Category Archives: Travel

A Different View of Tokyo SkyTree

At the park Photo Credit: ionasiatrend.com

At the park
Photo Credit: ionasiatrend.com

 

A short distance walk from the famous Tokyo SkyTree, in a small park stood a line of people.  Wondering what they where doing, we noticed that they where waiting to take a picture in front of a huge convex mirror of a highway leading into the sky with a perfect backdrop of the SkyTree.

 

Tokyo SkyTree and highway to the heavens. Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

Tokyo SkyTree and highway to the heavens. Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

Tokyo SkyTower Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

Tokyo SkyTower Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

 

 

The Park is located approximately here.   I recommend taking your family here.  It doesn’t  matter if you have small kids, older kids or no kids.  It was a lot of fun at this park as you can see from the pictures we took.  The metal roller slide was awesome!

 

Tokyo SkyTree and highway to the heavens park. Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

Tokyo SkyTree and highway to the heavens park. Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

 

Park near Tokyo SkyTree . Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

Park near Tokyo SkyTree . Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

 

Park near the Tokyo SkyTree. This is the metal roller slide.  Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

Park near the Tokyo SkyTree. This is the metal roller slide. Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

Park near the Tokyo SkyTree  Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

Park near the Tokyo SkyTree.  Yes, thats me going down the slide. Photo Credit : ionasiatrend.com

 

 

You might also find this interesting Tokyo’s SkyTree.

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Tokyo’s Skytree

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Skytree Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Standing at 634 meters or 2,080.5 feet stands the worlds tallest free-standing broadcasting tower in the world.  An interesting fact about how the Skytree’s height capped off at 634 meters.  Historically the Skytree stands in an old province called Musashi.  The ancient japanese way to say the numbers 6. 3. 4. is pronounced:

Mu (6)

Sa (3)

Shi (4)

Spelled out Musashi, ironically the height of the tower and the old province in which it stands.

Inside the Skytree’s observation deck, you will find a 360° view of Tokyo Metropolis.  But don’t expect to walk right into the tower.  We had about a 3 hour wait.                                                                                                                                                         At Skytree’s arrival lobby on level 4 we were given a ticket.  One ticket for each person in your party.  DO NOT lose this ticket.  You will not be able to enter into the tower without it.  On this ticket there is a time for you and your party to come back.  Do not be late, late members will not be admitted.

Skytower entrance ticket Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Skytower entrance ticket
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

We had about an hour an half wait till we needed to come back.  During this time we shopped at the mall in the tower.  Skytree’s Mall called Solamachi has more than 300 shops and restaurants, click here for shop information.  Finally after almost 3 hours of waiting we were greeted with an amazing view of Tokyo Metropolis.

Dave and I at Skytree Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Dave and I at Skytree
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Brandon and I and Skytree Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Brandon and I and Skytree
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

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Skytree at night Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Skytree Tokyo view at night Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Skytree Tokyo view at night
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Skytree Tokyo at Night Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Skytree Tokyo at Night
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Skytree Tokyo at night.  Yes, that is the Tokyo Tower in the far distance. Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Skytree Tokyo at night. Yes, that is the Tokyo Tower in the far distance.
Photo Source:
ionasiatrend.com

 

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Mitsui Garden Hotel Shiodome Italia-Gai – Hotel Review

 

ImageArriving in Tokyo’s Homamatsucho Station we walked 8 minutes to our Mitsui Garden Hotel Shiodome Italia-Gai.  A cozy little hotel still under some renovations.

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You can see in the picture that the 1st two beds are pushed together and theres barely any room between the 2nd and 3rd beds. The Third bed was also against the wall.

Again, our room was one with 3 beds (please see my article on ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel).  One bed was large enough for me and my husband to sleep comfortably in.  We only used two beds, but had to pay for three beds.  Our room was very tight and terribly uncomfortable.  We also had a small table and chair that just got in the way in our room.  We had barely any room to walk  especially once our suitcases took the only area left in the room.

I can only speak about the room we were given, which was the last room down the hall (or the first, depends how you look at it).  It may have been the way that room was designed, but the ventilation in the room was terrible.  It was very humid after every shower, and the room had a slight musty smell every time we came back from our days adventure.  So we started to leave the window in our room opened while we were out for the day.  This made coming back to the room a little more pleasant smelling.

Not only was there still some construction in the hotel, but there was construction right out side the hotel as well.   While we did have a beautiful view of Tokyo Tower, there also was a huge construction crane in the way of our beautiful view.

