Japan has been at the top of my list of travel destinations for a long time and I had finally planned a trip to go with two of my close friends! We went for about eight days (not long enough! ;D) and we stayed in Tokyo. Such an amazing city, it was so much more than any of us imagined. No books, travel guides, websites, photos or word of mouth can really do it justice. It’s a place you really need to see and experience for yourself. We were all pretty much blown away when we got there.
We had figured out our itinerary for each day beforehand and planned out all the places we would be going. We wanted to see as many things as we could but I think we really underestimated the amount of walking, transit and energy required to do all of it! We were all pretty pooped at the end of the day but so happy to be there at the same time. My feet were definitely killing me every night, I was dying. I really should have invested in some better walking shoes before going there haha.
Tokyo here I come!! Some things I made sure to pack for the trip, Japan Lonely Planet Travel Guide & Point-and-speak Japan (thanks Rosa for lending me those books ^^), a leather camera case for my LX3. The black and white piggy thing is my money pouch – it has 2 separate zippers which is useful for separating currencies. I carried Canadian and US Dollars, and Japanese Yen! A map of Tokyo which was free from a travel agency but we didn’t really use it because It wasn’t detailed enough. Also a print out of the JR East train route map which was very useful since we took JR lines 90% of the time, and lastly my handy dandy notebook with bunch travel notes, useful info about restaurants and stores scribbled in.
The Point and Speak book was the best, I brought it along everywhere! It was so helpful because there’s images along with the English word/phrase, the Japanese characters, and also how to pronounce it in Japanese. There’s a very helpful section with all sorts of meats/fish, food and snacks which helps a lot. I love the illustrations too, they’re so cute!
Our flight was at 6:00am on Wednesday August 19 so we left the house around 4. (Zzz!) My friend Cass slept over the night before but we ended up killing zombies on xbox until like 1 or 2am haha! We met our ‘third musketeer’, aka Claire at the airport! We flew to San Francisco and had a 6hr layover until our flight to Tokyo. So much time to kill.. so we explored the airport and I got some reading material.
A novel by Japanese author Natsuo Kirino that I ended up finishing on the flight there. The story took place in Tokyo which was very fitting haha. Also got NYLON magazine and a Lonely Planet Japanese phrasebook!
We arrived in Tokyo at 4:25pm on August 20, we lost a day going there =(. We picked up our baggage and purchased a NEX train ticket to get to our hotel.
We bought this combo pack that has a ticket for the Narita Express and also a Suica card which is extremely convenient for tourists. You use the Suica for riding most of the railways in Tokyo and you won’t need to buy a ticket everytime, you can just scan the card at the gate and it automatically deducts your fare. It’s rechargeable and you can also use it on vending machines and I saw some stores that accept it as well.
The NEX (Narita Express) took us from the airport to Shinjuku which is where our hotel is located. The trip took about 1.5 hours. In the left of the picture is a little map showing the route of the train and it would light up to show the progress / how far the train has traveled! I thought it was pretty neat!
Shinjuku Station!! Busiest train station in the world! I wish I had taken video to show you how insanely packed it was at the station but I totally didn’t think about it. But let me tell you, we were having a cultural shock attack when we got there. So many people, it was quite overwhelming! Our hotel was about a 5 minute walk from the station, but pulling our luggage around and adjusting to the higher temperature, it felt like A LOT longer.
We stayed at the lovely Keio Plaza Hotel! Such a nice hotel in a great location. I’d definitely stay there again.
This is the side doors to our hotel that we used most often, it was closest to the train station exit.
Some shots of inside our hotel room:
After we settled into our hotel room for a bit, we went for a walk around our hotel area. It was after 8 or 9pm by then and was pretty dark outside already. We didn’t really know where we were going, but I was trying to find something to eat. I ended up getting some weird fried chicken cheese stuff at a convenience store and we also got some big water bottles to share. Don’t want to get dehydrated!
Well that’s all I have for this entry it’s only just the beginning of my trip! You haven’t seen nothing yet but I hope this gives you a little taste to keep you happy while I work on the next entries. Bear with me people, I’ll try to get them posted as soon as I can! Until next time~~ =)
Read all my posts from Japan: