Well, time to do some new posting and follow up that Tips Guide to Japan for you lot! My work is killing all the time I have for you guys and I need to work on Love for 10969 T_T So much work! Must find time to blog… after all, I need to because it’s going to be a year since my first trip to Japan, I must blog on that date! Hahaha!
Anyway, our story begins around Friday and our flight out to Japan leaves Manila at 5:25 am Saturday and arrive at Narita at 10:25 am Japan Time. Our dad was our send-off party and we ended up almost lost coz we don’t usually use Terminal 3 based airlines for any trip save the domestic ones with Cebu Pacific. As much as possible, we use airlines based in either Terminal 1 or 2. Clark is an option in some of those flights, sadly they don’t have Clark to Narita and back at the moment so we had to go to Manila for our trip.
In Terminal 3, we tried to check in using the kiosks but we ended up learning that was mostly for the domestic flights of the carrier. The lines were long in the usual check in counters but it was quite quick in terms of how fast each passenger was checked and their luggage were weight. We only had one luggage with us to check in (which was a mistake by the time we left considering how much we got with us) and it was pretty light despite the fact it was super full when i packed it. [Note to self though, invest on a good, light and large carry on luggage on the next trip. the one we used was quite old coz the one i use was left in the US T_T]
We got sorted in immigration with the immigration officer laughing when my brother said he is a newly grad so our trip was his celebration of sorts. The aircon was also not working properly due to the ongoing maintenance of the system throughout the airport. After all those, we got some light snack before boarding because we didn’t eat anything before we left home and I had a very delicious sandwich from Bo’s Coffee.
Boarding time was around 5:00 am and much to my utter amusement, we got the best seats in the middle part of the plane. To add to that, the plane wasn’t full which was a double yay for me coz my bag has its own seat.
We left off Manila sometime around 5:20 am and we were even given quite a beautiful view of Manila.
Once we no longer saw Manila, we were given our meals, which was quite good and warming. I don’t normally eat beef tapa and one with quite a lot of garlic so it was good. It was quite ironic I got eggs with the tapa because I never get to eat them loads even if mum has her own poultry farm. Hahaha.
The trip took around 4 hours and 20 minutes or so and it was quite a swift trip. The only things I would complain with the trip was the lack of leg room but that’s expected considering the usual leg room of some airlines… and the walk from the plane to the main terminal! URGH! Were Cebu Pacific given the short end of the stick or something? Thank God there were the electronic walkways, which made the walk bearable.
Immigration was quite swift too and I noticed quite a lot of new things there. The procedure – the verification and the stamping – was now divided into two and the staff doubled too. Some spoke quite good English. Ah Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be quite a sight once these preparations are complete.
After immigrations and luggage claim, we walked around Terminal 2… which is HUGE, to look for the post office to claim my WiFI. The post office was located in the third floor – Departures – and the claiming was as simple as giving your passport and a copy of the order history you get from CDJapan with the tracking number included. Always check your account for the tracking number because the company sends the WiFi pack a few days before you arrive to claim it. (I’ll make a review after the posts)
After that, we dashed to the ground floor again to get our unli metro passes then off to the Keisei Liner to get into the Sky Access train bound for Tokyo.
This route is just one of the ways you can get to and fro from the airport to the city. In the train category, the Keisei Sky Access is the cheapest option. I easily got my brother his very own PASMO card for the trip and loaded it up easily so we can get to the next train to Tokyo. If you are intending of taking this route however, please be aware that since it is not an express train, the trip to Tokyo would not be fast. The trip using the Keisei Sky Access route takes almost 1 hour and 20 minutes as it stops in several stations before it arrives in Oshiage, Asakusa and to the other lines in Tokyo. For us, taking this route was ideal because for one, all check in was around 3 pm (If only tickets to the late flights to Narita were not too expensive!)
