On our way back to the Philippines from our USA trip last March 2008, the final stopover for our connecting flight was via Narita International Airport. The airport serves the Greater Tokyo Area and is approximately around 60 kilometers from the heart of Tokyo.
While waiting to board our connecting flight (around 3 hours difference from our arrival time), we just went around the north wing of Terminal 1.
Kids' play area
Me in Terminal 1
A couple of hours before the departure of our connecting flight to Manila, the airline company called for around 10 volunteers because it was an overbooked flight. They offered a few hundred dollars discount on future ticket use for compensation, a flight booking for the next day in another airline as well as a night's stay in a nearby airport hotel. Because we are still in vacation mode and always dreamt to visit Japan, we volunteered ourselves to be bumped-off the flight. An hour later, passengers started to board the flight, leaving us volunteers and involuntary bumped-off passengers behind.
Going to the customs and immigration in Japan. Because we do not have visas yet to enter Japan we were issued transit visas that allowed us to enter the country formally.
Arrival area, waiting for the airline personnel to lead us to the hotel.
The airline paid for our stay in Radisson Hotel Narita Airport, which is about 20-30 minutes away from the airport. Included is our dinner for the night and the breakfast the following morning.
We checked-in with the hotel personnel first which took us a few minutes and went straight to our rooms.
Vending machine at the hallway
I've never stayed in a Radisson Hotel before. I've seen a lot of hotels of this chain around USA but never actually been into one. My first impression was that it was a low-cost hotel and rooms maybe are modest but I was surprised to see our room to have the amenities I expect in a luxury hotel, including toiletries and a tub.
Because we opted not to get our luggages to avoid the hassle, we went out to buy a few necessities that will keep us throughout the next morning.
There was virtually nothing else to do around the area. I thought and I expected there could be shops where we can buy a few clothes or a few establishments that may keep us entertained but it seems to me that we were in the middle of nowhere when we were walking late at night. A few minutes more walking and we reached a Mini Stop convenience store. We bought a few plain shirts, toiletries and headed back to the hotel.
While my mom decided to stay in the hotel and take a rest, my brother and I explored further the other side of the road to know if there's something else to see and do. We only saw a few restaurants that were open but again, virtually there were nothing else in the area. So we went back to the hotel and decided to take a rest.
As I described in my previous blog posts, whenever I go to a new place, I always checkout their local softdrinks line and see if there's something that is not available in our local country. I chanced upon Pepsi Nex which I assume might be similar to Pepsi Max, but the latter is not marketed in the Philippines as a zero-calorie cola.
I went around the hotel premises the next morning. I was surprised to see a lot of other things you can do in the hotel - there was a large outdoor pool, an indoor pool, gym and tennis courts, not to mention the beautiful landscape of the area itself.
We left the hotel in the morning via a hotel shuttle to go to the airport. We passed by a few houses and establishments as we go along, further confirming that the area is really not the commercial one I am expecting. I was later on told that the more commercial districts are still kilometers away.
Me and the plane we rode going back to the Manila
It was also my first time to fly via Japan Airlines. I find their cabin lively because it was colorful and their crew cheerful. One of the things that stuck my mind about the airline is their Sky Time drink (yuzu) which I find very good.
What I like about this bump-off trip is that at last, I can say that I've been to Japan at least for once. But sad thing is that, I haven't done anything remarkable during my stay in the country. I made a promise to myself that there should be a next time and by then, I'll be doing a whole lot more than what I did during this stay.
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