TAM Economy Class New York JFK – Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
LAN Economy Class Santiago – Sao Paulo
TAM Economy Class Sao Paulo – New York JFK
United BusinessFirst Denver to
Tokyo Seattle (Emergency Landing)
United BusinessFirst on the 787 Seattle to Tokyo
Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class Tokyo Narita – Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific “The Wing” Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong – Dubai
Dubai, Day 1 (Traiteur Brunch, Park Hyatt Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Atlantis Palm Islands)
Dubai, Day 2 (Shark Dive at Dubai Aquarium, Burj Al Arab, 360)
Cathay Pacific Business Class Dubai – Hong Kong – Tokyo Haneda
Tokyo, Day 1 (Park Hyatt arrival, Roppongi)
Tokyo, Day 2 (Imperial Palace, Shibuya Crossing, Ebisu, Kendo, Dinner and drinks in Shinjuku)
Tokyo, Day 3 (Ramen lunch, Harajuku, Meiji Shrine, Baseball at the Tokyo Dome, Dinner at New York Grill)
Tokyo, Day 4 (Tsukiji Market, Tokyo Subway, Airport Transfers)
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Since this was to be my last day in Tokyo, I wanted to make it to the famous Tsukiji Market. This is probably one of the most famous seafood markets anywhere in the world. Every morning, the tuna boats unload their fresh catches, and they are sold at auction. One can witness the auction by showing up early (think 4am), but I have a hard enough time being up by 7am. So after arriving at Tsukijishijo station (a straight shot from Shinjuku), I walked around the market a bit, and then went in search of some fresh, off-the-boat sushi! I read the top two sushi places in Tsukiji (and in Tokyo, for that matter) were Sushi Dai and Daiwazushi. After it was apparent that I wasn’t getting into Sushi Dai without waiting for hours, I went to Dawiazushi, which had a smaller, but still substantial line.
I got into the line, about 25 people back and the “host / line-control / bouncer” asked how many people were in my party. I replied that it was only me, and that resulted in me being seated immediately. I ordered the set menu for 3500 yen, the “Omakase Chef Choice”, as anyone should, and what came out was nothing short of amazing. It was easily the best sushi I have ever had. I’m certainly not a sushi snob, but after eating this, I maybe ruined for life when eating “lesser” quality sushi. I can’t describe how fresh it was — I mean, it came off the boat just hours prior to me putting it in my belly. A trip here is a MUST-DO experience when you’re in Tokyo. You seriously cannot skip at trip here. If you’re a sushi fan, this is pretty much as good as it gets — probably the best sushi in the world.
After Tsukiji, I went back to the hotel to pack my suitcase in preparation for my trip to Narita airport later that afternoon. Later in the morning, I enjoyed breakfast at Grirandole in the lobby of the Park Hyatt Tokyo. After finishing breakfast, I gathered my things, and headed downstairs to catch my limousine bus to Tokyo-Narita airport. This was pre-arranged with the concierge for 3000 yen. The drive out to the airport took over 90 minutes, as Narita is nowhere near downtown Tokyo.
Tokyo Subway / Getting Around
Tokyo is home to the world’s largest and most extensive subway system. It is extremely easy to use and to get around. There are two main lines, Tokyo Metro and the Toei Subway. Together, this system is composed of 13 lines to 290 stations, with a daily ridership of over 8.9 million passengers. The subway system is extremely orderly, though a bit overwhelming and crowded.
Luckily, there are subway stations seemingly everywhere, and they are pretty cheap (120 – 4o0 yen, each way). Given the astronomical taxi cab rates in Tokyo, the subway was my primary and preferred means of transportation throughout the city. If you’re out late, its importatnt to note that the last train is around 1am, so if you miss that, an expensive cab becomes necessary. A great refrence for getting around on the Tokyo Subway can be found on this wikihow page.
As mentioned before, I used the Airport Limousine Bus Service for both my arrival at Haneda Airport to the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku, and for my departure from the Park Hyatt to Narita Airport. This is an extremely easy option, since the bus picks up and drops off from the hotel door. This service is available at a number of Tokyo hotels and subway stations. From Shinjuku, Haneda airport is about 45 minutes away, and Narita airport is 90-120 minutes — a much longer ride.
Overall Thoughts about Tokyo
Tokyo stole the show on this trip — it was without a doubt my favorite city that I visited during this fifteen day adventure. Tokyo is the definition of a megalopolis, and there are so many different neighborhoods in the city. I was in Tokyo for about 3-4 days, but I could have stayed for much longer. With that said, I feel that I spent enough time here, unlike some of the other destinations on this trip. The simple fact it is — Tokyo is so large, so expansive, and has so much to offer– that one could easily just focus on a few neighborhoods each time they visit. There is no way you can see all of Tokyo in a week, or maybe even two.
To demonstrate this, above is a map with the geo-location tags for the pictures that I took while in Tokyo. As you can see, I focused almost all of this trip in the west / southwest neighborhoods of Tokyo. It’s the largest city (population-wise) in the world, and after four days here, Tokyo is certainly one of my favorite.
I will certainly be back!