Not much happened on this day, so let’s get it over with quickly and move on.
After my flight (and pre-flight lounge) experience, our bird landed at Narita International Airport hours after we were originally scheduled to arrive. I had plans of visiting the splendid observation deck at Roppongi’s Mori Tower in the evening, but the late arrival and the exhaustion left over from the delay meant that I was in no mood to do much more than turn in for the night.
From the arrival area, I headed deep into the underbelly of the terminal and made straight for the JR East Travel Service Centre, where I claimed my Japan Rail Pass using a voucher purchased back home (the pass can’t be purchased in Japan itself). Since I’d requested a start date of the next day for my pass (and therefore couldn’t use it for today’s ride to the city), I also availed myself of JR East’s latest money-saving offer: a bargain 1,500-yen one-way ticket on the Narita Express.
Whilst waiting for my train, I swung by the nearest vending machine and treated myself to one of my favourite beverages.
Yuzu? Good. Lemon? Good. Yuzu and lemon blended together into a soothingly sweet drink that also happens to be sold hot, making it perfect for the freezing winter air of the train station? Good on so many levels.
The N’EX brought me to Tōkyō Station, where I changed to a Sōbu Line rapid service train. Since N’EX tickets are also valid for transfer travel to other Tōkyō-area JR East stations (within a designated zone), the short hop from here to my final destination of Bakurochō Station didn’t cost anything extra.
Now I don’t normally write about the hotels I stay in, which is hardly a surprise given that (as a budget traveller) I generally make use of cheap business hotels that aren’t really worth a second glance. On the other hand, I’ve had so little to write about concerning Day 1 so let’s have a look anyway.
My home for the next four nights was the Tōyoko Inn Tōkyō Kanda Akihabara – a cheap, no-frills business hotel located a few steps from exit C4 of Bakurochō Station. It’s a handy location, although the apparent proximity to the station can be a little deceptive, since exit C4 is quite a long walk from the actual platforms and there are a lot of stairs along the way (not good for those toting heavy luggage).
The room. Not bad, not bad at all; it had everything I needed and not much else.
The best part was the rate, which (as one might expect from a Japanese business hotel) was quite reasonable to begin with, and reduced even further both by my membership card and by a limited offer that rewarded online bookings with a cash rebate of 500 yen per night.
Of course, this being Japan, they won’t just drop the rebate money into your palm like loose change. Each 500 yen coin was lovingly, perhaps a little wastefully, tucked inside a printed and numbered envelope. I received four, one for each night of my stay.
Throw a free buffet breakfast into the bargain and you’ll realise why I’m more than willing to give up a bit of luxury by staying at these simple business hotels for most of my trips across Japan.
Right, that’s it for today. Cheerio.