Destination: Shinkansen Bullet Train and Miho Museum, Japan

Hello, again!/こんにちは!

Continuing with my adventures in Japan this summer, this post will be a shorter one from the others, as there was one point during the eight-day journey that was really nothing but a transitional moment for us to get from one destination to another– Tokyo and Kyoto– considering that they aren’t very geographically close to each other.

Any case, after an event-pack, two-night stay in Tokyo, we got ourselves up and ready for our next destination to Kyoto, located about five to six hours away via car. But screw that: we weren’t taking no car! Instead, we took the Shinkansen bullet train to cut down time. Reaching up to speeds of 320 km/hr, it is considered the fastest train in the world; that said, instead of arriving in Kyoto five, six hours later, we would arrive there in two hours! How crazy is that?

We headed to the train station, where we got some small, boxed lunches at the underground shops before our train arrived. Important thing to know is that everything is on time in Japan, including transportation: even if you’re a minute late to the station, your train has already left! Definitely a *huge!* change from what I was accustomed to when traveling/living in France (it was not uncommon for trains there to leave five minutes late…or more!). Any case, the bullet train arrived, sleek and speedy, and we boarded the spacious, comfortable, and air-conditioned train for a pleasant, two-hour ride to Kyoto.

The Shinkansen bullet train; it was moving too fast for me to capture a photo!
The Shinkansen bullet train; it was moving too fast for me to capture a photo!

We arrived in Kyoto around 13h30, but we didn’t stay in the city for very long, as we immediately got on our tour bus for a one to two-hour ride outside of the city, to the Miho Museum located in the mountains. Founded by Mihoko Koyama, one of the richest women of Japan, and designed by I.M. Pei, the Chinese architect famous for having designed the Louvre museum in Paris. Opened in 1997, the Miho Museum is home to over two thousand art pieces personally collected by Koyama, containing both Western and Eastern objects that, I admit, were quite impressive.

One accesses the museum by going through a short tunnel that is designed to not create echoes when noise is emitted through it (how cool is that?). Upon exiting the tunnel, one is greeted by a large suspension bridge that appears to imitate the sun’s rays, or something magical (the geometric structure of it makes it appear so). Then after walking through it does one enter the Miho Museum.

Suspension bridge welcomes you to the Miho Museum.
Suspension bridge welcomes you to the Miho Museum.

Now, having visited numerous museums while on my travels during my entire life, I admit that I have grown a bit…tired of them. Don’t get me wrong, there are few which hold a dear place in my heart (and which I would choose to visit again and again), but for the most part, I’m good without museums. That said, I did enjoy Miho Museum’s exhibitions, even admiring a handful of grand/beautiful/quirky art pieces, whether in the form of statues, potteries, or even tapestries, but the appeal just wasn’t with me. Overall, I would say that it was okay. I did, however, admire the architecture of the museum’s interior, which contains triangle motifs to show Koyama’s love for the three-pointed shape. The view of the nature and mountains outside was gorgeous to look at, too.

Outside of the Miho Museum.
Outside of the Miho Museum.

We left the museum around 16h00, driving to our hotel to rest up for the day before we would go back to Kyoto the following day. Just like the hotel in Atami (which you can read up here), this particular hotel also had a hot spring and sauna for the guests. After having enjoyed my last hot spring/sauna experience, I was keen on doing them again. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it as fun as the first time, maybe because there was no one when I went and the sauna was *uncomfortably* hot (like, overly so). Nevertheless, it was still nice, and I came out tired, but feeling good. Another yukata-wearing dinner that night at the hotel’s restaurant, serving more sashimi, pickled vegetables, and miso soup. Of course, we had to finish the meal with some tea and karaoke (I didn’t sing, but it was entertaining to hear others)!

Food, glorious food!
Food, glorious food!

Afterwards, we retired for the night, resting up for another adventure-filled day to our next destination in Japan. At that point, we were about halfway through our trip in Japan, and so far, things were holding up well! All good! *thumbs up*

Next on our itinerary: Kyoto, Japan!

— The Finicky Cynic

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