Japan Memories #1: First Day in Tokyo
As mentioned, this is the first entry of our Travel Memories – Japan Scrapbook (Read that to find out why we chose Japan). We took our trip in 2007 during the Sakura Blooming Season in March.
Our air tickets were brought from Chan Brothers Travel for Japan Airlines. The cost of each air ticket (round-trip) costs S$688 + taxes of S$286 = $974. This was basically 41% of the original price of our air ticket and the bulk of our travel costs to Japan. (Total: SGD$1948)
We woke up at 4+ am to take a cab to the airport. Reached there pretty early at 6am. There was no queue so I think we were the first few to reach. Everything was smooth as we checked in the red luggage and went to eat breakfast at MacDonald’s. There we just waited and watched the sunrise.
When we checked in the JAL Flight, we forgot to specifically asked for window seats. I had always enjoyed watching out of the window for the scenic views when flying. In the end, though our seats were by the edge of the plane’s side, we got seats right where the wings were, but there was no window! All other rows had their own windows, except us!
Oh well, we just took it as our unfortunate luck and made do with it. The other thing was the narrowness of the seats; my feet could hardly stretch. The previous flights we had (SIA and Cathay Pacific) had much more leg room. Thus, this was our most uncomfortable flight. Alas, it had to be a near 7-hour flight! O_O.
In addition to that, seats were side-by-side in threes, and a Caucasian Lady was seated at the outermost seat. Every time we had to visit the toilets, we had to trouble her to leave her seat to make way for us, as the spacing between the seats were really too tight. Fortunately, she didn’t mind and made way for us several times.
On the flight, we watched a nice movie and that made the flight a little more enjoyable. Nevertheless, it was still the most uncomfortable flight we had taken.
As we did not know that we need to fill in particulars on an entry form, Vin rushed to write the form at the airport in the queue. After getting off Narita Express, we were really overwhelmed by the crowd on the subway metro and a bit lost as to where to go, to get our new tickets.
Fortunately, we have a printed map of the subway (I’m not sure whether it’s still accurate now so I will not be showing the pic) and had written the names in ‘Kanji (Chinese-like Characters)’ as the station names were not in ‘Romanji’ or English characters like that — ‘Tokyo’ but like this, “東京”. Therefore, “Shin-Nihombashi” was written on the signboard as “新日本橋”.
Finally, we reached Shin-ninonbashi Station and made our way to the hotel.
We encountered another hiccup as we turned the wrong way and walked down another street. We located it after searching and was very tired when we reached the hotel… (Vin: our compass failed to work suddenly)
Let me just list the names of the stations (Kanji) which we would be using for the next few days of travel in Japan:
- Ginza – 銀座
- Tsukiji －築地
- Tokyo －東京
- Mitsukoshimae – 三越前
- Shin-Nihombashi Station – 新日本橋
- Kanda – 神田
- Akihabara – 秋葉原
- Ueno – 上野
- Asakusa – 淺草
Along the same area
- Shibuya – 渋谷
- Harajuku – 原宿
- Yoyogi – 代々木
- Shinjuku – 新宿
- Nakano – 中野
- Ikebukuro – 池袋
- Kudanshita – 九段下
Along the same area
- Shimbashi – 新橋
- Daimon – 大門
- Hamamatsucho – 浜松町駅
- Osaki – 大崎
- Omote-Sando – 表参道
It was already dark when we arrived due to Japan being 1 hour ahead of us.
There was some confusion over the rooms as they changed it to a different one from the one we booked but did not tell us though we requested a reply in the comments box. We thought they didn’t understand so there was no reply. We then made a second reservation and they thought we booked two rooms on the 28th to 30th. Finally, we sorted out and paid for 3 nights in cash (28,350 yen).
Later, I found out we should have taken the semi-double they booked for us because the room they gave us last minute were really small and probably meant for a single person. As it was the high peak season, rooms were not easily available. (It’s difficult to get the room right when language was a problem – back then, no Tripadvisor or booking website)
(This entry is from our Travel Scrapbook of Japan in 2007)
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