Last day in Japan and surprise, surprise, it's raining again.
We decided to venture out to visit the imperial palace for one last cultural adventure so we left our baggage in the lobby and out we went into the elements. We had to walk through the Tokyo Train Station before arriving at the palace. We entered via the Ote-mon Gate and via a guardhouse. (Guardhouses are rare to see as they have mostly been knocked down.)
We enter a beautiful garden surrounded by immaculately cut grass and manicured garden beds. We seemed to be walking in circles and circles and funnily enough, we were. The Palace wasn't anywhere to be seen. We eventually found ourselves at the far end of the premises when we asked where the palace was located. It wasn't in this part. We had to leave and then re-enter through another gate further along the road.
We walked and walked to the point where our shoes were soaked (which was not great considering these were the shoes we were going to wear on the flight) and we found the entry point for the palace. It was closed.
I had officially given up and wanted to get food. We headed back for Tokyo train station and found a restaurant that offered a delicious bounty of noodle and rice dishes. I had the spicy dan dan noodles with gyozas. Jacinta had steak and capsicum stir fry with rice and a side of gyozas too. Was yummy and something that we needed.
We did a little bit of food shopping for our carry on before heading back to the hotel. We stuck our shoes in the dryer… they may have shrunk half a size but at least they were dry!
We walked back through Tokyo station to the machine that administers the appropriate train ticket. To Narita airport it would cost $14 so we put in our money and went to platform three as directed. Tokyo airport has multiple platform three's and of course, we were on the wrong one. We had to go further down the stretch of platforms, down and escalator then down another escalator before we found the correct platform. On the train, our tickets were checked and we were advised that we got the cheap ticket and this train is the express, more expensive ticket. So we had to fork out a further $17.
Narita airport was only a 58 minute journey so we arrived prior to check in so we had a look around a few shops before queuing in line. The queue took over an hour and we only had 21.9kg and 21.5kg of baggage respectively! Through immigration and security before sitting at gate 84 for our flight. Only a 20 minute delay.
Things I have learnt in Japan
- hardly any bins so expect to carry rubbish for miles.
- Many vending machines on every street that have recycling bins next to them but still, expect to carry other rubbish around.
- Convenience store food and department food floors have some amazing food. You don't need to pay through the roof for tasty, delicious dishes.
- JR rail pass is expensive and is only accepted by very few train lines and bullet trains. Tokyo is full of private train subways so budget to make sure it is worth the money.
- Learn some Japanese basics. Very few speak English and it gets lost in translation when using charades!
- Bring slip on shoes as you will be forever tying up laces outside temples.
- Dress modestly. Majority of people cover shoulders and knees or else they wear stockings underneath.
- 7/11 ATMs are pretty much the only ATMs to accept foreign cards. They are mainly a cash society so be prepared to have cash on you at all times.
- Jacinta is a patient person and able to put up with me 24/7 so thank you❤️