After a 12 hour flight from LAX to Narita, we arrived to Japan at 9:00 pm and took a taxi to our hotel. Taking a taxi was expensive since our hotel was located pretty far from the airport, but it was worth it since neither my sister, Nicole, nor I wanted to decode the Tokyo's Subway system and manage our luggage.
Once we checked in at our hotel, we got to our room and passed out.
The following morning, we decided to take it easy as we were adjusting to the new time zone and went out to explore the neighborhood that our hotel was in. As were walking along we bought some pastries at a local bakery and decided to sit somewhere to do some people watching. We spotted a huge roller coaster track in the distance and began walking towards it.
We discovered that we were really close to the Tokyo City Dome and 2 train stations (Korakuen and Kansa). The theme park rides were connected to a huge department store named La Qua. It was really early so a lot of the shops and restaurants were not open, but we saw that the Starbucks and decided to order some coffee to have with our pastries. It was so interesting ordering in Japanese and noting that instead of advertising pumpkin spice lattes (which is a big deal for Fall in the Season in the US) they were advertising a roasted almond frappachino and latte!
We walked past the Tokyo City Dome and visited almost all of the convenience stores so that Nicole could see what items she could and could not buy in Japan. She found she could buy her contact solution ( a little bit pricier than in the States) but had no luck with eye drops. We tried a number of drinks throughout the day. I think it is safe to say that the Japanese convenience stores are way better than ones from the US because they are actually convenient since they are everywhere and they carry full meals that are not at all pricey. Nicole's Strawberry Milk shown above cost around 110 yen, almost equivalent to $1.10.
For lunch we had Ramen and Gyoza at Toraji, a restaurant tucked away in a side street. We were directed to a vending machine once we entered. We picked out what we wanted, paid and had a ticket printed out with our order. We passed this to a chef and our food arrived almost instantly.
On our way back to the hotel, we walked through the Tokyo Dome area again and noticed a game would be starting in a few hours. We walked through the souvenir shops for the Giants to see if there were some fun items we could buy from there.Nicole and I also toured the La Qua Department Store and browsed the fashion boutiques and restaurants now that they were open. Everything looked really cute, but I did not buy anything (surprisingly) since it was our first day out and about.
Before you think all we did is see shops and amusement parks for the first day, think again! We got slightly lost on our way back to the hotel and found a shrine during that time. I could not tell you what the name of the shrine was but we stepped in and even rinsed a Buddha statue and made a quick prayer for us to get back to the hotel safely.
It just so happened that there was also another shrine right behind our hotel. The entrance was gorgeous and there were very few people there. It seemed surprising that nobody was there visiting except us.
I took so many pictures on our first day since we saw so much, so although I've shared a lot of photos in this post we did do quite a lot more site-seeing in the neighborhood, mainly looking into everyday life like visiting a grocery store, book store, and park. We did turn in slightly early due to the time zone adjustment, but our first day was pretty fun and we decided to brave the subway system for Day 2 and visit the Shibuya, Ginza and Akihabara districts.
Hope you enjoyed this post and continue on to Day 2!