We braved the rain for a shivering walk through the Imperial Palace gardens. Immaculate and oh-so-ordered, huge stone walls reminiscent of Inca ruins, cherry blossoms just beginning their yearly ritual.
Buffeted by the “whump” of northbound bullet trains our Shinkansen Nozomi streaks southwards from Tokyo.
Hard to believe we’re doing over 200 kph. But yes, we get to Hakata, some 1100 k’s, in five hours including about half a dozen brief stops.
Barely an hour into the journey we race through a light snowfall as the weather outside our cosy bullet cocoon deteriorates.
Time for lunch! We delicately open our ikebana bento boxes – ikeben – almost too perfect in their fantastic packaging.
Change trains at Hakata, then the relatively sedate Limited Express delivers us to Nagasaki after dark.
We walk to our hotel and look forward to what tomorrow may bring.