Jetting off to Tokyo from Jeju, South Korea
With a small number of international flights available from the island, Jeju Life took an opportunity over the 2007 Chuseok holiday to visit Tokyo, Japan, and sketches out the practical considerations of such a trip.
Arriving into Narita Airport after a flight of about two hours will still place you an hour away from the first of the city’s many downtown areas. The fastest way from Terminal One to the centre is to take the Narita Express train service (3,000 Yen or 25,000 Won). Ticket counters are to your left after exiting baggage collection. Be sure to check it is the right service as there are a number of slower ones available.
Once on the way in it’ll help to think of the city as a number of downtown areas connected by an extensive and efficient subway system. The city is certainly not walk-able and you’ll find yourself on and off the trains to get to each area. Thus accommodation location doesn’t matter too much – you’ll be able to get to where you want to go rather easily.
Vouched for accommodation includes the Oak Hotel (a glorified hostel in Ueno area popular with backpacking community) and the Capsule Hotel Shinjuku (male only). Pre-booking is available through hostelworld.com.
The Shinjuku Kuyakusyomae Capsule Hotel (4,200 Yen or 35,000 Won) provides a quintessential Japanese experience. It is a clean, safe and cheap alternative to a hotel room. As a place just to sleep is does its job well and is worth at least one night of your stay.
Tokyo has many things to do but one overriding theme that permeates through almost every main downtown area is consumerism and shopping. The latest fashions, electronics and things that probably won’t be seen elsewhere for years are here. Neighbourhoods to research and visit for such things include Shinkuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ginza, Rappongi & Rappongi Hills. The more technology minded might find a monorail ride out to Odaiba of benefit. And for the brilliant night view back across Tokyo proper with the Rainbow Bridge in the foreground. Buy a day pass for the Monorail (800 Yen) as the island is a long walk.
Historical sights of interest include the Imperial Palace and Emperor Meji’s Shrine and the temple in Asakusa, Senso-Ji.
Getting out of Tokyo can include Yokohama for the day and even a bus journey to Fiji Five Lakes from where you can climb Mount Fiji or just take in the view.
Tokyo Disney Resort is a twenty-five minute ride from Tokyo Station. Now consisting of two parks, The Magic Kingdom, is superseded by a newer DisneySea Park. Of the rides in the Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain provides the most exhilarating experience (5,800 Yen or about 50,000won for a day pass). Be sure to get there early and insert your ticket at one of the “fastpass” rides to cut some queuing time.
Tokyo is an expensive city. Family Marts carry a range of meal boxes. Mister Donut offers great range of snacks (plus free coffee refills). With a combination of a hostel and/or capsule hotel stay costs can be kept down. A budget 400,000won for five days (which included accommodation but excluded flights) is an extreme minimum.
A final practical note: with the flight back to Jeju leaving at 9:45am and downtown being quite a distance it is well worth coming back out to the airport for your final night. The Holiday Inn Narita-Tobu provides a more than comfortable service with a free Terminal One shuttle bus departing from the lobby every thirty minutes from 6:30am onwards.
Tokyo will mean different things to different people but it’s difficult to imagine how someone couldn’t be impressed – and it is only a two-hour direct flight from Jeju. That’s a convenience not to be scoffed at.
Booking airline tickets: onlinetour.co.kr (Korean web site so have someone help you out).
Accommodation: hostelworld.com or Holiday Inn. Booking for Hoilday Inn is also made at the information desks just outside arrival doors at Terminal One. Free shuttle bus leaves from Stop 16 out front.
Transport: Use the Narita Express to get to and from downtown Tokyo. Subway and JR Rail from there on in.