Sunday, 13 September 2015

26-07-2015 ~ Arrive in Tokyo...

After recovering from the super sweet breakfast there was about 1.5 hours of flying left which we spent flying over Japan (finally! Russia is a huge country!) We were given customs forms to fill in to be handed in to passport control (remember to fill in the back as well - we saw quite a few people sent to the back of the customs queue for not having forms filled out correctly)
We landed at 10:25 & had a long taxi to the gate; off plane, through passport control & straight to baggage claim. WELCOME TO JAPAN!!

After changing into shorts & sandals we went to train ticket counter just outside baggage claim. We bought 2 singles (about £33) on the JR Line to Tokyo where we changed to the Subway Tozai Line for 2 stops to Kudanshita (¥170 each). We used Exit 1 and walked 10mins to our hotel (APA Hotel Tokyo Kudanshita)

The hotel has orange frontage and is past the Grand Palace Hotel. We arrived at 13:30 and paid ¥2000 to check in early. We had booked a small double room for 3 nights plus breakfast. The room was very compact but had everything we needed including regular double bed, fridge, air con, TV, bathroom with hi-tech toilet and shower over 1/4 bath.
(I've reviewed all hotels on so you can check there for my ratings. in itself deserves a review: it is the perfect website for booking hotels for this sort of travelling - free cancellation up to 2 days before date of stay, pay on check-in, so easy to use. Very happy we used this site for our bookings.)

After a 4-hour nap we got ready to go out and look for a restaurant and to check out the local area.  We walked back to the Subway station exit 1 and turned left to go down what looked like the main street of the area. We walked up & down the street for a couple of hours looking at shops & restaurants & finally settled on a small restaurant down a side street (unfortunately didn't get the name!).

It had sliding shoji doors and a U-shaped counter with the kitchen at the back; the vending machine at the front corner was a bit confusing (& intimidating) luckily they had an English menu & very helpful staff. We decided on our food & the very nice man behind the counter took our money & operated the vending machine for us to get our tickets; we kept one half & the chef got the other. We ordered pork (¥800), beef (¥1000), beer (¥300) and sake (¥330). It turned out to be a DIY restaurant so we were brought a skillet of raw beef, and a skillet of raw pork & beansprouts to put on the hot plates stationed around the counter. Using the provided sand timers we cooked our meat to perfection and ate it along with our rice & miso soup. The sake was cold and the bottle very deceptive - there were 4.5 full glasses in there! Amazing price as for the same amount you'd pay at least £8 in the UK (This was less than £2!). It was the best first meal in Japan possible, and it only cost ¥2430 (about £13!).
(Picture of aftermath of meal - sorry, we were too hungry to get a picture before)

We stopped by the 7/11 on the way back to the hotel for ice cream & apple juice (and bought cold jasmine tea at a vending machine which are everywhere in Japan). Went to sleep at 22:30 to try to get body clocks in sync...

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