We were up early to catch the shinkansen to Kyoto. I didn't sleep much the night before due to a small problem in our business back home (which wasn't our problem or responsibility, but my husband still wanted to find a solution for the people concerned) and the start of the typhoon lashing at the hotel window all night. We caught the shinkansen from Shinagawa station using our Japan Rail Pass which was a fairly straight forward process. The trip took about 2 1/2 hours, and the shinkansen is an extremely comfortable way to travel - lots of space and leg room, reclining seats and a cute lady with a food and drinks cart to replenish us.
My husband spent the entire trip ringing Australia back and forth trying to sort out the aforementioned problem, which he managed to solve just before be arrived in Kyoto. Ok, take a deep breath and enjoy Kyoto now! We travelled through the typhoon which was travelling north towards Tokyo. I kid you not, our train stopped at the platform literally on time to the second (there was a clock timer on the platform)
It was raining heavily upon our arrival, and as we had to walk to our accommodation, we decided to linger around the station to see if the rain would stop.
Let me start by saying that Kyoto station is fantastic! One could easily spend an entire day there. It's a veritable little city, with an underground labyrinth of shops and eateries.
I of course spotted these souvenir shops first up which I shopped in on our way back to Tokyo.
It was a little confusing trying to find our way around, and as we were fumbling over our map, a bilingual lady suddenly appeared and directed us to the eateries.
We decided on this French bakery which was filled with yummy offerings and drinks-very welcoming since I hadn't eaten all day.
We also came upon an Australian school group here. By the way, this trip was meant to be with my kid's school's Japanese school exchange program/tour, and I was to be accompanying the students as a "chaperone" - actually I just wanted to go to Japan, so any excuse will do! Unfortunately, the trip was scheduled for June, but the school cancelled it due to the earthquake. We had already purchased our flights and couldn't get a refund, thus we decided to go in September.
After lunch we explored some more of the station. This is the main atrium at street level which is an amazing piece of architecture.
We then were approached by two Japanese school boys who wanted to interview us to practise their English skills. They were very sweet and took our photo at the end.
It's a bit difficult to describe Kyoto station. It's more or less like a huge maze of shops and eateries. One section called "Porta" mainly houses fashion and cosmetics - everything is very beautiful and stylish as one would expect. Have a look here http://www.porta.co.jp/ In fact, I think I could live in Porta!