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Tokyo station is large and crowded.

We will be taking the "bullet train" for the first time today. In Japan, these are called Shinkansen, which simply means "new trunk line".

Our sleek, almost phallic, Shinkansen pulls up. This is an "E4 Max" series train. The trains have the noses on each end so that they can travel back and forth over the same route without having to turn around.

We are surprised to see that it is a double-decker (we sat on the top) and while we were waiting to board the train we were shocked to see all of the seats rotate so that everyone would be sitting forward.

An example of the station sign boards. We could tell our trains by the departure times, although the signs switched into English frequently as well.

Inside the train. The Shinkansen are fast, clean, and efficient. Very smooth ride. Not like U.S. trains at all. Easy for English-speaking gaijin (foreigners). There was an electronic sign at the front that displayed the stops in Japanese and English and overhead announcements were also in Japanese and English.

A brief view of Mt. Fuji today on our way out of town.

We took the Shinkansen to Utsunomiya, where we changed to another, more local train for the ride out into the "country". While technically a train, it sure seemed like a subway car.

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