Japan is one of my idol country. I admire Japan because of its technology, culture, and nature. My first trip to Japan was on 2005 as part of the transit to USA. However, that time I was just wandering around my hotel at Narita without having a chance to go further out… I still remember, as soon as I went out of hotel, I saw that all the board/sign on the street was only in Kanji. How the hell I will know where to go ;-). What if I got lost? Moreover, that is really my first trip outside my country, so I was really still so afraid. Pardon me, lol.
Finally oh finally, I stepped my foot on the big Tokyo city (not only Narita, hahahahaha). This time I am not alone, my sister accompany me. Even tough I do not have any basic in Japanese (Nihongo) except arigato and sayonara, but this time I am determined to visit Tokyo. I also got some info from some friends who live in Japan that especially in Tokyo, most of the sign/board is not only in Kanji, but also normal alphabet. And many of the people in Tokyo can speak English. So, I was relax.
I have planned everything before we went to Tokyo, what to visit and how to get there. Everything was complete. And I was not surprise when I saw Tokyo. Everything was like what I Imagined. High-tech country, public transport is great, clean, everything is in order, and people are so polite and nice. Not many of them speak English, but they really trying hard to help you when you got lost or need some information.
On the flight to Tokyo, I was welcome with the view of Mount Fuji covered with snow, look so beautiful. Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, located on Honshu island. Wish next time I can visit Mount Fuji more close.
I and my sister took different flight to Tokyo. I arrived in Narita Airport terminal 1, while my sister arrived in terminal 2. The immigration is not complicated at all. After filled in the form, and all immigration check, I went down to pick my luggage and came outside to the arrival hall. Here you can find money changer, info for public transport, and accommodation services.
As I have to meet my sister in Terminal 2, so I got in the free shuttle bus which bring you to terminal 2 and vise versa. The bus is located outside the arrival hall. Just look for the yellow bus.
The public transport is very convenient in Tokyo. We took the public train from airport directly to our hotel. The train from airport directly took us to Nihombashi and cost you 1100 yen or about 11.2 USD. The subway price depend on the distance you go, but my suggestion is better to take a day ticket (cost 710 yen or about 7.23 USD) which give you much opportunity to use public transport unlimited. Note that there are two main subway operated in Tokyo, one is the Toei line and other is Tokyo Metro line. They both are completely different operator, so if you have one ticket for Toei line, you can only use for Toei line, and same for Tokyo Metro line. That time, I choose Tokyo metro line day ticket because I saw they have more lines operated and seems to be more convenient.
You can buy the ticket in vending machine and you can ask the the ticket-man when you encounter any problem.
The subway is not much different with train. They all well maintained, just be sure to check on the board above the door of the train or in the platform of each halt (station) to make sure you stop in the right place.
Woman got special treatment during busy hour, there is special car in each train during busy hour which is dedicated only for woman.
Based on suggestion from my friends, I always avoiding taking subway during busy hour. It’s terribly full and busy.
One unique experience is to try the traditional Japanese public transport, human power rickshaws. You can try this especially in a touristic place such as nearby Sensoji temple and Sumida river.
There are two nice services in Tokyo. One is free public toilet in all the subway station. Very convenient. Plus, they always have big mirrors in the toilet, and many women really make use of this mirror. Hmmm… now I know why their make-up always look so perfect.
There are two-type of toilet in Japan, one is the traditional version and other is the real modern style, full of buttons, from water flush to some music button.
Meanwhile, other nice things is that Tokyo have sprinkler water in certain places.
One important things is about the socket. In Japan, the electricity socket is similar to USA, with two sharp pin instead of two round pin. Don’t worry if you forget to bring the adapter, you can also buy the cheap adaptor in Akihabara.
I hope this can help you when you plan your trip to Japan. If something else come in my mind, I will update it soon. Enjoy it!