Day 1 – Travel to Japan

The first day of our 17-day trip to Japan went as smoothly as we could have wished. We got up early (5:15 am) to make our 7:30 am flight from Seattle to Portland. We left from one of the South terminal gates, so here is a picture of Ann on the train:

Ann on train at SeaTac

The flight down to Portland was short, but we had a four-hour layover in Portland. Thankfully, we were able to camp out in the Delta Club.  We also walked around the very nice Portland airport in an effort to keep up our step count.  Ann recently purchased a Fitbit, which inspired me to resume wearing my step counting Basis watch, and we’ve been competing daily to see who can get the most steps.

Ann at the Delta Club in Portland
Beautiful and uncrowded Portland airport

The flight to Japan lasted nine and a half hours.  We were able to get some sleep as our business class seats reclined fully.  After arrival, we zoomed through immigration and customs, picked up our luggage and quickly found ourselves in the arrivals hall, which feels surprisingly small given the number of passengers that fly through Narita each year.

We picked up our WiFi hotspot, purchased tickets for the limousine bus and soon found ourselves waiting in line for our bus.  We had about 20 minutes until the bus arrived, so I wandered across the road to a beautiful road island, complete with a small pond and a waterwheel.

Waterwheel at road island outside Narita airport
Road island outside Narita

I don’t really understand why the ride in from the airport of most cities around the world is so unattractive, but the ride into Tokyo from Narita was no exception. Grey, industrial wasteland.  We did pass a few rice paddies, the harbor, Tokyo Disneyland and two Ferris wheels.

Rice paddies outside Tokyo
Coming in to Tokyo by bus
Ferris Wheel

Our check in to the New Otani hotel was uneventful.  After a few minutes unpacking, we headed down to explore the gardens of the New Otani, which are quite spectacular.  They are a wonderful spot of greenery in the middle of downtown Tokyo.

Waterfall at the Hotel New Otani Tokyo
Water garden at the Hotel New Otani
Signage in the garden at the Hotel New Otani

We ended the day by asking the concierge for a nearby dinner recommendation (outside the hotel; in hotel prices were very high).  She recommended a local Ramen place, Ittenbari,  about 3 blocks away from the New Otani. After some searching (smaller Tokyo streets have no names that we could find, nor do the businesses have numbers or in this case, a sign).  We didn’t really know we were at the right place until we read the menu.  The Ramen at Ittenbari was excellent, and after a quick walk back to the hotel, we fell asleep, exhausted.

Ittenbari Restaurant – Excellent Ramen





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