My husband and I decided to take the trip of our lifetime to Japan. We traveled to eight cities in fifteen days. We were tired and sweaty the whole time, but it was great. The following is my trip report for Tokyo.
We flew on JAL airlines. For such a long flight (originating from Chicago) it went by very fast. The food was pretty good (choice of both western and Japanese meals). The flight crew was incredibly nice and brought around drinks and snacks constantly (there was also a little buffet to set up to help yourself to crackers, juice, and water). As Bostonians, we were happy that one of our in-flight movie selections was Fever Pitch, but we also had ten others to choose from as well as many video games and radio stations. Though the seats were two cramped for us to sleep, the time flew by. It was good that we didn’t sleep as we left Chicago around 3pm and arrived in Narita at 5 pm (the next day!) and we were ready for bed by the time we got there.
The line at customs was our introduction to the city as it was very hot and a long line. We made our way through after about an hour, got out JR passes validated, and then got on the next train to Tokyo. We also used our ATM cards to grab some cash at the Citibank machine (and we got a good rate that way). We got on the train and realized we had no idea which stop was ours. We figured Tokyo would be obvious and luckily it was. We navigated our bulky luggage (something the Japanese never seem to have) through the JR terminal to the Tokyo metro station. The stations are easily marked in English. We couldn’t figure out how to buy a ticket, but one of the attendants helped us and we realized it couldn’t have been easier. We got to the right line to our hotel and luckily bumped into two New Yorkers staying at our hotel (The New Otani), so the led us where we need to be (which was good since we were on 24 hrs of no sleep by this point and not at our sharpest!). The New Otani was right around the corner from the Aksaka-Mitsuke station. The hardest part is finding the exit – they are marked in yellow and give you a directory (in English) of the landmarks accessible through that stairway (we found up to 30 exits in one station). At eight o’clock, the heat was oppressive (it was August 2) so we showered and went right to bed.