A local friend of mine, a semi-retired businessman who would like to visit Japan, asked me if he should join an organized tour. I suggested that once he collects enough information, it is no trouble to travel around on his own. I will write a series of articles based on my trip with my kiwi husband in October so they can be helpful for people visiting Japan. Note that I am a ‘budget’ traveler, so my articles won’t include any fancy hotels and restaurants.
No. 1 Narita
We liked to fly direct to Kansai (KIX), near Osaka, which is close to my hometown, but direct flights by Air New Zealand were not available, so I jumped at a cheap flight to Tokyo (NZ$619 one way). We decided we might as well take the new Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo. We left Auckland early in the morning and arrived at Narita, Tokyo shortly after 5pm Japan time. I had booked a business hotel in Narita. The other option was to go to central Tokyo either by train or bus, but I could not find a reasonably priced hotel there, and I thought it would be a hassle taking one and a half hours getting there at night and then going back to Tokyo station the next morning.
Narita town is about 10 minutes from the airport station by train, so it is easy to carry luggage even when you are tired after a long flight. (We sent our two full suitcases from the airport to my home town, which cost about \3600.) The business hotel was five minutes’ walk from Narita station. There are a number of hotels near the airport and in town. I chose this one on a website because it was close to the stations, cheap (\8600 twin) and it included breakfast. It was nothing like buffet served by more expensive hotels, but it was enough with both Japanese and Western style breakfast choices. Most people there seemed to be local workers. After breakfast we left for Tokyo station, an hour away.
Tip 1: You may find cheaper hotels outside central Tokyo. Check websites to find a bargain.
Tip 2: You can send on heavy suitcases at reasonable prices. Take carry-on luggage for a short trip.