From Tokyo to our home…
On Saturday 7:00 our alarm-clock went off for the last time in Tokyo. After a shower and packing the last items in our suitcases we check-out from the hotel at 8:00. We got the usual breakfast at Shinagawa Station before we boarded the Narita Express towards Terminal 1 of Narita Airport. Here we dropped the LTE Modem in a mailbox and we went with the free hotspots at the airport.
After dropping of our luggage we went through customs to leave our tax-free shopping tickets in Japan before we went to the gate where the A380-800 from AirFrance was already waiting. The flight time was changed to 10 minutes early but unfortunately we still left on the original planned.
The flight went very well we have seen some movies had plenty to eat and drink and a very pleasant flight crew. But due to strong headwind we arrived at the gate in Paris 20 minutes later as planned. Normally we would have had 1:15 minutes to get from the long haul flight to our next flight which is time enough but due to delay and the early boarding time of the next flight we had only 30 minutes left. This might sound more relaxing as it is but in between leaving the first plane and boarding the second plane we had to do customs, security check, walk/run about 2 km and take a bus ride from 15-20 minutes.
So we decided to go for it and started running as soon as we left the plane, we passed a lot of people (there were 516 passengers on the plane and we were sitting in the back), we came to the security check very fast but it took 10 minutes for the first passenger to get his suitcases scanned. Finally we came through and started running to the next hurdle the elevator and afterwards the bus. It took the bus 5 minutes to arrive and then it drove to Terminal 2G for about 15 minutes.
At 2G we needed to get our passport checked which went pretty smooth and at that moment I heard our names being mentioned in the same sentence as last boarding call…I decided to grab one of our 2 carry-ons and started sprinting the last 500 meters to our gate! Yes I made it on time but Danielle wasn’t there so I left my carry-on and I went back for Danielle since the stewardesses told me they would leave the gate open. Sweating and exhausted we both made it on time and the plane left 18:20.
At 17:45 we landed at Nürnberg Airport , at 17:50 we had our suitcases and at 17:55 we drove out the parking garage on our way home where we arrived at 20:15, about 15 hours and 20 minutes after we took-off in Tokyo.
Sightseeing in Tokyo…
After our little trip by train to Kyoto and Hiroshima today was going to be a full day of Tokyo.
We slept a little longer and at about 09:30 we were on our way to visit Roppongi Hills. We went there with first the Yamanote Line from Shinagawa to Ebisu and for. There we took de Tokyo Subway (the Hibiya Line) to Roppongi Station.
Roppongi Hills is a New Urban Centre and one of Japan’s largest integrated property developments, located in the Roppongi district if Minato, Tokyo. Main goal for us going there was to visit the 238 meter high Mori Tower and its Observation Deck. After buying our admission ticket we took the elevator to the 52nd floor. From the 52nd floor we had a beautiful view over Tokyo and also saw the Tokyo Tower. Sander took some pictures but it is always a bit difficult to make good pictures through glass. At 11:00 the open-air rooftop opened and we took the elevator to the 54th floor to take pictures from the rooftop/helicopter pad. The views were amazing and there were almost no people there.
After Roppongi Hills it was time for lunch and today we took the Hibiya Line and Yamanote Line back to Osaki Station. We had lunch at the Gate City Osaki which is a complex with a lot of different cafe’s and restaurants. Today we went for some noodle soup with rice and chicken.
Because the weather was so great today and the sun was shining we went to see the Imperial Palace East Gardens. We took the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station. The main station facade from Tokyo Station is brick-built and looks a lot like Amsterdam Central Station.
After a 10-minute walk we arrived at the Imperial Gardens. These gardens belong to the former Edo Castle. Edo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Emperor Mejia also resided there from 1868 to 1888 before moving to the newly constructed Imperial Palace.
We visited the Tokagakudo Music Hall, the Tenshudai Donjon Base and the Ninimaru Gardens. Unfortunately there were only a couple of cherry blossoms out yet, but we could get a couple. Ice pictures. Finally we saw the Nijubashi Bridge. The bridge is one the most photographed scenes in Japan.
At the end of the afternoon we walked through Hibiya Park and bought ourselves some Starbucks with a delicious piece of Caramel Macchiato Cake. We discovered that this Starbucks was next to the Toranomon Subway Station and from we took the Ginza Line to Omote-Sando and transferred to the Chiyoda Line to Meiji-Jingumae to do some shopping. In this area you find stores by Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, H&M and many many more.
Slowly it was getting dark outside and it was time to go look for a place to have dinner. We took the Ginza Line to Shibuya and after some walking around we found a nice little place where we ordered dinner again from pictures and an English menu (I think they translated their menu on Google-Translate). We got some Skewwers with rice and of course a cold beer. For dessert we had a donut from Krispy Kreme Donuts and some ice-cream Baskin Robbins. At Baskin Robbins they have the funniest ice-cream flavours.
We took the Yamanote Line back to our hotel and one station before Shinagawa Station the subway was almost empty. Sander thought this really uncommon for a Tokyo train/subway let’s take a picture. In the meanwhile a friendly Japanese man told me that the train was ending at this station and that we should take the next train to Shinagawa Station. Luckily we were not the only ones sitting in the train, also some Japanese people were still sitting in the train. After a couple of seconds the next train arrived at Osaki Station and brought is back to Shinagawa Station.