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There was one restaurant in the hotel Italian Buffet and Cafe La Marea Unfortunately, the only time we wanted to eat there it was closed for renovation, but the day before we could smell the food and it did smell delicious.  Luckily, Lawson Station (Japanese convenience store) was right next to the hotel and we just got a lot of great food to eat there.

public-bath

Free for guest is the public bath or sento.  The night I went it was busy.  There are about seven shower stalls and a  large soaking tub.  The view while soaking was amazing.  Amenities at the public bath includes shampoo, conditioner, body soap, q-tips and hair dryer.  I did see one washer and dryer on the ladies side of the public bath.  It took ¥300 for the washer and ¥100 for the dryer.

Free internet for all guest.

My Review for the Mitsui Garden Shiodome Italia-Gai:

The convenient location earn this hotel a 3.0 star. Only a 8 minute walk from Hamamatsucho Station, 7 minute walk from Onarimon Station, 12 minute walk from JR Shimbashi Station, about 15 minute walk to the famous Ginza Shops and only 16 minutes from Hamamatsucho Station to Haneda Monorail.  Check out the access map.  While the food smelled delicious, it underwent construction the night we wanted to eat there.  The hotel had free internet access (we rented a mobile wifi so never needed to use the hotel wifi).  The public bath was small, but still a nice touch.  Construction across the street was noisy and the crane interfered with what could have been a nice view of the Tokyo Tower.  Room was cramped with three beds and had poor ventilation which made the room smell musty.  Would I stay here again?  No, I wouldn’t.

cool view of Tokyo Tower from our room at Mitsui Garden Hotel Shiodome Italia-Gai

cool view of Tokyo Tower from our room at Mitsui Garden Hotel Shiodome Italia-Gai

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Opening the window for fresh air in the room helped with the musty smell.

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Night view of Tokyo Tower at Mitsui Garden Shiodome Italia-Gai

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construction across the street from our hotel at Mitsui Garden Hotel Shiodome Itali-Gai

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Narita Airport to Tokyo – Ride the Narita Express at a Discounted Rate

#tokyo #tokyodirect #nex #suicacard #japan #anacrownehotel #ionasiatrend #blog

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Narita Express (N’EX) is fast and convenient way to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo without too much hassle.  The N’EX takes only 53 minutes and requires you to purchase the tickets the day of your travel.  I have read somewhere that you can purchase your ticket a day before. After standing in the long line for an hour, we found out that you can not purchase your tickets a day in advanced.  You must purchase tickets for N’EX the day of traveling. We were fortunate to purchase the limited edition Suica card and N’EX special.  JR East Rails is not currently offering that limited edition Suica Card and N’EX deal, that deal expired March 31, 2014.

Currently and till the end of 2014, there is a discount for gaijin (foreigner) travelers. From Narita Airport Terminal 1 and 2 to Tokyo’s major train station in the metropolitan area, including Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Yokohama without the hassle of transferring.  Adult fare is ¥1500 (one way) for children (6-11) ¥750 yen (one way).  Your guaranteed a seat. Your seat reclines back so you can relax, all seats are equipped with a large tray.  For your convenience there are large spaces overhead for your luggages and if thats not large enough not to fret, at the end of each car there is a section for storing your large suitcases.  Theres also a dial lock so you can set and safely lock your suitcases.

seats recline

seats recline

 

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Large suitcase storage area with lock

In the train are restrooms and even a baby changing station.  Each car has an overhead monitor in English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.  Theres even an attendant that comes through the train selling drinks and snacks.  For more information on where to purchase your N’EX tickets please refer to the JR East Japan Railway. 

We found the N’EX to be fast, convenient and affordable way to get to Tokyo from Narita Airport.

 

#tokyo #tokyobound #tokyodirect #nex #naritaairport #japan #asiatrend #ionasiatrend

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ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Narita Airport – Hotel Review

 

Our Gianormous room

Our gianormous room at ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel, Narita Airport Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

 

After arriving at Narita Airport, we were exhausted.  We stayed at ANA Crowne Plaze Hotel .  It was the largest hotel we stayed at during our trip.  In Japan when booking a hotel room, you will be charged per person per room.  Typically, American hotels charge by the room.  Japan usually has a limit on how many adults can stay in a room, commonly it is 2 adults per room (up to 2 children, ages can vary for each hotel).  This made booking a hotel for my family a little difficult.  I needed a room that accommodated 3 “adults”  (my son is 18) that was near impossible, not to mention prices jumped up tremendously if a hotel offered a room for 3 adults.  So we ended up with this gianormous room with three gianormous beds.  We only needed 2 beds.  But rules were rules.

Getting to the hotel from Narita Airport was a cinch.  Just hop on their complementary airport to hotel shuttle, about a 10 minute ride.  We waited at bus post 16 at Narita Airport Terminal 1.  There is also a bus pick up at Narita Airport Terminal 2, bus post 25.  Be sure to check the hotel for the times of hotel pickup and location for pick up. Schedules and pick up spots can often change.  We asked the airport information counter for the hotel bus pick up information.  Currently this is the ANA Crowne Plaza Narita Hotel  bus pick up schedule.

