One evening in Tokyo
March 12, 2010 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Traveling in Tokyo filter: My nephew, who is in the U.S. Air Force, is traveling to his first posting at Misawa AB, in Aomori Prefecture, in Japan. He will arrive at Narita at 2:55 pm local time on March 17, and needs to get to Haneda airport for a 7:55 am flight to Misawa the next morning, March 18. He'll have one afternoon and evening in Tokyo to do a little sightseeing. Suggestions and travel help?

It's been recommended he stay at the New Sanno Hotel, which is a military hotel in the Azabu neighborhood of Tokyo, on the Hibiya line, a few minutes' walk from the Hiroo station.

Luis' plan:
Looks like he can go straight from Narita to the hotel on the train and dump his stuff, then go out and explore a little bit.
Next morning, looks like he can leave the hotel about 5:30 am and get to Haneda around 6:30, plenty of time to make his flight at 7:55.

Once he gets to the hotel, I am thinking he should ask the front desk for an address card, with the hotel's name and address written in Japanese, so he can get help getting back.

So: here are my questions:

- He'll have a duffel, another bag and a backpack once he gets off the plane. Should he take a shuttle from airport to hotel and vice versa, or can he carry that much baggage on the train?

- Do I have the train hookups right for those two trips - Narita to New Sanno hotel (Hiroo station) and New Sanno hotel (Hiroo station) to Haneda? Or should he just forget about trains for the hotel-airport legs (due to bags) and take the shuttles?

- It looks like he'll need to make a reservation at the hotel, and would like to call the information desk. However, the phone codes are confusing to me: what does (DSN) or (CML) in the area code place mean?

- He'll be in uniform for travel, and he is tall, young and latino (in appearance, obviously not anglo). He does not speak any Japanese, but will have a list of polite phrases for please, thank you, and excuse me, etc. Will his appearance help or hurt him, and how can he look most friendly and approachable?

- Where can he get an appropriate phone for the area, cheaply?

- Where should he not fail to visit?

- Also, he is a really good baseball player. Is it baseball season in March, and can he get to a game on this day (March 17, in the evening)?

Thank you for any help you can give us.
posted by toodleydoodley to Travel & Transportation around Tokyo, Japan (5 answers total)
 
Note - I have examined prior threads about travel in Tokyo and I think I have some new/different questions. Thanks.
posted by toodleydoodley at 2:27 PM on March 12, 2010


Well, this doesn't answer any of your questions directly, but the hotel website allows online reservations as long as it's 3 or more days in advance.
posted by cabingirl at 3:11 PM on March 12, 2010


He'll have a duffel, another bag and a backpack once he gets off the plane. Should he take a shuttle from airport to hotel and vice versa, or can he carry that much baggage on the train?

- Do I have the train hookups right for those two trips - Narita to New Sanno hotel (Hiroo station) and New Sanno hotel (Hiroo station) to Haneda? Or should he just forget about trains for the hotel-airport legs (due to bags) and take the shuttles?


Fortunately, the airport limousine runs straight to his hotel with hourly departures from Narita in the afternoon. It's 3000 yen, but he can get to his hotel with no stops and no transfers, and with lots of baggage it seems like the easiest and most stress-free way to move.

- It looks like he'll need to make a reservation at the hotel, and would like to call the information desk. However, the phone codes are confusing to me: what does (DSN) or (CML) in the area code place mean?

I'm not in the military, but I assume those are numbers that can be called from on-base? He should use any ten-digit phone number starting with "03" -- that's the area code for Tokyo.

- He'll be in uniform for travel, and he is tall, young and latino (in appearance, obviously not anglo). He does not speak any Japanese, but will have a list of polite phrases for please, thank you, and excuse me, etc. Will his appearance help or hurt him, and how can he look most friendly and approachable?

I don't think it will be an issue in Tokyo -- he'll stand out, but he'll most likely be ignored. It helps to smile, of course, and any Japanese skills will be a plus.

- Where can he get an appropriate phone for the area, cheaply?

Since he'll only be in Tokyo for a night, there's no real need for a phone, IMO. That's assuming he could get one -- which he can't, as prepaid phones are restricted to long-term residents, and I don't think US service personnel are covered.

- Where should he not fail to visit?

Since he only has a half-day, I suggest he visit Roppongi, which is a stop away from Hiroo. I do not recommend visiting any bars near Roppongi intersection, since he'll be a target (dressed in fatigues and being American) for people wanting to drug his drink and take his money. (The US Embassy has put out warnings about this in the past.) Otherwise, Shinjuku is an excellent representative of Tokyo, IMO, and should be fairly active on both sides on a weekday.

- Also, he is a really good baseball player. Is it baseball season in March, and can he get to a game on this day (March 17, in the evening)?

Unfortunately, both Tokyo Dome and Jingu Stadium, the two most centrally-located baseball stadiums, have games that day, but they are too early for him to make it. There are other stadiums in the suburbs, but it would be a poor use of his time to trek out there and back.
posted by armage at 3:56 PM on March 12, 2010


He should wait to get a phone until he gets to Misawa. The people at the docomo shop in Misawa speak English and are used to dealing with people from the base.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:53 PM on March 12, 2010


thanks all for your comments so far.

couple more questions: anyone know about the airport limousine from the New Sanno Hotel to Haneda? I examined the schedule but can't seem to find any shuttle stops on the Hibiya line from Hiroo to Haneda?

on looking at this page, it appears that the Haneda airport shuttle bus doesn't even go near the New Sanno hotel - apparently the hotel is only served by the Narita shuttle? so how does a guest at New Sanno get to Haneda?

also, armage - he can't buy a cheap mobile phone at or near the airport so he can call his sponsor, or in case he gets lost?
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:38 AM on March 13, 2010


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