25 Jun Day 12: Our last day in Japan, re-visiting areas and almost missing the NEX
This would be our last day in Japan. We packed up our luggage, leaving it at Hotel Century Southern Tower on check out. The first thing we did was purchase tickets for the NEX (Narita Express) as we had chosen to spend our last night in an airport hotel in preparation for our morning flight the next day. We had to pick a time as the NEX is all reserved seats. We didn’t want to get to Narita too late but also wanted time to finish seeing Tokyo before having to leave. We went with the 3:40pm train time and bought our tickets from the machine.
We first went to Akihabara as we were yet to see ‘electric town’. This time we had come from the JR line so we simply exited the station on the right side. Akihabara’s ‘electric town’ is a mixture of different stores from Anime, game arcades, console games, computer parts and hobby stores.
I found the 5 level adult store amusing. Japanese buildings seem large as they are often spaced over several levels, but they are usually very narrow and probably the same space as a single level store. There were no maid girls out on the streets during the day (Tim seen lots on our second trip during a later visit). I was surprised at the amount of little old stores that were crammed full of all sorts of dusty computer parts and cables and old TV supplies. Tim informs me that all these old stores that appear to be full of junk also stock the latest in technology and you could probably get anything you wanted from them.
The stores in Akihabara didn’t open until 10am, a lot didn’t open until 11am. So we did a lot of walking around trying to find stores that were open. A lot of the stores we went to were accessed through other stores elevators and they were very small. I mainly just had a quick look around and then waited outside the entrance while Tim was browsing. We visited one store that had lots of parts for building robots which was pretty cool.
Tim wanted a robot but they were very expensive. We passed a KFC store and found Colonel Sanders dressed up in his Christmas suit. I walked around outside with Fletcher while Tim visited hobby stores. He had been given his late grandfathers model train set and wanted a Shinkansen to run on it. He found one but didn’t want to carry it around and said he’d get one back in Shinjuku (this later turned out to be a mistake).
Tim was in geek heaven and could have spent all day in Akihabara but we continued on
We took the Yamanote line for about half an hour to Harajuku Station. The main reason for going back to Harajuku was to re-visit Kiddyland and buy some gifts to take back home. I chose three Kimmi dolls, one for myself and one for each of our mothers. I also got myself a Totoro coin purse that I love and have been using ever since. Fletcher still wasn’t keen on the cramped store, so I handed my things over to Tim for him to purchase. He was choosing an electric Shinkansen toy set for our nephew. He purchased the items while I took Fletcher outside.
We made our last stop Shinjuku as we needed to collect our luggage and catch the NEX. We looked around Shinjuku, spotting interesting black focaccia’s in the window of the bakery near the station. We then set out trying to find the store that Tim wanted to buy the train set from. He thought he knew where it was but when we got there he realised it was a different store. It was getting close to our time to leave, so I waited near the station while Tim took off to Yodabashi Camera. I began nervously checking my watch as he was yet to return and we still needed to go to the hotel to collect our luggage. He finally returned empty handed. He had found the store but couldn’t find the train.
Getting the NEX
At this point it was very close to our reserved ticket departure time. Tim went ahead and got all the luggage down himself and then it was a mad dash to the station. Luckily it was a very short distance from Hotel Century Southern Tower to the Narita Express tracks. We rushed through and found the train was at the platform. After boarding, stowing our luggage and finding our seats, we looked at the time and had 3 minutes until departure. Not ideal but we had made it.
Narita Airport and our hotel
We got off the train at terminal 2, got our luggage and proceeded into the airport. We were a little confused about how to get to the bus stop to get the free shuttle to our hotel for the night. We had chose Hotel Nikko Narita as they had a queen room available for a very reasonable price. We wouldn’t be needing anything luxury as it was just to cut travel time before our morning flight. As the station is underground, we had to first enter the airport, showing our passports on the way through. We then made our way to departures and found the bus stop we had to wait at. The shuttle arrived and we got on and sat down in the bus that ended up being completely full . It was now dark outside and Fletcher happily watched out the window at all the lights we passed. It felt like a really long journey to get to the hotel, I think it was about 15 minutes. Check-in was extremely busy but efficient and we were soon led to our room. The room was very dated but spacious and very good for only $80 aud. We got the lift down to the lobby floor and bought meals for dinner and things for breakfast from the Lawson store.
When checking out in the morning, we were pleasantly surprised to find out the room charge was half price, we ended up only paying $40 aud. We had noticed renovations happening, they hadn’t impacted our stay but we assumed this was the reason for the discount. We took the shuttle back to the airport ready to check in for our flights home.