Lets go to Tokyo!
Sure, why not! How do we do Tokyo in 4 days? How do we get there? How do we get time off work, and how long should we go to make sure it’s worth it? These are only a couple of questions that ran through my head when the idea was proposed. Sure, we have jobs that allow us a benefit of traveling for free or almost next to nothing but there are so many other things that go into just up and going somewhere
We always talk about wanting to go somewhere, do something cool, and about going to eat some amazing food but that’s just it: most of the time its all talk. Let’s go to Italy or Ireland. Oooo, we need to go to London to try one of Gordon Ramsey’s first restaurants. You wanna go to Disney World next month?
We toss ideas up all the time. Literally, almost on a regular basis, but hardly ever do we act on it. Why? Because we both work a lot, both have a life full of things we need to do before we can just travel. Yeah, we get to travel to some pretty cool places with our job, but just how much can you experience in just 24 hours. Well, I guess if you read our blog you’d see what Johnny did on his BDL layover or what I like to do on my SFO layovers but when it comes down to doing a “normal touristy trip” to explore it just doesn’t happen that easily.
How long do we go?
There are so many things to do, see, and more importantly to eat there than you or I can even imagine. I started reading up on things to do on some blogs that I found, which I will share with you later on in some posts about how I figured out what to do.
Should we just go for a couple of days, or if we go for a week is that enough time to actually see the city? With the travel time to get there and the supposed jet lag, is 7 days enough? We decided to go on a Monday morning and come back on Saturday. We are going to be in the city for only 3 full days. I know in the back of my mind that that is not enough time to do too much, so we will have to prioritize what each of us wants to do. My brother, Ryan is coming with us on this journey across the globe.
How the heck do we get there?
Clearly we have to fly there, but the things going through my head is what airport do we fly out of to Tokyo, and which airport in Tokyo will be best to fly into. Also, the bigger question is, is it safe to travel as a non revenue passenger there. If you do not know what this is, basically as airline employees we can travel for free in seats that are not sold. Sounds great on paper, until you get there., Then the stress builds up. This will be a post for another day, but just know that with non-rev travel you have to be super flexible and have a buffer of travel days in between paid bookings like hotels or activities. We decide to fly into Tokyo International Airport (Henada). The main reason we chose this airport is because it is in the city, and easier to get to our hotel.
Another possible perk was that the aircraft that our airline takes into Henada is a 777-300 which is a 3 class airplane that holds over 300 people, so our chances of getting on that flight were much better. And the chances of getting a premium cabin seat were higher. The other Option was Narita International Airport. It is farther from the city, however, there are many more flights into that airport with our airline.
The route we chose was from MIA-LAX spend the night in Los Angeles, then do LAX-HND. It worked out brilliantly, and my brother and I got to experience the American Airlines International Flagship Service! I will write about that soon, it was such a treat that I could have only ever dreamt of.
Where the heck do we stay?
Do we stay downtown, and if so what neighborhood? Do we stay in an Air BnB or a hotel? Do we want to stay in a westernized hotel or a traditional Japanese style hotel? These are all the things we had to ask ourselves about what we wanted to experience in our stay. I looked at quite a few Air BnBs and there were some super cute ones. One thing I did not even consider is a hostel, even though many people suggested it. That is just not our style. Call us bougie, but we like to have our own bathroom and our own space for our stuff that we don’t have to pack up every time we leave where we are staying.
We decided to stay at the Sheraton Grand Tokyo Bay. Coincidentally this was basically on Disney property, so that was nice and provided a quick and easy way to get to the Disney Parks since we were on the monorail line. Subscribe to the blog and check back to read my post about our hotel stay in Tokyo! In a nutshell, this hotel was just like a hotel that we would stay at in the states with normal electric plugs, and amenities that we are used to in our culture.
What do we do when we get there?
This was the thing that scared me the most. I wanted to do everything that I read about. I read blog after blog, and watched many shows about Tokyo. This is all cool, but it made me have a bit of anxiety to be honest. I felt like there was just way too much to do and not enough time to do it. This is actually true. There is far to much to try to do in even a months time. So, do we go to Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Disneyland, or on a tour of the temples and shrines?
Luckily, Ryan and Johnny are two of the best people to travel with because when all of us are together we are super laid back and just soaking in the experience and whatever happens will be epic.
My approach ended up being based on one thing that each of us had on our list that we just HAD to do. For me, I really wanted to do the go karts through the city. I know, crazy since you can ride go karts in almost in city, but come on. If I can do real life Mario Kart in the country that the game is from then of course that will be on my list. Ryan really just wanted to eat different foods which also kind of lead into Johnnys list of going to the market and shopping districts on the hunt for street food.
I scoured the internet for ideas and guides for our ideas and found a few good ones which I will share in my guide/reviews for the things we did. The other things we did were things that you cannot experience in any other city in the entire world which was Mt. Fuji and DisneySea. The things we did were super specific to us and the amount of time we had. I wanted to maximize our time there while making sure that we didn’t feel the rushed feeling that you get when you go to Disney World that one time of the year. Actually, this trip was way less stressful than a typical Disney trip when you feel like you have to do all these things in a specific time frame because you won’t be back for a few more years.
I was so nervous about this trip
In conclusion, the feelings leading to this trip were all over the place. I was a bit anxious about the travel getting there, the stay, and using transportation in a foreign city. Yeah yeah, I travel for work and more nights than not I am not even in my own bed but there is something just kind of nerve-wracking about traveling across the world on my own time. No one is planning the transportation from the airport, no one is telling me where to eat or how to get around, and no one is telling me what airport I am flying into.
Overall, the trip was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned that you can have a great time based on the people you are with mostly. The trip could have been a disaster if there were people there who were picky, bossy, or scared. But between the three of us and our adventurous attitudes and palettes, we were able to savor each moment; from the 18 hours of flying to eating weird seafood on the streets of the outer market of Tsukiji fish market.
Make sure to check out Johnny’s day to day posts to see what we did each day. Also, subscribe to the blog to get updates to how I found each thing we did. Have you been to Tokyo? if so what was your favorite thing about the city? We love comments, so leave one below!