Japan Holiday: Tokyo (Arrivals)

Welcome to Tokyo – almost a country in itself.  Made up of 23 different wards (or areas) Tokyo is a giant, crazy, loud, bright, dark, quiet, old, new, clean, dirty, did I already say crazy city! It is said that the greater Tokyo area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world and I would believe that.

Tokyo - Shibuya on a rainy night
Tokyo – a country within a city. Is a maze of tiny alleys, bright lights and amazing spectacles. In parts desperately clinging onto the old world charms and in others violently thrusting itself into the modern technological world. In short – It is a pretty amazing place.

Leaving from the Gold Coast, Australia we were flying with Jetstar on their new 787 Dreamliner aircraft.  Must admit these planes are quite an improvement, lower cabin noise, lovely auto-dimming windows and also USB power points in each chair.

I never get tired of that spectacular view of the Great Barrier Reef from the air. Perfect flying conditions into Tokyo Narita Airport

As per usual you need to buy your food and drink on the flight, but I must admit the food wasn’t terrible.

Can’t go past the Aussie staple of a Steak Pie and a Beef Sausage Roll – with tomato sauce of course!

Narita Express Train (Narita Airport to Shinjuku Station)

Narita airport is the main international airport in Tokyo where most of the international flights land.  It is located about 60km away from the centre of Tokyo and by far the easiest way to get to the centre of town is via the Narita Express Train.  It costs about 3000 Yen ($38 AUD) and takes around an hour.  It stops at most of the main stations in Tokyo so chances are you won’t need to change trains when you get to town.

After landing at Narita Airport just follow the signs to the Trains. The airport is well signed and easy to navigate. It is a bit of a walk but not too bad.

Don’t worry if you are not a fluent Japanese speaker, there are plenty of helpful staff around who speak English and are more than happy to help you.  You can buy your ticket form the station counter and they will allocate your train departure time and seat.  Be sure to note the departure time of the train, something you will quickly learn in Japan is that the trains nearly ALWAYS run on time.

The first of many of these little green tickets you will be getting on your Japanese Holiday. Unless you plan on spending all your money on Taxis the trains will be your easiest way around this little country. Make sure you don’t lose it as you must show it at the exit to the station. You will also note it has allocated seating (Car. 2 Seat 13 A).

The Narita Express costs about 3,000yen ($41AUD) from the airport to the main Tokyo stations.  Details are available online at the Narita Express Website.


For our first few nights in Japan we had booked a lovely apartment in Shinjuku through AirBnB rather than a hotel.  This was quite handy as it allowed us to stay relatively close to the action and close to Shinjuku station without paying massive hotel fees.

Japanese apartments are not known for their size. Our one in Shinjuku near the train station however had everything we needed. Bed, couch, shower, TV. What more do you need?

The other benefit is that you can get a little bit more room to spread out in.

JustMyTravelNote: Japanese homes and apartments are not big, they are not even small by western standards, they are often described as TINY.  You will get used to living in small spaces and using even smaller showers

Whether you are staying in a hotel or an apartment definitely get your host to try and give you detailed directions on how to get out of the train station and to find your apartment.

Shinjuku Station is on a scale the likes of which I had never seen before.  It has over 3 million people per day traversing its over 36 platforms underground arcades and numerous exits.  I think that officially there are almost 200 exits to Shinjuku station.

Don’t let yourself be worried though for all the chaos and crazy! There are plenty of signs and assistance provided to travellers.  If you know the exit you are looking for, or the street you need to head towards then you will be fine!

The streets and laneways around Shinjuku are a lovely maze to explore.  For our first night it was a little wet with some light rain.  So we headed out to explore the streets.  I can’t for sure tell you where we were

Shinjuku by Night – the streets around our apartment, I think this was around Nishishinjuku area.  So many shops and bars and just interesting places to check out.

Thanks as always to my followers on Just My Travel Blog.  I hope you enjoy reading along with my travels and as always please feel free to leave a comment to let me know your thoughts.

See you tomorrow!