JPN04: of subway and train… and tram too!

On 2nd day, our plan is to get to Kyoto as soon as possible. From Namba station (M20), we took Subway Midosuji Line all the way to Umeda (M16) for 230 yen per person. After clearing the automatic ticket exit gates, we looked at the train lines with the fare besides each station on the white board above the ticket machine again.

In our itinerary, I wrote that we’ll be heading to Karasuma with Hankyu Kyoto Line Ltd Exp for Y690, but in the board we found Karasuma with the fare (Y390). That time we didn’t have any idea on how to differentiate the trains from local, semi-express, express, rapid, limited, etc. We just looked at the board and paid whatever amount needed. So, I was quite happy to save Y300 per person here.

Unsure of which platform to go to, we asked the nice officer in charge and he told us which platform and which train to take. Very nice and helpful they are, always offering help with broad smile.  We thanked him and headed to the platform as per instructed by him (I can’t remember which now) and waited for the train to arrive.

When the train came, we went in and I found myself to be sitting at the PRIORITY SEATS. Actually, when I walked in, I didn’t know there are priority seats and quickly gestured Satkuru to follow me. Only after the train moved, Satkuru told me that and I told him no wonder the seats here were empty. I looked at the stickers above the seats and found that the priorities are the elders, pregnant women, handicapped and those with young kid(s). Since we were there early in the morning and it was the rush hour, I’m pretty sure we can secure the seats without any trouble – I told him.

And I was so right. We sat the entire journey and no sight of the ‘priorities’. There was a graceful elder woman in kimono but she sat on the seat in front of me, so there’s no need of me giving my seat to her. Keke.

Earlier I mentioned about being happy for saving Y300 in this ride, little did I know that the Y300 makes a difference in speed. I’m pretty sure we were in this train for nearly an hour because in my itinerary the limited express train would bring me to Kyoto in 40 minutes.

We reached finally and got off the train at Karasuma station together with few working people.  Following the map from the guesthouse, we exited at No. 25, turned left upon coming out of the building, passed 4 streets before turning left into the 5th street (Samegai Street).

There, we walked further down, passing 2 smaller streets and found an old wooden, house in between 2car park lots.

We rang the old wooden house; it was 9ish in morning and that neighbourhood seems a little quiet so we weren’t sure if we were there too early.  After few minutes, the owner came out and we asked him if we could leave our luggage with him and came back later for check-in. He agreed but asked us to come in after 4pm as he said the guesthouse will be closed from noon to 4pm. We have no problem with that, so we bid goodbye and went out looking for breakfast.

Before that, we stopped by a convenience store to get essentials like mineral water and some snacks. Then we walked down and up Shijo Street, looking for cheap restaurant to have our breakfast.

Finally Satkuru spotted McDonalds and he suggested why not we have our breakfast here.

A little reluctant but too hungry to argue, I followed him into McDonalds outlet near Omiya Station south exit.

When we walked in, we were greeted with full of enthusiasm workers. We felt so welcome that I didn’t even bother how much the set cost because the service is so darn good! We looked at the Japanese menu and asked her if the meat is of beef or pork, and then she immediately turned the menu around and there it is, the English menu!

Ordering seems so easy here as we just point and order! Paying too as we paid according to the amount shown on the screen. It was one luxury breakfast as it costs us Y460 each but then we wouldn’t mind paying because of the service. I even went to the lady cashier asking her if she could fill in hot water into my flask and she asked in Japanese how much I would like her to fill with big smile before taking my flask away. The whole scenario was too happy and cheerful that I could remember it very well now.

Oh ya, the breakfast set’s burger in Japan is different too. Instead of the usual bun, they replaced it with pancakes and you can see the prominent M logo on top of the pancakes. Both of us ordered the same set, bacon (pork) with egg cheese set and we savoured the burger to the last bite! The hashbrown is unusually crispy and delicious, far cry from our local McD’s hashbrown.

Why the difference? I want that type of hashbrown here in Malaysia too!

After satiated breakfast, we went around to look for Shijo-Omiya station which is the building actually across the Omiya Street. We didn’t know that’s the building and spent about 10 minutes walking up and down the Omiya station (Hankyu line) and eye-scanning the buildings around.

Finally Satkuru said, “It must be the building opposite there” and dragged me across the street.

Yes, it’s located underneath this building!

:D

True enough, it is! We went to the station ticket machine and again looking at the Keifuku Arashiyama lines and its stations. A trip to Arashiyama costs Y200, but we got ourselves the Keijuku Dentestu One-Day Tickets for Arashiyama for Y500 since this ticket is good for unlimited travel on Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama lines for one day.  We’ll be using the same line 4 times today so we saved Y300 with this ticket! 

The elder behind the counter passed us our tickets and also maps for Arashiyama. We gladly took it, went through the automatic ticket gates by showing the officer our ticket and got into this pink coloured tram with painted with cherry blossom. Few minutes later, the tram departed and our journey to the Western outskirts of Kyoto began.

The tram lines are all over the roads, streets and backyard of houses and buildings. A uniformed driver handles the tram’s speed and direction, often slow down when nearing the road where motorists and pedestrians stopped, and honks to the cars who took the opportunity to cross the tram line just before the tram comes.

In the tram, there are two long parallel benches mounted to the body of the tram, facing each other. As we sat on the front right side of the tram, we enjoyed the scenery at the right side of us. It was a little sunny and the sun came in from the left, shone a little at us.

Our tram stopped from station to station. Off and on, people would get up and down from the tram. As we only got down at the last station, so we enjoyed the view and observed people.

There weren’t much people using the tram. In front of us there were two mid-forties Japanese ladies with travel guidebook on their laps, discussing while pointing at the book, often giggling in between the discussion. Few seats from us were old couples, and a mother and son sitting further down from the two Japanese ladies.

Obviously I didn’t take photo of them. So shy mah! Haha!

Finally our tram stopped and excitedly we got down from the tram. I asked Satkuru to take a photo of me with the tram, which he did!

The tram is very pretty and I was convinced that this is the romantic tramway that I read about – well, I was convinced until now I found out it isn’t.

*bang wall!*