It took a while, almost an hour, to get through immigration at Narita airport – Neil said he’d never seen it so jam-packed before. But when I did get through, there was a man holding a sign with my name on it. I know, like in the movies! Anyway, he was friendly and welcomed me to Japan. He was only really there to buy me my train ticket and put me on the right train. This was something arranged by Inside Japan Tours. It was helpful although I think I could have worked it out myself! Still, nice to have someone hold a sign with my name on it.
I got from the airport to Ueno Station very smoothly and then took the subway to Asakusa. Japanese transport is so efficient, I had no trouble at all.
I got a tiny bit lost finding my hotel but mainly because I didn't have a decent map with it marked on. A nice rickshaw tour guide man helped me and gave me a better map – free of charge. I dropped off my suitcase at my hotel and went to explore Asakusa, with another map courtesy of the hotel.
It was very busy around Senso-ji Temple and shrine, but this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing – it added to the atmosphere. Plus, it was Saturday and there wasn't a single cloud in the sky.
I wandered the side streets and braved a very Japanese café for much needed coffee. The clientele were all middle aged men who were smoking and watching horse racing. Nevertheless I enjoyed my coffee and had some cake that tasted remarkably like cheesecake.
I found my way to Komagatabashi (a bridge over the river) and took a lot of photos on the way, including a sign for a cat café – I didn't cross the road for a closer look at it.
I admired Tokyo Skytree from afar – it's not a tree at all, just looks like any other tower in a big city.
All the little shops in Asakusa have ukiyo-e style illustrations painted on their shutters, so the place is just as interesting when shops are closed!
I tried my first drink from a vending machine, more to try to use the vending machine than actually wanting a cold oolong tea drink. I was thirsty, though this perhaps wasn't the best choice. Interesting though.
I headed back to my hotel to check-in and try out the wifi – pretty much just to make sure the Internet (Twitter/Facebook) was aware that I had made it to Japan. My hotel offered appartment-style rooms so I had a little kitchen area (not pictured) as well as the bedroom and bathroom areas.
After a short rest I went back on the subway the way I'd come in the morning and visited Ueno park briefly.
By this point my feet were hurting so when my camera died because I didn't realise it was low on charge, I took it as a sign to call it a day. The park was lovely though and there's some bits I didn't see/photograph so I wanted to try and fit in another visit.
I picked up some sushi in a supermarket/corner shop-style-small-store – ¥500 (less than £3) and had that as my dinner. I ate so much on the plane, I wasn't too hungry. It was a million times better than Yo Sushi anyway! And for a quarter of the price. Who says Japan is expensive?
I looked through photos on my camera – which I revived with a charge, of course – and uploaded some from my phone to Instagram. Making the most of the wifi while I had it. Although, incidentally it turned out that I did have access to wifi in almost every place I stayed, so I did end up uploading a lot of pictures to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. That evening, I looked through leaflets is gathered and readied myself for the next full-packed day.