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Kinuya Honkan capsule hotel Ueno Tokyo

Japan: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time

Finally! It happened! I made it to Japan!

Ever since I was a small kid I was fascinated with Japan. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, Japan’s influence — especially its pop culture — was quite strong on me. Be it Macross/Robotech being the very first anime/cartoon I remember watching, to the ‘Made in Japan’ products we so revered in those days. Heck, even a pencil box I had with the bullet trains on the cover is still etched in my memory to this very day. And to think, nearly three decades later, I would actually ride the shinkansen this time!

I planned my journey around the sakura season, which in itself was a challenge. It’s hard to predict when the cherry blossoms would fully bloom. I went by this sakura calendar, and decided to travel late March. At the same time, I couldn’t afford to stay in Japan for too long. For the simple reason being… Japan is expensive! Yes, because of the value of yen right now, it’s cheaper, but it’s still a pretty damn expensive country compared to its neighbours.

None the less, this being my first time in Japan, I obviously wanted to spend more time in Tokyo. Outside of Japan’s capital, my initial plan was to go to Hiroshima, but everyone recommended Kyoto over it. So it was going to be Tokyo -> Kyoto -> Himeji -> Tokyo. I just hoped the sakura would bloom in full by the time I got back to Tokyo.

But I had to get to Tokyo first!

Date: March 21, 2015

My flight to Haneda airport was via Bangkok, which meant I was going to be flying Thai Airways.

Thai Airways chicken meal
I have taken enough photos of flights from Bangalore to Bangkok and at Suvarnabhumi Airport so don’t expect anymore photos from this route. But here’s what I ate on my flight to Bangkok.
Thai Airways pork meal Haneda flight
And on the flight from Bangkok to Haneda

I was okay with flying to Haneda because my return journey was going to be from Narita. This way, I would get to see both airports that service Tokyo. In a way I was happy I got Haneda for this flight due to the late arrival at Tokyo. Haneda Airport is located in Tokyo itself, unlike Narita which is quite far out.

Haneda Airport night landing Japan
I landed in Tokyo past 9PM

I didn’t spend too much time taking photos from inside Haneda airport as all I saw was halls and halls of travelators. Being the second largest airport serving Tokyo, Haneda is still pretty huge! Immigration had a queue but it moved fairly quickly, and they had English-speaking staff on hand to assist visitors. Continue reading “Japan: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time” »

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