Day 1: First impressions of Japan

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October 15th 2009
Published: October 29th 2009
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Leaving SFO
And we're off! Our 11-hour flight on an ANA Airlines 777 was uneventful. We arrived in Tokyo a little after 3:00 pm local time - which was about 11pm San Francisco time - so our goal was to stay awake for as long as we could to try to minimize jetleg - it worked, sort of. Since Tokyo's Narita airport is 40 miles outside of Tokyo, figuring out how to get to the city required some research. Taxis cost upwards of $200 for the trip so we jumped on the Airport Limosine, a large bus that makes stops at several hotels, ours included. The trip into town took 1.5 hours.

We arrived at the Park Hotel, which is on the edge of the upscale Ginza (shopping) neighborhood. Unlike major cities in the U.S., hotels in Tokyo often occupy the upper floors of office buildings. In our case, floors 25-35. This means amazing views. Our view was of the Tokyo Tower, a 1,099 foot tall structure that looks pretty much like the Eiffel Tower and is lit up at night. Evidently Mt Fuji can be seen in the distance from the hotel on clear days (which apparently occur only during the

View from our room at the Park Hotel

The hotel itself is very nice. The rooms are small by U.S. standards but perfectly comfortable. The staff are very helpful as are seemingly all Japanese people!

We decided to go out for a quick sushi dinner in the neighborhood and were given a confusing map showing several levels of walkways (elevated walkway, street level walkways, and underground tunnels) that connect our hotel building with about six other hotels nearby - and two metro/train stations. So our initial impressions of Tokyo are that the people are incredibly polite and helpful and the city is a bit confusing to navigate!


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