We landed at Tokyo Narita at 11.40am. I was so excited, I couldn’t believe we were finally here. My dreams were realised within seconds, I came off the plane and went straight to the toilet and it was a fancy all singing all dancing toilet! Having totally forgot about this Japanese phenomenon I was happy to stumble across it, so happy I rushed out the women’s toilet to inform Adam the toilet was a fancy one before rushing back in again haha.
We had a few airport chores before we could venture into Tokyo. Aside from the normal passport control and luggage collection (which all went efficiently as you can imagine) I needed to collect my pocket wifi device. Despite their technology advancement in some areas I had been prewarned that the wifi in Japan was certainly not plentiful and as I wanted to use my phone whilst out there I decided to pick up a pocket wifi device, which I could carry wherever I went. I chose to use CDJapan Wifi rental which was one of the cheaper options. Throughout the holiday the wifi served me well and it was one of the best decisions I made.
We also needed to collect our JR passes from the office. The JR pass allows you unlimited travel on JR lines for a set amount of time. We had chosen to purchase a 7 day option and as it allows travel on bullet trains it works out amazing value. We weren’t going to be using ours straight away but it was straight forward to select a future date to activate them. The woman serving us was extremely friendly and made all our bullet train reservations for us too. Whilst we waited I noticed some little Totoro origami on the side. I love Totoro, more things to add to my excitement.
We were already learning how amazingly friendly the Japanese people were. Of course we had heard this before travelling but I really couldn’t believe how far everyone would go to make sure you knew you were going and that you had everything you needed, it was lovely.
Our last job was to grab a PASMO card. It’s similar to our oyster card, you can preload it with money and then just swipe it on the ticket barriers when you go on the trains. You could use the card elsewhere as well, such as shopping and even coin lockers. Every city we visited accepted the PASMO so it came in very handy. In order to calculate how much money to put on it I worked out how many times we would be using the metro and multiplied it by 200 yen. The PASMO machines were really easy to use as well.
By this point we were really hungry. We were getting the JR Sobu line into Tokyo station and the approximate journey time was 90 minutes. We had about 20 minutes before the next train so we decided we would grab some food from a kiosk. The kiosk was a Family Mart which we would soon realise is a big convenience store chain in Japan. I was amazed at how good the food was at such good prices.
We boarded the train and the 90 minute journey flew by. Adam and Dudley slept throughout, exhausted from our travel, but I couldn’t stop watching the wonderful views and changing landscape. After pulling into Tokyo we had to catch a metro line to our apartment. The metro system was incredibly easy to manoeuvre, although I do suggest having an idea of where you’re going beforehand.
You would never know you’re in the largest city in the world, everything moved so efficiently, foot traffic flowed, everyone seemed to know where they were going. I had thought this part of the journey would be quite stressful, it always seems that way when you have luggage with you, but actually it was totally stressfree. I had used the Tokyo metro planner beforehand so I knew exactly what route we needed to take between our destinations. One thing we discovered later on in the holiday was the strange rush hours you could have. If we got on the train at 9pm or so it was always packed with businessmen.
We had booked an apartment through Air Bnb. For the 3 of us it was by far the cheapest option. We stayed in Shinjuku in an apartment hosted by a woman called Momoko. She greeted us on arrival and was incredibly friendly and informative. The apartment was lovely, we had a separate toilet and shower room. There was a bedroom with 2 single beds and then a large lounge. Within the lounge was another bed and a dining area. Plus there was the kitchen. I loved the traditional Japanese dining table, seated on the floor and Momoko was lovely enough to leave us some little gifts such as sweets and cloths.
We refreshed ourselves and changed and then headed out to the Odaiba area. The bayside area was developed in the 90’s as the economy picked up and developed as a futuristic business district. There were a lot of skyscrapers and bright lights during our walk. After finding the weather to be so warm on the walk to the apartment I had thrown off my coat and as a consequence nearly ended up freezing on our walk. We had departed at the Toyosu station because when I had looked on a map it looked quite close to our ultimate destination however it turned into a 40 minute walk. I suggest people wishing to travel around Odaiba to make use of their monorail!
Despite the cold it was a really pretty. The rainbow bridge, a 1903ft illuminated bridge, looked beautiful and the skyline was amazing. Our destination was the Decks mall. After our walk once we had arrived we sought food and found a noodle bar. I wasn’t too sure about it as there were a few people smoking inside the restaurant and as a consequence they had left the door open. Smoky cold restaurants don’t really do it for me but it was now about 8pm and we didn’t have the time to waste. The boys had noodles and I ordered an unholy amount of Gyoza and everything was really delicious. It was really reasonably priced too.
Our plan for the evening was to visit the Sega Joypolis amusement park. If you entered after 8pm you got a discount evening ticket and we also found that our passports got us a further discount when we bought the tickets. The amusement park was truly amazing. There were floors of amusements but like you’ve never known. There was a rollercoaster inside for gods sake! Neither Adam or Dudley like things that go upside down so that did eliminate quite a lot but we had a lot of fun on zombie shooting games, vehicle simulators and racing games. Just a warning that literally everything in the arcade is in Japanese, we went on a interactive zombie experience but the lack of understanding did just add to the fun when we were running away from zombies with Japanese schoolgirls with no clue what was going on. My favourite discovery of the evening was the photobooths, which are actually insane. I could have spent hours in them, they were so funny!
We left at closing time and took the monorail back. We were so tired that night, we fell right asleep!