This second article of the Tokyo Japan Series covers Day 1 of our trip last November 2018. It mainly focus on our arrival in Tokyo and Roppongi.
Table of Contents
- Departure From Mactan Cebu International Airport
- Arrival In Narita International Airport
- Finding Your Way To Tokyo
- Settling Down
- Menya Musashi & Roppongi
- Menya Musashi: The Best Tsukemen Ever!
- What’s Next?
- Related Articles
Departure From Mactan Cebu International Airport
Our flight to Tokyo (Narita) was scheduled to depart Mactan, Cebu at 7:40 AM. My friends and I agreed to meet at the airport at 3:00 AM. We all arrived at the airport at the same time.
We checked in for our flight and went through immigration. The immigration officer asked me:
- What company are you working for?
He then casually told me, “Daghan lage nag larga ron from (my company) sa?” [There are a lot of travelers from your company lately.]
I told him that it’s vacation season and a lot of employees from my company like to travel. He then asked another question:
- Who are you travelling with?
I simply told him that I’m traveling with some schoolmates from college. He stamped my passport right after and let me through.
The flight time from Cebu to Tokyo is approximately 4 hours and 35 minutes. Be sure to prepare something to kill time. You can watch a movie, read a book, play some games, or just sleep. Personally, I slept throughout the flight.
Arrival In Narita International Airport
There are 2 airports in Tokyo – Haneda International Airport and Narita International Airport. If you’re coming from the Philippines, you’ll most probably be arriving in Narita Airport.
Unlike Haneda Airport, Narita Airport is extremely far from Tokyo. By train, it will take you at least 1 hour to reach Tokyo. There are several trains that travel between Narita Airport and Tokyo Station.
After deplaning, we made our way to the immigration. The immigration process in Narita was a breeze. It took us less than 10 minutes to go through immigration even though there were a lot of passengers ahead of us.
A friend of mine did the funniest thing while we were lining up. He passed under one of the stanchions before proceeding to the immigration counter! People looked at him. It’s a good thing the immigration officers didn’t call his attention!
We went down the escalator, claimed our check-in bags, and proceeded to customs. We’re officially in Japan! <3
Before we went to the basement for the train station, we exchanged a little amount of money. Exchange rates at the airport are often bad. So just exchange a small amount that’s enough for your transportation to Tokyo.
Finding Your Way To Tokyo
As discussed in the previous article of this series, Tokyo’s railway system is massive! It can drive you insane if you don’t read directions or look at the map. If you haven’t done so, download a copy of these maps:
From the arrival hall, make your way to the basement of Narita Airport. The train station is located there. This may vary depending on which terminal you are in. In our case, we were in Terminal 2 of Narita Airport.
Once you’re at the train station, buy yourself a Suica card. This costs 2,000 yen wherein 1,500 yen is usable and 500 yen is the deposit/payment for the Suica card.
There are 2 lines – Keisei Line (Keisei Skyliner) and the JR Line (Narita Express and JR Sobu Line Rapid Service). Choosing between these lines depends on which station you need to alight in. In our case, we needed to alight in Kinshicho Station, so we took the JR Sobu Line Rapid Service. The train ride took about 1.5 hours.
The train stopped at several stations. As I was sitting beside the train door, the first time the doors opened was the first time I felt how cold it was! I checked the Weather app and saw it’s 12 C. It was a mixed feeling of excitement and fear.
After 1.5 hours, we finally arrived at Kinshicho Station. Right after we got off the train, I felt the cold wind breeze through my entire body. It was so COLD!!!
The train line of most JR Lines in Tokyo is located on the second floor of the station. We took the stairs to the ground floor and looked for the exit. Our accommodation gave us directions on how to get to the apartment from Kinshicho Station.
Prior to your arrival, I highly suggest that you reach out to your accommodation’s host for directions. They’re mostly very friendly and will give you a detailed guide.
It took us about 15 – 20 minutes to find our accommodation. We did a self-check-in and went up to our room. We settled down and went out. At this point, it was already around 6:30 PM.
Menya Musashi & Roppongi
For the record, it was not our intention to dine at Menya Musashi. Our original plan was to have dinner at Ichiran Ramen in Roppongi. We took the train to Roppongi Station and went out through one of the exits near the “Roppongi Hills” sign.
As mentioned earlier, we exchanged a small amount at the airport. We were running low in yen so we needed to exchange our cash to yen.
We went to several money exchange shops listed in Google Maps, but they were all closed. This was around 8:00 PM. We continued searching until we found one near Exit 5 of Roppongi Station. The money exchange store is located beside Family Mart. The rate was pretty good!
Menya Musashi: The Best Tsukemen Ever!
My friends and I were hoping to easily find Ichiran. Having been awake since 2:00 AM, we were hungry and cold! From the main sidewalk, Google Maps told us to turn right on an alley. We looked for the Ichiran Ramen sign, but couldn’t find it.
I saw one ramen store which looked okay, so I told my friends to forget about Ichiran for now and let’s just eat at that ramen store.
A lot of food stores in Japan use a vending machine to take your order. Most of these vending machines (if not all) only accept cash. Be sure to have enough cash with you all the time!
We ordered via the vending machine. I did not know what to order as there were no English signs! What I did was to randomly press a button at the bottom part of the vending machine, inserted the money, and got the order slip.
A few minutes later, my friends and I were served our order. Just a quick FYI, I was never a fan of Tsukemen before the trip. Whenever I eat at ramen shops in Cebu, I always go for ramen. When my order was placed in front of me, I was shocked because I was served with Tsukemen. At this point, there was nothing that I can do but eat it. I told myself, “Bahala na ni.”
I took my first bite. IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT! The broth and noodles were extremely thick and the meat melted on my mouth. It was definitely a dish from the Gods! Words aren’t enough to explain how good it was, so here are photos.
When you’re in Tokyo, you should definitely drop by this place! For your convenience, here are the map coordinates!
After our extremely satisfying dinner at Menya Musashi, we went around Roppongi. We even went inside a shopping mall! 30 minutes after, we got tired. We had an extremely long day. So it was time for us to get some rest.
In the next article, I’ll be talking about Day 2 of our trip to Tokyo, Japan last November 2018.