Hotel Bus ANA Crowne Plaza  Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Hotel Bus ANA Crowne Plaza
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Inside the hotel there is a convenient store, offering several sandwiches, onigiri, salads, curry dishes, many different drinks and snacks.

Convenient store inside ANA Crowne Hotel Narita picture source: ionasiatrend.com

Convenient store inside ANA Crowne Hotel Narita
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

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So cheap, but still so delicious! Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

 

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Even fresh fruits Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Hotel Restaurants

Ceres
Location: First floor
Serves: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Restaurant Cafe

Saifu Sky Dining
Location: 17th floor
Serves: Dinner
Japanese and French fusion

Narita
Location: 17th floor
Serves: Dinner
Teppanyaki

 

We ate at the Ceres located on the first floor.

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My son had a burger at the Ceres restaurant. No rice came with the meal, you would have to order it separately. Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

 

I had the salmon at Ceres Restaurant Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

I had the salmon at Ceres
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

 

During your stay you can enjoy and energize yourself in their fully equipped health club, take a few laps in the indoor pool, treat yourself to an invigorating spa treatment or simply enjoy a traditional japanese massage.  With their complimentary shuttle service to Narita Town you can explore the famous Narita-san Shinsoji Temple and beautiful pagodas.

Their double glazed windows make plane spotters enjoy the sky activity at Narita Airport without the noise.

Standard Internet service is free for all IHG® Rewards Club members
Wireless Internet are available in Rooms
There is a fee for Non Members but everyone can enjoy
free internet in the lobby

Thinking of getting married?  Here at the hotel they offer wedding coordinators and photography too.  Check out there site.

You can have a banquet or your next meeting right here too.  Check out there site.

Enjoy the complementary toiletries included in your the room everyday. Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair band, shower cap, Q-tips, disposable razors and shaving cream.

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Complimentary toiletries Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

For more information on the hotel amenities, please check the hotel’s website here.

I’ve traveled to Tokyo several times, all of which after I landed, I would continue onward to Tokyo.  Despite the fact that Tokyo is about 35 miles from Narita Airport, it could take a few hours by public transportation.  So, this time I figured I wanted to relax and not stress on how to get to my hotel somewheres in Tokyo before dark.

How I Rated The Hotel

ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel was nice, nothing fancy.  I would give it 4 stars. The hotel was clean and the bed was amazingly comfortable, our room was huge.  Amenities are good, my only complaint was the fact we were forced to rent a 3 bed bedroom when we needed only 2 beds.  Each bed is large enough for 2 adults.  My husband and I shared a bed of course and my son used the other bed.  But, as I mentioned…. rules are rules, but its ridiculous the hotel used the fact 1 adult per bed just to charge more money.  We all had a great nights sleep and were up early to start our day heading towards Tokyo.  We would stay here again.

 

full size bed big enough for my husband and I Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

Full size bed big enough for my husband and I
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

 

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Theres even a wedding coordinator and photography on site Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

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You can also purchase handkerchief, underwear, undershirts, socks, boxers and even business dress shirts at the convenience store

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Some more miscellaneous items at the convenience store Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

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You can see how big this room really was, theres one more bed and the hallway that I didn’t get in this shot Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

 

ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Narita Photo Source: David Keisling

ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Narita Lobby Photo Source: David Keisling

This was posted in the room, yikes! Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

This was posted in the room, yikes!
Photo Source: ionasiatrend.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Traveling to Japan

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For the past few weeks I’ve been planing a trip to Tokyo and Sapporo. One of the best airline ticket price finder I used was sky scanner. With sky scanner, you can set up air ticket price alerts to be sent to your email. You can even have them alert you if the ticket your looking for reaches a certain price you have in mind. You have the control when to be alerted.
If you haven’t been to Japan, just know Japan doesn’t offer free wifi everywhere. Renting a pocket wifi is the best and cheapest way to get convenient internet while vacationing there. This trip I rented a pocket wifi from Global Advanced Communications. When I was looking up companies that offered pocket wifi rentals, several companies came up. I’m always weary about giving information and sending payments to a company overseas. I can assure you that this company is legit. I took a chance and ordered my pocket wifi, I even had it sent to my hotel. Upon check-in my wifi was already here, super convenient. The two week rental cost me around ¥7,650 (about $76.50) this includes the prepaid envelope to send the pocket wifi back. I love it and glad I got it. Follow me around the next 14 days as I will be traveling around Tokyo and Sapporo.

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