Over the next few days I am hoping to re-post my diary from my September 2013 trip to Japan. Here’s the first post, written the morning after my arrival in Kyoto.
My travel companion is my girlfriend (now fiancé), Jordan, along with the unofficial ‘trip mascots’, a plush lobster and cat. We are joined by our friend Daniel from Canada later in the trip.
Ok everyone! Here’s a summary of our Japan trip so far….
Check-in at LaGuardia went well and we got to Detroit with no issues.
When we got onto the plane in Detroit, it was discovered that in the business class cabin a few rows ahead of us, one of the overhead baggage bins was missing a federally-mandated weight limit sticker.
That’s right, we were delayed a little more than an hour just because there was a small sticker missing on the plane.
Soon after I saw an airport worker use packing tape to put the new label on the plane, we were on our way.
The flight was a little rough… we tried to sleep but it was difficult. Especially because there was a (insert bad word here) directly across from us on the opposite side of the plane that would open his window fully every 20 or 30 minutes. Didn’t seem like he needed to sleep at all, cause this happened from start to finish. NO consideration whatsoever!
We landed in Nagoya in the evening (only 20 minutes late), and were bowed to by the airport workers as we stepped off of the plane, which was a nice treat.
Immigration and customs went smoothly, we got our big bag sent through to the luggage delivery service, and only 70 minutes or so after we landed we were on our way to Nagoya station by way of the Meitetsu “Myu-sky”.
We connected to the shinkansen in Nagoya city (Nozomi 253)… we were at Kyoto station by 9 PM and in our hotel by 9:30.
The good thing is that we both slept well, though I had to check on the air conditioning every few hours or so. Turns out the AC was in “HEAT” mode instead of “COOL” mode!
Off to breakfast, then to our plans for the day which will hopefully include Kinkakuji (Golden temple) and a monkey park.
We did not take photos or videos last night as it was pretty dark anyway, and we were both worn out. But we’ll be on the task today.
Say a prayer for us as we start the first full day in Kyoto!
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS (Feb. 2014)
Nagoya Airport – technically Chubu Centrair International Airport – was a real pleasure to fly into. The arrival formalities were very straightforward for an airport that is now Japan’s third major gateway for International flights behind Tokyo and Osaka… the airport had only opened in 2005.
Seeing the bowing airport workers was a surprise to be sure… What I liked especially about the airport was that all of the arrival procedures were on a single level – a very short walk from the airport to Quarantine, then Immigration, then Baggage Claims, then Customs, then the exit.
Luggage delivery service is a tremendous benefit for passengers with large suitcases. You can have your luggage delivered to any destination in Japan for a reasonable cost. This allows you to carry light luggage onto whatever mode of public transport being used – many of which don’t have spaces for large suitcases. If I remember correctly, it only cost us about 2,000 yen to transport our large suitcase from Nagoya to our hotel in Kyoto.
Our starting city was Kyoto. There is an airport much closer to Kyoto – Kansai Airport. But for some reason it would cost both of us several hundred dollars extra to fly there. Working out the expenses, it turned out to be a cheaper journey if we flew into Nagoya Airport, took the airport train to the center of the city, and then took the Shinkansen for the quick trip into Kyoto.
Our itinerary for the trip was ‘open-jaw’. By starting in Nagoya and ending in Tokyo, instead of doing a round-trip in and out of Tokyo, we were able to maximize our sightseeing time, not to mention the difference in airfare was only a few dollars.
In the airport’s access plaza is the entrance to Meitetsu and their airport train, as well as a Family Mart, one of the top convenience store chains in Japan with over 10,000 outlets. That’s where Jordan fell in love with the Family Mart-brand soy sauce crackers. None could be found in Kyoto, but there’d be plenty of these to snack on once we got to Tokyo later in the trip.