Our first port of visit was Yodobashi Akihabara to purchase my brother’s grad gift from our dad: a Fujifilm XPRO2 cam and some of the mini fix-in’s of the camera that we can buy. From our hotel in Asakusa, we took the Tokyo Metro to Ueno and then did a transfer to the JR lines. A great tip when you are staying outside the JR Yamanote Line, always check in advance your route because transferring lines can be a nasty business if you end up in the middle of rush hour. If you are close to Tokyo Metro lines or Toei Subway lines, check which station is close to a transfer point to the closest JR Yamanote Line. Do the same way if you want to transfer from JR Yamanote to Tokyo Metro/Toei Subway Lines. This tip isn’t applicable to Roppongi because it’s actually far from a close JR Yamanote Line and mostly accessible via Tokyo Metro.
Upon our arrival, I also saw the small Square Enix Cafe. Man, why didn’t I go when it was the FFXV month! When we visited, it was the Monster Quest month since a new one was recently released.
After purchasing the camera and some of the fix-in’s (much to my headache because we had to ask several people to help us and get the things we need), we walked to check out the sites around Akihabara. And boy… was it hot!
While walking around, we also saw a small festival of sorts for Akihabara DX! it was fun seeing the automatic bull one and some of the classic games being played for tourists to see. We also saw some mini sales. Woah for that!
We also ventured… to the dark side which my friend Paolo would be so proud. The most memorable one is getting lost in Taito Arcade because we couldn’t find an exit. We kept going up and up until we had to use the fire exit to get down. My brother had amusingly commented we were tricked and the place was like a prison of no escape since you can’t find the nearest exit. We also had fun checking out Animate, but the damn stairs is a killer X_X
Before we went to the station, we did pass by Gundam Cafe to buy a gashapon and took photos of the AKB 48 Cafe, which amused my brother because the lines were too long already.
We got on the JR station after that and I had to get my brother’s PASMO card loaded because we apparently ate all the extra load from the minimum load. Then did several connections to get to Nogi Shrine in Akasaka. Much to our annoyance, the line connections from Akihabara to the place was too much. We did make a short stop over at Yurakucho and saw the Tokyo International Forum. Koda Kumi – one of the divas of Japan pop – had a concert the day we visited so we saw some of her fans gearing up. Man, I wish it was me there but in a ONE OK ROCK concert… it will happen I know it! My brother spotted a Shake Shack branch there and we agreed, since we were in a time rush, to just have lunch there when we go around Ginza, Roppongi and others. After the marathon walk, we got out of the train and lo and behold, Nogi Shrine was just beside it!
Nogi Shrine is one of the few shrines in the area which had a festival scheduled on the day we arrived. There is actually another one in Edogawa but the connections were too difficult and I pretty much was already knackered when we arrived at Nogi Shrine. To be honest, this was my first time to visit the said shrine and to experience a Japanese festival so wahey for that! Tis a shame I was not indeed wearing a yukata. Should buy one while it’s on sale now. Hahaha.
We also witnessed a short reenactment on the Shrine after we looked around and from what i managed to hear since we were far off, it was a historic event that happened in the Shrine. There were games, no o-mens though for sale, but there was this odd fortune comic that I need someone to check. My kanji has yet again failed me.
We also had a small photoshoot in this mini torii gate path which leads to a small shrine.
As we were both completely knackered from our walkathon and from our early flight to the country, we both went home after buying a festival made yakisoba (damn so good!). My brother immediately got on his large bed and I mostly perused the television because for one, that’s one thing I did also miss when I was last in Japan. While conversational Japanese is still far off for me due to the lack of practice, I could understand it mostly. I had a lot of fun watching that ONE PIECE tag game done at Venus Fort in Odaiba. Definitely a show I had so much fun watching since it was tag, and you win tons of yen if you end up standing on top. Ties are ok too. The plot twist for the special was also cool.
Did also spot this:
Had to think where I first saw him, though when the Enka song came in. Yep. Definitely a guy I need to be familiar with.
And I also got this for my friend Ysa,
Emi Takei is the official ambassador of the FFXV Mobile game and the CM has always been flashed on TV and even in the Metro. I did end up playing the game weeks later, I had to stop it though because it was wasting my data. Hahaha!
That wraps up Day 1 XDD As I write this now a few weeks later, its kinda interesting to post this now because this also marks my first year anniversary since I first flew to Japan. Definitely memories I will never forget. Nagisaen too T_T HUHUHUHUHU!
Will try to post the next few days when work permits me to!