Time’s up in Tokyo, fast train to Kyoto

The fifth full day of the SJMC Japan team’s adventure was one for the books – or maybe we should say the magazines. The group started the day with an impactful trip to Time Out Tokyo, took the bullet train to Kyoto and ended the night by venturing out into Kyoto before returning to the hotel to dive into some work.

Time Out Tokyo tales

After packing up considerably more than we originally brought, the group left the Toyoko Inn and headed toward a popular news publication, Time Out Tokyo. We were greeted with a warm welcome from Momo Ando, head of general affairs at Time Out Tokyo. She led us to a room with writers, editors, designers and sales staff. The room had previous publications and various trinkets on display, which created a quirky and inviting environment.

Editor-in-Chief Lim Chee Wah gives students advice

Founded in 2009, Time Out Tokyo is a city guide that offers generous insight into Tokyo’s broad spectrum of choices in food, entertainment and culture. The publication focuses mostly on feature writing but publishes news as well. Its multilingual website is designed to help locals and visitors get to know the city better. Time Out Tokyo publishes a website, print magazines, guide maps and social media posts to help people branch out in the city.

Lim Chee Wah, the editor-in-chief, provided the group with some helpful insight into the many ins and outs of journalism. Chee Wah said the industry is ever-changing and journalists are more than just writers now. He said nowadays, journalists are expected to shoot photos and videos and be masters of social media to stay competitive.

“The most valuable thing I learned from Time Out Tokyo is that being just a writer is not enough,” Zoë Simonovic said. “You must have more skills under your belt to stand out and be successful if you want a job in journalism.”

A powerful locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet

The shinkansen

After the Time Out Tokyo meeting, the group started on its journey toward the shinkansen, the bullet train. The shinkansen is the most efficient way to get around Japan, and, in our case, to make it from Tokyo to Kyoto. The 320-mile journey only took about an hour and a half. The train can also be seen throughout pop culture, such as the 2022 movie “Bullet Train.”

The shinkansen is the fastest mode of transportation we have encountered while staying in Japan, as it can travel up to 200 miles per hour. The train made several stops along the way to Kyoto but still got the SJMC Japan team to its destination much quicker than a car or regular train would.

A fresh start at the Sotetsu Frésa Inn

After our bullet train journey, we made it to Kyoto, our home for the next four days. Once we arrived at the train station, it was time to start our trek to the hotel. The walk from the station to the hotel was not long, but when carrying heavy luggage, a couple of minutes can feel like much longer, and a couple of stairs can feel like you are conquering mountains. Let this be a word to the wise – pack lightly!

Once at the Sotestu Frésa Inn, however, we were rewarded with great new digs. The rooms received positive reviews, as many felt the Kyoto hotel was an upgrade from the Tokyo one.

“I love the new hotel rooms,” Reese Zeigler said. “The rooms are bigger, the beds are more comfortable and the bathroom is much nicer.”

Of course, the perfect way to end a day full of travel is with a hot meal with good company. Several students chose to go to a restaurant named Yayoi. There, students enjoyed pork katsu, noodles, rice and miso soup.

Other students caught up with some homework and treated themselves to an American delicacy as they: McNuggets and fries. However, this was still a treat, as even McDonald’s is a little different here in Japan – the menu has items we can’t find at home, such as the teriyaki chicken burger, a pineapple Frappé, and a shrimp filet.

Make sure to follow along with the rest of the group’s Kyoto adventures on the SJMC Japan Instagram!

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