Kansai International Airport

Osaka to Tokyo

Getting to the Airport

I woke up early, got ready and finished packing. I set off for the station and caught a Train to Osaka. I got there around 09:00. I was surprised to find that the station was extremely busy with people coming and going to work and school. I mistakenly thought it would be quiet on a Saturday. The information counter didn’t open until 10:00 but I found a station employee and asked which platform I needed for the airport train. I caught the train to the airport. I had to stand for a few stops before I got a seat.

Kansai International Airport

I got to the airport at around 10:00. My flight wasn’t until 14:05 but I chose to arrive early in case there were any issues with transport. Getting around in Japan only basic Japanese can be a challenge. The stations are huge and finding where to go and which platform you need, can be difficult. Understandably, English is not widely spoken.

I got something to eat and explored the shops and restaurants. While I was waiting a young Japanese women approached me as if she needed some help which I thought was strange because in most cases like that there is a language gap. It turned out though that she was an undercover policewoman and she asked me questions about my trip and where I was staying. She only spoke a little English so the conversation was a mixture of Japanese and English.

I checked-in at 12:00, went through security and waited at the departure gate until the plane boarded.

Narita Airport

The flight took 1 hour so I arrived in Narita Airport in Tokyo at around 15:00.

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Inside the terminal I had to catch a shuttle train to the baggage collection area. I picked up my luggage, got something to eat and headed for the train station at about 17:30.

In the terminal I noticed a policeman carrying out another security check with a group of foreigners.

There several options to get to the centre of Tokyo. I opted to catch the Narita Express which stopped in Shinagawa Station which is close to where my next Air BnB was in Kita-Shinagawa. I got a ticket on the platform and caught the train. The train was reservation only.

Shinagawa

When I arrived at Shinagawa Station I had a quick look around and then asked someone at the information desk how to get to Kita-Shinagawa. I caught the train and when I got there, I checked into the Air BnB which was directly opposite the train station on the other side of the road.

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I dropped my things off, had a quick shower and got changed. I was really tired but it was only about 19:30 and I really wanted to get some Halloween photos. I left the apartment and caught a train to Shinagawa where I caught another train to Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. This line loops around central Tokyo and stops at several popular destinations.

Shibuya

I got to Shibuya just after 20:00. I followed the crowds towards Shibuya Crossing. This is the busiest crossing in the world and a major destination for visitors. I followed everyone to a raised walkway which was packed with people viewing Shibuya Crossing through the windows. I watched for a bit and then found an exit. I exited via the Hachiko Exit. Hachiko was a Japanese dog famous for having legendary loyalty to his owner. There is a statue of Hachiko outside the station in Hachiko Square.

There were thousands of people coming and going. Most of them were dressed in Halloween costumes or wearing cosplay. I explored the area briefly and took several portraits and some video footage then returned to the station.

I caught a train to Shinjuku to see what was happening there.

Harajuku Station

On the way I briefly stopped in Harajuku to take some photos. I heard about plans to upgrade Harajuku Station and I wanted to get a photo of the building as it is now. I took a photo of some cosplayers and of Harajuku Station outside the Omotesando Exit.

Shinjuku

I arrived in Shinjuku just before 22:00. Shinjuku not as packed as Shibuya but still very busy. Only a few people were dressed in cosplay.

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I got something to eat and headed back to the Air BnB. I got a little lost and it took me a while to find the station. Luckily we have Google Maps now to help with directions.

Kita-Shinagawa

I caught a train back to Shinagawa where I caught a train to Kita-Shinagawa. When I got in I just went straight to bed.

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Index

Introduction

Manchester to Osaka

Arriving in Japan

Kobe and Osaka

Osaka

Kyoto

Osaka to Tokyo

Harajuku

Shibuya & Halloween Photos

Tachikawa

Whistle Stop Tour

Yokohama

Narita to Manchester


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Kansai International Airport

Arriving in Japan

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Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport

The plane arrived at Kansai International Airport at 07:20. I collected my luggage and joined the queue for immigration. While in the queue, a man checked the immigration forms that we were given and asked basic questions to ensure the forms were correctly filled out. Some people had to make corrections or complete new forms. When I got to the front of the queue I was asked about my stay, my passport was stamped and my fingerprints were scanned.

