The Road Back to Tokyo

Our time in Kyoto just wasn’t long enough! We hated to say goodbye to the beautiful Hotel Nikko Princess, whose staff treated us like we were royalty. We relaxed as long as we could this morning, until I (who had been up since 5 a.m),, decided it was time for Sleeping Beauty to awake. I let a little outdoor light in from the room darkening curtains. Maggie finally rolled over and said “I’m hungry but I don’t want to leave this comfy bed.”

We treated ourselves to an elaborate breakfast in the hotel dining room. We missed the buffet, just barely, and chose what they call an “American breakfast.” So here’s what they brought us to eat…our choice of juice (orange for Maggie and mango for me), a bowl of yogurt with a pitcher of honey (so great), a gorgeous fruit plate (which included all kinds of fruits like oranges, blueberries, dragonfruit, pineapple, kiwi,etc.) our choice of three breads each (they haven’t heard of gluten-free, obviously, which was good with us!), scrambled eggs, bacon (Maggie nailed it when she said it tasted like hot dogs), fried potato wedges, assorted cooked veggies (for breakfast?), and then coffee (or tea) to finish it off. We knew we had the train ride ahead of us, so we ate plenty! It was beautifully presented. One last princess perk.

After that we returned to our room to pack up and headed to the lobby to check out. They have all kinds of staff around the lobby…..I am not sure of the purpose of them all, but I do know that they seemed to anticipate and meet our every need. We decided to invest in the taxi to the airport (about $10….compared to $4.40 and a lot of steps for the subway.) Our sweet taxi driver turned around at a stop light and gave us each a piece of candy. Like everyone we have met, so very kind. He dropped us at the perfect place and told us to have a good day. He looked like he meant it, too!

With our rail passes, we can either reserve seats or just jump on certain rail cars on the train and grab a seat if one is available. We keep opting for the reserved seats. In a minute we had two seats to Tokyo on a train leaving in 15 minutes. Have I mentioned I love public transportation…..and our awesome rail passes? I want to find ways to use them again before they run out on Sunday. You know how I love a bargain, and each time we use them they are a better value! Next trip to Japan I think will be very little luggage, a train pass, and seeing how much “value” I can get from it.

Our seat mate on the train most of the way was a quiet and proper Japanese businessman. While getting settled I found my Fitbit,,,,,still on U.S. time, so it was right at midnight (or in other words, the start of the next day,) Without thinking I clip it to my bra. Yes, sitting in my train seat. It was one of those things that you do and then wonder “Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have done that?!” But I was discreet…..really. (OK.,..I am sure I was less discreet than I think and he is now telling his friends about it.) By the way,  it was only about 2200 steps from the train to our hotel….but most of that was stairs, while weight lifting. I think instead of the Amazing Race, we are on Survivor.

This is a picture of some guys on the next train to ours. Is it creepy that I took it? (I thought it was less creepy than taking pictures of people on our train….right?) I thought you may want to see.
So we arrive at Tokyo Station….now to get to our hotel for the next four nights. We knew our hotel was very close to a subway station…..but of course, not on a line that is located at Tokyo station. I was tempted to get a cab, but have to live by what I told Maggie….you bring what you carry and you need to use public transportation as much as possible. Budget travel, remember? So we die carrying our luggage and practically fall into the lobby. The lady at the desk said “You look tired.” No kidding. She checked us in within a minute, and we found our room. Well, after we got the elevator (“the lift”) to work. You hold your room key to a black box, then push your floor. Quickly.
So it’s no Nikko Princess, but a typical Tokyo budget hotel room. Very small. Really hot until you figure out how to get the air conditioner and the fan working (yes, you need both!)  A double bed, desk, not a lot of floor room and a small but well equipped bathroom. They do bathrooms well in Japan. And in the interest of letting you know the important things, this bathroom has a remote, where you can adjust things like the temperature of the heated toilet seats. They also give you instructions with the remote in case you can’t figure out how to work it.

But we are in a great location. We’ll be able to get around well from here. Tonight we walked around the neighborhood. Not only is there a McDonald’s a block away, but also a Burger King. If I don’t feed Maggie well, she has options. She chose our place tonight, though it was French instead of Japanese. We had steak frites (steak and fries.) The Japanese are known for their steak, right? It really was good….and I had Japanese beer. 
We got more yen tonight….hopefully enough for the rest of the trip, but I suspect not. Funnily enough the 7/11s are where you can usually find the ATMs that accept international debut cards(which I prefer to exchanging cash). 7/11s are everywhere, almost on every block, which makes it very convenient.
We are seeing a friend of Maggie’s tomorrow and another one on Saturday. We have no idea what Tosh has planned for us yet, but I am sure it will be fun. I love having our own special tour guides. I’m so glad Maggie has been drawn to Japanese friends even before this trip. They are all giving us such precious memories and making us love this country and its people even more.

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