NYC to Tokyo - again!

Tokyo Travel Blog

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Day#1 Tokyo - Izakaya in Shibuya

My third visit to Japan in 3 years and the flight was smooth as it was before.

I bought my plane ticket 2 weeks before I left - a nonstop flight from Newark to Narita/Tokyo for $800 via Continental. Sweet! Of course, I just had to party the night before, get totally trash and this time, decided to pack 3 hrs before the airport shuttle van picks me up from my place. Hmmm... This is definitely becoming a routine.

Thursday morning, I left Newark/NYC. I ate, slept, watched a movie (while the meal came), slept, and watched a movie (again when it was meal time) until it was time to land. Yup! Definitely routine as I slept my way through the flight except during meal times. And arrived Friday afternoon. It was a 14-hr nonstop flight!

It was smooth sailing as I cross the immigration and I think the officer just gave me a weird look after seeing the 2 other visas they have posted on my passport on my previous visits.

Day#1 Tokyo - Izakaya in Shibuya
I just smiled. As usual, I found my ATM to withdraw cash, reloaded my SUICA card (I had my SUICA card from last visit in July 2009), purchased my train ticket to Tokyo (1,000yen) and rented a Japanese phone (too expensive to roam on my US phone). I didn't need to exhange my JR Pass yet so I decided to do that on the day I leave for Hiroshima. (Read Japan 2008 and Summer in Japan 2009 blogs for more transportation info and reviews)

I'm staying in a different area of Tokyo this time so I hopped on train and got off Nippori Station and transferred to the Yamanote Line to Ikebukuro! Total cost = 1,160yen.

Day#1 Tokyo - Feria Tokyo in Roppongi
Not bad. From Ikebukuro Station, I walked 5 blocks to my hostel - Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro. I read great reviews on this so I decided to try it out for its great new location, flexibility in dorms and private rooms, its access to the trains and to/from the airport.  And since it was only one night, I decided to stay in a dorm. But what do you know? They were booked and only have a single available! So for the same price as my dorm, they upgraded me to a single room (with a private bath) for the night! Again - SWEET!

The room  was small and clean - typical of Japanese size) but perfectly adequate for my needs with its full-size bed and tiny sized bathroom. Slippers, a robe, towels, shampoo/conditioner, toobrush and the like were already provided. Ah, the efficient Japanese.

Day#1 Tokyo - Feria Tokyo in Roppongi - chilling at the outdoor rooftop
As soon as I put away my things, I checked my FB and email (I brought my laptop and the room as USB internet connection for free) only to find my friend has left me a message on the time and place we were to meet that night - and the meeting time was in 40 minutes! Yikes!

I grabbed my phones (US and Japan), my wallet, travel guide book, made sure I had my SUICA card, and I was out the door. Walking briskly back to Ikebukuro Station, I hopped on the Yamanote Line and 20 minutes and 10+ emails/sms later (spent the entire time inputting my friends' number from my US phone into my Japanese phone, then emailing everyone I was in Japan), I was in Shibuya! The meeting place was at the ever popular Hachiko Statue (I think my friends and I always meet up here whenever we meet up in Shibuya - and so does everyone else in Tokyo/Japan!).

Day#1 Tokyo - Feria Tokyo in Roppongi - found a balloon and grabbed it!

Amidst the crowd in Shibuya Station on Friday night, I easily found my way through the mob and exited the station to Hachiko Statue. I had to call my friend because there was a crowd around the statue that it was just difficult to find anyone there! And then, there she was - Izumi! My friend from NYC to moved back to Japan after college!

I met a few of her friends joining us for dinner - most were from her college years in California and one I have already met from my previous visit (Oct 2008). We walked to the izakaya where we were having dinner. The tables are small and in rooms like miniature houses with stone walkways. Very intimate and relaxed. It was definitely for Japanese only because no one seems to speaks English. The benefits of knowing locals. Beers and plates were ordered.

Day#1 Tokyo - Ramen @ 4am after a night out in Roppongi
Photos taken. V^_^V  Before midnight, we left. Others had to go home with the trains shutting down before 1am. So a few of us grabbed a taxi and headed to Roppongi - Tokyo's famous nightlife area and western clubs/restaurants.

Izumi's friend, Ayami - a partier and who used to live in Roppongi - guided us to Feria Tokyo. This multi-level lounge/club is wonderful. A lounge on the first floor, a more intimate bar on the 2nd, and a more carefree bar on the 3rd level with access to an outdoor sitting area!

After checking out each floor, we stayed at the rooftop area. It was cold despite the outdoor heating - it was mid January afterall! After a few minutes we went back in and checked out the lower level bar were most people seem to hang out. The place quickly got crowded. A mix of Japanese and ex-pats/tourists, it was quite easy and acceptable for me to assume I was in NYC! I ordered myself Hypnotiq on the rocks (I just can't seems to get a decent Cosmo outside of NYC) and I needed a break from beer after that izakaya dinner. A friend of Ayami's Toshiro joined us, who speaks English really well - he lived in the US for a few years when he was younger and also studied abroad for a year.

By 4am, we were done. But not quite..... we were hungry. 

We found a ramen shop just a couple of blocks away and had a sobering early morning meal before splitting up at 5am. We took a cab back to Shibuya where the stations finally opened and we can catch all our trains.... It was half past 5am when I arrived back to my room - a private room and I wasn't even there the entire night! What a waste! It was a long first night in Tokyo on my third visit to Japan.

Shower and a couple hours of nap time, I was out the door again.... This time for a long weekend of onsen in Gunma Prefecture!

mountaingirl says:
Nice blog and congrats on the feature :)
Posted on: Jul 05, 2016
bramblerick says:
nice blog, congratz
Posted on: Jul 04, 2016
Paulovic says:
Congrats on the featured blog!
Posted on: Jul 04, 2016
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Day#1 Tokyo - Izakaya in Shibuya
Day#1 Tokyo - Izakaya in Shibuya
Day#1 Tokyo - Izakaya in Shibuya
Day#1 Tokyo - Izakaya in Shibuya
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Day#1 Tokyo - Feria Tokyo in Ropp…
Day#1 Tokyo - Feria Tokyo in Roppo…
Day#1 Tokyo - Feria Tokyo in Ropp…
Day#1 Tokyo - Feria Tokyo in Roppo…
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Tokyo Hotels & Accommodations review
Affordable, clean hostel/hotel in a great area of Tokyo!
I stayed at Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro Tokyo in both their dorms (6-bed dorm)and private room (with ensuite bathroom) in the 3 occasions I stayed in Tokyo… read entire review
photo by: maka77