At Kyoto Station we hopped on the shinkansen for a very pleasant 2-hour journey to Tokyo. Even by the lofty standards of train systems in Asia, the shinkansen is truly amazing. We had received some mixed signals from the hotel concierge on whether to book our tickets in advance. Perhaps the they assumed that we were using the Japan Rail Pass, in which case you will want to make reservations ahead of time. Since we weren’t, we simply purchased tickets at Kyoto Station for the next Nozomi train which left every 15 minutes.