Sunday, July 15, 2007

Japan 1: Tokyo

From Narita 成田 airport, travellers can take the Narita Express for easy access to the city centre of Tokyo. For foreigners, they can buy the Suica and Narita Express package for a bargain price of 3500yen (S$45) to get a one way trip to the city and the Suica card worth of 2000yen to travel on the public transport within the Tokyo Metropolitan area.

The seats are pretty comfortable but talking on the handphone in the train carriage is discouraged as it will disturb other passengers. Passing through the Chiba 千葉 area, rows of houses among rice fields can be sighted. Houses resembling the animes like Doraemon sudden come to life.

It takes about 80 minutes to reach Tokyo station and about another 30 minutes to Shinjuku 新宿 station. This 30 minutes include navigating from the Narita line to the Yamanote line 山手線 through the rush hour crowd at around 7 pm on a Thursday and complex array of train lines. After reaching Shinjuku station, the busiest train station in the world, of an estimated 3.29 million people per day, several hundreds exits, 10 rail lines from 5 subway companies, and 16 platforms for just the JR company in Shinjuku, it must be an overwhelming experience dragging luggages through the complexes, and through the amazing crowd rush. Even for travellers who track the famous subways of Montreal, Mexico City, New York, will still find this train station more than just a simple culture shock.
Welcome to Japan.



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