My Initial Thoughts on Tokyo…

by on June 5, 2011 · 14 comments

in Delta, Hyatt, Trip Reports

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What an interesting place! I’ll be doing a full report once I get some time to upload pictures, but just wanted to check-in and give some initial thoughts. To say the least, I’m loving it so far.

First off, the flights went off without a hitch. There will be a detailed trip report on them, but beyond the in-flight service and experience, I was happy that my JFK-LAX pushed back from the gate 5 minutes prior to scheduled departure and we were rolling down the runway at 9:04pm for my 9pm departure- a rarity for JFK. I was originally nervous about my 55 minute connection in LAX, but with the early arrival, I ended up having 30 minutes to kill in the lounge and picked up more 300 point Amex vouchers! I’m using the plural version of voucher because I chummed up the lounge agents in JFK and LAX and got more than one coupon on each occasion. What’s that phrase I love to say? It never hurts to ask. ;-)

LAX to Haneda left on time and we landed in Tokyo about 10 minutes prior to scheduled landing. I wasn’t sure about public transportation, because I kept reading mixed reviews online about the easiest way to get to the Park Hyatt via public transit, but I knew I wasn’t going to be in the mood for switching trains and walking 15 minutes trying to find a hotel on my first time in the city. I also didn’t want to pay a cab $80+ (cabs in Tokyo are expensive - more on that later).

I ended up buying a $10 bus ticket on the Friendly Airport Limousine bus. While they weren’t exactly friendly and by no means a limousine (it was a regular tour bus), it was fast and convenient and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is visiting Tokyo for the first time and isn’t comfortable with the subway. My ticket actually said “Park Hyatt” and I was dropped off at the door. That’s right – I showed up at the Park Hyatt in this bad boy…

My very own "limousine"

Once I got over my mild embarrassment about rolling up to a fancy hotel in a bus (while everyone else was in their Bentleys), I quickly got used to the luxuriousness and extreme hospitality. The hotel is stunning (the top 14 floors of the Shinjuku Park Tower) and my room is pretty darn sexy, so expect a very detailed report coming soon.

Surprisingly I’m feeling good too, though I know jet-lag will probably rear its head in the not too distant future. Though I have to say I love traveling west – whenever I go to Europe I get the waves of tiredness on the afternoon I land. Yet after nearly 17 hours and 8,000 miles of travel, today I woke up around 3:00am Tokyo time, got into Haneda at 4:45am, was on the bus at 5:30 and at the hotel by 6am and I’ve been up since and have covered a lot of ground – all while feeling pretty good. As I type this at 4:30pm, I feel pretty great, though it also might have helped that I spent 2.5 hours relaxing at the spa at the Park Hyatt (more on that later too).

A full report with lots of pictures to come, but as a recap so far (PS: Thanks again for all of the suggestions, as you can see I have been taking full advantage of them!):

- Yoyogi Park
- Meiji Shrine
- Harajuku/ Takeshita-dori
- Shibuya- my first vending machine ordered Ramen and the first time I hit my head on something going down the stairs at trendy clothing store Bershka. I also discovered Tomorrowland, which is an awesome, high-end good shop where I purchased a really nice new wallet
- Park Hyatt Spa, Club on the Park

And now that I’ve worked up my hunger again, I’m about to head to the Shinjuku Tokyu Hands department store to get some food and see all of the unique offerings.

I’m sure I’ll crash early tonight, but I’m hoping that gets me on a normal schedule waking up early so I can take advantage of the limited time I have here. I was originally considering a day trip to Kyoto (which I’ve heard so many good things about), but I’m thinking that may have to wait until my next trip to Japan, which will probably be sooner than expected!

A couple teaser pictures to whet your appetite until the real trip reports go up…
And once again: Full disclosure: My flights and hotels were comped by Delta and Hyatt respectively.

My lie-flat seat for 11.5 hours LAX-Haneda

Shot shortly after takeoff from LA.. See ya United States

A counterfeit Eiffel Tower? No, its just the Tokyo Tower

East view from my room at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

This is one installment in my series on my trip to Tokyo. You can find my past posts on the trip below, including:

My Trip to TokyoMy Initial Thoughts on Tokyo

Tokyo Day One Part One – Arrival at Haneda, Meiji Shrine, and Harajuku

Tokyo Day One Part Two – Shibuya, Park Hyatt Spa and Tokyo Hands

Tokyo Day Two Part One – Walking Around Shinjuku and Tokyo Hands

Tokyo Day Two Part Two – A Tale of Three Very Different Dining Experiences

Day Three Part One - Inside Access to Tsukiji Fish Market and Tuna Auction

Tokyo Day Three Part Two – Sushi at 6:30am, Tempura and a Night Out in Shinjuku

Tokyo Day Four – Jetlag Blues, Relaxing at the Park Hyatt and Hanging at the Delta SkyClub at Narita

Delta to Tokyo – 757 BusinessElite Review – JFK to LAX

Delta to Tokyo 777LR BusinessElite Review LAX to Haneda

Delta to Tokyo – 747 Upper Deck BusinessElite and Economy Comfort Review Narita to JFK

Park Hyatt Tokyo Review

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Spicy B

    Did you have seat 7A or 14A? Looks like it from the 3/4 wall round corner picture. I’m sure this was on your list of things to do, but you should get a beer from a beer vending machine, too.

  • Sean

    Looks like seat 14A

  • The Points Guy

    7A- Highly recommend!

  • The Points Guy

    @Spicy- thanks for the tip. I’ve so far gotten Ramen and Iced coffee from a vending machine- beer is next!

  • Ed

    Kyoto is great, but if you’re only going to be in Japan for 3 days, there really isn’t enough time to take the train there and back (and to actually do anything) without feeling kinda rushed. Plus, you could spend months in Tokyo still find new things to see and do. If you want to take a shorter day trip, I recommend that you bypass Yokohama and go to Kamakura, which is about 75 minutes south of Tokyo by train. I think the Emperors of Japan used to live near there in the summer to beat the heat, because it’s the closest beach to Tokyo. There are a lot of ancient temples, and the Big Buddha (“Daibutsu”). Granted, there are a lot of Big Buddhas sprinkled around Japan and Asia, but this one is considered to be better than most. An alternative would be Nikko, which is in more of a mountain setting and is also ancient and historic. Nikko has the original “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” temple, along with scenery, onsens (baths), etc.. I lived near Kamakura for about 7 months, but took a trip up to Nikko, and they’re both interesting, for different reasons.

    If you want to chat about Japan, my wife is attending TBEX (she’s a fledgling travel blogger), and I’ll be along to squire our toddler around Vancouver. If you see a crazy hopping rabbit girl running around the convention center, come and say hi!

  • Super

    What about the Tokyo fish market? Kicks of at 5am. You may be up at that hour.

  • Alan

    Just catching up – I’m so far behind on your blog.

    Btw, definitely check out Roppongi Hills also and the night life in roppongi. I guess I should have said this few days ago because now, I guess you’re back. LOL

    Hopefully, you had a lot of fun!

    Tokyo is my home (currently living in Tampa but born and raised in Tokyo till I was 18).

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