Monday, July 09, 2012

Train Tripping around Japan

My past trips to Japan were focused in Tokyo.  There's so much to do in the city and with just a few days it's hard to go anywhere else.  But, in the past couple of years, we've been doing more research (thanks to great travel articles online in the NY Times and our favorite food magazines, like Saveur and Food & Wine), and have tailored more of our trips to include at least 2 cities.

After days of research, we found a great 36 Hours article in the Times on Osaka.  It talked about specialty beef as good as Kobe beef and a relatively new luxury hotel.  Beef and a new hotel?  Our itinerary was made - 2 nights in Osaka, including a day trip to Kobe.  All by train, the easiest way to get around Japan.

The train and subway systems in Japan are the most convenient way to get around the cities and the country.  Prior to arriving in Japan, we ordered a Japan Rail (JR) Pass which allows tourists unlimited rides on all trains.  It's something you can get at your local authorized offices.

Depending on the train schedule, you can get to Osaka from Tokyo between 2-3 hours.  Be sure to pick up bento boxes at the station.  It's a great meal to enjoy during the ride.  The boxes I chose were so quality - way better than a lot of mid-level restaurants in the states, and for the same price.

I was so impressed when I arrived in Osaka.  I didn't set any expectations and I didn't do too much research (it's sometimes nice to be surprised when you arrive in a new city).  All I knew was that Osaka was a city filled with great eats.  It's so true.

In this coming week, I'll have posts about the hotel, the local eats, the department store munchies, and a couple of memorable restaurant meals.

For now, here are some pictures from the train rides to and from Tokyo and Osaka.
If you can't see the slide show here, check out my Flickr album: Osaka Train Ride

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