As happens with all good things, my time in Kyoto came to a wrap shortly after lunch. Once again I found myself seated inside a bullet train, gliding through the countryside with the smooth and lethal grace of it's namesake. Given the speed with which we traveled, I shortly found the sunshine of a cool winter's day in Kyoto replaced by grey skies and rain, then gentle snow followed by a dense white haze... then it cleared up once more and we were well on our way back to Tokyo.
What is a train trek in Japan without the eponymous eki-ben, so named because it's literally a train station bento box. Small stores selling them proliferate both inside of and near any train station you may happen across in Japan, though their fillings will vary immensely depending on the price of the box and the region it's purchased in. Attention to detail is high, and while the quality of the ingredients can fluctuate a tad based on the price, you can trust that the majority of times you'll find a reasonably well-balanced meal to enjoy regardless where it's from.
Traveling on the shinkansen was, for me, extremely comfortable. I was able to stretch my legs out with ample room in front of me, and the easily accessible outlets to charge my devices allowed me the freedom to entertain myself with any electronic without fear of the battery depleting on me prior to our arrival some hours later. Personally, I found it a bit difficult to actually go so far as to sleep but some of my fellow passengers had little to no difficulty in doing so. Given the ready availability of alcoholic beverages at the station and stores surrounding the train stations, it may play some role in that. In a lot of ways it feels very similar to flying, from the fold-out tables on the chairs in front to the seat designs... that being said, it should be noted that bullet train travel is not cheap. If you're looking to save money, you can always opt to take an overnight bus (as I've done when traveling to L.A. from Vegas several times) or fly. Personally, it was worth the expense because it gave me the opportunity to see the country in a way that was special to me. We certainly don't have any bullet trains in my part of the world yet, though the Hyperloop might hold promise...but I digress. It was a lovely trip and though I was sad to be leaving my new friends behind for the routine of work, work and more work, I was so very glad to have had the adventure and met those lovely people.