My trip from Scotland to Japan was a long one, but I arrived safely and made my way to a familiar hotel in Ueno, Tokyo, with minimal stress.
We arrived at Narita after our long connection from Doha, Qatar, and were quickly escorted through immigration and baggage claims with minimal fuss.
All of the information I had looked at previously, suggested getting a train to Ueno would either be expensive, or involve transfers. Neither being the case.
The service assistant at the KEISEI Skyliner desk was happy to offer a couple of options after a simple “Ueno ni ikimasu” or "I’m going to Ueno", the difference in price being only a couple of hundred yen to shave off 15 minutes. Our train tickets (one-way) cost us about 1200en each, which is about £9. The journey took us little over an hour to get into Tokyo.
I’ll figure out the way back later.
It's worth mentioning that I’m travelling in Japan with Ashley, my partner. She’s been wonderful despite suffering the long flights with me. Quite a few of the photos I’ll use have been taken by her. As it’s her first time in Japan, she’s curious about everything - and probably has a keener eye for photo worthy material than I do as a result.
We checked in to our hotel after a short walk from Ueno - I could remember the route, even after 7 years. So much has changed! It feels like Akihabara has made it all the way to Ueno station - with maid cafés, hostess bars and electronic stores as we exited.
I’ve stayed at Hotel Edoya twice in the past, and both times experienced friendly hosts, good accommodation and delicious breakfasts. I would recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere to stay in the Akiba/Ueno area.
After grabbing an easy dinner at a nearby Jonathan’s family restaurant, we headed to a Lawson’s “conbini” "convenience store". As well as the essentials some convenience store’s offer the ability to buy and print event tickets, and as it would happen, Ashley had booked us tickets to be collected for Square’s Eorzea Cafe! Actually using the machine was a trial and a half. It’s worth becoming familiar enough with writing your own name using kana, and my familiarity with it helped a little, but I’m sure any local onlookers had a giggle at our attempts to print our receipt.A dramatic reconstruction of our attempt to use the machine.
Honorable mention to Qatar Airways, who provided a great service even in economy class. The 24-plus hour journey from Edinburgh was as comfortable as it could be, thanks in-part to their efforts.