Japan 2008 Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo (東京)

Our arrival in Tokyo from Sydney was early in the morning. The Qantas plane landed in Narita Airport, and we took the express to Shinjuku.

We took the Qantas QF21 night flight from Sydney. The arrival in Tokyo was just before 7am to Terminal 2 (where all the foreign airlines land – I think Terminal 1 is reserved for Japanese airlines).

Narita Airport

We cleared through immigration fairly quickly with typical Japanese efficiency and emerged downstairs feeling a bit lost.

Fortunately we found a Tourist Information Center and grabbed a few brochures. I thought it was interesting that the Japanese characters (外国人観光案内所) state that this bureau is for “foreigners” only (外国人) – clearly if you are a Japanese you need to look elsewhere.

We also found a Seven Bank ATM, next to some sort of sculpture from the local temple. This ATM is quite important for people who don’t have enough Japanese currency, as Seven Bank and Post Office ATMs are the only ATMs that will accept foreign cards (most Japanese ATMs are domestic only).

Seven Bank is the subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, who also own the chain of 7-Eleven convenience stores (not only Japan, but worldwide). They also own the Denny’s chain of restaurants (Japan only) and in 2005 purchased the Sogo and Seibu department stores. I know the Sogo name well, as I have seen Sogo stores in Hong Kong and also Malaysia.

We bought a 14-day Japan Rail pass  prior to departure, so the first thing we needed to do was to find a JR office that we can convert our coupons into actual passes.

We wandered downstairs and immediately encountered a small scale “Narita” version of “rush hour” (as you can see from the photo, the time is 8:26 am) – these don’t look like travellers to me but more like office workers. By the way, the sign just below the wall clock in the upper left quadrant of the photo indicate directions to the “Pet Hotel” – wish we had time to sneak in to have a look!

We finally found the JR ticket counter. The next Narita Express train to Shinjuku (新宿) was at 8:54am so we had a bit of time to find the right platform.

… And we found it. While waiting, the “local” train arrived on the opposite platform …

… a few people, including a “salaryman” disembarked.

A train arrived at our platform, but it was a local …

Finally, our train arrived. Yay!

The surrounding countryside was pretty, but it was a very foggy morning, so it was hard to out details …

… but the agricultural heritage of the Chiba prefecture (千葉県) was quite self-evident.

Finally, the train arrived at Shinjuku Station (新宿駅) around 10:15am.

Full album below (click on any picture to view and scroll through images:


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