This is part Two of the Asia Summer Trip Report of my time roaming the streets of Tokyo and staying at the Conrad Tokyo for free.
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See Part Three: Hong Kong For A Day With Son
See Part Four: Family Gathering in Sitiawan, Malaysia
This is the first time I finally exit from a Tokyo based airport, I have transited through them several times but never before got outside. Well, never say never. Tokyo here I come!
Of course everything is very efficient here. Before I knew it, I was outside in the Arrivals hall:
TBB readers gave many good tips for Tokyo. One of the best was to take this company “Airport Limousine” to drive me to the Conrad hotel. Before that I had to find an ATM to get me some cash. Not many are US bank friendly but I found one, I forgot where exactly it was. So, I bought my round trip ticket to/from Conrad. If you are staying at the same hotel, I highly recommend you do the same as the bus drops you off right at the hotel door, so convenient! Small buses, highly efficient. Attendants bow as the bus slowly comes to a stop. Get used to seeing Japanese bowing constantly!
I couldn’t sleep of course the first night. Jet lag all the way. So, I tried to get to that famous Tsukiji Fish Market as it was near the hotel. I believe this was the last year before it was relocated to a more modern compound as the whole area is being upgraded for the Olympics. I got there at 3.30 am. Big mistake! Too late, all tuna auction tickets were gone!
Next day, after a decent sleep but still quite jet lagged, met a friend and we started visiting some places around the city.
The area around Tokyo Station:
I believe we then went to the Shibuya-Harajuku area and visited Takeshita Dori and crossed the mother of all street intersections!
Visited a maid show establishment. Yeah, a tourist trap I know but it was a lot of fun. There were some patrons there who were totally into this. Japanese can get into these characters sometimes….WAY into it sometimes. I will withhold my customary WTFs for another post…
Give me some credit (ha!) at this point. I am super jet lagged and started not to feel well at this point. But I soldiered on. Sadly, the second the pics were taken she was to the next customer right away! Like I said, the Japanese are very efficient!
Japanese punk rockers in the streets, yeah..whatever. Kind of soft for me, like punk lite or something.
At this point I realized I had forgotten my Benadryls and epipen shots so I am very very wary of eating something that will trigger my allergies so we looked for something safe to eat. And we found it. In a Turkish kebab stand. And it was really good. Here I am in a Turkish kebab stand in Tokyo and watching two Turks arm wrestle. Wow!
You see many shots of the Tokyo subway in movies. And it was exactly as I imagined it. Actually, Tokyo is the only city that was not too different from what I expected. Which is weird. Yes, they are efficient and orderly like I said. And they pack them!
I can not remember what exactly happened but I made another unsuccessful attempt to attend the tuna auction at the Tsukiji Fish Market. But I barely missed the cut…again! Story of my life, sad! So I hanged around and took some pics of the shops in the area:
So, I ended up staying four nights at the Tokyo Conrad. 2 free nights with the Citi Hilton Reseve card and then blew 160,000 Hilton Honor points for two more nights. In retrospect: the use of the two free nights with this Citi card is a great use in this property as it is top notch, no doubt about it. Maybe one more with points, fine. But I think burning another 80k was an overkill. But I just did not want to move for one night so there.
This is the entrance where the bus will drop you off from Narita airport. Nice cars!
Yes I visited the gym a few times. It is very nice but not as high end as I expected from this hotel. I do not want to sound like an exercise snob or something, it was very adequate for me to huff and puff and burn a few calories from all the eating I did during my stay.
The swimming pool. Impressive but I did not actually swim in it.
My room, definitely not a suite. It was some type of upgrade, deluxe something. I was too tired when I checked in and then I did not want to bother moving. It worked for me. Very comfortable bed, awesome couch, nice TV, very modern bathroom with tub, that fancy type toilet. I liked it. I was hoping it would be bigger but hey, I managed. Sometimes you settle when it is free, don’t be a hog!
And oh the lounge. The favorite part of my hotel stays. Excellent quality, great service, wine receptions in the evening. I lose control in such places, I have a problem, I am working on it. I will book Best Westerns from now on to keep me from eating…NOT!
Another day in Tokyo. I am seriously hurting by now. I am not feeling well, my internal body clock is totally messed up, moving around is getting a bit more laborious (am I getting old?) and of course I had to watch soccer games starting at 4 am Tokyo time!
Subway…everyone on their phones…
I visited the Tokyo Tower next. It is only a few stops away from the Conrad. Yeah, kind of touristy too.
Then I visited the Asakusa area…Nakamise shopping street Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most significant temple
And then as I was walking around I saw an arrest happen in front of me! That was cool. Not sure what the guy did. But I could tell the police men were polite. This will never happen here in the US. I want to lol but I won’t because I may come off like a jerk. Or something.
By the third and fourth day I was actually looking forward to move on. Tokyo just did not do it for me. I can not pin down exactly why. Just too many people crammed into the city, too much bowing, people felt too controlled, way too disciplined. There are some cities you fall in love with. And some you don’t. Tokyo I was ready to move on.
View from the lounge
More shots from the breakfast area in the hotel restaurant. The selection is huge and the service is great here. And some entries are excellent! It was time to say goodbye. The Airport Limousine bus was of course on time. Smooth ride again to Narita….Hello Narita, I am ready for the next trip to Hong Kong flying Cathay Pacific Business Class. I spent some time in the subpar Cathay Pacific lounge in this airport. There are no views from it, not good food selection. Kind of surprised actually. The gate to board CX 521 to HKG at Narita airportTo be continued with the Cathay Pacific Business Class flight to Hong Kong…
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