This post is written by Katie about her overnight in Tokyo during her second 2016 mileage run to Kuala Lumpur.
After arriving at Narita I passed immigration, collected my bag and cleared customs. Once in the arrivals area, I sat down and took advantage of the free wifi (since according to the T-Mobile website, my phone can’t connect to mobile networks in Japan) and visited multiple ATMs (all required a minimum of 10,000 yen withdraw) before heading to the basement train station.
Once in the train station, I went to the JR East Ticket Office to buy a Sucia card. There were no signs, but I had read online that you could buy them there with English support. There was an English-speaking lady who wrote out what customers wanted on a form. Then you took the form to a window – but I found that the woman at my window also spoke English.
Actually navigating the train system was a bit more confusing. With the help of Google maps I figured out the cheapest option, but otherwise I would have been rather confused.
I took the 5:09pm Kaiseri Limited towards Narita and Uneo. The train was close to empty when it arrived at the Narita Terminal 2 station, but all of the passengers boarding filled the remaining spots. As the train filled in, I felt lucky to have a seat.
I was surprised when looking around that I seemed to be the only international-looking person on board. I was really surprised that no one else was taking this cheap transit into the city!
|The free wifi in most stations was very helpful!|
I trusted Google Maps too much and ended up missing a transfer, as the directions had said ‘stay on train’. This led to a longer and more expensive trip but thanks to the free in-station wifi, I had no issues figuring out a new route once I realized my mistake.
Once at Asakusa Station, I easily found my way to ENAKA Asakusa Central Hostel using an off-line map and intuition.
|My sleeping pod at ENAKA|
Check-in was easy since I had prepaid on Agoda. I received an upper bunk in the 4th floor women’s dorm. The hostel was high quality, but not social – perfect for the purposes of this stay.
I unpacked and secured my belongings and then headed out to explore Tokyo!
|Sensi Ji temple|
I first headed to nearby temple Sensi Ji. It did not take very long to explore the temple, so I also took a walk in the riverside park Sumidakoen. This park had impressive views across the river towards the Tokyo Skytree. My wander in the park led to Asakusa Station, where I decided to take the Ginza line from end to end to Shibuya station to see Shibuya Crossing.
I had trouble staying awake on the subway though. Once at Shibuya Station I enjoyed some overlooks of the crossing and bought two snacks from a 7-11 like store. I wasn’t sure when the metro stopped and was tired, so I took the 9:52pm subway back to Asakusa station.
It was a very quick glimpse of two different parts of Tokyo, but from what I saw I certainly want to visit again. I was pleasantly surprised to not see as many Western restaurants as are often see in other parts of the world. Smoking was also not as big of an issue as I expected.
|ENAKA common area and kitchen|
|View from the ENAKA rooftop|
The hostel ended up being one of the nicest ones I’ve stayed at. The bed was comfortable and the sleeping area well laid out. The locker in my bed compartment was large enough to fit my day pack. I liked the towel rack in the bunks. The bathrooms and showers were plentiful, clean, and well stocked. The rooftop terrace was fun, and the shared common area was comfortable. The kitchen might be a bit small, but seemed complete enough for those who wanted to cook.
|Akasusa Line / Narita SkyAccess|
I awoke at 6:45am the next morning and caught the 7:55am Akasusa Line towards Narita (which turned into the Narita SkyAccess). The train was not very crowded – likely since it was Saturday morning – which was nice. This train went direct to Narita Terminal 2 in 57 minutes as promised.