Monday, June 2, 2014

Our fifth day - Sayonara Tokyo!

On our last day in Tokyo, my wife and I woke up at 5:30 am. Since there was a lone T&B in our apartment we normally fell in queue for our daily morning rituals. Hence, to avoid losing precious time, the wife and I usually woke up early and after we have finished using the T&B the kids would be woken up.

I confirmed to the owner of our apartment that she could send her maid at 8 am for cleaning since we would leave the place at 7:30 am to catch our 11:45 am flight back to Manila. Since we have packed most of our belongings the night before we had ample time to take our breakfast in our apartment. More so, I have to segregate our trashes and dispose them as well at different bins inside the trash room of the building.

Harajuku station

on our last day I learned that we can go to Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi park from Harajuku

With all our carry bags and one big trolley luggage we threaded toward Harajuku station and waited for the JR Yamanote train that would bring us to Nippori station where Keisei Skyliner train would stop and pick-up passengers going to Narita airport.

Upon arrival at Nippori station, we quickly searched Keisei Skyliner station. I was expecting that like Narita Express we also need to purchase tickets over the counter. I was wrong. We could use our Suica cards to purchase KS tickets according to the two very helpful Japanese ladies manning the Keisei Liner entrance. They beckoned us to charge our Suica cards first at the ordinary ticketing/charging machine due to insufficient fund. Soon after, they assisted us in purchasing Keisei Skyliner tickets at a different ticketing machine. They even showed us how to select or reserve our seats. Initially, they asked us whether we wanted a cheaper ticket but longer travel time due to several stops or the Skyliner which was faster. We chose the latter to save time. It costs us 2,470 Yen each; still cheaper compared with Narita Express which costs more than 3,000 Yen per person when traveling back to the airport.

screengrab from Keisei page

our Skyliner ticket

here comes our fast train

comfy seats with separate luggage rack at the front

In short, we reached Narita airport after 36 minutes. It was a smooth, comfortable and fast ride. There wasn't any stop-over either.

A word of advice, if you have bought Uniqlo apparels at Ginza avoid wearing them on your way back to Manila. Chances are several passengers would be wearing Uniqlo clothes easily distinguishable from other passengers. In fact, I saw at least 3 guys wearing Uniqlo shirts and coat during our check-in. Fortunately, I resisted the temptation of wearing my loot from Uniqlo.

Kit Kat's exotic flavors

Upon disembarking from Keisei Skyliner, I went back to Narita Express counter to refund our Suica Cards. They deducted 220 Yen as refund fee for each card. I received 500 Yen deposit for each card plus the remaining balance less the 220 Yen refund fee.

As I expected, after check-in, the wife and kids loitered and surveyed the different Duty Free Shops searching for the famous Kit Kat Green Tea. I knew they would search every nook just to find this exotic flavor. We ended up buying not only the Green Tea but also the Strawberry Cheesecake flavor while my youngest son was after his all-time favorite Pocky. We also bought two packs of Mochi Balls.

By the way, don't be fooled of the posted price in duty free shops in case you intend to spend all your remaining Yens. Oftentimes the 8% tax is not included on the posted price.

great view of the airport tarmac

We took our lunch before racing toward the boarding gate. The airport is truly impressive and massive. On our way to the boarding gate we had a wide view of the tarmac. It seemed we were watching a mammoth LCD screen where the huge jetliners looked like toys.

During our flight back to Manila I can't help but reminisce our family bonding in Tokyo. Surely this place was unique and especial among all the places we have visited. For our entire stay we never felt unsafe or threatened in any place in Tokyo. More so, all the Japanese we have met were polite and courteous though lacking in English communication. Nonetheless, they tried their best to assist us even by sign language. Lastly, one way or the other, we had established some connections to our childhood dreams of seeing the land of our favorite Japanese characters like the Gundams, Anime characters, Hello Kitty to name a few.

kids' loot

eldest son's Gundam

wife's loot

my loot

Upon arriving home, we marveled at our souvenirs from the land of the rising sun. I promised my kids that if they would continue their good performance in school and the visa would be waived by the Japanese government we would return to Japan to visit Harry Potter.

Our Tokyo Journals:

Practical tips for Filipinos applying for Japan visa in Philippines
Does your flight lands at Narita airport T1 or T2?
Our first day - Arrival and explore Harajuku & Odaiba
Our second day - Tokyo Disneyland
Our third day - Tokyo Disneysea & explore Akihabara
Our fourth day - Nakamise, Sensoji Temple, Ginza, Meiji Shrine, Harajuku & Tokyo Tower
Our fifth day - Sayonara Tokyo!
Baffled by Tokyo's rail network? Try Suica card.
Big apartment near JR Harajuku Station

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