From the colorful robot cabaret in the colorful red light district of kabukicho in Tokyo to the peaceful Fushimi Inari in Kyoto (at least at night or early in the morning :p) Japan has so much to offer. Their advanced technology which make them a so well developed country, their interesting culture and their beautiful well preserved nature which attract millions of tourist from all over the world. Let’s follow my new story, in my djournal called the Land of the Rising Sun.
To be honest this is my first ever blog…. and to be honest this is my first time visiting Japan :p
So here I am at the Land of the Rising Sun aka Japan. I will skip all the history lesson, although I was really tempted to lecturer all of you who read this blog.. So, my trip to Japan took time from April 16-27 2017 with Singapore bound flight. Let’s head up for my djournal!
So as I arrived in Tokyo thru Narita Airport, I was so excited to begin my journey here in the capital city of Japan yet The most crowded city in the World! By the most crowded city in the World I really mean it. You will also find it from google by the Most Populous Cities of the World. It’s seriously packed with people! The thing about Japan, eventho they were became international city from such a long time they were lacked with English capability. I was a little bit worried because since this is my first time to be in Japan and from my experience, you will find it difficult to live there especially in some country in Asia that unfamiliar with English, for example : China. However due to my excitement to explore this beautiful Land of the Rising Sun I soon forgot about all of my worries.
So as soon as I arrived in Tokyo, we jet our way to the apartment where we will staying for 2 nights before we leaving for Kyoto. As you all probably know Japan had the advanced public transport system. For example from Narita airport to the heart of Tokyo (Tokyo Station) you can take 4 kind of transport, from Taxi, Uber, Train or Bus. It seems like every major cities in the world had the same public transport system, but (there’s a but here) you really need to experience Japan advanced public transport system. For example even for the Train leaving for Narita to the central of Tokyo, you will find a lot of choice from the express train to the regular one, and for your information even the express one still have choices as well. Here’s some information about all kind of transport in Tokyo or how to get to Tokyo from Narita Airport:
This is probably the cheapest yet inconvenience way to get to Tokyo from Narita Airport. Well, I didn’t even think about using this one since there’s three of us with three 25″ luggage size and you will travel from Narita to Tokyo which is approximately 69 km on a regular subway train and one of the most busiest city in the world! So if you traveling with family I would not really recommend this especially during their rush hour. (I didn’t put the picture of the regular train cause it’s just a regular metro train)
This is probably the fastest yet convenient as well to get to Tokyo. There’s JR Narita Express and the N’EX TOKYO (which is kinda cool for me coz it looks like the train from the future lol) it will cost you around ¥3.220 JPY and you can also ask any info about the round trip ticket from Narita to Tokyo City and back. They have the return ticket for around ¥4.000 JPY with the validity period of 14 days or the Sky Access Express and Skyliner. Sky Access Express offer you better access to central Tokyo then Skyliner. While Skyliner offers you the speediest travel time, and also if you raring to go straight to one of the hippiest spot in Japan then take the Skyliner, get off at Nippori Station then take the JR Yamanote line Platform 11 to Shinjuku Station which gonna cost you around ¥2.670 JPY (it will take you to the centre of fashion district where ‘Harajuku Style’ was born aka Shinjuku Area).
If you not really in a rush I would strongly recommend you to use the Bus especially if you have luggage like I do. There’s Airport Limousine which is gonna cost you around ¥3.000 JPY and KEISEI Airport Shuttle which is gonna cost you around ¥1.000 JPY. I took the cheapest one (KEISEI) since I thought it will be just bus and the trip just for an hour (well it’s depend on the traffic tho). PS: you don’t even need to worry about your luggage, all you need to do just drag your luggage to the designated bus station and they will take care all of your luggage, even for the cheapest one!
Taxi or Uber
Well, I think I really need to skip this one since this is the easiest way to get to. All you need to do just look for the taxi sign or open your mobile phone and find the app called Uber 😀 One thing for sure Japanese Taxi is really comfortable, tidy and modern as well (even the old one, by the old one I mean the 90’s Toyota Crown) Their driver dress up really nice as well. I do need to remind you that taxi or uber service is really expensive here in Japan. For example from Narita Airport to the Tokyo Station it will cost you about 27.000 JPY for Uber, while it will also cost you over 20.000 JPY for taxi as well. Please note Uber service only available in Tokyo (as far as i’m concerned) They don’t have any Uber service whatsoever in Kyoto and Osaka. I didn’t really know about any other cities in Japan.
