I was sooo glad to get off that plane! I was awake for the last hour and my eyeballs were glued to the window. At first, all you can see is ocean, then some boats and concrete structures. Finally, you just see a lot of airport type landscape. I don’t know what I was expecting but whatever I saw didn’t look that much different than what you see pulling into any of the other airports I’ve been to in Canada and the United States.
The first thing to do when you get off the plane is to go through customs. I hated that part. I was finally in Japan but had to wait again. We arrived at about 3:00pm Tokyo time. I don’t even remember what time it was when we got out of the customs/baggage/arrivals area and into the “fun” part of the airport. (We didn’t get to our hotel until after 7!)
I though it was really cool that the trains were right there in the basement! And of course, where there is a train station, there are konbini!
We went into the JR office to exchange our forms for passes and then took a few minutes to slow our brains down long enough to make a decision… We were originally thinking we would take the express train to Tokyo station and then transfer to Roppongi to go to our hotel because we had the passes but (as mentioned before), our passes weren’t valid until the next day and we didn’t want the hassle of dealing with navigating Tokyo station and transferring with all our luggage. We ended up taking an airport shuttle bus directly to our hotel (6500 yen for both). We had to wait for over an hour for it to come but it gave us a chance to look around a bit.
There are always those interesting things for foreigners, myself included, which we cannot explain why we find them so fascinating. One was high school kids in uniforms and the other, vending machines. Both were in abundance. Here’s a picture of what seems to be my husband but was actually just an excuse to get a shot of both.
This was my first experience with vending machines in Japan. Hmmm ~ what to pick…
It was very convenient to get tickets for the shuttle bus. We bought our tickets at a counter and then just walked out a door to wait for our bus. (It rained a little bit while we waited, but the area is covered so it was actually nice.)
We were pretty amazed by the shuttle bus crew ~ they were all young but still so professional.
You’re supposed to line up in a row between the painted yellow lines and place your bags in the row beside you when your bus arrives. They take your bag and put it on the bus for you and they wear white gloves to do so!
And then, when your bus pulls out, they all line up and bow to the bus~ It was surreal and cute! (I took some video but I haven’t posted it on YouTube yet… I’ll post it here when I get to it.)
The bus itself was pretty nice ~ nicer than the airport buses we have for the Toronto airport… I had heard of the lace stuff they put over the seats in taxis in Japan but I wasn’t expecting it on the bus too. Again, I was glued to the window, fascinated with everything I saw from the landscape to other cars on the road. When we first left the airport, there wasn’t much to see. Then, rice fields started to flash by. They are SO beautiful! And the cars are so cute! You see a lot of Japanese-made cars on the road here but they have a lot of cars there that you never see here. They look like miniature vans or something. Of course, they have regular cars too but I wasn’t expecting there to be so many of the other kind.
As we were getting closer to the metro area, I started to recognize various landmarks. I took this picture from the bus as we were going over the rainbow bridge.
There was a blonde Caucasian girl in the row beside us. For some reason, I could tell it wasn’t her first time in Japan. I think it was because she wasn’t paying much attention out the window and didn’t seem excited. She didn’t talk to us until we were actually in the downtown area. I think she said something like, “Is it your first time here?” Geez~ what gave it away?! Haha.
Turns out, her parents live in Roppongi and she lived there when she was in high school but moved back to California afterwards and was surprising them and her younger sister with a visit. She got off at the stop before us (can’t remember which hotel).
(originally posted to Japan – Here I Come!)