Everyone was polite and very helpful. The staff I spoke to gave me 100% of their attention and went out of their way to help me.

I was impressed by the amount of facilities in the airport which included several food options and numerous shops.

Travelling to Kobe

I spent some time looking around the airport and then looked for the Bay Shuttle ticket counter. Before I arrived I had decided to get to Kobe by Ferry because I thought it would be more interesting. Unfortunately though when speaking to the staff at the ticket counter my Japanese language skills were limited. The staff didn’t seem to understand what I said and just kept giving me information about how to get there by bus. I was pretty tired and chose to follow their instructions. One of the staff members helped me buy a ticket from the ticket machine and I boarded the limousine bus. The journey took just over an hour and there were announcements in English which was useful.

Sannomiya

The bus arrived in Kobe-Sannomiya about 10:00. The Air BnB apartment that I booked was in Kobe-Motomachi and the check-in time was 16:00. I decided have a look around while I waited.

There were a lot of people on bikes which they mostly rode safely on the pavement. Unlike the UK, almost everyone waited until the lights were green before crossing the road and pedestrian crossings.

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Kobe-Sannomiya

No Smoking

In a lot of places, smoking was banned in the street which I found interesting as you can smoke inside in many places.

Men with sticks

I noticed that lots of older men dressed in uniforms with bright batons helping people at crossings, warning people of roadworks and supervising deliveries to businesses. Apart from a few crossing guards when children go to and return from school, this doesn’t happen in the UK.

Stopping for coffee

I came across a coffee shop and decided to spend some time there.

The coffee shop had WIFI so I used that to contact the Air BnB host about checking in early. He said I could check-in any time after 12:00.

I checked my messages and social media while watching people go about their day.

Sannomiya to Motomachi

By this time it was about 11:30. I checked Google Maps to get a rough idea of where to go. I left the coffee shop and I asked someone for directions and she told me how to get to Sannomiya Station.

When I got to there, I loaded some credit onto a Suica Card which I had already borrowed from friend before I left the UK. Luckily the ticket machines have English menus. I asked someone in the station which train to catch to get to Motomachi.

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Suica Card

The train arrived at Motomachi a few minutes later and I followed the directions, I had, to the Air BnB apartment. I got to the apartment just after 12:00. I had a quick look around then had a shower and got changed. After watching TV for a bit and having a rest, I went for a look around the neighbourhood.

Exploring the neighbourhood

The apartment was location roughly half way along a covered shopping street which is just over 1km long. There are many covered shopping streets in Japan. I walked to the shopping street. As I was in the middle of the street, I picked a random direction to walk in. The shops appeared to have been there for a number of years and there was a fusty smell in some of them.

There were several signs telling people not to ride bikes but nobody took any notice.

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Motomachi Shopping Street

At the end of the street, I noticed a sign for Kobe Harborland. This was one of the places I planned to visit so I headed that way. On the way I picked up some sandwiches and snacks.

Just before I arrived at Harborland, I bought some more snacks and I got some Omiyage for a friend.

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umie Shopping Centre

More coffee (and cake)

I had a look around the Kobe Harborland umie shopping centre. I stopped at a cafe for coffee and cake. I thought that the cake was quite expensive at 497 Yen but the coffee was only 43 yen. I used my basic Japanese to order which people a couple of people in the queue seemed to find amusing. I noticed a few people in the cafe watching me. I guess they don’t normally see many foreigners there or maybe I was the first person they’d seen buy overpriced cake. Both the coffee and the cake were delicious.

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Coffee and Cake

I left the cafe about 16:00 and then I took a few photos. At about 17:00 it started to get dark so I headed back to the apartment where I watched some TV before going to bed.

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Kobe Harborland

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Kobe Harborland

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Kobe Harborland


Index

Introduction

Manchester to Osaka

Arriving in Japan

Kobe and Osaka

Osaka

Kyoto

Osaka to Tokyo

Harajuku

Shibuya & Halloween Photos

Tachikawa

Whistle Stop Tour

Yokohama

Narita to Manchester