I have decided to blog about my amazing Japan trip so that I can easily share my pictures and experiences with everyone. I wish I had been able to blog while I was traveling but our internet wasn't always reliable. So I am relying on pictures and journal entries!
After our End of Year party that Friday, I quickly headed home to do some last minute packing before heading to Raleigh. Our flight was at 6:30am Saturday and we planned on meeting at 4:30 am. It was going to be a long day!! The first flight from Raleigh to Toronto was a short one. We got to Toronto around 8am. We had a six hour layover before boarding the huge plane to Tokyo. It was a 14 hour flight that I thought would never end!! When we landed it was 3:30pm Sunday in Tokyo. We had been traveling a little over 24 hours at that point and we were exhausted. We had an hour and a half train ride from the airport to our hotel in Tokyo. I slept the whole time! Also, navigating trains in a foreign country while lugging two weeks worth of luggage is quite a feat!
I was so exhausted by the time we got to the hotel that I went straight to bed! Here are some pictures of our hotel. We stayed at the Tokyo Grand Hotel. It was very nice and had spectacular views of the city!
After sleeping for about 12 hours, I woke up ready to explore the city! We had breakfast at Jonathan's Restaurant across the street. Most of us ordered pancakes which were delicious!
Once we knew what we wanted to order, we were supposed to press this little button to signal the waitress to come take our order. We saw these in most restaurants in Japan.
Here is a newspaper that they had set out on our breakfast table. So cool!
Pancakes on the menu! A lot of the restaurants we visited had pictures in their menus which us a lot!
After breakfast we headed to the Port of Tokyo to go on a river cruise. While we were waiting to board the boat, we met a group of people from Taiwan. They were so excited to see Americans that they asked to take a group picture with us. They were so sweet! This was the first of many times we were asked for pictures! Too funny! I wish we had thought to get a picture with them on one of our cameras!
Here is a picture of some of the river cruise boats that they had at the port. They are really futuristic looking!
The rest of the day, we just explored different parts of the city.
I had to snag a quick pic of a KFC!
This is the Tokyo Sky Tree. You can pay to go up in it and get the best view of the city. The line was 80 minutes long when we were there so we didn't get to go up. :(
A Japanese McDonald's! Looks pretty much the same!
My first authentic Japanese meal was curry chicken. It was delicious! At the restaurant we went to, you placed your order at this little machine that resembled a drink machine. You paid and it printed out a ticket which you give to the waitress at the bar. It was interesting!
After lunch we went to Tokyo Grand Station. It is the main train station in Tokyo and is beautiful! Here is what the outside looks like.
Taxis line up bumper to bumper in front of the station!
We headed back to our hotel to pick up our luggage before hopping on a bullet train headed to Osaka. The bullet train we rode several times during our trip was called the Shinkansen. It went around 180-200 miles per hour and allowed us to travel quickly from city to city. Wow!
It took us about three hours to get from Tokyo to Osaka on the Shinkansen. Osaka was our home base the next three nights. We stayed at the Hearton Hotel in Nishiumeda, Osaka. It was very nice and had wifi! Yay! Here was the view from our hotel room. It was beautiful!
The next day we headed to Nara to visit temples and get really close to some wild deer! I will post about that adventure tomorrow! :)