Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 5 Around Kyoto and then train to Tokyo

Day 5 saw us pack up and check out of the Kyoto hostel. We went off to do some shopping before we were catching the train to Tokyo. We ended up at the handicraft building which had 7 levels of souvenirs and duty-free shopping. We had a wonderful time and then discovered we had extra bags and that they wouldn't fit in our already full to the brim bags.
We hailed a cab to go back to the hostel to pick up our bags before heading to the train station. Again we caught a cab because backpacks are heavy. Mine wasn't so bad, but Kate looked like she might fall over at any given minute. We made it to the train station earlier than we had planned and were offered one train, but decided to take a later one due to needing some lunch.

We found some lunch and then made our way to the platform discovering we didn't have much more time left. We found the right platform and waited a little while for the train to come, then we were on the way to Tokyo. Not knowing where to look for Mt Fuji was a shame because it was a gorgeous day and we may have been able to see the top. The trip was quite quick and Im pretty sure at one stage all of us had dozed off.

We made it to Tokyo, then the fun part came. We headed to the information desk where they spoke english. They gave us a map and then told us how to get to the area where we were staying. We then had to get on 2 more trains, again fun especially being peak hour and all in the Major city in Japan on a Wednesday. Argghh!!!

So we found the platform, because thoughtfully the Japanese use English numbers for almost everything and their signs at train stations are all in english as well as japanese. I guess they discovered that without english, they wouldn't get many tourists. So we found the platform for the first train and navigated that, then we got off at Akihabara (more on that later), and found our way to the next platform for the local line (that was even worse). We all had huge bags on and there wasn't much space. I always thought Paris trains were crowded until I got to Tokyo. 凄いですね(sugoi desu ne)。

We got off the train and found the way to the exit and then asked on which way to Asakusabashi (where we were staying. I used some japanese but then stared blankly due to the answer in Japanese oh dear!!!). The ticket people pointed to the general area, we walked a block and were then stunned because we didn't know where to go next. I decided to ring the hostel but only had a little bit of credit left which didn't help because just as they were telling me something about the station and the 7 eleven shop i was looking at, my phone ran out of credit. Oops. So then we had a stab in the dark and travelled past the 7 eleven. After walking a couple of blocks we stopped and asked for directions in a balloon store in japanese but they didn't know. SO then we decided to get a taxi. The taxi driver was unsure but had GPS and eventually we got there, although the GPS took him in a around a bout way. we decided it was because of all the one way streets in the area. Eventually we got to the coordinates and still couldn't see the building, until the taxi turned the corner, then we spotted it. Fortunately it didn't turn out to be too expensive as we had been told taxis in Tokyo were!!!

So we walked inside to see a sign saying go the 4th floor. There was a lift, but a small lift that was not going to fit 3 people with big heavy backpacks on, so Cara and Kate went up and I waited for the lift to come back. By the time I got up there, Cara was checking us in and we could relax.

We found our way to the room and then dumped our heavy bags. After that we got a recommendation for dinner from the hostel worker (American) who gave us directions on a map to an area with lots of food places. we went out to explore. Following the map almost to the tee we walked past intially where we wanted to go, then went back deciding that it had been our intended destination. It was a fried chicken place and it was packed. We had our own Yum Cha style smorgasboard ordering something that everyone wanted. After that we were buggered and went back to the hostel.

We got back to the room to find 2 other people in there so we introduced ourselves and chatted for awhile. Having decided the next day that we would go to Disneyland we organised things for the morning so as not to wake the others in the room.
That was our first night in Tokyo.

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