Posts: 11
Registered: ‎09-29-2011



We made it from our house to Japan in 24 hours including the drive to Tampa and connection in Houston, (Thursday morning to Friday evening crossing the International Date Line westbound).  The long flight was relaxing and a good time to read (Shogun) and watch movies.  At the airport we exchanged dollars for yen and got a PASMO debit card for convenience before taking the Narita Express train and a taxi to the Shinjuku Astina Best Western.  Then we adjusted to the 13 hour time difference with hot sake at Udon Dining, and a good sleep.  I had made a list of top attractions from Tripadvisor and a few common words with Japanese translation to help communicate, so with a National Geographic travel guide in hand we went sightseeing Saturday, the first day of spring and 60 degrees.  We took the Metro subway to Ueno to tour the museums and zoo, view cherry blossoms in the park, and visit Sensoji Temple.   At night we ate at Seiryu (a diner near the hotel established 1868), had a nice conversation with a local couple, and then wandered Tokyo amazed at all the neon lights.  Sunday we toured Meji-jingu Shrine, and then Shinjuku National Garden.  Monday we took the Tokaido Shinkansen (160mph bullet train), a local train, cable car and ropeway to Lake Ashino-ko to see Mount Fuji.  The peak was shrouded in clouds but we got a good view on the Hakone Highway bus heading back to Shinjuku station; arriving back in time to watch the sunset over the city from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office 45th floor observatory, and then a stop at Burger King and Sushi Mamire for something to eat before heading to the room.  Tuesday we went for another stroll and lunch (sobo noodle soup and spaghetti) in Shinjuku National Garden before souvenir shopping.  On Wednesday we traveled eastbound home; about 20 hours leaving Japan 6pm and arriving Tampa 9:30pm the same day, with two sunsets.

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