Japan, Post #6: Trains

 

Disclaimers:

1) These are just tourist pictures, the cheesy ones that everyone takes on vacation, and are not meant to be viewed as professional photography.  We took only one camera, a couple of zoom lenses and no lights: we were on vacation afterall!  We’re definitely not seeking employment with National Geographic here.  

2) We’re not experts on Japan, Japanese culture or religion so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Estimate that I’ll have my facts right about 54% of the time.

3.) To see our pro work (like weddings and portraits) and skip vacation pics, feel free to browse our blog by category!

Many Americans are fascinated by trains, probably because we are the only industrialized country that no longer utilizes trains as efficient, economical means of human transportation over long distances.  Beyond the local destinations of our subway cars, travel by train is fairly uncommon here. 

Japan, as you might have guessed, is opposite world.  Trains were part of every single day: on one particularly exhausting day of travel we realized we had boarded nine different trains between sun up and sun down.  Before coming to Japan we bought an all inclusive rail pass through the JR (Japan Railway) system and were able to use it to go just about anywhere.  

We were particularly amazed by the shinkansen or bullet trains which went to several major cities – we took one to Kyoto and another to Nagano.  Taking the shinkansen was a lot like being on a plane… traveling at speeds upwards of 200 mph, you could get to far away places in just an hour or two while watching the world go by through the window.  Check out these futuristic bad boys:

Dough Boy (aka Poppin Fresh) definitely thought the shinkansen went fast.

We saw Mount Fuji through the window on our way to Kyoto and this was a big deal:  while Fuji-san is a massive volcano apparently visible from Tokyo some 200 km away on a clear day, its called a shy mountain because it hides in atmospheric haze most of the year.  This means that its possible to go to Mt. Fuji and never even see it!  I wish I had a picture to share but, much like the geisha, we were way too consumed with gawking at this rarity to find a camera.

Here’s a few train and train station pictures.  Next stop: Yokohama and Chinatown…

 

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