DAY 1 –
We arrived at Haneda Airport around 4PM. It was raining heavily in Tokyo. We straightaway went to the JR Travel Service Center to exchange our JR pass. It was easy, the staff can speak english and they were very friendly. You can choose and decide which day you want the JR Pass to be activated, it will start counting the 7 day pass on the day you first used it .
Then we bought a PASMO card, you can use it to ride trains and buses both in Tokyo and in Kyoto. It is easy to purchase and top up the Pasmo card. The machine have an english option, so don’t fret 🙂
Then we are all set to go out of the airport Yay! We took the train to go to our hotel. After a few stations the train is getting crowded. After a few stops, I looked outside the train window. It was still raining heavily and then I saw this river, the water is almost overflowing and running very fast. That’s the time we realized we took the wrong train, oh noes! Instead of heading to Higashi-Ginza station, in which our hotel was located we ended up in Yokohama! OMG! hahaha. We decided to get off on the next station. By this time, the train was so packed! Hello rush hour! How are you? In case you ask me I think we are lost! To top it off it is raining heavily and it’s getting dark! Not a good timing to get lost. Hahaha. We had a hard time getting off the next station. The door opened at the other side and we are on the opposite side. As we tried to say our “excuse us” and made our way to get off the train (either the train was so packed or they can’t understand us) no one was moving to give way. The people behind us who also wanted to get off, started pushing us. Then we have no choice but push/squeeze our way out! I don’t know how many feet I have stepped on or if my luggage or my friend’s heavy luggage ran over any feet, as we struggle to get out while saying sorry. Whew! We were able to get off on time before the door closed. Both of us laugh after we realized what just happened. We asked for directions on how to go to Higashi-Ginza Station from the train staff.
Upon reaching the station, we decided to walk because the rain seemed to stop… Not! Just after we walk a block or two, it started to rain heavily again. It was around 7 pm and it was dark already. We asked for directions from a guy who is in front of a Pachinko establishment. After getting directions, we thanked him and walk a few steps . We stopped for awhile and struggled to find our umbrellas that is inside somewhere in our luggage. To our surprise, the same guy who gave us directions came to us and gave us two umbrellas to use. We didn’t expect this act of kindness from a stranger. After thanking him, we kept on walking and looking for our hotel. We seemed unable to find the hotel, so my friend asked again for directions, this time, from two middle-aged ladies. To my surprise he was asking them in Japanese (when I asked him later on he said he wanted to surprise me, he learned basic Japanese conversations). Aside from giving us directions they even walked with us and took us near the hotel. On our first day we have experienced the kindness of the Japanese people. Getting lost, walking under heavy rain and getting drenched didn’t seem to be a bad thing at all. Instead we appreciate the experience and I felt admiration for the Japanese people :).
We booked 1 night at the Tokyu Stay – Higashi-Ginza as I originally wanted to go to the tuna auction. It is ideal. It is very near the Tsukiji Fish Market. We decided not to go to the tuna auction. We are travelling to Kawaguchiko the following day and for sure we are not able to wake up that early ;P. The staff at the reception can speak english. The room size is a bit small however it is clean and the toilet is clean and spacious.
We decided to go out and eat dinner at Ippudo. While trying to locate the ramen shop , it started raining heavily again. It took us quite awhile to find it. We thought it was on the main road, and it doesn’t have an english sign. We just matched it to the picture we checked online. By the time we were able to find it, we were drenched again ;P. Hot ramen for a rainy night ♥
When we went back to the hotel, we were still drenched. It is very convenient that the hotel room itself has its own washer & dryer. We were able to wash and dry our clothes at the comfort of our own room. Next time, I can travel light if I book accommodations like these :). Needed to sleep early as we planned to eat early breakfast at the Tsukiji market and leave for Kawaguchiko.