So after an hour bus ride finally we arrived at Tokyo Station. So all we need to do just walk for around 10 minutes to arrived at our apartment from Tokyo Station. Just after we took off from the bus and about to begin our walking trip to our apartment, we can see how advanced Japan’s technology has got. Just as we passed an electronic store down the street we encounter with their robot store assistant. We didn’t really had much time to interact with the robot (since it’s a Japanese speaking robot) and we just can’t wait to arrived to our apartment to put our luggage off! Finally after some sakura-glance walk from Tokyo Station, we arrived in our tiny apartment. Well you do need to consider this when you choose your accommodation in Tokyo (Either hotel or apartment thru site like airbnb). But, actually I feel Tokyo had much more better sized in accommodation if you compare to Hong Kong.
If you planned to explore Japan all by yourself it is strongly recommend to purchase a JR PASS. You can purchased it by the time you arrived at the airport or any major station in every city or you can also purchased it thru any trusted travel agent in your country. You can also purchased it online thru the JR official website or any other website that offer JR PASS. I do also recommend you to buy PASMO CARD or SUICA CARD, either of this two were fine anyway. Cause just so you know that JR PASS did not covered all the train line in Japan. But JR PASS do cover the bullet train or Shinkansen (but not all the Shinkansen). They usually cover for the slower Shinkansen such as HIKARI. While PASMO or SUICA is your e-money you can just tap it to the IC Gate in every station to board the subway or metro, you can also purchased the Shinkansen ticket or even pay your grocery at the supermarket or mini market like 7-Eleven, Lawson, etc. One more thing you need to noticed that JR PASS has the validity period, so make sure to plan your trip carefully before you activate your JR PASS. My tips will be if you plan to spend your very first few day in Tokyo you might want to consider other option than activate your JR PASS. Just so you know the Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto itself gonna cost you around 13.910 JPY one way. I know it is different kind of Shinkansen (The JR PASS covered was hikari and slower one while the other was much more faster than hikari) but still you can save a lot using the JR PASS especially if you travel across any other city in Japan.
It was so much easy to wander around Japan (I mean Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka). The matter about the language difference not bothering me anymore. The Japanese people, evetho they can’t speak English they were infact so familiar with English! I know it’s kinda confusing LOL. Whenever you go or you get lost you can ask someone for helped (but make sure you have the map or picture or the Japanese word of your destination) They will helped you out eventho they did not understand any single of your words! From school kids to the 70-80 yo granny in the subway (well according to my base knowledge which is can be true or not 😀 due to their healthy lifestyle the Japanese people did not ageing fast compare to most well developed country and Japanese people in Japan have a longer lifespan compare to any other country in the world). So I assumed those granny in the subway that chat with me probably around 70-80. 😀 I was also really amazed by their culture. It was so common in Japan you will se people nod their head towards each other or even towards you. Well, a simple nod back (eventho it’s not necessary) is a warm gesture to show them some respect as well. Be aware that people in Japan also stand at one side at the elevator so if you want to chill at the elevator be sure to noticed where they were standing at. Coz different city has different rule, for example Tokyo you will noticed they all standing at the left side, while in Kyoto and Osaka you will noticed they all standing at the right side of the elevator. It’s not a rule nor they will push you like people’s in Hong Kong or China but we need to at least understand that people in Japan always in a rush due to their culture and in a city like Tokyo (as the most populated city in the world) a simple block on the elevator will caused a long line behind.
Japan has the world busiest railway network. It’s estimated about 18.5 million people use the train everyday in Japan. There are 26.000 daily train services in Japan #funfact (according to Wikipedia) :p but I do noticed this by the time I arrived in Japan. You can see their metro map is like a needle all over the board! So I do really suggest you to download some japan metro app in your phone or actually google maps could assist you as well along with the timeline (thanks for being so well developed Japan!!!!) So, all you need to have just a smartphone and you will conquer Japan!!! 😀 like a phrase a tiger without it’s fangs it’s useless, the same with having just a smartphone without any connection is the same! So you will find Japan is really easy to travel to as long as you keep your mobile data on! Well you can either buy a local sim card or a wifi portable which could connect up to 4-5 devices at the same time. I rented a portable wifi from Indonesia, and as we can expected I found 4G everywhere I go and eventho we connect it to our 4 devices at the same time it still offer a 4G internet speed. You can go anywhere you want in Japan just using your google maps or apple maps or any maps you have!
Well, this is my general djournal about the Land of the Rising Sun. This is just the beginning and we are not started yet! I will continue my next djournal on Tokyo!