Thursday, October 16, 2014

Back from Japan

Just came back from Japan via Haneda airport after a 5 year hiatus. Seems like Japan has became a more English friendly place since 5 years ago. Previously, I recalled I have to always keep a lookout for the pillars at the station in order to find out which station I am in right now. Now the announcements are slower, and they are announced and shown both in Japanese and English. It's now possible to visit Japan free & easy without knowing any bit of Japanese.

Haneda airport is also much closer to the city central than Narita airport. However, there are some things to take note at Haneda airport. Not sure if it was due to my luck but the queue at Haneda airport for in-processing is very very long. There were many counters that were manned, one single queue fanning out to multiple counters, but it still took about an hour to get to the baggage area. Therefore, if you're in need to a washroom, better go before you join the queue. Otherwise, there are washrooms near the baggage area too.

In fact, the queue was so long that when I got to the baggage area, I couldn't find my belt. I randomly grabbed a person to ask about the baggage and they have said that the baggage are all removed from the belt, waiting to be collected in one corner. The queue was so long that the baggage has all been processed and now it's processing the other batch. Oh well...

To get your Suica card at Haneda airport, just go to the 2nd floor and look for the ticket machine that sells the Tokyo Monorail Pass. The ticket machines are near the Tokyo Monorail exit so you cannot missed it. I've been using the Suica card for all the lines via this monorail pass so it is safe. To return it, just search for a counter around the area where you purchased the pass. You can get back your 500 yen deposit within your Suica card for more shopping when you leave Tokyo.

This time I stayed at the Super Hotel at Ikebukoro. It's a cheap hotel and it's the place to go if you're just concerned over a place to stay which is near the train station (about 8-10mins walk from Ikebukoro), and provides free breakfast. For ladies, they let you select 5 items a day for free near the counter. They also have staff that could speak English and even Mandarin so be assured. Below is the location of the hotel for your reference.

Breakfast is between 630am - 830am (9am for weekends) and they close the hotel during housekeeping which is between 10am - 3pm. Wifi is accessible in the room and at the lobby. For some reason, I could never get a signal in the breakfast area. The buffet breakfast is nothing to shout about, but they have special dishes like curry and beef sauce over the weekends. I believe quite a few Japanese and even Taiwanese stay at this hotel.

Below is a picture of the twin bedroom for Super Hotel. The toilet is quite small though so you might want to get a bigger room if you need a bigger toilet.

Super Hotel Twin bedrooms

That's it for now... More posts will be coming soon about Tokyo and Hakone.

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