space we had above the seats to store our luggage. The tray table at each seat showed clearly where the nearest trash bins and toilets on board were located.
Several times a train employee walked by with a cart selling boxed foods and drinks. We didn’t purchase anything because we had a late breakfast that morning and planned on grabbing lunch in Kyoto, but everything looked good and the cart was spotless. There also is a smoking car on board for those who smoke.
After about two hours, we arrived at Kyoto station. Pay attention when you’re on board because the train only stops at the station for a few minutes before continuing on to the next destination. Don’t worry as announcements are made both in English and in Japanese.
The Hyatt Regency Kyoto offers a free taxi ride from Kyoto Station to the hotel through the MK taxi company. To get to the MK office, you first need to find the Hachijo exit. From there, find the pedestrian crosswalk, cross the street, and look for the IBIS hotel.
You will find an door there marked for the MK taxi company.
Enter and tell the desk attendant that you are going to the Hyatt Regency Kyoto. He will ask you for your last name and give you a ticket that you will need to give to the taxi driver. Go outside, and wait in line for your taxi. There were three parties ahead of us, and we waited for about ten minutes when we made our trip. The free taxi service is available until 7PM, but if you get there after that time, It was a only a ~$7-8 cab ride.