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Our original plan for the first day in Tokyo wasn't followed and we had to make adjustments. We were supposed to arrive midday and start touring around but due to some changes we got to Tokyo 
at night instead.

Below is the rundown of our itinerary for the travel day and our first day in Japan. Also described here are the things that we did that I think are important ❕ to the whole trip.

In summary here's what happened during the fist day in Japan:

✔️ Arrival at the Osaka International Airport and getting a data SIM card 

✔️ Flight to Narita International Airport

✔️ Travel to Tokyo

✔️ Hotel Check-in and Hunt for the First Ramen

✔️ Quick Street Photoshoot

Arrival at the Kansai International Airport (Osaka)

We arrived in Osaka at around 11:30 am.

Japan is known for many popular computer games and Super Mario Bros. is probably the most famous of them all... (at least from my time). It is such an icon and one of Japan’s identities that the Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe played/dressed as Mario during the closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympics!
📱 Samsung Note 4

I got through the Customs easily but Anna was asked questions. We couldn’t tell for sure but the officer seemed doubtful about the length of our stay and we had to show them our booking reservations and confirmed flight details back to Manila.

After successfully getting out the Customs, we head on to look for a data SIM card.

Welcome to Japan! Where a lot of things can be bought from a machine!
📱 Samsung Note 4

You have the option to buy from the shops inside the airport or get from vending machines. Either way you will have to set the SIM card yourself.

There's a wide variety of data SIM cards to choose from but I think in general it would be impractical to overthink on which one to choose. I based mine on the assumption that 250MB per day is sou 

We got a So-net Prepaid LTE SIM which is a data only SIM off a vending machine. There were instructions within the package and setting it up wasn't easy.

Staying Connected ❕

Aside from the obvious like making your families aware that you're safe and uploading photos as things happen (hashtag ATM), which I am not a fan of and avoid doing during travels, having Internet connection is very useful (if not a must) when travelling Japan especially if you don’t read or speak Nihongo. 

✔️ Make sure you have Google Maps and Google Translate installed on your smartphone (I hope you have a smartphone).

✔️ Your smartphone will be your personal guide during the whole trip so as long as you can, keep it alive for the entire time you’re wandering around.

✔️ Train and bus schedules are available and really useful whenever you search for a destination on Google Maps.

✔️ Google Translate is helpful, too, but not as much as the maps, for getting around. You’d probably need to translate some phrases when checking in in hotels and the staff doesn’t speak English, or when asking some shopkeepers, too.

✔️ Searching on the go for the next destination (if you decide to completely ignore the itinerary you planned for the day).

It took a while to make the SIM card work but it eventually did just in time before we boarded for the flight to Narita.

Aboard the plane to Narita Airport. The plane was making a tight turn thus the view of the sea below.

Narita Terminal 2-3

At around 4:50 pm we landed at the Narita Airport and hurried to find the train station (we asked around and also used Google Maps) that would lead us to Tokyo.

We made it to the Narita Terminal '2-3' Station and asked from the ticket booth.

We told her about our hotel, gave us our tickets and a piece of paper with the name of the station we should get off from ('Bakuro-Cho' in English and in Japanese). We showed the platform person the paper and the ticket to know the correct platform ❕ to wait from and which exact train to take. 

The ticket cost 1,320 JPY (around 630 PHP) each. I lost track of time but the train travel felt like we were in it for two hours!

It's just amazing how punctual the trains in Japan are. Down to the last minute (probably even seconds!)

Chūō, Tokyo

We finally reached our hotel at around 8pm... or so.

We were exhausted and hungry so we just checked in, dropped our things and went out right away to find a place to eat. 

But finding the streets empty was an opportunity to take some photos!

Keitaro Sakaba

After a few snaps we went on and continued searching for a place to eat and found a small shop by the corner of Kiyosu-bashi Dori and Yasukuni Dori.

This was our first meal and we experienced the challenge of not being able to speak their language.

Asking for description or clarification about the food is often fruitless so it's usually better to just point your selections on the menu and use your gestures for the quantity. (Turo-turo (point-point), as we call in Filipino.)

By the customers eating at that time and the size of the place, it seemed like it is usually frequented by locals who came from work and less by travelers.

Our Meals

Google Translate Tip

As the menu is written in Japanese and the staff can't translate in English, I used Google Translate to know what these are.

  • 沖縄ソーキそば - Okinawa Soki Soba, 800 JPY (385 PHP)
  • 沖縄三枚肉そば - Okinawa three pieces of meat buckwheat noodles, 750 JPY (360 PHP)
  • 台湾魯肉飯 - Taiwanese rice meal, 700 JPY (339 PHP)

Use Google Translate's 'camera' function to scan and translate the Japanese characters real time. It may not be 100% accurate but it works. (If you haven't tried it, you might be amazed. The Japanese words will change to English right before your eyes!)

We basically ordered the three largest photos on the menu which probably are their bestsellers. Safe choices!

More Photos

Now that we were recharged, we took more photos and took advantage of the empty streets.

Full but really tired, we headed back to the hotel to fix things and prepare for the actual first day of touring around Tokyo.


Related Posts: 

✔️ Japan Travel Itinerary for 7 Days: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka

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