1,000km. Five hours. One bento. Taking the bullet train as an alternative to flying.

Last weekend I made a long-overdue trip down to Fukuoka City in Kyushu, the southwesternmost of Japan’s main islands. I used to live and work in Fukuoka 2003/04 on the JET Programme, but besides a short visit in 2008, I hadn’t been back since. It was great to walk about all my old haunts and see how the city has grown during my absence – and I also got to work with a fantastic hotel, which I’ll write about soon.

Living in central Tokyo means that getting to the airport can take a little while. Haneda is not so bad, but the cheaper flights are usually out of Narita which is about 90 minutes from my house. Combine this with having to be at the airport two hours before (to be safe) and a two-hour flight to Fukuoka means it’s actually just as quick to take the train. And so that’s what I did. The 1,000km by Nozomi took just 4hrs 50min.

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Shinkansen Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji as seen from the shinkansen heading west

Train travel is probably my favourite form of transport. I have travelled all across Java and Sri Lanka by train before, and in the future I would like to do the Trans-Mongolian Railway. The photo of Mount Fuji above pretty much sums up why I wanted to do this journey. Speeding along at 320 km/h while eating a bento and watching Fuji out the train window is something anyone who loves Japan has to experience at least once.

Massive thanks to Fukuoka Convention & Visitors Bureau for sponsoring my ticket – and also to SYNKRO who provided the soundtrack to my trip and the short video below. The track, Inhale (ft. Faib), is off his new retrospective album, Memories. Considering the nostalgic journey I took, the title couldn’t have been better.

[ click below to scroll ]

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