We had to plan our trip starting from Tokyo because this is where the Turkish Airlines was landing.
Erhan’s note: After considering various options with possible flight transfers from Seoul or Bangkok we decided that our landing destination had to be Tokyo because there was a direct flight from Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. We did not want to arrive there all tired and confused, but more importantly given that we were packing valuable material such as cameras, laptops, and a drone, we could not risk losing them between transfers no matter how small the chance.
The day before we left home, I searched the possible routes from the Narita Airport to the city, and bought our Skyliner tickets online to the Ueno Station, because it was central and had direct route. We thought that we would be pretty tired after a long flight anyway, so we arranged our first hotel near the Keisei Ueno Station. It was Super Hotel Akihabara.
We got on the plane on the night of 8 of July (2018) and landed on 9 July around 19 pm (it takes about 11 hours) in Tokyo.
Erhan’s note: Mostly it was an uneventful flight. Turkish Airlines is well known for its service and comfort. We sat in 3’s, by the window side with a Japanese gentleman on the corridor side. He had a mask on and would cough quite frequently. I was nervous since getting sick on the first day of our long trip would not make the smooth start I was hoping for.
Once we landed, even though we didn’t require any visa to enter, they still asked us a couple of questions before entering the country. One of the questions was “how long will you stay in Japan” and we replied honestly (we were prepared to show the bookings if demanded also) and said 2 to 3 months (our return ticket was changeable but we bought it in the beginning as 15 September), and we received the sweetest reaction ever :
OH how nice, welcome to JAPAN! Thank you for staying such a long time!
We were already pretty motivated for our journey but this made us even happier.
The first things we bought in Tokyo were Pocari Sweat and tuna and pork onigiri. My favorite combination through the whole Journey!
We were already tired, but had to walk to the hotel from the station. Although it was nearby (11 minutes according to Google maps), it was a little hard to walk with the suitcases, but we didn’t mind too much since we were in TOKYO. A dream coming true… (a little note: after a while, we concluded that in Japan if Google maps says 10 min. It may count as 20 minutes for non-locals. The so-called 11 minutes must be in Japanese steps, who are usually traveling lighter, more conditioned to the climate, and are more aware of their surroundings. Pro tip: Don’t forget this fact when estimating your time!).
The first encounter with a Japanese hotel
It was very surprising for us: in front of the elevator we found the necessities, before going to the room you choose whatever you need: a comb, toothbrush and paste, razor etc. Oh, and we could choose our own pillow. So we learned that the Japanese hotels almost always provide you your basic needs whatever the cost of the room.
As I wrote before, the room size is important in Japan, we learned that quickly in our first hotel, -although very equipped- the room was tiny for 2 people, especially someone tall like Erhan.
Erhan’s note: And thus began our quest of guessing correct size of beds from photos in booking.com
Exhausted, we went to sleep immediately.
More is coming in the next post. Stay Tuned!