The JR (Japan Rail) Passes are proving to be a sound investment. We have been on a train every day so far, though yesterday was just the short (5 min) trkp between Kyoto and Inari to see the shrine of the orange arches (not the real name but descriptive). We bought Green Car (first class) passes, which means that on the bigger, faster trains (Shinkansen) we can reserve seats in the Green Cars as opposed to non-reserved seating in the regular cars. And very nice seats they are; spacious and comfy, with foot rests – very nice for the longer trips. The local trains are more basic, but still very convenient.
We are currently on a train bound for Okayama, to see crow castle. We showed up at the station this morning, went to the ticket office with our JR Passes and 20 minutes later we were on the train. The trip will be a little over an hour. After Crow Castle, we will hop back on the train and go to Himeji to see another castle.
The trips go by quickly, just looking out the window, watching the countryside go by is fascinating.