Tokyo April 15-17th,2017- Day One
This view of Tokyo was taken from the top of the Metropolitan Government Office building in Shinjuku. Tokyo is a huger city than we ever have ever seen before with 36 million people in the area. According to our city guide, Junko, three million people pass through Shinjuku station every day.
But I’m getting ahead of myself… I wanted to write this in order to encourage other travelers to go ahead and get themselves to Japan. It’s an amazing country and, with a little planning, it’s quite possible. We flew from Boston on a direct flight on Japan Airlines over the North Pole (Hi Santa!). We are no spring chickens, just an older couple near our 60th year on either side. We’ve travelled and hiked a good bit in Europe but this was our first trip to Asia and I would go back in a heartbeat. The flight didn’t even seem that long, at around 13 hours. I walked around the clean. comfortable plane a lot and there was a huge list of free and fabulous movies, a fun bento box meal, snacks always available and even disposable toothbrushes and toothpaste. When we arrived in Tokyo we were picked up by Green Tomato Airport Shuttle which was recommended by one of our hiking companies. The online form works great and a very cheerful driver was there to pick up our very sleepy selves.
I wanted to stay in Shibuya because we were only in Tokyo for a couple of nights and I wanted to see Harajuku, Shibuya Crossing and the Meiji Shrine which are nearby. Green Tomato dropped a few other passengers off so we got to see some other hotels. Ours, The Dormy Inn, Shibuya was a pretty low-budget one but central to all we wanted to see and clean with a very local feel, It has an onsen and free ramen at night and breakfast, both Japanese and American style in the morning, All of the correspondence I had with them pre-trip was very cordial and easy. I definitely do not speak Japanese, although I learned a few requisite courteous words, of course. I got some different little apps for my phone before we went. I also read The Cool Japan Guide which is a cute graphic novel and also Tokyo on Foot along with the usual guide books.
We were tuckered out but after checking in to our very tiny but comfortable room we hit the onsen and the free ramen. Here are tips on the ubiquitous onsen . My first onsen experience was very cool. This being a family sort of hotel, there was a family of what looked to be 3 generations of women with me in the onsen. This particular one had oranges floating in it and my husband said the men’s side had the too. Onsen, check. Ramen, check. To bed, check,check.