Japan Day 1: Tokyo

So the day has finally arrived!!! So happy to be going Japan. For a start, when we arrived at the airport, it was like running through a rehearsed script. We went straight to Tourist Information Center and also collected our JR Pass. Initially, I thought we would get lost, but Lady Luck was kind, so everything went smoothly. Narita Express requires you to reserve seats in advance, but this was taken care of together with the collection of JR Pass.

reserved_seat_tix_on_NEXNarita Express is a good way to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo: with comfortable seats and decent sceneries along the way. It was nice to see some locals in the rural areas wave to the people on the train when we passed by them. Taking trains in Tokyo was fairly easy, even buying tickets for trains not covered by JR Pass could be easily learnt after a few trips on them. The JR trains are generally similar to Singapore’s MRT, but it can be even more packed than Singapore during peak hours(though I have yet to experience it).

yamanote_line(off_peak)Imperial East Gardens is a nice place to see in my opinion, though it would really bore those who dislike walks in the park. We went the wrong way a few times and I had to use the same few simple Japanese to ask the locals for direction. Some would use some English for important keywords like “over there” and such when they realised I didn’t understand a single thing they were talking about in Japanese. When we finally arrived, there was only an hour. Even with a poor walker like my mum, we still managed to see most of the gardens, especially my objective the Tenshudai(though it turned out not very interesting, less the Ninomaru due to the closing hours. It would be nice to spend around 1.5 hours to appreciate the place.

Me(2)Next stop: Asakusa. Tried finding that Kaminarimon gate but dunno which direction I’m facing, so I tried asking a local but it was also her first time there. In the end, had to really gamble on directions. Thankfully, I was right. Yay! The unfortunate thing was that it was raining, and both the Sensoji temple and the Asakusa Shrine were closed so there wasn’t much to see in the temple grounds. The image on the left is Kaminarimon when we returned after dinner when the rain stopped. Soon after this gate was taken, a local couple asked me to help take a picture of them at the gate, using the lady’s phone, so I don’t have the picture to upload 😛 The picture on the right is Asakusa Shrine viewed outside the torii gate.

kaminarimon(3)outside_asakusa_shrine

Between Sensoji and Kaminarimon, there is this whole row of shops that make up the Nakamise Shopping Street. My take on this place after some sightseeing is that though some of the things are nice to buy, they are just OVERPRICED I.M.O., unless you don’t mind the price. Else, find somewhere else that sells cheaper… I actually liked the Asakusa T-shirts but was put off by the pricing. 2000+ to 3000+yen is almost about $20-30, which is expensive for a T-shirt meant to be a souvenir and some more not any ATAS brand one.

At night, there wasn’t much to do since the objectives for the day were cleared. Omedetou! On the way back, we took another exit at the train station after alighting but with my poor sense of direction, we had no idea where we were on the map, thus having to ask for directions again before making it back to rest up after a tiring day.

On a side note, Japan is VERY HOT literally in daytime during this time of the year(34 degrees C!).

*P.S.: I will upload all the images not found here on Facebook when I return as I brought an old laptop that hangs when I try to upload ALL my pictures. Apologies and please make do with the pictures in this site 🙂 Also, check back for further updates.

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